Two Trains Passing Dark Downtown
mummy's hand
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turnip rebellion

City of Dreams

My Framingham series does not represent a real place in even a distorted way. I began them while I was working at the Framingham Public Library in Framingham Massachusetts. I would paint them during my lunch breaks at my desk in the basement. The fluorescent lights strobing and humming above me. Showing the tiny images from my sketchbooks to friends they would state: “this doesn’t even look like Framingham”. They were right, maybe.
Framingham is dormant, perhaps in a coma. Meant to be a city it has become, instead, America’s biggest town. It's huge plants lined up on the north side of Route 135 (The GM/Pontiac plant and the Dennison Label Factory) have closed. The giant train yard built to supply and take away product from the plants is still active, but has slowed.
The first shopping mall called Shopper’s World was built out on route 9 in the late 1940’s. The center of the town began to shrivel as people flocked to the giant domed consumer playland. Ironically the downtown held on longer than the mall, which was torn down in 1992. The downtown Woolworth’s didn’t close until 1994. Instead of building up, the town stopped growing. Now it’s a bedroom community for Boston.
My art represents an alternative Framingham. This is a city of concrete canyons, and brightly lit rooftops. A canopy that keeps the streets at it’s depths cool and dark. A huge city of highways and bridges bereft of denizens.
In the end my paintings represent an aesthetic. I like their look. No deep theory or concept underlies their surface. I only want to represent a basic idea in my head. Make it big and real. I guess that is same justification for cities in the real world.

Framingham Map Framingham Sunset
  Ghastly Day Dark, Dark City
Framingburgh Sunset in the West
Rush Hour Night Train Framingham 180 Loop Near Museum
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City in Darkness Congested Framingham at Night Westside
Artwork copyright 2004 Robert Shonbrun. Please do not reproduce without permission.