Metallic: Past Future

My earliest memories include traveling through airports: moving to Belgium with my father’s military career or travelling to / fro the US.

My father was a pilot in the first half of his military career.


This is a different version of the B-17 he flew. On a mild day last winter, with the high desert air bracing on my skin, I couldn’t help but remember where I had been with my late father, yet seeing this restored plane as almost an art object.

Metal shining under a blue sky.

Desert mountains behind him taking off into the blue.


The futuristic use of clean, gleaming metal was common in each airport I remember growing up, travelling between Belgium and the states, and after that.


Did this influence my appreciation for morning light on aluminum artwork? I know, light, light, light!


Seeing Donald Judd’s 100 Untitled Works in Mill Aluminum at dawn was an unexpected pleasure, my trip to Marfa last July. The shift from orange to pale blue in the sky, the Yucca elata and assorted species of Bouteloua grasses below.

Grasses lusher than those even above my past foothills house.

I cannot describe the glow inside, but the outside view where photos were allowed drops some hints.


It was an airport for the imagination. Back to the 1970’s when I was just a kid, what I perceived of “Texas” outside JR Ewing or oil and cattle barons, and their jet-setting for work and pleasure.

How it would feel to be out of school and in a great job doing something I’m appreciated at, travelling to and fro, though I knew the fields I was interested in would probably not afford my own plane.

I think I wanted to be an astronomer until 1980 or so, when I was 14.


I’m grateful every day and many moments, regardless of what my detractors claim. I see the good now and in the past, while looking forward to the unreached heights that might wait around the bend.

Maybe I’ll also take off into the gleaming metallics and blues?