Buffalo State student Ashley Setzer on the Perot Malting Elevator

Friday, April 12, 2013

Abandoned places are so mysterious and forbidden that they make people interested and want to explore them. They are unknown and full of secrets that automatically evoke a feeling of curiosity and wonder. All that is left in these places are the ghosts of what used to be.

When first walking into the east wing of the Burchfield Penney Art Center, the visitor's eye is immediately caught by the gigantic photograph that is a part of the latest installation of photographs by Bruce Jackson. This particular section features a series of photographs taken right here in Buffalo in 2011 at the abandoned grain elevators.

My favorite photo in the collection is titled Perot Malting Elevator. Compared to the rest of the set, which have very neutral earthy colors, this piece features a very distinct and alluring teal. Jackson captured the light just perfectly so that the shadows at the top and bottom highlight the color of the doors and window. This adds a sense of unity and balance to the piece because of the way they are placed in the frame.

The focal point of this photograph is the decaying door located in the center. The rotting and chipped paint add a very distinctive organic texture to the piece. You are drawn in by the eerie feeling of abandonment and emptiness, but also comforted by the serene teal that dominates the piece. The simple, yet obvious beauty really makes this photograph stand out. Behind the crumbling paint you can see a brighter blue shining through. Something can be worn down, damaged, or even broken and still remain beautiful.

This specific photograph along with all the others taken by Bruce Jackson are a must see the next time you visit the Burchfield!

Ashley Setzer, SUNY Buffalo State


Ashley Setzer is a student in Beth Hinderliter's "Themes and Issues in Contemporary Art" fine arts course at SUNY Buffalo State.