Past Present Future Exhibit Open Now

Gypsy fortune teller's neon sign that says "Past Present Future"

Past Present Future Exhibit Open Now

“Past Present Future” new artwork by Mary Anne Erickson on display now through the end of October at Oriole 9 in Woodstock, New York.

My primary focus as an artist has primarily been documenting the vanishing American roadside. I’ve watched with dismay as each year more of the beloved signage and landmarks from our past have disappeared. I’ve come to realize that in my heart I’m really a preservationist, a documentarian of our roadside cultural landscape.

Aside from just loving the typography and graphic imagery of the signage from the past, I feel an intense sense of sadness at the loss of the world I grew up in and took for granted. I suppose that could be said for all of us – it’s hard to quantify what exists around us in the present and appreciate its inherent value. We have all become somewhat mollified by the standardization of buildings, branding, and signage of our current urban and suburban landscapes. One day even these current stretches of malls and commercial properties will take their own place in the history of what’s fashionable to be replaced by structures and signage more in keeping with future times.

So why entitle the show “Past Present Future”? This gypsy fortune teller’s sign captured my attention walking down a New York City street one evening. I knew I had to paint it for some reason I didn’t understand at the time. I was just compelled by the imagery. In the intervening time period from when I started and finished the painting, my husband Richard and I chose to build our dream house, sell the home we loved, and jump into the void living in a rental home and using all our savings to build our new dream. I finished the painting in the dead of January 2020 and hung it on the wall. It became my touchstone. What is it that lurks just behind that curtain? When you peel back the fabric of the present, what awaits us on the other side. . .  in the future?

Who knew in January what the rest of 2020 would bring? And for all of our plans for the future, what do any of us really know?

I do know that in my dream of the future I’ll be telling more visual stories that memorialize all the things I love about the past! I will continue to document the folks who have created their dreams along the roadways and towns of America. To this calling I give myself and hope to have many more years to share with you.

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