This past winter, I began work on a new series of petite sculptural mixed-media pieces that continue my probe on the changing face of U.S. cities and its architecture. After reading so much commentary from my Art Deco Widget post in January, many shared their feelings of this same shock – and not just from my native east coast U.S.: Chicago, IL to Melbourne, Australia; Louisville, KY to Scottsdale, AZ; Vancouver, B.C. to Atlanta, GA.
On a recent trek across the Ben Franklin Bridge from my home base of New Jersey into a residential neighborhood of nearby Philadelphia, I witnessed side-by-side buildings of insane disparity. In my photo on left, one can see how the original, historic landmark home of colonial Philadelphia is neighbors with a taller-than-normally-allowed brand new condo building. This microcosm of new residential architecture resting next to what is historically-considerate revamping of homes will not last, as moving onward to further city streets showcased the “new” style of housing (on left) completely overtaking the historically-considerate style on right.
Cityscape Widget Vessel remarks on this dichotomy of the two varying styles of living in essentially any city – anywhere – undergoing these changes. The tree branch of leafy foliage that is the only unifying factor in my chosen interior Widget image hangs in upper-center of my copper piece. The chased/repoussé copper lid of this vessel echoes the sinewy lines of branches, while the puffiness of the triangular abstract repoussé forms are almost shield-like and regal. While it may sound like I’m condemning this fast-tracked, building-up of city dwellings (rental, condo or single-family homes), in truth, I hope to point out merely how developers want to “fast-track” their super-modern housing styles with zero regard for the history of these urban settings.
My connection to making artwork and continuing critique of how technology influences and often consumes our personal lives drives onward in my latest metalwork pieces. Images of the ever-evolving cityscapes throughout the U.S.A., Canada, Europe, Australia, NZ, Latin America and Asia pervade so many social media and Instagram user feeds that I’m struggling to follow as many as do interest me. However, I’m seeing a romanticized, landslide interest with people capturing pre-colonial through modern-day city architecture by utilizing their iPhone cameras then targeting specific Instagram user feeds with well-known hashtags that make their images searchable worldwide. It can be obsessive for some and certainly has lured me into it at times. My exploration of these issues within my artwork will be continual.