A New Way of Seeing: Justin Wheatley’s Brooklyn Bridge

Posted: September 11, 2012 in Artist's Corner
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JUSTIN WHEATLEY, Bridge, 35×35″, mixed media on panel, 2010

In honor of September 11th, let’s consider an image of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City.  Local artist Justin Wheatley represents the bridge from a pedestrian’s perspective.  When walking along the bridge, we look up to better appreciate the Gothic arches.  Yet, the artist also offers abstraction with the bold stripes of color, which appear in red, white, and blue.  Wheatley often depicts scenes of big cities, like New York and Seattle, but he also concentrates on local subjects in Salt Lake City.  His incorporation of abstraction force us as viewers to acknowledge the scene in a different way from a photograph.  Let’s consider the work further….

Discussion Questions:

1.  Think about big cities that you’ve visited or that you’ve seen on TV.  What impression do they leave on you?  How does Wheatley’s use of a pedestrian’s perspective relate to our experience of big cities?  How does that make us better understand his version of the Brooklyn Bridge?

2.  What does the use of abstraction add to the painting?  How does it make you feel?  Are his choice of colors important?  Why?

3.  Wheatley’s work doesn’t represent the typical, picture postcard version of the bridge.  Why is this significant?  How does this new way of looking at the bridge affect our appreciation of it as a monument?

To research further into Wheatley’s works, refer to his website at: www.justinwheatley.com/.

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