Thursday, March 16, 2017
A GALLERY TO SEA ON THE GULF
We’re driving up the South Padre Island beach in southern Texas on a particularly gray day when suddenly our path is squeezed by a fallen tree. Stop. Wait. What’s on that tree?
I get out. And look.
I see a collection of children’s toy boats balanced down the limb toward the Gulf of Mexico. Wow. It’s amazing the wind and the waves have failed to claim these toys. I walk closer. And learn why. Each plastic boat is attached to the tree by a galvanized screw. It’s intentional. It’s beach art. I feel blessed by beach art.I climb back in the truck and we continue our journey (skirting the installation, of course, dipping our tires into the waves). Not far down the beach I see another piece of colorfully adorned driftwood. Stop!
I get out and walk closer. It’s the same concept — toys screwed to the tree — but the toys are different. They’re ravaged. It’s not just art. It’s art from objects found on the beach, left behind by tourists or washed ashore by waves (anything that topples overboard into the Gulf of Mexico eventually washes up on Padre Island. It’s just the way the currents go.
SO I feel twice blessed. Take tons of close-ups and stand for a long shot. That's when I see them. In the distance. Behind the dunes. Other pieces of art. Jutting up from the sand. A gallery of beach art hidden behind the dunes. I walk closer to each one. Examine the media. Take pictures. Holler to Allen to come look.
A missile, ready for launch.
It's made from 5-gallon buckets and their lids.
A Christmas tree.
Its base decorated with lost cigarette lighters and toys.
Lost shoes form its boughs.
I found this thingamajig. Looks like a failed torpedo, striped with spent lighters.
A little garden gives the sand a pop of color.
Soon, we hop back in the truck and continue our journey. STOP! More beach art. This one is spectacular. An abandoned diving bell decorated with beer cans, seashells and plastic toys. AND, a sense of humor and design.
And finally, we see this.
Allen says it's not art. Because it lacks intent. I say art is in the eye. Snap the picture. Then we continue on our journey.