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Posts Tagged ‘Eric March’

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Astroland Park, Watercolor by Eric March. From the exhibition “Moments in Time: Queens to Coney Island” at Park Slope Gallery, October 16 – December 31.

The roof of Gregory & Paul’s, now known as Paul’s Daughter, looked empty this summer without the iconic Astroland Rocket. I kept having to remind myself: The Rocket is safe in storage in Staten Island. It’s been saved! But things were not the same in so many ways: Astroland was gone. Closed on September 7, 2008. In Eric March‘s achingly lovely watercolor study from the summer of 2008, G & P’s original sign is intact, the “Astroland Park” Rocket is perched atop the Boardwalk food stand, and all is well in this part of the world.

The artist, whom ATZ got acquainted with in Coney, recently sent us a link to a preview of his upcoming exhibition “Moments in Time: Queens to Coney Island.” The oil paintings and charcoal drawings of Queens industrial landscape are impressive. Naturally we felt drawn to successive images of the Rocket– the black & white and hand-tinted etchings done in 2009. “For ‘Astroland’ I thought the fine detail you can achieve in etching lent itself well to depicting all the signage,” says Eric March. “‘Parachute Jump’ has a lot of precise line work but I also used different biting techniques to get a softer sense of atmosphere in the sky. In addition, an additional layer of yellow ink rolled over the entire plate helps gives ‘Parachute Jump’ that sunset glow.”

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Astroland, etching by Eric March, 2009

Whenever I ran into Eric in Coney Island he was busy gathering signatures for a petition to save the amusement zoning and move the proposed high rises north of Surf Avenue. How did all the Save Coney lobbying and events of the summer affect or inspire his work?

The show is actually about half Coney Island subjects and half Long Island City subjects. I moved to LIC in 2006 from Brooklyn and was attracted to all the industrial structures in Queens Plaza and other places in LIC. Coney Island has my heart, though, and I was drawn back to the beach when I started developing the work for this show. In 2006 I had my first solo show, “A Brooklyn Year”, which was all Brooklyn—including a lot of Coney Island pieces. So I already had ideas for paintings that I didn’t get to for my last show.

When I learned that Coney Island was potentially destined for the wrecking ball it definitely lit a fire under me to not only capture images of the Coney that I knew and loved, but also to get involved politically to help keep it that way. That’s when I started volunteering for Save Coney Island. I did some petitioning on the boardwalk and helped organize to raise awareness about the city’s redevelopment plan and it’s inherent threat to the existence of the vibrant, small scale, historic, and unique Coney Island that’s been drawing people there for over 100 years. The fight’s not over yet and I hope that when people see the work in this show they will also be inspired to fight for a Coney Island that remains one of the last places in New York City that is an open-access melting pot of people, creativity, color, and fun.

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Astroland, hand-tinted etching by Eric March, 2009

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Gallery Talk, Friday, November 6, 7 pm
The artist will discuss the artistic process and the political inspiration for his Coney Island images. Featuring guest speaker Juan Rivero from Save Coney Island

Moments in Time: Queens to Coney Island, October 16- December 31, 2009. Park Slope Gallery is a by-appointment-only art gallery in the historic Park Slope section of Brooklyn. Phone 718-768-4883 or e-mail parkslopegallery@mindspring.com

Parachute Jump, etching by Eric March, 2009

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