It conjures images of palm trees, warm beaches, neon sunsets.
“Paradise” recalls an ideal: a relaxed, incorruptible place of
hammocks and softly blowing wind. Abstractly, it’s a state of mind.
Specifically, it’s the enchantment of beloved tourist destinations
like Florida and Hawaii; idyllic places far from the everyday cares of
life. But, places
overflowing with natural beauty are quite
vulnerable to exploition. As we quickly
consume them or misunderstand their wildness, they disappear and are lost, living on only through images, myths & replicas.
For me, the Earth is a paradise, which we are called to revere and
preserve. I wanted to install a public sign - not an advertisement -
at the site of my home that stirs this idea. A meadow
was planted as context to
further the concept for passersby. I recieved permission from the owners to temporarily use this empty lot. I put a funny corrogated plastic sign in the space that said "meadow in progress". Everyday as the plants emerged and started to bloom, neighbors became more excited. People would stop their cars and get out to talk to me.
Siting work in this space to create a public piece is not without
precedent. In 2008, I responded to the removal of a landmark graffiti
wall in my neighborhood by installing art on a 20ft billboard adjacent
to my house
. At this time, I
wished to prove that this was a place tolerant of art by
inverting expressions of market culture, namely development and
Ultimately, the neighborhood enjoyed and accepted my unofficial
spectacle. Two years later, after the old art came down, I put up something new: a powder blue neon sign. But this time the work was rejected. hundreds of people witnessed the one night that the sign was turned on. . . and now the empty corner is blessed with a memorable visual event. For some it will also bear the pain of it's loss.
Uniquely, this billboard is not owned by a communications corporation
and leased for profit. Instead, its site is at my home, where my small
corner of the city is, occasionally, Paradise.
--karen tauches 8-21-2010