Urban Industry Series

My current work focuses on a type of urban landscape, mostly in the run down and decaying vestiges of an earlier time. I like to visit cities and seek out the industrial edges, where either side of the train tracks is lined with factories and plants near death. Rust, ruins and abandonment are my roadside attractions, and I photograph (and later paint) these with an eye for dramatic light, often returning several times to catch the best mood. My fascination with corrosion reflects a particularly American longing for deeper history: we don't have buildings older than a mere couple of centuries as does the rest of the Old World. I think this causes a sort of “patina envy” in our culture.

One of my heroes is Charles Sheeler, whose early 20th century paintings of new massive industrial plants were like proud birth announcements for modern industry. My work is more that of the obituary. Although some of the factories and industrial plants are still in operation, I paint what seems to be vanishing from the modern urban landscape, and want to preserve some of the beauty before it is gone.

—Rick Dula