Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Eastern State Windows reworked

Because they were site specific--and by that I mean they weren't just inspired by Eastern State, but utterly dependent on that venue to give them integrity as works design-wise as well, the pieces need some attention after their removal.  The idea was to work with the original idea and to honor their origins as coming from the penitentiary but to give them autonomy at the same time.

In Eastern State, the work was installed in Cell Blocks 8, 11,14 and the hallway of 11.  Each work could be seen as individual works, each section could be seen as individual installations and the whole thing could be seen as one big installation.I wanted to hearken back to this and resolve the pieces as groups, but they are not to be seen as large works--just individuals in a series.

 Click to enlarge!
I worked with images of the penitentiary to create borders for the Con/Fines windows that would emphasize their isolation and solitary struggle.  For this reason the border is exaggerated in scale.  There’s a lot of stone to dig their way through should they be contemplating an escape!  And of course, it is very similar to the surrounding stone in the penitentiary itself.
The ornamental windows were given an ornamental surround.  The idea here, was to  honor the original groupings, but to give them individuality.  These borders update the works so that they reference Gothic Revival and Victorian work.  They are intended to create a dazzle effect of truly blazing color.
For the three Icarus windows, I wished to take the opportunity to point out something no one noticed whilst they were installed at Eastern State and that is they were based on the primary colors of red, blue and yellow.  The border was then given the texture of distressed concrete, which is a familiar sight at Eastern State.  The same distressed concrete texture was used in the borders of the Weeping Chorus works.  They were indeed in cells of stained and cracked concrete.  The Mother and Child windows were actually in cells that had some pretty serious ceiling leaks and thus, the sensation of weeping was all the more evident, as one visitor emailed me to say.

The “Sister” window was built out—the only one of all the windows.  She is now in a crucifixion pose, making the Weeping Chorus an “optional” triptych as would be seen in a church.
 I made no changes to this window! 


I was struck in the making the transformations of these windows how easily and simply they went from “prison” to “cathedral”.  The Con/Fines and ornamentals are the windows one would see along the nave and in the clerestory of a gothic cathedral.  The Battle of Carnival and Lent the large Eastern window in the Apse!  The Icarus windows  could be in a side chapel as well as the weeping chorus with the crucifixion right in the middle where it so obviously belongs. It’s amazing how trust in the process allows these “coincidental” developments to occur without effort.  It was certainly as if it were meant to happen!
 
This is from Lawrence Lee's "Stained Glass"


2 comments:

CalyxAnn said...

Fantastic! I love the transformation. Can you just imagine the church these would live in? I wish I could have made it to Philadelphia to see them in the prison, but maybe one day I can see them altogether in their second life...

JamesE Lutz said...

What an wonderful post. Thank you for the post.
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