The Hudson Valley Ghost Columns are varied iterations of site-responsive columns built on a scale between body and architecture at different sites throughout the Hudson Valley and Brooklyn. They are made from dry-stacked historic Hudson Valley bricks and unprocessed Cormo sheep wool sourced from a historic Hudson Valley fiber farm. The Ghost Columns echo the Hudson Valley’s industrial history and architectural ruins, formalizing traces of the region’s geological, social, and material history. The works are constructed on-site and deconstructed again at the conclusion of an exhibition, making each structure a unique ephemeral work made in relation to its context.
The constructions are inspired by ruins throughout the Hudson Valley landscape whose fireplaces and chimneys have survived the destruction of their surrounding architecture, especially the fireplaces and chimneys of the Cornish Estate and Hutton/JMC brickyard smoke stack at East Kingston, one of the last remaining vestiges of an industry that shaped the Hudson Valley and 19th century construction in New York City.
Embodied in the materials and the form of the sculpture are a range of entangled natural processes and human narratives spanning geological time, human lifetimes and generations, and cycles and seasons of sheep wool growth and shearing. These narratives evoke the complicated relationship of human to domesticated animals, the social history of labor, immigration, and invention that characterizes the Hudson Valley brick industry, and the particular stories and characters of each of the brickyards that produced the bricks comprising the Columns, including Lahey, Hutton, and JMC.
As both material trace and construction, the untitled (Hudson Valley Ghost Columns) allow the materials to act as agents, recalling multiple interwoven histories while becoming something other, a form evoking architecture, animal, and body simultaneously.