"THERE IS BEAUTY IN RUST, RUST INSN'T BROWN AND DREARY, NOR DOES IT SUGGEST AGE AND DECAY. IT'S ALIVE
AND IRIDESCENT, MUCH LIKE THE SKIN OF AN ANIMAL, OR THE LICK OF FLAMES. IT'S COLORS ARE BRIGHT AND SPLASHY.
RUST HAS BECOME MY NEW PALETTE."
A REMINDER OF AMERICA’S LOST INDUSTRIAL PAST
“Industrial Expressionism” is what I call my style of painting and it is based on my love of rust. I find beauty in rust, and Bethlehem Steel has been my muse for a series of paintings since 2016.
Bethlehem Steel was once one of the largest producers of steel until the steelworks shut down in 1995, and since then it has done nothing but rust. Its rusting beauty is a fascinating phenomenon and very inspiring for an artist. For me, rust isn’t brown and dreary, nor does it suggest age and decay. It’s alive and iridescent, much like the skin of an animal, or the lick of flames. Its colors are bright and splashy. Rust has become my new palette.
For me, these rusty giants are otherworldly. They look more like science fiction metal cathedrals looming in the distance in an abandoned landscape and very engaging. This series of paintings is my own study of industry’s physical remains and landscapes.
Another influence on my work are Bernd and Hilla Becher, photographers of industrial landscapes. For over 40 years they photographed the architecture of industrialization: water towers, coal bunkers, blast furnaces, gas tanks and factory facades. Bernd Becher was acutely aware that the mega-structures throughout Germany, Europe and America would soon disappear from the landscape.
At first glance, some people say of my paintings that they are reminiscent of the Precisionist Movement. Although I admire artists Louis Lozowick, Charles Sheeler, and Charles Demuth, however, my paintings are more expressionistic. The Precisionists reduced their compositions to simple shapes and underlying geometrical structures, with clear outlines, minimal detail, and smooth handling of surfaces. My paintings have layers upon layers of surface color to capture my love of rust and geometrical lines. Perspective is also a big component of my work and my compositions allow the viewer to feel the height of the structures. There is sentimentality in the background; they are both moody and surreal.