10" x 5" x 10" H   2006

Heads above the surface but sinking fast display terror or resignation in a theatrical venue.

Composition: walnuts (chewed by squirrels), cat litter, glue, Crown Royal bag, bottle cap, silent movie-type placard.

Found-object art is my true love and discarded black walnut shells are about as found-object as you can get. (Although I have a granddaughter who does very nice things with rocks.)

One of the best-kept secrets of evolutionary biology is the incisors of the common gray squirrel.  Once the squirrel has gnawed through the shell of a black walnut, his choppers have just the right curve and length to scoop out the nut meat through very small holes. The hard work of gnawing through the extremely hard shell (much harder than an English walnut) is kept to a minimum.  Squirrels use this technique on all kinds of nuts but only with black walnuts do you end up with little faces, and you only get the little faces on maybe one out of ten thousand chewed nuts.  I haven't done a rigorous survey but maybe a biologist will secure a grant and get this nailed down.

Before leaving this subject it's only decent to note that squirrels are smart enough to jam green black walnuts into the forks of tree branches, where the sun can dry them out.  The green husk turns brown and dries out much faster than if the nut was lying on the ground. Then it's easy for the squirrel to slough off the dried husk and commence gnawing. So if you ever see a black walnut jammed twenty feet up in the fork of a branch, it didn't fall from a tree and amazingly happen to get stuck on its way down.


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found object art
by gary carlson
geneva, ny

all you can eat
ant farm
babies in peril
bat boy
black lagoon
born to be green
contrary (hammerhead)
crossed signals
expanding foam
ima sturnbich
in the box
judgment day
low maint pet
man bites dog
nell's nightmare
roundheads and flatheads
shamrock theater
terror from the deep
triptych in walnuts
voodoo quadruped pelvises
wait a minute - where's the baby?
untitled (enigmatic figure)
untitled (galloping figure)

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