|BRIDGE (1988), BY RICHARD STENHOUSE|
ACQUIRED FROM JERALD MELBERG GALLERY, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, NOVEMBER 2001
PASTEL ON MYLAR, 7" BY 18"
Richard Stenhouse's works are well-known for their otherworldly, dreamlike quality... they are architecturally precise, and are even drawn on mylar, the same material used by architects. At the same time, though, they contain an element of blurriness, as though each image was a recollection from the mind of the viewer. This combination can be somewhat unsettling to the viewer, especially since Richard's works almost never contain any sign of current activity... they seem abandoned somehow.
The bridge depicted in this work is in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Kenilworth Avenue runs under the John Belk Freeway and becomes Stonewall Street (about two miles from my home). It's the kind of bridge you usually don't notice you're driving over or under... there's nothing spectacular or unique about it. The bridge's construction is fairly simple: concrete columns supporting a steel and concrete framework, upon which the overpass rests. It could almost be any bridge, anywhere, any time.
This work appeals to the part of me that always wanted to be an architect or an engineer. As with The Forbidden Room, Bridge shows a fairly ordinary object in a way that makes me think about all of the things that aren't shown. Where are the cars? Where are the people, the buildings, the road signs? Are we looking at just a single snapshot of reality where these things are temporarily out of the frame, or are they all gone for good?
This work was exhibited in the Asheville Art Museum, Asheville, North Carolina, in a 1992 show titled "Pastels Big and Otherwise".
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