Thursday, March 7, 2013

Grain Elevators in Northern Oregon

“Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in light. Our eyes are made to see forms in light; light and shade reveal these forms; cubes, cones, spheres, cylinders or pyramids are the great primary forms which light reveals to advantage; the image of these is distinct and tangible within us and without ambiguity. It is for a reason that these are beautiful forms, the most beautiful forms. Everybody is agreed to that, the child, the savage and the metaphysician. It is the very nature of the plastic arts.” 

Le Corbusier – Towards a New Architecture

Architects have long admired the inherently sculptural nature of grain elevators. They mutely dominate broad and lonely landscapes throughout rural America, marking our small towns in much the same way soaring Gothic cathedrals have done for many centuries across the European countryside. Like the pioneers of modern architecture (1) who rhapsodized about grain elevators, Eugene photographer Dennis Galloway admires their formal qualities, the way light plays upon their stark surfaces, and their unadorned practicality: 
“Grain elevators appeal to me as pragmatic, functional, vernacular, and sometime eccentric. They are monumental, some almost medieval in appearance. As the old ones are abandoned they become structural and fire hazards as well as targets for vandalism and are periodically demolished. There is still time to preserve this vanishing heritage in pictures.” 
I previously introduced Dennis to readers of this blog a while back. He possesses an obvious love for architecture, which he expresses through his photography by utilizing every tool at his disposal to deliberately affect the viewer’s perception of his images. The results are not necessarily “realistic” or idealized representations of buildings but rather his unique interpretation of the multi-dimensionality of architecture, space, and time. 
Dennis’ latest project is an evocative series of black & white photographs of grain elevators, mostly shot in northern Oregon. The collection opens this weekend as an exhibit at the O’Brien Photo Imaging Gallery in Eugene. It is documentary in nature but also serves as Dennis’ lament for a disappearing part of our built heritage. Don’t miss it. 
What:    Grain Elevators in Northern Oregon – Photography by Dennis Galloway 
When:   Opening Reception: Saturday, March 9, 2013    2:00 – 6:00 PM 
              Exhibit Showing: March 9 – April 11, 2013    M-F 9:00 – 11:00 AM &
              1:00 – 5:00 PM 
Where:  The O’Brien Photo Imaging Gallery
               2833 Willamette Street, Suite B, Eugene, OR  97405

(1)  Le Corbuiser, Erich Mendelsohn, and Adolf Loos are among the most noteworthy of those who praised the perfect, functional simplicity of grain elevators.

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