Locks Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of seventeen new and recent paintings and drawings by Philadelphia artist Sarah McEneaney. Trestletown will be on view October 18th through November 23rd, 2013. There will be a reception for the artist on November 1st, from 5:30–7:30 pm.
Trestletown, also known as the Eraserhood, Chinatown North, or Callowhill, is the artist’s longtime neighborhood. Central to the to this post-industrial landscape is an abandoned elevated rail line that was in use from 1891-1984. McEneaney depicts her home and neighborhood with intimate scenes that rely on personal narrative and occasionally fantasy. In the painting Future Vine Street, she imagines a bridge connecting the neighborhood to Chinatown and Center City, where the rail line now abruptly ends.
Aerial skyline views, each from a distinct vantage point over the trestle, have a special poignancy for the artist; McEneaney is a co-founder of the Reading Viaduct Project—dedicated to the reuse of the elevated structure as Philadelphia’s next great public space. Echoing Joel Sternfeld’s Walking the High Line project and other preservation efforts spearheaded by artists, Trestletown celebrates the poetics of life in the urban landscape while galvanizing efforts for community revitalization.
Many of the paintings are egg tempera on panel, a technique the artist has worked with extensively throughout her career. Autobiographical subjects have been continuous themes in the artist’s work. Curator Ingrid Schaffner noted in 2004 that McEneaney’s paintings expand a personal viewpoint into a “cultural tale” that represents the essence of contemporary practice. Schaffner described the paintings as “an art history that transforms McEneaney’s art from being a limited act of circumscription, into a relevant contemporary practice. What could be more engaging, within a post-modern and contemporary global art world, than attempting to find newly inclusive, if not simply different ways of telling the story of art itself?”