Mixed Greens is thrilled to announce The Box (Texas), Coke Wisdom O’Neal’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery. In a continuation of his Box Series, begun in New York City in 2005, O’Neal and his turn-of-the-century camera traveled to the rural border town of San Isidro, Texas, to document its denizens inside a colossal 22-foot-tall sculpture. The result is a photographic study in identity and identi?cation.
In the isolation of South Texas, O’Neal collaborated with the San Isidro community to build and activate his large-scale specimen box. They constructed the sculpture on a ranch and then moved it to the local school grounds, where O’Neal fostered an immersive and interactive art experience. O’Neal taught photography to students and invited local residents to be photographed. Later, the Box returned to the ranch, where workers and livestock were invited in.
Ultimately, O’Neal’s Box exists as a sculpture (combining Claes Oldenburg’s scale and Donald Judd’s form to absurd effect), a performance, and a series of photographs. O’Neal uses the Box as a framing device—a blank canvas that obliterates geographic location, leaving the viewer to carefully observe light, pose, expression, and attire to envision a narrative. Together, the subjects’ vignettes uniquely represent their community, without direction or digital manipulation by the artist. O’Neal has set the stage and invited San Isidro to join him.