Bifurcated sheets of canvas with torn edges suggest the beautiful open vistas now inaccessible to the residents of the Mott Haven and Port Morris areas of the South Bronx, abandoned and dominated by deteriorating remains, rotting remnants of piers, power stations and City Waste transfer stations.
The unusual materials and torn canvas edges convey with tactile sensibility the contradiction documented with photo-transferred images, layered with acrylic and pastel. Materials and image fuse revealing a broken South Bronx history, an urban renewal tragedy, an area once the retreat of choice for fresh air, heath and greenery. The shards of information and vistas evoke the former Port Morris harbor named after Governor Morris a signatory of the constitution. There barges once docked and youth once swam off a pier in the East River.
Cunningham’s work centers upon time, transience and contradictions shown through images of the shifting urban present. Compelling environmental concerns juxtaposed against industry, urban blight and the loss of the natural environment as well as her concern for her Bronx home area faced with gentrification drive her work.
Commissioned for No Longer Empty’s exhibition “This Side of Paradise,” Manon Slome curator.The installation is a book-like construction of broken drywall panels and broken wood frame windows. The panels are layered with torn canvas with curling edges, a metaphor for the story of the end of the Andrew Freedman house era and the once destitute Bronx. Eras are represented with phantom-like photos transferred on the canvas constructing a narrative of loss, change and survival. Panels are collaged with memorabilia, papers, references to Bronx Hip hop and the lives of residents salvaged from the moisture ridden remains.
Using relics of ancient civilizations layered with images of current environments besieged with virulent plant growth, raging waves and flood waters this work challenges academic mythology of nature and archaic ruins and engages the apocalyptic possibilities inherent in current relationships between
humans, industrial development and our tenuous eco systems.
4ft wide cross-cut sections of 200 year-old trees felled in Woodlawn cemetery by the hurricane “Sandy” are posed with the torn curling edges of canvas panels collaged with with fluid calligraphic drawing and laser photo-transfers. Materials, image and text reflect the powerful forces and fragility of the current environment and the near eradication of ancient civilizations: e.g. the flooding of Thailand’s ancient city, Ayutaya, excavation of Caral from Peru's desert sands, and powerful roots, nourished by plentiful sun and rain, strangling the ancient temples of Angkor, Cambodia.
Magnificent ancient olive trees are posed against mammoth, no longer functional industrial structures. The veracity of photo-based laser transfer images layered with fluid, calligraphic drawing, and relief collaged elements reveal our 21st Century’s participation in a precarious process of transience and change.
Virulent growth strangles the remains of the ancient temples of Ankgor, evoking questions about our 21st Century’s cultural hubris in the face of the potential of global warming. Cast-off industrial and military scrap emerges newly formed and unpredictably assembled as metaphoric plants.
two installations at Westchester Square on 2 separate traffic triangles, East Tremont and Robert Avenues and East Tremont and Westchester Ave sponsored by the NYC Department of Transportation, the Westchester Square Business Improvement District, and the Bronx Council on the Arts. The installation will be on view through June 2015
Linda Cunningham transforms discarded found materials such as structural fragments, a kind of “Urban Mining,” and preserves the qualities of found materials with the material history inscribed in their surface. The tactile sensibility of her work comes from her interest in the qualities of materials, observed or found. In the wall-constructions she fuses relief elements, such as exposed structural fragments or sand-cast bronze, shaped by the physical process of the pour. These installations are concerned with time, transience and contradictions.
In these images of rapidly disappearing Hudson River structures the veracity of photo-based transfers of architectural and structural remnants are fused with collage, drawing and discarded materials such as broken dry wall. The work is concerned with time, change, and construct layered images of architectural change as a precariously ordered balance on the edge of entropy.
Drawing and collaged images of resonant historic structures are meshed with found materials. Text is sometimes used as a structural and iconographic element constructing and deconstructing layered images. "The ruptures of history and accumulated catastrophes have made the ruin a witness, not to the past but a paradigm of the present."
Using images from the street, 19th C land-marked architecture and found materials, this work exposes contradictions inherent in recent history, time and change. 21st C signage, Bronx poetry and rubbings from plaques merge with photo transfers and drawing posing the past against the restored, regenerated present.
These installations work with the multi-layered content of "place", reaching beyond the aesthetics of space. They are concerned with time, transience and contradictions and are distinguished by the qualities of found materials with a material history inscribed in their surface. Cunningham’s sculptural process is a form of "urban mining," transforming found materials such as exposed structural fragments, and twisted steel beams with layered significance and aesthetic function. Even the bronze forms were cast in her studio from former military scrap, and shaped by the physical processes of the pour.
Layers of torn edges and severed forms distinguish Linda Cunningham’s large format drawing/ constructions. The tactile sensibility of her work comes from her interest in the qualities of materials, observed or found. She transforms found materials, a kind of “Urban Mining,” and preserves the qualities of found materials with the material history inscribed in their surface. In the wall-constructions she fuses relief elements, such as exposed structural fragments or sand-cast bronze, shaped by the physical process of the pour. Even the bronze forms she casts from military surplus scrap.
Cunningham’s work is concerned with time, transience and contradictions, and she gravitates to architectural and structural remnants of current and previously existing cultures. She often poses the veracity of the photo-based transferred images against interpretive, fluid calligraphic drawing line and form. With sensually gripping form she tempts the viewer to take in sometimes discomforting, underlying content. Discarded materials such as twisted steel beams & unraveling copper cable from the former German border become metaphors for the transience of 21st C development.
“Neither site nor material have shed their past, but here they emerge triumphant, bearing their industrial scars and creating a new, decidedly-urban, aesthetic”…“History is embedded in their composition, giving depth of meaning to the spiraling, rising arcs which emerge”….. The biomorphic forms of Cunningham’s sculptures recall both a long-forgotten natural past and the very concrete nature of obliterated man-made structures.”
Sculpture Magazine, July/August 2011
305 E 140th St.
Bronx, NY 10454