Thursday, November 7 2019 7:00 - 10:00 PM
Cargo Project Gallery is excited to present Fielder’s Choice: A collaboration of drawings and poems by Justin Campoy and John Lennox
What is a hero? Since the days of Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and Ted Williams, ballplayers have epitomized the hero — strong, resilient, beautiful. But even the best fail most of the time, and most spend careers without winning a championship.
It is fitting baseball has something called a fielder's choice: when a batter reaches base only because the defense prefers to retire a different baserunner. The fielder’s choice is a dubious grace, a mix of ruthlessness and courtesy, a bit of hard luck that nevertheless keeps you in the game. It is one way baseball feels like a lesson for life, a lens through which to see life, and ultimately no different than life itself.
Fielder's Choice, a collaboration of drawings and poems, explores the heroic and the mundane in baseball in a series of exploded snapshots. The drawings take as their departure images of favorite players as they might appear on baseball cards. Echoing shapes create motion and fluidity, a release of energy from moments of contact, while crosshatching gives rhythm and stability, even amid the loud, near-neon pop palette. The poems, in turn, roam from watching a game to playing pickup softball on a Saturday to a groundskeeper’s turf science to the weather. The poems are actually one poem, composed in a stanza form that combines the Japanese renga, a sequence of linked but loose poetic units, and the ballad.
Part picture book, part vibrant but decomposing memory, Fielder’s Choice offers a view of baseball not so much as a game but as a porous meditation on life’s glories and disappointments. Alive to baseball’s poignant contradictions — friendly yet impersonal, symmetrical yet an orgy of angles, a confrontation of rush and calm, memory and wish — the collaboration seeks to find the furthest point away from baseball that still is baseball, and the deepest point in baseball that still is regular life. Fielder’s Choice is an attempt to articulate the game as a human activity, as both a pastime that can take on great spiritual power and an everyday exhibition of excellence and futility that is only slightly less frequent than lunch.