So long ago – but at the same time – only yesterday.
It has been 15 years since the iconic American World Trade Center Twin Towers were attacked in New York causing a Teutonic global shift in our lives, our freedoms, our landscape and our culture.
Fifteen Years — a good half of a generation in time, and tens of billions of dollars — was spent building honoraria and memorials to our fallen citizens and heroes of the watershed event that changed all of our lives. But the universal language of art is documenting and preserving this period of America’s unstoppable resiliency in astounding size and clarity. Here are the works of three of them.
In the new lobby of the Freedom Tower at One World Trade Center, built on the 16-acre grounds of the former World Trade Center in New York are the unforgettable works of two featured artists — Doug Argue and José Parlá.
Doug Argue fuses science and text into his two large-scale paintings, “Randomly Placed Exact Percentages” and “Isotropic,” which flank the lobby’s front desk, and are evocative of the universe, exploring themes of science, mathematics and language, he said.
In “Isotropic,” Argue incorporates computer-manipulated text appropriated from literature like “Moby Dick” where the text is stretched on the canvas until it’s no longer decipherable.
The paintings are “about the possibilities of new combinations” that expand “the idea of how things can change in an infinite number of possible ways,” he said. “I hope people like the paintings and see something different in them every time they look at them.”
The showcase lobby artwork titled “ONE: Union of The Senses” was created by José Parlá, a contemporary painter who moves between abstraction and calligraphy, usually incorporating both. Parlá was recognized as being the perfect fit for the job by Asher Edelman from the Edelman Arts. The building’s developers wanted the artwork to be abstract and to send a unified message instead of a divisive one, as they follow the idea enveloped in the name of the building — One World Trade Center.
Painted on the lobby walls, this large-scale mural is 90-feet long, over 14-feet high, and it is perhaps the largest mural of its kind in New York. José Parlá worked on the concept for about eight months in his studio and then for two weeks installing it on the site. “ONE: Union of The Senses” stands as a symbol of diversity and it serves as a welcome to all the visitors at One World Trade Center.
But another, perhaps even more ambitious and intriguing project is also being produced with the subject of the men and women rebuilding Lower Manhattan since 9/11, and it’s a 10-years-in-the-works and yet unnamed project by Irish artist and filmmaker Marcus Robinson.
Time Warner Cable News NY1 covered this story in the following video here.
According to NY1, on a top floor of Four World Trade Center, artist and filmmaker Marcus Robinson only needs to look out one of his many windows for inspiration.
For a decade, he has been capturing the reconstruction of the World Trade Center site, first on camera for a documentary film, and later on paper and wood for a series of paintings and drawings he started in 2008.
Born in Northern Ireland, Robinson was living in London at the time of the 9/11 attacks.
“When the events happened here I felt I had a calling to come here and make a film about the rebuilding,” Robinson said. That film shows the progress of the 16-acre site, from a massive scar gutted by destruction, to buildings soaring high into the sky.
His paintings and drawings, created on pieces of discarded wood from the site, show the faces of the construction workers who have rebuilt Lower Manhattan under incredibly tough conditions.
“I want to capture something that will be a timeless celebration of the spirit of the men and women who have been rebuilding the skyline of New York,” Robinson said.
Over the last eight years, Robinson has been quite prolific, creating hundreds of drawings and between 50 and 60 paintings.
Robinson started his work in Tower 7 before moving to a 30,000 square foot space in Tower 4, both provided rent-free by the site’s developer, Larry Silverstein. While he now works to capture the construction of the remaining buildings, he is also trying to draw the past, recreating by memory the conditions from years ago.
Some of his works have sold for tens of thousands of dollars. When done, some of his art, he says, will be permanently featured at the site. “It’s impossible really to capture it all,” Robinson said. “It’s just so beautiful. The only thing you can do is be in the present and appreciate it. It’s ever changing.”
These are our ever-changing moments that are now frozen in time.
So here we are, fifteen years after 9/11, and our indefatigable American Spirit, like a phoenix, is rising in Lower Manhattan. The astounding works of these three talented artists — and many others — are amplifying Lady Liberty’s harbor beacon of Freedom and Opportunity, of Dignity and Compassion, of Equality and Justice, for all.
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