ARTIST STATEMENT: Gowanus Impressions
The Gowanus Canal, and the land surrounding it, is toxic. It is also very beautiful and very valuable. Those of us who have grown to love the Canal and its environs may likely mourn its passing some day. Where now there is a haunting, gritty, chimerical beauty, there may some day be another predictable high rise condominium; where now artists work in old silos and warehouses, franchise stores may some day rise up. Although I have photographed Gowanus numerous times over the years, it’s only recently that I’ve made images that have felt deeply satisfying to me. These efforts of mine culminate at a time when the area appears to be at a crossroads, and perhaps that is why the Canal has finally given up its secrets to me. Or, perhaps my inner creative urgency was awakened by the immediacy of the present situation. There are pressing concerns and interests at stake. Federal Superfunds vs. development is the primary issue. What the community does and how it gathers its forces my ultimately provide the answers to the complex questions and pressures that face this project.
Mysteries of the Yucatan
Views From the Train
The images in these series share the same precisionist aesthetic that Gowanus Impressions does. Throughout my career as a photographer, I have been inspired by the work of people such as Charles Sheeler, Edward Hopper, Ralston Cranford, Paul Strand and other precisionists; artists who reduced their compositions to simple shapes and underlying geometrical structures. Sprawling industrial locales of steel mills and factory complexes draw my attention, as does the abandoned Mexican towns in the Yucatan. I am drawn to crisp hard edge shapes, flat planes of color, a sense of logic, order and purity associated with architecture and the machine.
Architecture offers ways to explore formal geometries and light effects. The interaction between diagonal planes and expanses of light is often as much a focal point as the subject itself. I try to convey modern architectural forms to their abstract essence.