From Urban Sprawl to Art

University Drive is a messy strip; no depiction of its myriad signs, lights, hotels, plazas, fast-food restaurants, heavy traffic, and warehouse-like box stores (obscuring what would otherwise be beautiful views of rolling hills, trees, and a quarry) could be completely tranquil. Like many places across America, it is a decentralized, impersonal, arid, automobile-centric stretch. When it came time to make a painting of this major thoroughfare through Huntsville [above], the calm-seeking nature-lover in me wanted both to represent the disjointed feel of this sort of land use, but also "fix" it through art, blending the random lines and monotonous boxes into a more organic landscape, concealing them by viewing them from a distance, through a tree.

As in View of Five Points I and The Wanderer
, I created a multi-layered and textured image, but rather than expressing complexity or history, the variety of brushstrokes, semi-transparent build up of colors, and knifework only suggest disarray. The title, Showers over University Drive, adds another layer-- rain. Rain can often smooth over a harsh landscape, almost reclaiming it into nature, and University Drive in the rain is a kaleidoscope of colors melting into each other over glass, glimmering puddles, and the endless spray from car tires. . .

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