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Creative Research Lab

SHIFT (MFA1) - March 2008

Buster Graybill

Buster Graybill
Ditched, 2007
inkjet print, documenting installation
20"h x 30"w

I harvest memories, stories and objects from the rich cultural geography of rural America and use them as creative fuel. Themes of adaptation, displacement, and re-contextualization spawn from personal experiences and observations of the constant changes in the landscape around me. I find poetry, beauty, ingenuity and humor in these often overlooked places.

In New Braunfels, Texas, the small river town where I currently live, the entire landscape undergoes drastic changes when spring and summer arrive. Like flowers blossoming with the shift of the season, inner tubes pop up everywhere. These big, black, bulging rubber tubes become dominant fixtures in the landscape. Normally these inner tubes discretely function inside the tires of 18-wheelers that drive up and down the highways. In river towns, these industrial materials are recycled and transformed into recreational vehicles for people to leisurely float down the rivers and brave the occasional rapid. I am intrigued by how ingenuity and a simple shift of context, from highway to river, can drastically alter the perception and function of these objects.

Further displacing these inner tubes from their original context, I use them as a sculptural material for site-specific installations. I push, pull, tangle, inflate, deflate, and compress them to conform into found spaces or around objects. They morph into an object/character that is in a constant state of adaptation. These tangled, muscular sculptures take on a bizarre yet poetic existence as they invade the landscape, further exploring ideas of displacement, adaptation, and re-contextualization.