GWYNETH LEECH: ONE VANDERBILT RISING
New York City artist, Gwyneth Leech makes paintings of super-tall and iconic building construction projects around Manhattan. She works in series that can span months or years to capture building phases in accurate detail and vibrant color. She became fascinated with the construction of One Vanderbilt in 2017 as the structural steel was rising above street level. In celebration of its completion in Fall 2020 she is delighted to present "One Vanderbilt Rising", this collection of 23 paintings.
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The vantage point for this first painting in the series is the corner of the Park Avenue Viaduct where the elevated roadway that encircles Grand Central Station overlooked the OVA construction site. At this stage, massive steel pillars have been installed and the skeleton of higher floors is just beginning to take shape. The tiny figures of the workers emphasize the gigantic scale of the project. The composition combines views to the north up Vanderbilt Avenue and to the west along 42nd Street.
This painting is a composite of multiple views from the elevated roadway that circles Grand Central Station. The artist made numerous visits to an elevated corner overlooking the construction site, and the final composition incorporates the view to the west and to the north with an emphasis on the many people at work on different levels of the skeletal structure.
View looking north from a high floor in a building on the corner of 40th Street and Park Avenue. Curtain wall installation is progressing on OVA and three new towers are seen rising in the distance, on West 57th and West 53rd Streets.
View from the southeast corner of 42nd Street and 5th Avenue looking east, showing how the new tower is cut away at the bottom to reveal Grand Central Station and angled back to retain the view of the Chrysler building.
View from 42nd Street looking west in the summer of 2020. A shaft of sunlight between buildings creates abstract blocks of brightness and shadow on the face of Grand Central. The nearly completed OVA tower is suffused with bright light and reflects a blue sky between showers. In the far distance, looking west along 42nd Street it seems that rain is still falling.