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Monday, November 16, 2009

Jim Lommasson's Oaks Park Pentimento

Posted by Matt Stangel on Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 6:36 PM

  • Jim Lommasson

Recently I checked out Oaks Park Pentimento, a photo exhibit by Jim Lommasson which documents paintings that were found on the carousel at Oaks Amusement Park, circa 1982.

To summarize the show's press release: In 1912, "German and Italian immigrants" painted the carousel with "Edwardian-era scenes." Then in 1944, two brothers from Washington painted Oregon landmarks over the original images. When Lommasson photographed the paintings in 1982, the upper images where chipped and faded, and both the older and newer paintings could be seen, though in co-mingled, happenstance compositions. A few years later, the original paintings were restored and today the carousel's compound images are no longer visible.

But we have Lommasson's photos to take us back to the mixed images of 1982. In one of these images, an elegant woman in a white dress holds a parasol (the "Edwardian-era" original), and a highway loops around her ankles and knees, climbing up her legs towards a gazebo that's situated over top her crotch. While the mixture of these two compositions isn't a pure pentimento— a distinction designated for overlaid images created by a single artist (as opposed to several artists, which is the case here)— the accidental interplay between these images is fascinating, especially in person, at a large scale.

Tonight at 7:30 at the Burnside Powell's, Lommasson's Oaks Park Pentimento is being celebrated in its book form. Additionally, you can see large-format prints of the images at the New American Art Union through December 20th (located at 922 SE Ankeny, and open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 6 pm).


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