Monday, October 29, 2012

Abandoned Structures: Lovejoy

With the Twin Tower and Iraq images in mind, starting in 2003 I embarked on a series of works, based on published accounts and pictures, of the remnants of various man made structures that had been abandoned because of war, natural disasters, industrial accidents, or just neglect and obsolescence, many scheduled for demolition.

In these images of endangered monuments, I sought to capture the often brief interval of transition between their abandonment and eventual demise or loss. And in some encouraging cases, a recasting of their history in a new form.

Each picture has its own story. Separate posts follow on four of these paintings and the prints derived from them.
click to enlarge
Lovejoy (2003)

This painting and the accompanying monoprints are based on the Lovejoy Columns.

From 1948 to 1952, Greek Immigrant and Artist Athanasios Efthimiou Stefopoulos, known locally as 'Tom', created a series of paintings on the pillars of the old Lovejoy Ramp in Portland Oregon. The paintings depict a mixture of Greek Mythology and Americana, painted in a folksy, calligraphic style.
In 1997, the Lovejoy Ramp was slated for demolition as the old rail yard was being rebuilt as a new neighborhood and extension of the Pearl District. A group of dedicated volunteers managed to convince the city to save not just the paintings but the entirety of the columns they were painted on, arguing that if the paintings alone were cut free, much of their magic would be lost.
With the old ramp demolished, the painted columns were carefully protected and cut free. Some have since been re-erected in the plaza of the Elizabeth Building at NW 10th and Flanders, in the Pearl District of Portland. 

In the painting and subsequent prints, as with my other "structure" works, I have tried to eyoke aspects of the columns during the process of demolition—in this case after the upper roadbed had been removed but while the column murals were still wrapped before their eventual preservation. 

Prints (2008 - 2009)


 all prints are for sale

images © Richard D. Perry

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nine Alive

Nine Alive (2002) 55"x35"  $3000.00

 In July 2002 the Quequeek mine in Somerset, Pa, suddenly flooded, trapping nine miners. Americans watched with bated breath as the rescue effort unfolded. After 72 hours the miners were miraculously recovered with only minor injuries.
Media coverage of this event resulted in a sequence of dramatic images.

For me, the images of flaring miners' lamps negotiating the scarred and blackened walls of the mine tunnels as the rescue played out were especially riveting. 
And from these textured images I created a painting (above) and then in 2004, a series of monoprints (below) further exploring and developing the pictorial variations of the scene.

These monoprints are one of a kind. No two are alike.
All are for sale @ $250 each unframed 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Iraq. Images of War

Starting in 2003, I composed a series of three paintings that drew on the avalanche of dramatic images in the media of the destructive events taking place in Iraq.

A Desert Storm 96"x 20" 
This first picture in the series (2003) recreates a panoramic vista of the initial American
advance into Iraq against a background of fire and sandstorms.

Fallujah (2004)
This gaunt, burnt out building on the outskirts of Fallujah was briefly occupied by
US forces early in the war, besieged by local insurgents and then finally abandoned.
The battle scarred facade, with gaping windows and partly erased graffiti seems an
appropriately battered monument to the cost of American and Iraqi hopes in the region.

 Mosul (2005)
A Navy Black Hawk helicopter was shot down by insurgents over Mosul. 
The smoking wreckage, shown here being lifted by crane, speaks to 
the destructive nature and waste, physically and spiritually, of this war.

images ©Richard D. Perry. all rights reserved

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Twin Towers

Twin Towers series

In 2001, shocked by the 9/11 disaster but at the same time inspired by the amazing images of destruction, I decided to resume painting with a series of canvases documenting the event based on published imagery. Several are illustrated below.

Twin Towers: The Strike (2002) nfs

The destruction of the World Trade Center in New York on September 11 2001 was truly horrifying in its human, social and physical aspects. The widespread documentation of this event and its aftermath produced a variety of graphic images of unprecedented power and intensity that time has only magnified. 
Twin Towers: The Collapse (2002)

Twin Towers: The Plume (2002)
Twin Towers: The Last Post (2002)
After the months long clearing of the World Trade Center site, one scarred but surviving basement column stood for a while before eventual removal

The Prints
In 2004/5 I followed up the paintings with a suite of color monoprints based on the first and last paintings: Twin Towers: the Strike and the Last Post


The Last Post

all prints are for sale

text and images ©Richard D. Perry All rights reserved

Monday, October 1, 2012


Teocalli One (1980)
Teocalli is the Aztec (nahuatl) term for temple or temple/pyramid.

The Aztec and Maya temple/pyramids across Mexico, many of which still stand and have been restored, were the focal monuments of the respective Mesoamerican cultures that thrived before the arrival of the Spaniards.

As is also documented, they were the locus of human sacrifice, either on a limited or large scale—a horrific and bloody spectacle that animated the accounts of the conquistadors—scenes of which the pristine, restored monuments we see today give little hint. 

Victims were sacrificed on the altars of the upper temples. Their hearts were extracted, still beating, from their bodies and burned in special containers amid clouds of copal incense. The corpses were then tumbled down the steep steps slick with blood—an essential element in pyramid design. 

In a couple of edgy paintings, loosely based on pyramidal structures, I attempted to convey some of the ambience that these monuments might have had in ancient times.

Teocalli Two: Fire, Blood and Copal (1980 & 2012)

©Richard D. Perry All rights reserved