Okay, so here we go. Final stretch (!). When turning around in our steps from the diptych “2 Fer 1” on the 4th and top floor of the Boos gallery, this is what we are confronted with on the opposite wall…
Another diptych as I’ve stated, and one called “This Town Ain’t Big Enough”. As with the preceeding collage and also several other in the series, the base is formed from antique photos of Tungaske, this time of the town’s main street taken sometime in the early 20th Century. Here’s a website that shows the used photos.
This is the base for the left side of the diptych, then…
… and here’s the one for the right hand side.
So in looking closer at each photo, you’ll notice that the same side of the main street of town is shown in each case, but looking from opposite directions. You can tell this for sure by the presence of a prominent sign for a hardware store in each. So this is a little different from a lot of my other collage diptychs in that the left side does not directly continue a single base photo into the right side (or visa versa). Instead we have mirrored images, which brings to mind this:
The two photos are roughly cued to each other by matching up the horizon lines, and then, more precisely, by a similar single white line running across the road in the foreground of each, probably marking a walkway — but two different ones, if so. Then the left photo is copied, reduced by 50 percent, and inserted between the two to help bridge them together. That’s our foundation.
What’s then overlaid on top of the foundation? The larger building in the center has been altered by the introduction of a Tungaske grave image here…
… namely the part of the upright monument seen in the photo. This becomes the bottom of the building, making it pentagonal shaped and perhaps hovering in the air a bit. Looking closer, you’ll notice that a smaller version of the same building appears to its immediate right, but otherwise unaltered. When composing the collage, I envisioned these as like two gunslingers of the old west in a standoff, with one perhaps exclaiming the cliche movie line: “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us.”
So there’s the source of the title. As the collage evolved, this idea sort of fell into the background (literally), as new images appeared.
And we’ve visited the grave site before in the Boos series. It’s the same one with the rust colored book cemented to the top of the monument, unseen in the above photo. We first find it in “Goodwater Goodland 01” and then in “Goodwater Goodland 02” as well, but two different halves of the book. In the present work, we also find two halves of the same book, but this time split down the middle and not segmented. And just to complete this particular addition, we also have the flat part of the monument appearing on opposite sides of the diptych, or both the lower right and lower left hand corners.
Let’s deal with each side of the diptych separately for a bit. The left hand part is individually called “This Town Ain’t Big”, primarily referring to the diminutive size of Tungaske now.
The base photo presents a gathering of horse drawn wagons. Is some kind of race in progress down the streets of the village? Anyway, more a couple more horses have been added in now, seeming to emerge from the bulging suit coat of Rutherford B. Hayes, our 19th president and who served from 1877 to 1881. They, and the horses behind them in the collage, seem to be heading toward the Tungaske tombstone, but with a smaller, more irregular monument taking the place of the original upright one. This becomes the grave of “Winesburg, Ohio” author Sherwood Anderson.
Blue-green horsey legs appear to its right, and from the same horse we find in both sides of “2 Fer 1” just examined. We find more blue-green tinted legs in outline form in the lower left corner. These are of Bart Simpson, rambunctious brother of Lisa in “The Simpsons”. And you can see the outline of the top of his yellow head just below the pentagonal building above him. The middle part of the body is missing.
In the air directly above Hayes is found the right side of the Tungaske cemetery book, which is also the archetypal “Big Book of Rust”.
(to be continued)