Inspiration / Musings / Process

Lines Overhead

Looking around my town as I move through the streets, I spy the linearity of an older community.  The overhead electrical lines, telephone poles and cables are a wonderful tangle of aging technology and shapes.  I take photographs as I am sitting at red lights in my car or out walking.  Usually I frame them against the sky and to capture the look of the interlacement of the lines, cans, resistors and junction boxes that I love.


I am not the only artist interested in these forms – not by a long shot.

Another Virginia artist by the name of Heidi Fowler  is also “inspired by photographs taken from the car window” as she “examines man’s relationship with the environment.” Fowler’s artist statement says that she “explores the tension between the beauty of creation and the priorities of man.”


Fowler renders her observations more directly in photographic collages and what she calls “drive by still lifes.” Her work is elegant and haunting.  “Creating images that are serene and beautiful she dually illuminates cell phone towers, bridges, transformer boxes and other steel impediments.” (  The artist comments, “while these devices are necessary to contemporary society they also interrupt the (our) aesthetics of the natural world.”

Heidi Fowler represents the real as an enhanced vision.  I use close ups, excerpts and overlaps of the webs to create new linear forms. Changing scale and layering come into play, as well as, trying different kinds of mark making. My use of the electrical lines is less tied to actual scenes.  My exploration is more about the relationships between the flowing ribbons.  I do not identify them as actual electrical lines. These strands make their way into my abstract paintings, such as the one here called “Lines and Cans” (oil on panel).

ryanThis same excitement comes over me in the winter as I gaze at the bare limbs of vines and deciduous trees.  These forms speak to me.  I guess I am in love with line, whether it be natural or manmade. Heidi Fowler’s statement rings true to me.  We are both engaged by this tension.  I know it feeds me and my work.  Perhaps I should introduce myself to her and compare notes on our observations.

By Beverly Ryan: Read more about Bev on our contributors page or on her website,

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