Rockslide Sky

an exhibition inspired by Roberto Bolaño’s story, Gomez Palacio

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October 1-November 5, 2012

Writer Roberto Bolaño’s story, Gomez Palacio, describes a young poet sent to teach for the Mexican Arts Council in a desert town in the northern state of Durango.  Viewed on a map, the town is literally in the middle of nowhere, and the narrator, an exiled young writer from Pinochet’s Chile, is, at 23 years old, adrift and world-weary.  This is a story where very little seems to happen, yet everything does.  Bolano describes a world where the mundane spawns the beautiful, where color is palpable, where an enigmatic emptiness pervades yet manages to provide strange respite.

Installation View

Installation View

 Key colors in Gomez Palacio come in the form of a long, sky blue car; yellow hills described as pure light-- and possibly eternity--; a night sky that descends like a gray wall; and a green, spectral light that appears when passing car headlights rake the desert floor at night. There is also mention of a sky that looks like a rockslide settling over the town.

Bolaño writes as an aggregator, gathering, collating, and finally distilling factual information into lucid bits of confounding beauty. Things that shouldn’t add up, do, and much falls by the wayside, or, as the narrator says, is “unlikely, like most things in this story”.  Critic Pauline Font writes in her NewYork Times review that “the aura of mystery and melancholy Bolaño creates (in Gomez Palacio)…is a sort of microclimate reminiscent of Kafka,…a weather that obliterates everything outside the story”.

The artists in this exhibition all touch on aspects of the narrative in compelling ways, bringing visual impact and tangential experience to the space evoked by the written word. 

The range of visual media includes painting, installation, digital printmaking, drawing, sculpture, and photography. In a sense this exhibition is a visual collaboration with Roberto Bolaño, conjuring and collaging visual accomplices to his words.   


 Justin Berry, Mary Carlson, Marsha Cottrell, Steve Di Bennedetto, Franklin Evans, Janet Gillespie, Jared Handelsman, Michelle Kloehn, Katerina Lanfranco, Joel Longenecker, Tom McGrath, Laura Newman, Morgan O’Hara, Ann Pibal, Marcy Rosenblat, Jackie Saccoccio

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