Picturing Baltimore : a visual exploration of the city's movie theaters.
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Artist's Statement: My hometown of Baltimore has a reputation for homicides and heroin addicts, images that have been glorified through T.V. dramas like HBO's The Wire and NBC's Homicide: Life on the Street. Despite this depiction I find myself constantly standing up for Baltimore. I also am drawn to its decay and the constant flux of the urban landscape and see this shift as closely related to the people that live there. With the Baltimore riot of 1968, which occurred following Martin Luther King's death, most of downtown was abandoned. Although there has been much redevelopment since the 1980's, lasting effects of the riots can still be seen on the streets like North Avenue and Howard Street where rows of buildings remain abandoned. To investigate my own connection to the city and the temporality of the urban landscape I have chosen to paint old movie theaters. There is something beautiful about the chipped paint and boarded up windows. Many of these theaters, which at their height had been magnificent and full of life, have been abandoned and left to the natural elements. Others have been redeveloped to fit the needs of the surrounding neighborhood, becoming churches or pharmacies. I see the evolution as symbolic of the shifting patterns within the city. I paint intuitively allowing my instincts to dictate the way I handle the surface of the canvas. The energy that I put into the process informs my understanding of the subject matter. It is through the layering of color that I explore a tension between life and the once animated buildings. This relationship between the subject and the medium allows me to blur the line of history, breathing life back into my subjects.
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