The submissions are in from our spring photography tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. This season’s finalists will be selected by C’naan Hamburger, one the 2016 BLDG 92 Visiting Artists. C’naan was kind enough to chat with us a bit about her work and what drew her to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
“I liked the transporting quality of the Navy Yard,” she said. “I find it very much alive, and not at all what one would expect from walking by the decrepit, overgrown, Victorian area of the Navy Yard,” referring to the southwest corner of the Yard where the abandoned homes of Admirals Row stand. “I was struck by the layers of planning, and un-planning, and re-planning.”
Since being inside the Yard, she’s noticed the unique energy of the place, with constant activity on weekdays. “It runs on Navy Yard time – people are going there for specific reasons and specific places.” As a visiting artist, there to just observe, “I’m just wandering around.” Like our photographers, she’s been interested by some of the mundane details of the landscape that the bustling tenants may miss: an interesting curve in the road, or the Yard’s tiny post office, which you can see in this drawing she recently did, on the far left side.
C’naan is a landscape painter, and her work is inspired by her lifelong love of skateboarding – not that that’s her subject matter, but the general approach is analogous. “In my painting, it’s a landscape painting, it’s conventional in all ways – it’s the epitome of convention. I’m using convention unconventionally.”
“But it’s similar to skateboarding. You can take an object – a set of stairs, a ledge, or a handrail – and it can be reimagined to be used as something else.”
Her inspirations come from forebears in the skateboarding world – like Ed Templeton and Mark Gonzalez – but also old Dutch masters like Philip de Koninck. For C’naan, the landscape unfolds on the canvas with limitless possibilities, but she’s also mindful of what the viewer’s entry point will be, and what they will take away from the piece.
“A really important part for me is to make accessible paintings,” arguing that too much art is “reliant on inaccessibility,” and it falls back on the “convention of the unconventional.” When people look at a piece of art, “they’re thinking, ‘What are other people thinking?’ They should instead have a direct experience.”
If you want to see C’naan’s work, she has a piece on display at the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum in the Bronx in the exhibit Plein-Air Paintings of the Bartow-Pell Gardens, on display through September 23.
Now, on to the spring submissions:
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Turnstile Tours offers the Seasonal Photography Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard four times throughout the year. The next tour of the 2016 season will be Saturday, October 29 at 11am. Get more information here, and advance ticket purchase is highly recommended. We also offer our Past, Present & Future Tour of the Brooklyn Navy Yard every weekend 2-4pm, and other special themed tours of The Yard. All tours are offered in partnership with and begin at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Center at BLDG 92, which offers free admission to three floors of exhibitions on the Yard’s past and present and a host of great special events and programs.