Montello 2017

May 2017
Montello, Nevada

We came to Montello intending to continue our project “Blaze of Whimsy” from 2016, in which we walked around a pastoral landscape in central Pennsylvania and highlighted interesting little details in bright hunter’s orange.

In Nevada, our intention was to repeat this process, using a deep matte black that we felt would contrast nicely with the pale colors of the sagebrush desert. Once we began exploring the landscape, we were overwhelmed by the vast distances and far away vistas. This made it difficult to restrict our eye to just the close-up details that had caught our attention in the Pennsylvania forests.

Instead, the walks themselves became our subject matter. We would set out each day, heading for distant landmarks and places we’d seen, but not reached, on previous walks. We followed the trails, the roads, the fences, mostly on foot, but occasionally on bike and once by car. At the end of every day, we would make detailed written logs of each of the day’s walks. These became the basis for a series of hand-drawn maps depicting each excursion as a linear experience, starting and ending at the cabin. In addition to the route, memorable moments from each walk, such as the animals we saw, the light conditions, the hills and gullies, flowers, and even the shockingly loud low flying military jets.

By engaging in this dialogue with the landscape, and getting away from the demands of society, of work, and even of friends and family, Montello became a much needed distillation. For those two weeks, we had ample time to walk and read and cook and make art, and to think about our place within the wildness surrounding us.