Edward Hopper Meets T. Boone Pickins

Above: Wind Engines on Horizon (acrylic, 12×30). Below: Farm House with Wind Engine (acrylic, 24×24)

Check out these paintings of wind turbines in California. I think they’re pretty cool. A few days ago California artist Melissa Chandon sent them along as examples of her recent work. To me, the images are a great reflection of the evolving American landscape.

About the “new energy” in her art, Chandon says: “Recently, I have been thinking about the opportunities that exist in a changing economy. We have the ability of seeing the possibilities of change in new and creative ways. I think there is a bit of inventor in all of us. As for me, I have started working on a series of paintings exploring the unseen beauty that lies in the addition of alternative energy sources in the landscape. Consider Edward Hopper in conversation with Melissa Chandon.” Or T. Boone Pickins.

Chandon’s got a point. When seen from afar these elegant, kinetic structures resemble giant white birds reminiscent of Alexander Calder‘s mobiles. In painting this new American scene, Chandon says she is tossing around some questions. For example, what will happen to gas stations when all we need is an electric plug? How will our landscape change visually? What do you think?

—Bonnie Gangelhoff

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9 thoughts on “Edward Hopper Meets T. Boone Pickins

  1. Bonnie Gangelhoff

    I want to let everyone know that Melissa is in the process of working on a possible museum or gallery show exploring wind turbines and the new American landscape.

  2. jerrie hurd

    I am in love with wind turbines. I think they are beautiful objects and can’t understand why some people (read Martha’s Vineyard) are opposed to them. They are all over Denmark and add to that landscape. Thanks for sharing these images.

  3. TeresaR

    Interestingly, both this recent trip out west (and during our previously one a few years back), we took a lot of photos of wind-turbined landscapes. We thought they were very attractive and cool, and I’m glad to see others, like Chandon, feel the same way.

  4. Pattie

    That is an interesting idea – changing our perceptions from blight to beauty. I am a video producer and just shot some images of powerlines near the Hayden coal plant. I was struck by the beauty of the lines and angles of the poles. But I was also struck by how those things destroyed my view of the mountains and interrupted my connection with the natural world. I wonder if I would feel differently if the power lines came from a solar plant vs. a coal plant. Thanks for sharing that provocative idea in art.

  5. Laurel Kallenbach

    Thanks for the wonderful contemporary view. I love how the shapes and random crisscrosses of the rotors create unique shapes and patterns. Isn’t it amazing that even though the turbines are so modern, this artist has made them feel as old-fashioned and part of Americana as any other farm equipment. Love it!

  6. Stephenie

    What a beautiful site and a beautiful post! I love the idea of examining the world with new eyes and a new perspective, of seeing technology as something beautiful, of admiring its grace and form as well as function.

  7. Page Lambert

    As wind power becomes more prevalent, it will be interesting to see how artists visually "harness" the unseen shape and motion of these airborn currents, or the unseen dynamic energy of solar power. It will be fun to see where Chandon’s new series takes her.

  8. Rosemary Carstens

    Chandon’s work is certainly evocative and suggestive of the importance of embracing change. To me these contemporary "windmills" seem to reference dutch windmills often seem in paintings of those earlier times when the wood version was the essential technology of that region. Chandon reminds us that beauty is often found in looking at ordinary things in new ways.