(The Horses of Herd Rock III: Open Plains)
Found 07/2015, Goodwill (Metric and 183)
The final piece in what we tend to assume to be MW’s three-part “Herd Rock” cycle, (Open Plains) shows a horse, older we might infer, grazing, at dusk we are inclined to guess. Birds fly east, or west, heralding the arrival of and or end of winter. The champagne color of the horse’s coat blurs its outlines against the sandy background, rendering the subject almost transparent, almost ghostly. What might be a trick of the light reveals the landscape behind the horse, suggesting a creature of another time. Horses do not tend to fade to gray like humans do as they age, but the overall effect of the image–birds, distant landmarks, solitary horse, muted palette, sun setting and sky hinting at dark shadow–all speak to a long life lived, but nearing its end. With the farm buildings in the background the horse is, literally, “out to pasture.”
As the final piece of the “Herd Rock” series, (Open Plains) contains the sense of closure of the subject’s life, but a happy closure, the horse seems content and untroubled. He vanishes into the landscape, in many ways an iconic piece of a rural, wilder, America that itself may be fading.