Sunday, August 22, 2010

Abandoned Inspiration

Recently, I have been obsessed with abandoned buildings. It amazing me how beautiful dwellings can be forgotten along old roads and left to ruin. On our way to Pennsylvania, we drove through the Catskills. When you drive along the back roads, you see all the glory of days gone by. It seems that people no longer vacation in these mountains or along the small lakes and ponds that abide here.  Almost every town we drove through had crumbling cottages and broken down old hotels that mark a time of previous opulence.

My latest work, has also been about dwellings. A collection of small houses and boxes have been taking up residence on my work table. This new series of what I call "soul houses" will be on display in October for my show at Seminary Arts, but I wanted to share with you a sample of what's to come.

The discarded house forms, some as small as 3" tall and others as large as 2 feet wide, are being transformed into a chambers that capture the sadness and beauty of a lost moment in time. Like the stately hotels and camps along those old back roads, these little houses might be a little haunted and beckon you to find out more.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vision Place of Souls

"In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear, but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls. And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field to  ponder and dream; And lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls."

Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain: 20th Maine,
Speaking at the dedication of the Monument to the 20th Maine
October 3, 1889, Gettysburg, PA 

Last week we traveled to Pennsylvania for a family vacation. We spent five days exploring the Amish Country, visiting Hershey Park and see the sights of Lancaster County.  But, the day that sticks with me is the day we spent at the Gettysburg battlefield.  I had no idea how hard the emotions would hit me, how this place would resonate with my own soul.  To say that I am moved is an understatement. The quote above by Colonel Chamberlain completely sums up how I felt that day.  So powerful is the feeling that still lingers in me.  Without Chamberlain's word's I would be speechless.

So, I leave you with photos. I know that they cannot convey the eeriness, the stillness that you experience there. 
Gettysburg Battlefield National Park, is more than an national park, it is  a 5 mile cemetery. A memorial to the approximately 50,000 men who gave their lives in this struggle. 

As you walk along the roads and fields, as you view the memorials and markers, the soul of the place enters you. It is haunting and powerful. If only we could listen to the message this place sends to our souls.