Scarlett and I both placed in this year's "Uniquely Fredericksburg" Juried Art show held at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library (1201 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg,VA).
Scarlett's piece "Sixty Acres A Day" received First Place in the Mixed Media category, while my painting, "Water Is Our History" came in second in the Mixed Media category. When it came time to make these pieces, we both wanted to reflect on the town that we recently moved to as well as give some kind of commentary on where the city has been and where it's going.
Below is Scarlett's piece "Sixty Acres A Day" followed by her artist statement:
Sixty Acres a Day was inspired by all the development that is happening in our area. Therefore, I wanted to create a piece where the traditional contrasted the new. The layout of Sixty Acres a Day is a traditional pinwheel quilt pattern that is constructed out of photographs taken of local construction sites.
To initiate this piece, I spent a week with my son Diego and my mother Marleine driving around our county looking for construction sites to photograph. It wasn’t very difficult and I didn’t have to drive very far before I had a 100 or so photos. The most surprising realization that I made during that week is the amount of destruction that occurs to create this new semi-urban landscape that Fredericksburg is quickly becoming.
The amount of dump trucks and 18 wheelers carrying freshly cut trees and construction equipment is astounding. The progress of leveling our hills for a new fast food restaurant or super store that already exists twice over in a 20 mile radius is overwhelming. It’s the pace really that is hard to grasp. I have to ask, ”Is it worth it?” Replacing our dogwoods and cedars, our wildflowers and cardinals for another pharmacy? According to my research if we continue developing the way we have been we will be destroying an average of sixty acres a day in the Commonwealth."
Below are my entries "Water Is Our History" and "La Caballera"
The painting Water Is Our History is a reflection on the prominence of the Rappahannock River in the area and it's relationship to the history and culture of Fredericksburg. Studied closely, the composition is a theoretical cross-section of our city's history - a town strategically placed by the river for trade, a city ravaged by fire, flood, and war. Today Fredericksburg is at a critical cross-roads in its identitiy. This small "Civil War Town" has great cultural and historical precedents manifest in the environment, yet it is also experiencing the growing pains of being consumed as another suburb of Northern Virginia. Fredericksburg as a city is in danger of being enveloped by its own suburban sprawl - where shopping malls rename themselves the "Town Center" and the locals no longer look to the river for their orientation, but to the interstate.
La Caballera was going to be titled something totally different - but unavoidably awkward. This piece is a culmination of visuals and text that I imagine our son would be dreaming at night. Diego is nine months old now, and I could only think that language and symbol must penetrate his dreams - where everything appears a beautiful and unending landscape.