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

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