This Perfect, Fallen Bird's Nest Describes a Shifting Dallas Neighborhood
"Nest" by Anonymous. Sculptural mixed media with sticks, plastic bags, dryer lint, yarn, leaves, summer weeds and a beaded price tag. 2013
The assemblage rests near the roots of an immature oak, whose thin branches grow in front of a recently updated, East Dallas apartment complex. The artist is unnamed, but because of the inherent structural deficiencies and late-season presentation, the suggestion of a dove's handiwork is visible.
The sculpture is domestic in origin, but presents a larger overview of an area in flux as economic transition presses into the Ross and Haskell intersection. The artist pulls from these influences, weaving a cushion of dryer lint into the frame -- a task that required flying through breezeways and navigating fences of the older, more communal units, to select its prize out of their bins and hampers.
Other artists get trapped on those missions and are left disoriented, confused by the tall windows designed to allow light into points of heavy population. But this one did not, and that victory brought comfort to its young and a personal accent to this piece's theme, which effortlessly unites failure with victory, fragility with strength -- as told from within the ecosystem of a shifting landscape.
What might be most enticing about this particular nest is the artist's use of interior design elements. A white plastic beaded tag, too thin to represent price on a substantial purchase, is draped lovingly across an interior quarter of sticks. It hangs like a piece of costume jewelry necked over a vanity's mirror.
It serves no structural purpose.
Other reappropriated items add diversity in texture. A coiled piece of fluffy white yarn explodes through a gap like an orderly flash of graffiti while remaining controlled enough to keep balance within the work. Tiny pieces of plastic bags patch up the remaining pockets.
These elements have risen to the surface level of this neighborhood as buildings are bulldozed, trees are cleared and foundations are poured for newer, more expensive housing. The trash cleared from the condemned spaces is stacked and piled along the streets, waiting to be shipped away. A few pieces avoid the dump and instead wind up here, in this balanced, beautiful example of art.
The nest landed on its base, face-up with no evidence of eggs or bodies surrounding it. It sits undisturbed. From this the viewer can make one of several assumptions: This nest is leftover from spring and finally blew to the ground, landing luckily in one piece. Or, this nest, which has no evidence of springtime flora in its construction, was a late-build, created out of need. That it fell just as the last bird launched, flying off to an unguarded place. To a new dwelling housed elsewhere in the neighborhood.
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