Artists from the wilds of Inyo County gather for a show in Tecopa
Maybe they’ve been out in the sun too long, or maybe it’s the freedom that comes with living far from civilization, but the art coming out of the eastern edges of Inyo County is reflective of the vast expanse its artists gaze into every day and night. Artists from Darwin will be bringing their wares and intentionally broken words to the Tecopa Artists Gallery in Tecopa, home of the Tecopa Hot Springs, from January 20 until March 31.
According to the 2010 Census, the population of Darwin is 43. Founded in 1874, Darwin is the former home of the Defiance mines, of which there were once 60 in operation. It once boasted a population of 3,500 people, and was known as a rough town, where fights, stabbings and murders were rampant. The last mine closed in 1945, and some intrepid residents have been hanging on ever since. Many have taken to creating exotic desert artwork.
At the Tecopa Artists Gallery exhibit, art emissaries from Darwin including self-professed kaleidoscope junkie Judyth Greenburgh, inter-and-outerscape oil painter John Hamilton, and wordsmith Kathy Goss.
Darwoon Dyreez is not a typo. Goss told The Sheet the book is a collection of stories “Based on 20 years of staring out the window from behind the curtains in Darwin.” The language in the book is in the local phonetic dialect and features an abundance of puns and plays on words. It’s the language of the desert rat, filled with the bad spelling endemic to Darwin, Goss said. She referenced a neighbor who grew up in Darwin and graduated from Lone Pine High School. She said his Facebook page is filled with beautiful photos, but every caption boasts egregious spelling and grammatical mistakes—the true Darwoonish language.
In 1997, Goss was exploring the deserts near Darwin as a visitor. While she was out of town, her housemate in San Francisco brought home a date from a bar. That night, the date murdered her housemate, “and really messed up my living arrangement.” Goss has been in Darwin ever since.
Hamilton could not be reached for an interview. He has been the caretaker at the Darwin mines for many years. His paintings, according to Greenburgh, are landscapes with a bi-lateral symmetry. His later works are surrealist.
“He is the most committed artist I know,” Greenburgh said. Living 40.8 miles from Lone Pine, the closest town, is pretty committing.