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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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Past SPE Annual Conferences

Jerome Sturm

SPE Member since 2012
Member Chapter: Southeast

Lost Places

Lost Places is a reinvention of abandoned homes, factories and towns using vibrant colors and dramatic lighting to bring back life to residences of a former generation. These used up, forgotten, and put aside relics are the subject of my work because I"m fascinated by their history and see the value of places viewed as detritus by society. I feel lost places have lessons to teach us.

In my work the vibrant blue, green, and gold tones create a new energy in the places I explore. I make a space where a relic takes on the glow and luminance of the new. The dead is resurrected and transfigured in my photographs. Time shifts in these spaces, and daytime and nighttime coexist at the same moment in an eerie out of time landscape.

As things grow older and become worn they loose value in our society. We don"t value dated fashions, software, language, or the elderly. People have always built and moved on. Entire towns, like Pocahontas, Virginia, were made to bring men into the mountains to extract coal. When the seams ran dry almost 100 years later so did the purpose of the town, and over time it has become an abandoned shell.

Now though the pace of abandonment has increased. People live in mobile homes for 10 or 15 years and leave them empty along the roadside, a strip mall is built and replaced by another within a few years, and entire subdivisions are created and emptied within less than the span of a generation.

By looking at what we leave behind, and showing the beauty of these remnants, I raise questions about why we squander the resources of the past as well as our current resources. I also create a record of the beauty of these places before they succumb to the elements and vanish forever taking the lessons we could learn with them.

Pocahontas Coal Shadows

Pocahontas M Russak Ruins

None for Dinner

Going Downward

Overcast Skies

The Way is Shut

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