PARK, n. An area of land set aside for public use, as:
a. A piece of land with few or no buildings within or adjoining a town, maintained for recreational and ornamental purposes.
b. A landscaped city square.
1. To put or leave (a vehicle) for a time in a certain location.
While the subjects of many of these paintings are parks within Portland, the title of this show is meant not as a noun but as an imperative: Stop the car and get out. These are places that are best experienced, or indeed can only be seen, by traveling on foot.
Whether deliberately planned or coincidental, these places allow us to observe the city without being swept by in the flow of traffic, and to experience time as changes of light and atmosphere, both ephemeral and eternal.
City structures observed at length also become establishing shots for countless possible narratives, historical sites that will never be in any guidebook but where, every day, people mark unrecorded events with contemplation, celebration, or mourning.
Here is one such story: on March 23rd, I took a walk on a drizzly, near-freezing morning in early spring. The landscape I encountered – the bleakness of bare branches and concrete contrasting with a surprising, exuberant pink- was so different from the summer’s overgrown vines , comfortable temperatures and clear skies that Portland itself seemed transformed, and inspired its own series of paintings.
While city parks may be designed to give city dwellers some exposure to “nature” (or at least plants) it is those parks we create ourselves, by stopping and watching and drawing, which begin to reveal the entire spirit of the place .