Palisades Park - New Drawings by Michael Krueger
November 16, 2018 - January 5, 2019
Opening Reception: November 16th, 6-9PM, Haw Contemporary Stockyards
Strange how memories are often not true. It seems that the most accurate way to recall our experiences is through remembered feelings. And yet, feeling is as ephemeral and ever-changing as we humans are. A conundrum. Still, I remember distinctly, the breeze, the dust, the heat, so hot it was like everything was on fire and the only way to escape was to jump into the muddy river.
Lying on the hot rocks to dry off in our underwear and bare chests, the red river water evaporated off our skin, making it feel tight and silty smooth. Our hair like matted field grass blew loose on the ride home. As the sun went down our skin prickled up from the cool air, and my ass was cold in my wet blue jeans.
When we went with the older kids in someone’s van or car, we didn’t know if we would be treated with kindness or cruelty, but we went hoping we would be cared for. It was a little of both, and at times I felt humiliated, tortured, vulnerable, and then when they laughed and we laughed too it felt the same. Someone said leave your wallet in the car so you don’t lose it. If you had any money it would be gone when you got back. Knowing that this was the worst thing that happened dampened the loss.
That girl I had a crush on, she went with the older boys, and they made her jump off the high bridge, and then a boy jumped right after her. The boy landed on her, breaking her spine. She was paralyzed from then on. I hated putting on my cold wet blue jeans, only dry from the outside in. As the sun edged toward the horizon, I grew anxious about getting home but we had no say in leaving.
Palisades Park, a pink quartzite formation rising beside Split Rock Creek-- there were climbing and hiding places, fast water and slow deep water. You could be alone pretty quickly. I could easily become transfixed by what I found there and what grew within me was a way of putting my emotions in the landscape.
We would sometimes visit the park in the winter. It was blinding, and cruel in the cold, broadening my appreciation for the sun. When you live in a climate with very cold winters, and experience the landscape in extreme variation, produced within is discordance and a dynamic meditation on memory and on place. The meditative promises of landscape become attached to memory, unfolding and renewing with each new experience.
By degrees, we are always reliving our memories, fighting with nostalgia and longing for youth. I’m not afraid of nostalgia, but I see how it weakens me. These emotional actualities, with wavering truth, make our wells deep. If there is any way for me to be with these memories and be in the present, it is through drawing and that is good, for now. I hope that my audience will be able to experience their own feelings through my work, that a shared place might exist to experience the complexity of our emotions, old, new or never imagined.