Beauty of the Built Environment

March 22, 2016

The other day upon thumbing through my mail, I happened upon an upcoming exhibition showcasing the artwork of Molly Magai at Shoreline Community College.  The painting that graced the front was a beautiful painting of gray and neutral tones that was a landscape of a freeway, with the adjacent power lines following the curve of the elevated road, with a the shipping cranes (giraffes) faintly outlined in the background.

 Absolutely stunning.

And at the same time, I knew that the subject matter to many would be interpreted as ugly. Intrigued and wanting to know more, I looked up her website and her artist statement describes it perfectly.

I make paintings of landscapes dominated by cities, roads, industry, and the living things that inhabit them. These structures, created for human convenience, are very much in conflict with nature. They are also an awe-inspiring human accomplishment, the work of generations of builders and engineers. Most of us ignore these landscapes as we pass by them. My job as a genre painter is to make you see them, in their destructiveness and their beauty.”

Beautifully said – beautifully painted.  This idea of awe-inspiring human accomplishment, the structures as a means to dominate and access nature, as well as the invisibility of many of these structures– are some of the reasons why bridges are so intriguing to me and I chose to recreate the basic forms into a wearable work of jewelry.  

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, the exhibition is open until April 15, 2016 and has an artist reception on Thursday, April 14, 4-6 pm and you might just see me there.