Jessica McCoy

Neighborhoods Reconstructed

Vermont Station Concept Narrative
Jessica McCoy
October 31st, 2007

My work is personal. Intimacy is how I define art. My goal is to produce work that reveals something secret or previously unseen. The viewer should know the painting. It should be their private space.

Metro riders will traverse the Vermont Station to access local landmarks including the Memorial Coliseum, the Natural History Museum and USC. The neighborhood may include these landmarks, but they don’t define the community. I firmly believe that public art at this station should not serve as an advertisement for these venues. The people who travel for a special event are just visitors. It is the local residents who will ride the train every day. Vermont Station is their station. The panels should reflect the aesthetic of their neighborhood and the individuals who live there. Creating an intimate account of the area will allow residents to take ownership of the station while providing visitors a unique and genuine view of the community.

My proposal for the gateway arches is to depict “reconstructed” streetscapes. Each streetscape will be a conceptual representation of a familiar neighborhood aesthetic. They will be assembled using images of private homes, public buildings, and businesses from the area surrounding the station, including the neighborhood of West Adams. One gateway panel may depict the colorful vendors along S. Western Avenue, while another may reflect the unique architecture of Koreatown, each communicating a recognizable sense of place.

My proposal for the seating modules is to create intimate reconstructed interior environments. The assembled images will be portraits of local residents within their homes. As one passes through the gateway they are invited to peek into the private lives of the individuals who live there.

The composition for these paintings is done in collage form. The fragments are composed in a manner that unifies disjointed information. Your eye will make sense of the shape of a house long before you realize the structure is not a house at all, but portions of three different homes. The space is negotiated slowly for most, one fragment may pull you to the very surface of the work and the next will push you back into the space.

The fragments also serve as an obstacle for the viewer. They not only limit the visibility by overlapping potentially crucial information, but also distort the coherent progression of time within the painting. It is not a single moment, but a compilation of moments. The viewer will never be truly aware of what has happened in the omitted fragments.

The work demands that the viewer becomes a voyeur, a treasure hunter. They will stare into the spaces and dissect them, piece by piece. They will take the time to look at the broken picket fence and the pictures on someone’s wall. It may take many visits before a rider feels like he or she has observed all there is to see within these works. Months later they may notice an object previously unseen, and feel like a secret has been revealed. Because the work comes together at a distance and dissolves into smaller frames up close, people will approach the works, study them and make an effort to discover all the pieces over time. I leave it to each viewer to develop a narrative from the fragmented clues.

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