NASHER PUBLIC: SARA CARDONA – Seeding the Path
Katy Trail Art, Inaugural Installation
The Katy Trail, between Cambrick Street and Fitzhugh Avenue
October 2021 – March 2022
For her Nasher Public commission on the Katy Trail, Sara Cardona considered the essence and history of the Trail as a site of transit, transport, and transition. Entitled Seeding the Path, the five sculptures suspended from the trees over the Katy Trail between Cambrick Street and Fitzhugh Avenue feature vibrant colors and dynamic geometric patterns, the latter recalling seed pots from the ancient Mimbres and contemporary Acoma cultures native to the Southwest, ceramic vessels which were used to secure and transport seeds and represent the potential for renewal. The forms also resemble enlarged versions of these indigenous ceramics, as well as Akari lanterns, a traditional Japanese form enlivened in the mid-20th century by modernist sculptor Isamu Noguchi (an American artist of Japanese ancestry who lived 1904-1988). Cardona connected the spirit of the seed pots and Akari lanterns, which means “light” as well as “lightness of being,” with the sense of renewal contemporary users of the Katy Trail seek through exercise or connection with nature.
Sara Cardona on the Katy Trail:“I could not help but think of the long history of transport represented by the Trail, and its many layers. Beginning with what were likely ancient systems of trade by indigenous cultures native to the regions of what is now Missouri, Texas, Kansas, and Oklahoma, and then re-designed for twentieth century trade on the KATY railroad line, to the present Trail paved upon the lines of those tracks. What intrigued me was the variety of speeds and movement implied by those various modes of transport, and the types of goods transported and exchanged: seeds, agriculture, cultural ideas, cattle, thoughts, human energy.”
Sara Cardona on Seed Pots:“Seed pots came about as a means of effectively preserving seeds for planting each season. As vessels, a small hole was created, large enough to pass seeds through but small enough to put a plug in or to be stacked one on the other, effectively sealing them. When planting season arrived, seed-filled pots would be broken, and the seeds released for planting. Because the seed pot contained the hopes and prayers of the people for their prosperity over the next year(s), it was decorated with the symbols and designs of sacred nature. These were often geometric and abstract, and included lines, spirals, and circles.The patterns I selected for Seeding the Path come from the very oldest Southwestern tradition, the Mimbres-Acoma peoples, located in the region of New Mexico close to the Texas border. Hatched lines usually indicate movement or rain. Rain translates to fertile land and represents a necessary vital life source. There are many motifs that imply prayers for rain and water. Other parallel lines may represent crop rows. Horizontal lines can be decorative or might depict the horizon. Spirals represent renewal and continuation. They might also represent a spiritual journey to other worlds or the broadening of one's consciousness. Circles might represent the earth, the sun, or the moon. Concentric circles might represent levels to the Upper World.”
Sara Cardona on Her Cultural Sources:“As an abstract artist informed by Mexican culture, I find my own contemporary sensibility is informed by my relationship to and curiosity about the varied traditions that constitute a Latin American experience. Mexican culture is a confluence of European, Asian, Middle Eastern, African, and Indigenous aesthetics. Much like the ancient trails in which goods and services were exchanged, art is also a continuous layering of traditions and ideas, and for the Katy Trail project I sought to honor both the oldest traders of the Southwest and the lamp traditions of Japan. My ultimate goal was to add beauty and an element of delight to the trees, and to bring uplift in our shared tumultuous times.”
About Sara Cardona
Sara Cardona was born in Mexico City and currently lives and works in Dallas. She uses the analog process of cut-and-paste to create collages in the tradition of early twentieth-century assemblage and in a nod to the editing process of film. These collages then become the foundation for large-scale sculptures in paper and metal, which are inspired by the idea of distributive human networks of capital and consumption. As an artist who grew up in a family involved in the film and theater industry, her work is informed by the intersection of artifice, spectacle, photography, and scenic construction. Her work was recently exhibited at the Erin Cluley Gallery, featured in the Nasher Windows series of installations at the Nasher Sculpture Center and included in Texas Women: A New History of Abstract Art at The San Antonio Museum of Art. She is a recipient of a 2020 Nasher Artist Grant and a past recipient of the Dallas Museum of Art Kimbrough Award, as well as a C3 Visiting Artist at the DMA. Cardona studied at the Kansas City Art Institute, received her BA from UT Austin, her MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, ME.