Friday, 26 November 2010

Crossings and Causeways

The distinction of being the longest wooden bridge in the world is mildly interesting. Far more compelling is the relentless perspective and minimalist flavour of this reductive image. The empty roadway, bereft of landmarks, races to the distant horizon where a linear cluster of character-less buildings offers little incentive to complete the crossing.

While 20th. century modernists like Malevich, Albers, Ad Reinhardt and Yves Klein experimented with the progressive elimination of content in their paintings something similar was happening in the humble world of the linen postcard. Starkly reduced images combining supersonic perspectival plunges with wedges of flat colour and perfunctory drawing appeared on postcards, especially in images of the interminable bridges and causeways to be found in Florida. The postcard wizards at the Curt Teich company in Chicago seemed to have a sixth sense of how these images looked their best with a linen finish.

Culturally these images have some affinity with the essentially cinematic sense of the wide open spaces of the Prairie states, at the same time they connect with the existential idea of the endless highway – forever leading somewhere new, forever leaving the past behind.

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