Prayer for Rain, 2006

Portal Turpentine Festival, Portal GA

In the city, rain is an inconvenience or even a hazard – causing traffic on interstates, ruining our good clothes for our meetings. In the country, it is welcome and still necessary. I realize this in my drives down US 80 through fields of struggling crops. The sign on the church in Twin City in October pleaded “Pray for Rain”. It cut straight through gimmicks and attempts to scrape contemporary culture and shot right to the heart of our needs.

These pieces are a part of a larger installation at the Portal Turpentine Festival that was displayed in October of 2006. Portal is a town of about 600 residents which celebrates its tradition of making turpentine every fall. About to be literally wiped off the map by the Georgia Department of Transportation, it is one of thousands of American cities with a longing for rain that hundreds of urban centers shun.

These prayers are composed simply of cinnamon, watercolor and rainwater. Each gesture is unique, never to be replicated perfectly. The simple action which creates this circle is an act to conjure water, to will its presence, made quickly like the rapid prayer through rosary beads.