Future Home Size Is 32 x 32

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
early 1980s
Ballpoint pen, paint, glitter, on poster board
22 x 28 inches
Collection of
Souls Grown Deep Foundation

This compact, personal hideout has space for only one occupant, who literally must not be afraid of the darkness. The piece posits Robertson as a lonely outpost, perhaps as a colonist on a distant dark planet (or a benighted Earth), plugged into a rooftop transmitter-receiver. Out front is the white (gray at night) picket fence. The little house, like the moat-encircled, peachy California ranch house in In Jurney to a Farway Land World—River, Mountain's Old Apostle—Roberson said he worked in California in the 1950s—undoubtedly signifies in some way on the American Dream of a house in the suburbs. The contents of this vision also exude a certain portability, as if the fence could be collapsed, the trees could be taken down, and the front walk could be rolled up for relocation or lift-off to a new planet at a moment’s notice. In the dark and of the dark, the black ground and the term “future home” constitute an iconography eerily similar to that of other works in the southern black vernacular tradition, such as Nellie Mae Rowe’s hovering Pocketbook, which is part coffin, part mausoleum, part spaceship, part Sweet-Chariot-Swinging-Low.