Barry Stone is an Associate Professor and Coordinator of Photography in the School of Art and Design at Texas State University. He is represented by Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery and Art Palace and a founding member of the artist collective, Lakes Were Rivers.
The following essay text was adapted from the exhibition catalog for Barry Stone: The World is Round From Here, published in conjunction with Gaa Gallery, Wellfleet, MA, 2015
After a second course of ice cream, we packed it in. We walked out to the dirt parking lot using the flashlight on my phone. It was country pitch dark. We opened the moon roof. My oldest, who is nine, said she had a “delightful experience” and liked it out in the country. “There is more space and quiet.” We headed out on the winding dirt road into the darkness. Once on the flat road, I pulled over and turned off the car and the lights and we sat in the rural stillness and peered through the moon roof at the abundance of stars. We could hear the dance party beginning, “Is that the radio?” she asked. It was very beautiful. The catering truck’s lights then appeared in my rear view and we started up for the two-lane highway out of Kyle.
After the rough dirt road the pavement felt as smooth as air.
She then fell asleep before we got out of town while stopped at a railroad crossing. It was the fastest train ever. It did not blow a horn, so it seemed to silently slide past us as smooth as the paved road beneath us, careening by just moments after we paused at the crossing gates.
Once on the highway, the cars were backed up for miles. The police forced everyone to exit the freeway. There was only a quarter tank of gas in the car and I was anxiously watching the needle on the fuel gauge as we inched along. Several drivers seemed to be pulling over and stopping to get out of their cars. (Did they run out of gas, or just throw in the towel?) I got on the feeder road where things went faster. I saw the two cars loaded on top of flat bed tow trucks. One car’s entire back end was smashed almost beyond recognition. The only piano concerto Schumann completed was playing on the radio. The host of the radio program said something about Schumann’s music having two personalities which the composer named in his diary as Eusebius and Florestan. I thought about the drivers of those two vehicles.
The map on the phone indicated there was perhaps another car accident ahead of the one we just passed. Both girls were deeply asleep. I exited the freeway once again to Slaughter Lane. At the light and on closer inspection, the wreck was actually on Slaughter Lane. While changing lanes to get in position to reenter the highway, I glanced to my left to see a fire blazing on the concrete slope of the underpass. It was about 8 feet in circumference with flames reaching maybe 10 feet high. The source was imperceptible. It looked to be coming from a bed of coals burning under the highway.
The freeway is smooth and open for the rest of the ride.
In our driveway, I opened the door of the car and moved around to other side of the station wagon to let my youngest out as she woke. She ran up to the front door of the house. She is looking for her mother, who has not yet returned from her trip. My oldest is still sitting in her seat with the car door open. She has fallen asleep again with her eyes open just after taking her seat belt off. I poke her and she wakes and starts to put her belt back on.
Change of clothes, brushing of teeth. The five year old groans about no books. I stroke her hair and her lids leaden and fall into sleep. Her sister is in bed, ready.
Images listed in order of appearance:
Tetrahedral El Camino, 15.5 x 22 inches, Archival Inkjet Print, 2011
Hotel Shower Cap, Roanoke, VA, 34 x 51 inches, Archival Inkjet Print, 2013
Covers, Austin, TX, 24 x 36 inches, Archival Inkjet Print, 2015
Puff, 34 x 51 inches, Archival Inkjet Print, 2014