It’s 14 years later and Ground Zero has morphed into a transportation hub and shopping center. I couldn’t help feeling sad as I walked through the underground “malls” that now cover a large part of this sacred ground. Curiosity, not holiday shopping, motivated me to take a trip down to what is now known as the Oculus.
Yes, there were malls underneath the site of the Twin Towers. But people remember the towers and the plaza, not the stores. It is little known that over the last 14 years since 9/11 numerous artists across diverse media have used the Twin Towers, 9/11, and Ground Zero as subject matter for their creative expression. Charles Smith, in our current exhibit, has 3 stunning paintings entitled, “The 9/11 World Trade Center Series”, which he created in 2006, to commemorate the tragic events of that day.
These paintings use abstract shapes to depict the moments of impact as each airplane, like a white-hot triangular knife, slices into each tower causing huge explosions. Surrounding the towers and within Ground Zero, billowing, suffocating clouds of black smoke and ashes rise to the sky darkening it. The colors Charles uses are black, gray, red, and yellow to reflect the horrifying and unimaginable devastation above the ground and below.
Charles says, “The design of this piece, and those in the series, use geometric shapes to represent the streamlined skyscrapers and architectural structures in NYC made of steel, glass, and other materials. Metallic colors highlight the glimmer and glory of those buildings reflecting the sun’s bright rays on that beautifully clear autumn day in September. The Twin Towers are tall rectangular bars of gold, anchored in the deep underground subways and passageways used by thousands of commuters daily. The Hudson River flows nearby as another source of comers and transportation. The paintings are framed in the patriotic colors of the American flag.”
Like Charles, I too have used these tragic events as subject matter for 2 series “After the Dust Has Settled” a collection of poems superimposed upon 9/11 imagery, and “A Journey Through Remembrance” where I collaged NJ 9/11 memorials with images of the Twin Towers. You can view these series on my website at http://studio-l.tripod.com/galleryafterdust.htm and http://studio-l.tripod.com/gallery9-11Memorials.htm
There is also a place in cyberspace where one can view hundreds of other works by artists using 9/11, Ground Zero and the continuing development of the site as their themes. The 9/11 Memorial Web site is as diverse as art can be and well worth a visit to view these individual interpretations of this painful subject.