Created for Saint Cloud State University (Minnesota), this work continued a series on the search for companionship, specifically combining excerpts from early Mississippi River explorers’ journals and historical romance novels. The installation encompassed three areas: a display case; the gallery proper; and an outdoor deck overlooking the Mississippi. The display case featured a mélange of crutches and paddles lit with electric candles, as well as a map of North America with an overdrawn human heart. Antique tripods with electric candles occupied the gallery’s front window, while a frieze of panels from the journals and novels lined the walls. The large middle column featured four tiny figures in lit domes, and also served as the center of a three-dimensional compass rose. Vintage electric fans were designated as the four winds. All 42 glass surfaces (outdoor deck panels, display case, and gallery windows) featured paired texts drawn from the journals and novels. The parallels between the two sources proved surprising, ultimately making the search for a northwest passage indistinct from the search for a mate. Predictably, both sources ultimately revealed more about their writers (and the attendant milieu) than their ostensible subjects.

Surveying Desire X: Quest
59'4" x 137'6" x9'
mixed media with incandescent lights


overall view of display case: crutches, paddles, texts (on glass),
electric candles, map

  b) detail: crutches, paddles, text
  c) map with overdrawn heart, candles
view of gallery from display case: texts, tripods with candles, gallery interior
  b) detail: window text, fan on stand, wall frieze with candles
detail: romance novel frieze
gallery interior: center column with lit figures in domes, compass rose fins,
four winds (fans on stands)
  b) column, figures in domes, fins
detail: lit figure in dome
detail: south wind (“Notus” fan)

detail: fan stand’s gilded lead heart counterweight/plumb bob

east end of outdoor sculpture deck overlooking Mississippi River
  b) detail: sample explorer text from deck
  c) detail: sample romance text from deck
© 2006 Carol Emmons