Raw Materials by John Salhus is an exotic piece. The artist definitely has his own style that’s completely unique to him. The way he uses a group of logs and boards and drapes a waterfall over it is quite stunning. This picture really jumped out at me with its simplicity. There were many others like it that had a different background or even had color. Those were pleasing works of art but the one that I favored the most was the simplest.
There were about twenty fresh logs stacked in a pile. The pile was askew with a log erected towards the sky like a lone soldier. In front of the logs almost directly in the center was what appeared to be a waterfall. It looked like a big pile of long hair draped over the logs or a beautiful, calming waterfall. I could hear the sound of the water pouring over the edge of the wood. At the bottom of the picture the waterfall dissipated into a mist. There was nothing for it to fall into so it evaporated like a kettle of hot tea. I could taste the cold water rushing down my throat every time I looked at the waterfall. This black mist covered the bottom of the picture like a veil of fog covers a bog on an early morning. There were some spots where I could see ends of logs on the bottom. The detail of every log was tremendous. I would feel the grooves of the bark on my hand if I were to reach out and touch it. The ends of the logs had age rings from the years they had been there. The logs had a bit of frayed wood on the end as if to cause an illusion of the perfect cut. With this also came the definition of the logs on the sides. The thick black lines showing the bark really brought attention towards the logs and not just waterfall in the center. There were some knots in the bark to show that not every log was perfect. Some logs had areas along their rough sides where sticks were originally but were cut out to make this pile more neat. While looking at this piece it reminded me of being in the woods; a great sense of stillness comes with being in the woods, as if time itself stopped. It reminded me of the intense smell of the flowers in a secluded grove in the woods.
There can be quite a variety of ways to determine the meaning of this piece of art. The first possible perspective could simply be nature. Perhaps the logs fell that way. It could be that a big storm came through and blew them all over into the middle of a river. If this were the case then it would be a waterfall in the middle and the water is just building up on the rear side and piling over. Another means of thinking about it could be that a man left the logs there. We, as humans, are big into gathering and utilizing the resources we have. Unfortunately we are also a wasteful race. Perhaps during the logging season some of the loggers left out a pile of wood. Over a great deal of time the pile of wood could be left there and thrown around due to the weather. This could account for the fact that the logs were not stacked perfectly.
The final way of envisioning the picture could be the way I thought of it. When I started thinking of what I saw I thought of one thing, beavers. Not normal ones however, these were technologically advanced cyborg beavers. The time was set in the future, around 2162. The humans have performed their first fully cybernetic animal project. There were twenty five of them confined at a bio lab in California near the famous Redwood Forest. One scientist was fed up with keeping these beautiful creatures in a horrible enclosure. An enclosure where they couldn’t even test out they’re most advanced alteration. Teeth that could rotate on a full three hundred and sixty degree axis. Teeth that could be used similar to the way chainsaws are used. This scientist could not take it anymore and went rogue. He opened the beaver cage and they came rushing forth like a flood after it burst through a dam. These rogue beavers roamed the forest free at last. They settled by a river and decided to do what their instincts told them, build a dam. So they used their super strong teeth and cut a perfect line right through the logs and dammed up the nearest river. This river eventually over flowed after a year or two. One day an artist was walking through the Redwood Forest and came across this sight and had to draw it.