Ranger Kathryn's Arches

February 13, 2012

Non-conforming artists

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 9:00 am
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Throughout time, artists who flaunt traditional approaches have been both reviled and praised. I wonder if that has always been the case? Would a millennium have changed human behavior?

On a recent hike in search of petroglyphs in the Moab area, my findings led me to ask such questions. The first panel shows a classic rendering of an abundant animal in Utah rock art, the bighorn sheep. Notice their short thick necks, graceful parenthesis-shaped horns, solid pecked bodies and characteristic single-file arrangement. I especially like the cloven-hoof detail, which can be seen better if you click to enlarge.

 Utah petroglyphs showing bighorns

Only a few feet away, on another part of the boulder, stood this artwork. Based on its deeply curved horns, it’s obviously a bighorn ram, but how many differences can you pick out from the previous glyphs? Whose neck is that? What is the shape inside its torso? Is it supposed to have feet? Was this artist having fun, expressing his uniqueness, or faithfully recording his observations?

Please leave your comments. Have fun with this. It’s okay to speculate…

Does this artist march to the beat of a different drummer?

April 12, 2010

“I can not get no Feed”

Filed under: 1 — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 8:08 am
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Poignant graffiti at Chaco Culture National Historical Park

Intriguing century-old graffiti at Chaco — on a rock that many passers-by seem to have used for messages — says this:

Jean — I can not get no Feed — I can not wait For you.

What drama. It begs speculation about what animal(s) were feed-less, for how long, and where he eventually found feed. And… did Jean ever find them? Were other messages left elsewhere? How long did the crisis continue? What month of the year was this? And… why is it in a lovely cursive script instead of the typical block letters that can be more easily carved with a knife?

Along the petroglyph trail in Chaco Culture NHP. Surprised man? Celebratory stance?

I have a similar gut reaction when I view petroglyphs and pictographs. I want to know about the artists, and what they were representing, and how long it took them to peck or paint the rock art, and what their tools looked like, and whether they stood back with satisfaction on completing it. A millennium later, some things appear obvious, and others are pure speculation.

Dog? Coyote?

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