2002-10 URBAN MOBILITY

 "32 St. / City Park: Westbound," 2010, oil on canvas, 24" x 36"

STATEMENT:

I extract my artwork from the experience of mobility, the velocity of travel – its visual bombardment, and its alteration of spatial perceptions. While traversing the city landscape via bus or train, I notationally sketch architecture, cars, trees, and urban clutter flowing by – capturing elements in a state of flux, and removing them from their original context.

In my drawings and paintings, I invent ambiguous scenes and spaces – accumulating miles of space and time into one image. This process creates a dense layering of geography – reflecting the current condition of complexity, speed, and fragmentation in our lives and society.

I feel a connection with the 19th-century “flaneur” – the ambler aimlessly strolling city streets, observing and writing about the urban scene. Among them were Walt Whitman, James Joyce, Charles Baudelaire, and Walter Benjamin. Riding buses by neighborhoods, parks, schools, industrial districts, and strip malls – I continuously record sights, thoughts, and experiences.

On my urban bus excursions, I came to realize the primacy of energy as the underpinning of our civilization. We take for granted our urban sprawl, designed around cheap oil, without considering the challenge we will have in crossing those expanses after the cheap oil runs out. Our entire way of life is structured by cheap energy – our city layouts, transportation, global trade and food production. I seek to capture the petroleum-powered speed experience, as it essentially defines our lives at this time.

The era of cheap oil is over; we are hurtling towards a highly uncertain future. Huge changes are already happening economically. The rate of change is only bound to increase. Where are we going? What are we accelerating towards?

 

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