Unfortunately, Patricia Rangel had to cut our interview short due to her having to talk about her gallery to a different class. However, I did manage to find out a lot about Rangel.
As I was looking through each gallery, Rangel’s caught my attention the most. At first I did not believe how someone could put dirt into each square and pack it down into such a perfect shape. I never realized how easily and how hard packed dirt could become. Then I thought to myself, “wait, this isn’t sand.” I had a dumbfounded moment for a bit. I also did not believe her when she said her work was not transferred from anywhere but was instead built upon the spot it was in. Her process is using plywood to make a mold for the dirt, then she uses “fine dirt” to make her artwork. Fine dirt is easier to pack which is why it is used. The dirt would be so hard sometimes Rangel would have to use a sledgehammer to break it away in order to reuse the dirt.
This was my favorite piece. I really liked how the wooden posts were exposed to show what the inside and underside of dirt really looks like when barbed wire fence posts are installed into the ground. It is just something you never see or are able to see because everything is hidden underneath the earth.
The dirt she uses isn’t just ordinary dirt or fine dirt Rangel finds out of nowhere. Some of the dirt she uses is from the Smith Mountain Cemetery. It is where her sister was buried. I think it is great and very sweet that Rangel incorporates her sister with her art. It is a tragedy to lose someone you love and not have them by your side, and it really warms my heart to see Rangel keep apart of her sister with her at all times by expressing and honoring her sister throughout her amazing pieces of art.