Mile 10: 50th-42nd Street
This painting is a part of my Western Avenue Series, through which I'll be making 24 watercolor paintings, one to document each mile of Western Avenue, in Chicago. I started this project because while it is not considered to be among the most “beautiful” of Chicago’s streets, Western Avenue is a perfect place to document the humanness of Chicago, the positive and the negative. In the words of Stuart Dybek, "Western, with apologies to State Street, is a great street, Unlike State, it is a street that goes to the interior, the heart of the city, as it glides and glows through a United Nations of neighborhoods." Check back next Monday to see a post about the next mile of Western.
One of the things that I love about Chicago is that evidence of it's industrial past still remains. If one wanders north along the river near to North & Clybourn, remnants of the of the manufacturing that helped to build our city remain, like the Finkel Steel Factory. Western Avenue is certainly a place where this industrial past and present remain a part of this fabric. I was a bit surprised at the sprawling Wheatland Tube Company that occupies the same mile stretch as this pumping station.
The pumping station reflects that which attracts me to Western Avenue. It's real, it's part of what make our city run. It impels water to our homes and businesses, fulfilling the most essential need of city residents. And yet, while its a functional element of our city infrastructure, it is also beautiful. It is elegantly designed and yet solid in appearance.
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