Christy Gast: Portrait as the Barefoot Mailman
Christy Gast, Portrait as the Barefoot Mailman
The Village of Bal Harbour
As the next iteration of its ongoing support for the arts in South Florida, Bal Harbour has unveiled “Self Portrait As a Barefoot Mailman,” by artist Christy Gast as part of the destination’s public art program, “Unscripted.” Gast’s 12-foot high sculptural installation, will be showcased in the center of Collins Avenue, on Bal Harbour’s Founder Circle through the summer. Installed headfirst in the ground, as if blown-over, the faux bronze sculpture made of fiberglass is a testament to the area’s legendary barefoot mailman, a real historic figure who delivered mail on the first U.S. mail route between Palm Beach and Miami in the 1880’s before there were major roads. Drawing on the history of South Florida as well as Miami Dade’s history of public sculpture, Gast has created a playful alternative to the traditionally overstated and masculinized civic monument.
Past artworks by sculptor and video artist Christy Gast often feature herself in costume as the central character, making it natural for Gast to transform this mailman figure into her likeness. Gast had a laser scan taken of herself dressed up as the legendary mailman assuming a monument-like posture, and used this as the basis for the sculpture. In doing so, she presents a subterfuge – an impersonation of the character of the mailman, infused with her female persona. Gast also adds another dimension of humor and unexpected subversion by having “Self Portrait As A Barefoot Mailman” upside-down and partially buried as if having been blown over by a strong storm and landing head-first, a witty gesture to having one’s head quite literally “buried in the sand.”
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