Devotion

 

Nichols Farm and Orchard, McHenry County
with Jeffrey Letterly, Lara Philp, Claire Arctander, Louis Dickinson,
Lloyd Nichols, Rich Partsch, Sam Wittreich, Casey Dickinson, and
the Sheela-na-gigs: Sandy Bykowski, Michelle Ernst, Sibyle Noonan,
Carla Owens, Matthew Owens, and Bill Ressequie.
Photo credit: Jim Green, Linda Balek, and Joan Dickinson

Structured by stories told within the context of a walk through a rolling orchard, Devotion mediates ideas about loss, its effect on memory, and memory’s effect on context. The stories come from several sources­­ including Willa Cather’s novel The Song of the Lark; an obscure North American Indian legend about extinct mammals; a Tura Satana interview; various song lyrics; and my original writing, and are translated into visual events: a woman performing dressage, a man talking about the deaths of his wife and only daughter, and an enormous painting removed from the museum and returned to its starting point.

JEFFREY LETTERLY AS OTHAR FORRESTER
My name is Othar Forrester. What you see is how I remember our home when my wife, Elizabeth, and daughter, Lily, were alive. Lily was born in this house in 1963 and died ten years later from the same fever as took her mother. The thing I remember most about our daughter is how musical she was. She got her talent from her mother who sang to her everyday and night. Finally, we got a piano. And while Lily never took a lesson, from the age of two, she could play. She’d listen to her mother hum a song and then find the right keys. Just like that.
CLAIRE ARCTANDER AND LOUIS DICKINSON AS BIRD WRANGLERS
But in that same room there was a picture – oh, that was the thing she ran upstairs so fast to see! That was her picture. She imagined that nobody cared for it but herself, and that it waited for her. That was a picture indeed. She liked even the name of it, "The Song of the Lark." The flat country, the early morning light, the wet fields, the look in the girl's heavy face – well, they were all hers, anyhow, whatever was there. She told herself that that picture was "right." (The Song of the Lark by Willa Cather; The Song of the Lark painted by Jules Breton).
SAM WITTREICH AS THE BOY WITH MAGIC TROWSERS AND ARROWS; CASEY DICKINSON AS THE GIRL IN HER GRANDMOTHER’S COCKTAIL DRESS
Few tales about Mammoths exist in oral tradition anywhere. At the time of the tale's collection, it appears from his footnote that the narrator knew nothing about the former existence of mammoths or of their relatively recent extinction (“Bladder-Head Boy or The Monster that Ate People” Journal of American Folk-Lore, Vol. XXX. Lancaster, 1917).
LARA PHILIP SINGING A GHOST STORY
Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for strange men to be in the area recording country people and our songs. Everybody knew about them. We heard they made some locals famous up in Memphis, but never paid them a dime. I heard about those song collectors, but never saw any around and never thought they’d take an interest in such a young girl. They say she had talent, not used very often, no place for it given her circumstances.
 

Boxcar Devotion Pretty Pretty Pretty Over There Too Thirteen Moon Dove Road Flower Atmosphere With all that She is She Desires to Give ... Hunter's Moon The Dream of the Owl Sisters
In the Palace of the Night Heron ZephyrZephyr The Architecture of Honey Cooking School of the Air Adjustment The Dream of the Owl Sisters Drove Road Other Work Labyrinth The Charioteer

Home     About     Portfolio     Contact



Website by HR Hegnauer designed in collaboration with Joan Dickinson.
All correspondence, inquiries and permission requests regarding the use, distribution, or production of photography, video, or text should be directed to Joan Dickinson.