View from the Ridge
imageJust before I was due to give my presentations at the reception I was introduced to a man called Mark Hoffman (he’s sat on the front row of seats on the picture of the reception in the last post). He was contacted about the event just this afternoon and so almost didn’t make it but he actually owns the Palisades. His father bought them in the last century for $5000. We have a small conversation initially and at the end of the reception he invites us to visit his house so we can take a sunset tour of the tops of the cliffs in his 4×4.
Of course we take him up on the offer, traversing steep dirt tracks in order to access high vantage points to view the entire Green River Valley. The visual splendour of this tour resonates even more accompanied by Mark imparting such detailed knowledge about the area, now and its history, in a manner which is definitive and dryly entertaining too. He fully appreciates this access to the cliffs with daily walks and his living room is like a gallery dedicated to print versions of Moran’s Green River paintings as well as a couple of other artists representations.
I think that most of the cliff tour has been taped by Andrew and myself, my hope would be for this footage to add to Bolton Museum and Library services collection of archive material about the area.
I also saw completely different views of the cliffs which may possibly feature in entirely original compositions of the Green River valley for the final exhibition.
We head back to Marks house and share a drink, a toast and yet more yarns with his Wife Jan and their friends. One notable tale is of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid using the cliffs and creeks as one of their hideouts which starts me thinking about Moran’s associations with the west.
It is a surprising and altogether fitting end to what has been a surprising and wonderful trip.
It’s time for the Journey back to Bolton and some serious thinking about how this experience has informed what I believed about Moran, what the new subject matter may have meant to him, his use of photography as a means to record experiences and how I prepare for the working phase myself.