Bessie A. White, 2014
Acrylic, ink, pencil, and spray paint on canvas and panel with acrylic yarn, stone, and wood, Dimensions Variable
The Bessie A. White was a coal schooner that sunk off the coast of Fire Island near Smith's Point. The boat grounded and quickly filled with water at about 4:30 am on February 6, 1922. Eventually, the ship was buried by the dunes and lost for decades. In October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy hit the New York area and set the dunes of Fire Island back 70 feet. This unearthed the shipwreck and revealed it's entire skeleton for the first time in 90 years. In May 2013, I visited the site of the Bessie A. White and found the dunes to be quickly reclaiming the wreck.
This became the inspiration and reference for this installation. The star formations above Fire Island in both February 1922 and October 2012 were plotted and transferred to a grid of canvases and panels. The overlapping formations were then abstracted and re-interpreted in the paintings. Shapes from the shipwreck as seen in 2013 were used in the abstraction. The paintings were then separated from the grid and hung randomly in the gallery with acrylic yarn passing through them and centering to a pile of rocks and debris in the middle of the floor. The yarn is meant to reference light traveling from the stars to the point of the shipwreck.