Gallery Diet, Miami 2014
Text by Jarrett Earnest
Christy Gast is a Tramp. And by that I don’t mean she’s a floozy, though she does know how to have a good time. I mean it in the sense of a “gentlewoman of the road”—a true adventurer who wanders the defiantly less-traveled roads of the Americas just to see what life is like there; what folks are up to and how foliage changes. Luckily for us she is an artist, transforming those experiences into things, which she shares. Her current exhibition is loose and freewheeling, made on a road trip this summer that looped around the country. Along the way she made cyanotype portraits of specific sites, assembled from the detritus found near bodies of water. Just listing the objects and their places enacts a special kind of poetry: reeds in the Rio Grande; lasso in Three Rivers; corn stalk in Ohio farm pond; swimsuits in an LA carwash; sacred datura in the San Joaquin Valley; and vulture in Mule Creek–to name a few. Some hang like flags perpendicular to the wall, and others float like banners just off it. They overlap life-sized traces separated by time and space into a single but multi-textured whole, in a way that feels close to our experience of subjectivity. Her panels of canvas, linen and rawhide, all treated to various shades of cyanotype blue, bring to mind Virginia Woolf’s description of the tricky nature of Life: “…a perfect rag-bag of odds and ends within us…and has contrived that the whole assortment shall be lightly stitched together by a single thread. Memory is the seamstress and a capricious one at that.” Beyond all else Christy Gast’s new exhibition is lyrical, melancholic, and very very beautiful.