Monday, October 3, 2011

Steer 1984

I did this image in the early 1980's.  At that time I lived on the Zuni Indian Reservation, and would often make the long drive between Zuni and Albuquerque.  We traveled on a two lane black top from Zuni to Grants, then picked up I-40 to head on into Albuquerque for shopping, the airport, whatever we couldn't get in Gallup or Zuni.  On this particular trip I happened to pull over at a  wide place in the road that we would sometimes stop at just before we got to the intersection of I-40.  On one of the fence posts (all fences are barbed wire with either metal or wooden fence posts) I saw a steers' head stuck onto the fence post.  It was askew, titled to one side.  It hadn't been there too long, the eyes still looked back at me.  A few crows sat on the nearby posts, waiting to start in. I had my camera, photographed the head, then proceeded on. 

30 years later I wonder what that head was doing there.  Had someone poached the steer, then stuck the head on the fence as a kind of sticking their tongue out gesture, or had someone just wanted to get rid of a steers' head they had riding around in the back of their pickup?  I didn't think of it at the time, just took the photo and went on my way.  Later, when I printed the head out and started my painting, I found myself bringing him back to life, alive and well in a vibrant New Mexico landscape.  The painting went to my first New York City show where it sold, and, hopefully keeps on living somewhere in that area.

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