The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come by Robert Gaylor doesn’t seek to comment on all the problems of our time, but brings forth references which inspire reflection on them.
Robert Gaylor references are clear and direct: homelessness, shopping, Christmas, Dickens, and Lincoln.
At night, on the street, sparkling with lights is not a sacrificial Fir Tree, but a sacrificial man.
He is bundled against the cold, with his possessions piled into his shopping cart. He is not shopping, but trying to survive.
How did a love of Jesus and the annual rebirth of the year become a runaway festival of conspicuous consumption and lavish excess? What happened to our sense of empathy and community?
The face of Gaylor’s man is molded from a life mask of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln asked in Gettysburg, if our nation, “conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal… whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure?”
He declared that “it is for us the living…to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.”
In referencing Lincoln, Gaylor seems to ask if we have dedicated ourselves to noble work.
Eugenia Parry reflects on Gaylor’s sculpture in her recent essay, Taken In.
“His man is real and not…He becomes a transcendent, heavenly body, a kind of constellation, like Orion, The Hunter, or Cassiopeia, The Lady of the Chair, brought down to earth.
We look toward this clouded figment, this new arrival from afar for a message representing those with nothing whom we ought to respect and help. The man lowers his head .
We aren’t there for him but he, the star cluster, is ever present for us: The constellation of The Lonely Cart Pusher.
As Dickens’ biographer Chesterton mused, “The function of the imagination is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange.”
Black Friday, November 23, 5-7pm
Railyard Plaza, by the Water Tower
Exhibition continues around Santa Fe through December 25th
visit www.axleart.com for dates and locations