Planes, Trains, & Automobiles - 6/15/2015

Today's blog post comes from Elisa Macomber. Macomber is an artist and owner & home stager of Pink Dwelling living in Santa Fe, with a degree in Art and Design from Frostburg State University.

At this time of year Santa Fe is a mecca for all modes of transportation for easy access in and out of the area. To accommodate the influx of tourists traveling, Santa Fe provides an ample number of transportation modes, and has several car shows year-round. Since the early days of Henry Ford and the Wright Brothers developing the first prototypes, airplanes, automobiles, and trains have quickly transformed in the last century and have made their way into our hearts, fulfilling our need for speed and sleek designs. Is it any wonder that they would be included in the world of art?

People love to travel! After all, what is the very first and crucial step in making a car or any other transportation mode? We draw and paint it! It is the only and foremost way to get the model visualized and put into a 3-D model for scale before it is manufactured and sold.

The exhibition, Fire Season, that is currently going on at the museum, has a print by Greg Mac Gregor, titled, Tres Lagunas Fire, and it shows a perfect example of Santa Fe's longstanding tradition with the train.

Greg Mac Gregor, Tres Lagunas Fire, 2013. Pigment print. Courtesy of the artist.

In this explosive black and white pigment print, billowing smoke rises out behind a Santa Fe Rail Runner train, taken in the summer of 2013 in Santa Fe, and it is evocative of many emotions, ranging from shock to awe and one can't help but be transfixed by the juxtaposition of the sleek, shiny metal of the train and the soft, pillowy plumes of smoke reaching into the sky. It is a perfect contradiction of hard and soft elements – the yin and the yang. One side of the print is bathed in sunlight, while the other side of the print has darkness closing in.

It also conveys a sense of calmness and no urgent need for people to be whisked away from the scene unfolding in the background – with the impending smoke creeping closer, the trains remain frozen in time. One wonders, where are the people? Is it simply an empty train station, or are they already all aboard the train, waiting to leave?

It is a dramatic and emotional image, one that is not normally seen in everyday life. Such images like these remind us of our dependence on transportation to get us away from danger or to transport us to someplace more desirable.

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