James Stroud made the first drawing titled, Open City
James Stroud made the first drawing titled, Open City in 1988; the series reflected his interest/fascination with complex and contradictory space.
The term ‘open city’ can refer to a government’s declaration during wartime that a city is ‘open’ to spare its populace, buildings and monuments from destruction by an approaching enemy army. However his use of the term grew out of the imagery that emerged from a series of objective exercises in geometric abstraction that eventually morphed into images suggesting a strange, otherworldly architecture; one that reads as solid form while remaining open enough to reveal its substructure below.
James Stroud’s most recent works, with multiple forms densely packed into their space, were informed by a month long residency in China during the summer of 2012.
The oppressive density of the built environment inhabited by a rapidly increasing population and the ever-present haze of air pollution found their way into the drawings he did in Beijing and, in turn, influenced the latest paintings.
James Stroud is a professor for the MFA program at the Massachusetts College of Art.
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