Elana McDermott


These cityscapes blur the boundaries between us; walls merge, personal space disappears, the city lives as a whole. In such close quarters, our lives are never completely private from those around us. We live anonymously among each other, each person contributing their part to the vibrancy of the whole. We are detached from the lives contained in these spaces and yet the lights, buildings and people inside them shape not only our physical view of place and space but also our unique experiences and interactions within them. The physical boundaries in these works do very little to establish privacy and protection. Instead, they are a conduit by which our lives are amalgamated in innumerable ways. Drawing inspiration from Los Angeles, Washington, DC and New Orleans, the cities examine the physical space between us, as well as the vast array of changing human interactions resultant of these environments.
The works included in Urban Voids and Absences are the latest derision of the City Series. These works examine the progression and degradation of a city over time. Looking at the whole of the city, we miss the cracks and crevices where nature slips through. The buildings in these paintings are not the idyllic cityscapes that command awe of man's triumph over nature however, the buildings waver under the forces of nature, amid crumbling features they are struggling to find and claim a space in the horizon.
The series of small works examine the idea of living semi-anonymously and semi-privately within a city. Working from photographs of open high-rise and apartment windows, the works are completely devoid of humans but not of their presence. I was struck not only by the lack of privacy afforded in city living, but by the disregard for what was in plain sight from the street below. A chandelier, bookshelf, or window planter created their story in my mind. Each window afforded a new fixture, color or temperature of light, styling and decorative choices. I have realized I am guilty of it too. I leave my windows open. I over hear my neighbor’s conversations through our all too thin walls. We are piled on top of each other in a confined space- therefore my life and their lives are intertwined. The windows examine the private moments we allow strangers to witness and invite them to share with us.