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Under Construction:: The Long Beach Port in Paintings and Photographs - 3D virtual exhibition by SRW Virtual Gallery Services

Under Construction:: The Long Beach Port in Paintings and Photographs

Sat, 03/27/2021 to Sat, 04/24/2021

curated by:

Artists: Helen Werner Cox, Kathryn Babcock, Sarah Arnold, and Liz Talbot. Photographers: Paul Trinidad and Nick Santa Ana.

An historic bridge: The New Gerald Desmond Replacement bridge is a marvel of modern technology. It is suspended on huge cables from two main towers stretching 500 feet in the sky. The supporting pylons go 180 feet underground. To make it as earthquake-proof as possible, the roadway in the center of the bridge is suspended from the towers and rests, unattached, above huge supporting pillars. This elegant bridge dominates the harbor skyline.

The art: Four artists spent three years documenting the dynamic construction of this bridge. Through special permission from the Shimmick Construction Company, they were allowed on location, both under the bridge and on the top, with unparalleled 360-degree views of the harbor. Outfitted in hard hats and safety vests, the artists worked in locations carefully vetted by the safety manager. As a result, they have accumulated a significant collection of small to mid-sized paintings and drawings—completed on location—in oil, watercolor, charcoal, ink, and pencil. From these observational works several large images were developed. There is also a tunnel book—a three-dimensional re-creation of the harbor that replicates theatrical stage sets. Tunnel books date back to the 1700’s and were made to commemorate special occasions.

Worker photos: The construction workers were fascinated and excited to see their work through the eyes of the artists; it affirmed the importance and beauty of their work. The Project Engineer wrote: “I have said in the past the geometric design of the towers was the essence of form meeting function. [Building the towers from the bottom up] We came up with the octagonal design that goes from eight sides to a four-sided diamond because we wanted to have only four sides varying in width for the ease of forming the concrete placements.  We did not realize how aesthetically pleasing the tower design would be.  These paintings also demonstrate the power of form meeting function.” The photographs from two of the crane operators are included in the exhibit.

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