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New art installation is a Marfa roadside attraction

June 8th, 2017 under Arts
(staff photo by JOHN DANIEL GARCIA) The new art installation is near the Tumble In RV Park.

(staff photo by JOHN DANIEL GARCIA)
The new art installation is near the Tumble In RV Park.

By JOHN DANIEL GARCIA

johndaniel@bigbendnow.com

MARFA – Following the success of Prada Marfa and the fiasco that was Playboy Marfa, a new roadside attraction is currently being erected as Oakland, California-based Jason WA Tucker installs Actual Contact, a series of 12 ten-foot-high pillars, each adorned with two mysterious figures that will float in a glowing light just east of town.

The project, Tucker explained, has been in the works for over a decade, with dreams of having the pillars set up in the town he discovered as a child on road trips from his native San Angelo to the Big Bend region.

“When it was all happening and I was starting to think of this as a project, I thought of Marfa as number one,” said Tucker, who works as a film editor in Los Angles, working on shows such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the Twin Peaks reboot.

The project, he added, was tested out in two different variations at Burning Man.

“The installations at Burning Man were a sort of revisualization of this,” he said, explaining that the desert landscape was perfect for the installation. “To me, the desert is a canvas of sorts. The mystery and the minimalism of it all, which I think Marfa is the cross-section of.”

The figures, he said, came naturally to him after he began drawing and painting; starting with geometric shapes which morphed into the anthropomorphic shapes.

“I’m just trying to stay true to how they came to me,” he said, stating that the figures were drawn while working on film projects. “Many years ago these images came to me. They came in my dreams, they came to me during the day. I was enchanted by them. They were like visitations, they kept coming as I drew and painted them.”

The installation is being constructed about 70 yards from the Tumble In RV Park on Marfa’s eastern city limits on land donated by Tumble In owners Cory van Dyke and Jennie Lyn Hamilton, friends of Tucker’s.

The field, Tucker said, complements the work in ways other potential sites didn’t.

“It’s in its own space, which I felt was very important,” the artist said. “I wanted to create a meditative space where you can be with them and commune with them.”

The figures, he added, will be lighted from inside the steel pillars using LED lights, though the light will not be harsh or threaten the area’s darks skies.

“We’re using a polycarbon to line the inside of the pillars, which makes this opaque image shine. It creates this diffusion and gives a soft light without actually emitting any light,” he said.

The installation is expected to be completed in the coming two weeks and will remain installed for the foreseeable future.

“It’s very dreamlike,” he said. “It’s just a mystery and I just want to get out of its way.”

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