Anachronism (Private Collection, Oakland)
Wherever I can, I search out pieces from the past. Bits and bobs from machines we do not make anymore. It strikes me that there was a specific amount of every piece of every gadget made. A real number. Unknowable now, of course. But a set. Most are lost. Some were used, for whatever purpose they had, though I rarely know what that was. When I pick the piece up, it is only because it catches my eye, on the ground, or in a box of spare parts somewhere. It is possible that the piece that came out of the conveyor belt next to mine is affixed and in use somewhere unseen. Some must have fallen onto the road and under the wheel of a bus, flattened, unrecognizable, buried. Maybe one lies hidden in your backyard and will only be revealed when you take a shovel to garden that corner of earth. Those that I find will take their place on my canvases, for a time. But they too will likely fall away again, perhaps in the far and distant future. They will eventually disintegrate like the rest that came out of the factory. There is one piece I came across in a box of old parts. It is wrapped in a scrap of old, fragile paper, once new, barely held shut by a piece of dry tape. I won't use it. It sits there, a mystery, still wrapped tight.