Monday, 2 November 2015

'D.C. - (Diamond City)'

'D.C. - (Diamond City)'   168x132cms

I have enjoyed looking at this painting again in the studio, triggered by a recent re-reading of ' Shame the Devil' by George Pelecanos. He has written a brilliant series of crime novels set in Washington DC. I can't remember which particular novel I was reading, but this 2003 painting from the Americascapes series, originally highlighted the locations of all the murders, using the repeated motif of a gun. 

My own personal experience of Washington is non-existent - just a few minutes in the train-station! During my travels around the US, I had an Amtrak Railpass which was about to expire and I had to be back in New York by midnight, so when I got to Washington I had to stay on the train. In a sense, i have got to know the city through the novels of George Pelecanos. 

In my work, I have always been fascinated by the 'shapes of places' and the almost-diamond shape of Washington had to be taken on. In the hands of politicians, planners, cartographers, a few drawn lines on a map become reality- the diamond of Washington, the capital, distinct from all the rest. Even within the diamond, the city is divided into four quadrants, like a kite, NW, NE, SW, SE. shown in the detail below, and centered in the painting.

detail 1

I love the colour and the composition in this piece - the placement of the diamond - and the subversion of scale with the out-sized Washington Monument, whose angled top echoes the diamond. 

To give a true sense of scale- to help judge how big the city is - I've put in the runways of the Ronald Reagan Airport, close to the meeting of the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. 

detail 2

detail 3

'Arizona' and 'DC - (Diamond City)' at the Michael West Gallery

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