architecture, jackson square, Photography, San Francisco, transamerica pyramid, Wordless Wednesday
Posts Tagged ‘architecture’
As summer winds down, we start to look back the many little road adventures that dotted the season. The largest and last of these trips, of course, was to Portland, which included a large stretch of northern California.
We begin on I-505, which heads north from I-80, bypassing Sacramento.
I-505 is a completely straight, flat, stretch of highway. This is pretty much true of the surrounding landscape as well, but the texture and details against this blank canvas can make for some interesting photos.
I-505 merges into I-5, which continues northward through more of the relatively flat landscape, repeatedly crossing the Sacramento River in the process. Eventually we come to the city of Redding at the northern end of the Sacramento Valley. On my return trip from Portland, I finally had a chance to stop in Redding and visit the Sundial Bridge. This modernist architectural gem spans a wooded section of the Sacramento River completely, a world apart from the town of Redding itself or the strip malls and shopping centers that line the highways. Here, clean modern lines contrast with the natural forms of trees and running water.
The Sundial Bridge turned out to be a great subject for abstract photography (you can see another shot in an earlier Wordless Wednesday). It was also quite crowded with families and groups, something to keep in mind should I ever want to use it as a setting for a more formal photo shoot.
North of Redding, I-5 climbs into the southern Cascades towards Mount Shasta. The highway here is quite scenic, but also narrow, winding, and treacherous. Eventually it opens up as one passes Mount Shasta and approaches Black Butte.
Black Butte is a satellite cone of Mount Shasta. It has a distinctive pointy shape and largely barren rocky texture, both of which make it quite prominent in the landscape. The highway curves around its edge, providing a close-up view.
After passing Mount Shasta and Black Butte, I-5 descends into a wide valley, passing by the town of Weed, whose welcome sign is a popular backdrop for photographs. This is the start of US 97, which heads northeast towards Klamath Falls and central Oregon as I-5 continues due north through the Cascades towards Portland. The main street in Weed is also Historic US 99. The part of the historic route which returns to I-5 is now California Highway 265, one of the shortest in the system.
From here, the valley descends and opens further, and the landscape becomes surprisingly desert-like. We pass the town of Yreka, where I did not get a chance to stop, but might on a future trip because of some idiosyncratic road-geek things. Finally, the highway climbs upwards again towards Siskiyou Summit, just north of the Oregon-California border and the highest point on all of I-5 at 4,310 feet (1,310 meters).
Compare to this Wordless Wednesday from 2007 with the same title and subject.
architecture, bridge, hipstamatic, iphone, Modernism, Photography, redding, sundial bridge, Travel, Wordless Wednesday
architecture, Art, hipstamatic, industrial southeast, pdx, Photography, portland, railroad, Travel, Wordless Wednesday
architecture, hipstamatic, monochrome, north beach, Photography, San Francisco, streets, Wordless Wednesday
arch, architecture, bridge, galena creek bridge, Highways, hipstamatic, I-580, iphone, nevada, Photography, Travel, US 395
I am always on the lookout for art that celebrates the landscape and texture of the city in unique ways. Shai Kremer’s solo exhibition at Robert Koch Gallery in San Francisco, Concrete Abstract & Notes From the Edge, fits this goal perfectly. Through choice of setting and compositional techniques, Kremer presents views of New York that are outside the usual iconography of the city.
[Installation view. Image courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery.]
In Concrete Abstract, Kremer looks at the reconstruction efforts at the World Trade Center site. The large-scale photographs feature overlaid images of the construction at the site between 2001 and 2012 and look quite abstract and fantastical even as they reveal real elements such as girders, concrete columns and pipes.
[Shai Kremer, Concrete Abstract #5: World Trade Center 2001 - 2012 (2013). Pigment ink print. Image courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery.]
On one level, a viewer aware of the fact that these are from the World Trade Center site can look for elements that one expects in a large-scale construction project, as well as reminders of the destruction and recover efforts that preceded. However, one can also look at all the layers together to reveal and imaginary future city on an immense scale not yet realized, something out of Metropolis or any number of dystopian urban films. In Concrete Abstract #5, shown above, the concrete skeleton of the floors of the building with their columns become a three-dimension grid of city blocks, with the overlays providing the individual character of each block, some bustling with movement, others looking a bit forlorn.
In Notes From the Edge, Kremer focuses on details and landscapes at the periphery of the city, with the familiar shapes of the Manhattan skyline visible in the distance. The famous cityscape becomes a background to help frame the true subjects of the pieces.
[Shai Kremer, Waterfront, Brooklyn (2010). Pigment ink print. Image courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery]
Kremer explores a variety of locations and elements in this series, ranging from the decaying structures on the Brooklyn waterfront shown above to the clean lines and geometry of the Liberty State Park memorial in New Jersey. There is a painterly quality to the photographs which makes the foreground elements seem like an imaginary projection onto the real city. In making real images of the urban landscape seem more fantastic, Kremer unites this series with the pieces in Concrete Abstract. Taken together, we imagine a city as an unimaginable hive of activity at its core and quiet haunted decaying spaces at its edges.
Kremer’s work in both series is technically strong and demonstrates how simple but unexpected elements can be combined to make views of the city that are unique and celebratory without being overly romantic. This is a quality that makes for great urban art (and great art in general).
The exhibition will remain on display at Robert Koch Gallery through Saturday, June 15. If you are in San Francisco this Friday or Saturday, I strongly recommend checking it out.
architecture, Art, cubist, guitar, metal, Modernism, Photography, San Francisco, soma, Wordless Wednesday