The Neighborhood I Grew Up in Buried Underground
The Neighborhood I Grew Up in Buried Underground was realized in the summer of 1999 in the backyard of my childhood home in Newtown, Connecticut. An asphalt road and miniature concrete houses–-one for each house on the street–were buried in a one-foot deep trench.
The work remains a touchstone for me and operates on many different levels. When I first created the piece I loved the idea of relocating the heroic scale of earthworks to the suburban backyard––while retaining the inaccessibility the of remote west through the act of burial.
The work was an act of destruction, of anger, a rejection—leveling the sight of childhood anxieties and memories. It was a coming to terms and a moving on, putting those early memories aside as one does with age.
At the same time it was an imagined act of ecological restoration, asking “what was this landscape like before the construction of this neighborhood?” And wondering what it would be like if we could return it to that state?
During this time I was particularly taken with thoughts of sculpture as implied or promised form–the excitement of the imagined unknown. If we can accept the reality of Neptune or Pluto based on scientific description, the work asked, was it possible to create a sculpture that would be accepted as real, even though the viewer could not look at it.
The idea of the work is rooted in and derives its meaning from the physical object and the physical act, but it blossoms in memory beyond sight.