The Legend of Appaloosa Sue

One early spring day in 1990 I was out walking, looking for a matrix upon which to draw. My camera at my side, I thought that I might try to take some photographs to print and later to draw upon.

 had recently lost an important part of my past. My mother had passed away the previous August. The snow had just melted and the early spring sun had a welcome warmth that wrapped me in reverie and musings. That day the sadness was lifted for a while as I shuffled through the past year's dried grass. An aroma of freshness and renewal was stimulating a regeneration of my psyche.

A brief walk over the horizon opened to an expanse of an abandoned reservoir that was nearly empty except for a marsh of aging cattail. Littered about the edges were items long abandoned, dumped as refuse perhaps 40 years earlier. Most of these items had melted away leaving only a few metallic remnants that crumbled when they were touched.

At the far edge of the reservoir were three old car bodies that had been placed on the bank to prevent erosion. As I walked closer to them they appeared as ghosts graciously allowing me to encounter the transphysical. They held a mystery for me since they were surprisingly intact. Most abandoned vehicles of that era had been stripped clean of parts. These vehicles still had instruments and gauges intact. They were like time machines that had been frozen in place, unable to move. Their instruments became voices, a figurative presence of people long gone from the earth. As icons of abandonment, they set me imagining, thinking, and even worrying. Their surfaces were so inviting. The colors that man had contrived to embellish them had faded to something unique and natural. Once a symbol of family pride, they were now icons of abandonment.

Thus began the series of the Legend of Appaloosa Sue. Each image is a pause in a long, contemporary myth.

--Dennis Kern