Brooklyn Ruins
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Brooklyn Ruins #9

Untitled
Acrylic, oil on canvas
2012-2013

This series takes a close look at ruins and the process of material decay as a foundation for abstraction. Like Brooklyn itself, the paintings combine a variety of materials and physical processes – grit, rust, gravity, fluid flow and cracking. Colors and textures mix organically and dynamically, creating complex surfaces where nature has attacked the man-made. These works bring the streets of Brooklyn back into the gallery, after street art brought art into the streets.

As Brooklyn has transitioned into perhaps the trendiest part of New York City, it is known throughout the world for music, graffiti, artisanal food, hipster beards and plaid shirts, but its old industrial neighborhoods are disappearing. While art based on urban decay typically laments past glories of our cities and history, Brooklyn’s decay is disappearing as the borough gentrifies, modernizes, and globalizes, to be replaced by glassy condos, retro bars and restaurants, and renovated townhouses. A certain nostalgia exists for New York’s grit and danger from past decades.

These paintings, and some of the photographs that inspired the series, capture the feel of the disappearing history of our city’s landscape. Originating primarily in Bushwick, Dumbo, East Williamsburg and Gowanus, these images examine the effects of time on the elements of the built environment, temporarily freezing the decay and transforming the ephemeral materials of the city with the somewhat more durable materials of art. The remaining pieces, corroded devices from our time, then seed the imagination for the future of the new Brooklyn – the fate of the objects that are so precious to us today.

Brooklyn Ruins Photos

 

Copyright © Derek Chung