For our unmonumentATL series, we asked 13 artists to share their personal un-monuments with our readers. From January 13 to 29, we will present one artist’s submission per day. And don’t miss Nick Kahler‘s incisive two-part essay on the subject. UnmonumentATL was conceived by former BURNAWAY editor Rachel Reese.
Fire Station No. 7
W. Whitehall Street and Oak Street SW—West End
Atlanta, Georgia 30310
Every day on my way to my studio in the B Complex co-operative, I drove by Fire Station No. 7, a boarded-up, disused firehouse. It haunted me. A unique beauty, covered in white paint, sitting in unobstructed light. A ghost that took my breath away.
I made this mixed-media piece, No. 7, to capture my experience.
I’ve had a long-term engagement with such everyday epiphanies. No. 7 is part of a series called Brute Fidelity, works focused on my momentary encounters with the city’s evolving architectural environment. Atlanta’s low buildings and large horizontal span of sky gives natural light a high degree of weight and density, imbuing the environment with a secular grandeur. An uncertain silence pervades this landscape, hypnotizing the viewer, who waits for something momentous to happen.
The street view emphasizes the lyrical, symbolic aspects of the road as motif and formal device in the “traditional” painting of such artists as Hopper, Hartley, and Hockney. The windshield view is window-as-membrane between viewer and vision. As a window inside a window, it is my nod to a time-honored metaphor for painting. It evokes an allegory of eye and mind receiving the world.
And Fire Station No. 7 is changing. After years of ghostly decay, it is being restored as a functioning fire station for its southwest Atlanta neighborhood.