“Red Dirt Rug” by Rena DetrixheAugust 9, 2018
Red Dirt Rug | 2017
Form&Concept, Santa Fe New Mexico
Loose red Oklahoma soil, imprinted with modified shoe soles
When I was a little girl I would sift dirt through an old screen door just for the pleasure of feeling the fine soft earth between my fingers and under my feet.
This work embodies the complicated history of our relationship to nature, particularly in my current state of residence, Oklahoma, where human presence has deeply altered the landscape. This rich red earth is the land of the Dust Bowl, the end of the Trail of Tears, land runs and pipelines, deep fault lines and hydraulic fracturing. There is immense beauty and pride in this place and also profound sorrow.
The refining and sifting of the soil and the imprinting of the pattern is a meditation on this past, a gesture of sensitivity, and the desire for understanding. It is a meticulous and solitary act.
The form of the rug, from a western perspective, is an object of luxury; it is a symbol of authority and power. Though it is also an article of beauty and cultural significance and the result of many hours of careful labor. Through this form, I attempt to question the tension between nature and human impact while suggesting the ubiquitousness and preciousness of the earth just below our feet.