‘36 Views’ of bridge, but culled from 365 days of photos
You may have looked around while passing over the B.U. Bridge. You may even have stopped midway over the Charles to appreciate the view. But there’s no way you’ve seen the bridge and its environment the way photographer and journalist Madeline Drexler has.
That is: focused on it with an artist’s intensity every day for a year.
Her “Only the Seen: 36 Views from the BU Bridge,” a yearlong (from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec. 31) photo meditation on the well-traveled steel-truss span between Boston and Cambridge, begins Thursday at Gallery 263 in the Cambridgeport neighborhood, with a reception from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
“I have photographed the bridge at every hour of the day and night, in every seasonal angle of light, in triple-digit and subzero temperatures, in mist and snow and hurricane rain, at dawn and dusk, and most often in the dead of night, when construction workers were the Bridge’s only other occupants,” said Drexler, a Cambridge resident and former staff photographer for The Associated Press.
The exhibit, awarded a grant from the Cambridge Arts Council, will be at the Central Square branch library in June to give people a further look at what Drexler calls “a community touchstone.”
“In my 12 months of photographing, I found immense beauty, in spite of — and often because of — MassDOT’s endless construction hazards,” Drexler said.
In explaining the show’s two-part title, she refers to the second part as a riff on two collections of 19th century Japanese woodblock prints called “36 Views of Mount Fuji”:
These editions represented the pinnacle of a genre known as ukiyo-e — literally, “pictures of the floating, transitory world.” Through sustained contemplation of a single theme, the artists captured precious scenes from contemporary civic life and from nature.
The first part of the show’s title comes from the Bahiya Sutta in Buddhism, she explained, in which the Buddha says, “In reference to the seen, there will be only the seen. In reference to the heard, only the heard. In reference to the sensed, only the sensed … that is how you should train yourself.”
“Put simply,” Drexler said, “‘Pay attention.’”
“Only the Seen: 36 Views from the BU Bridge” is at Gallery 263, 263 Pearl St., Cambridgeport, through March 25. The gallery is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. For information, click here. In June, the show will be at the Central Square branch library, 45 Pearl St., Central Square. The library is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
This post was written from a press release.