A collection of paintings, sketches and poetic reflections about life and architecture.
Anderson’s slender debut contains thoughtful observations, but it’s also pleasing to the eye. Sixty-five brief meditations, each accompanied by the author’s own artwork, examine the nature of architecture, landscapes and humanity. Showing an aversion for “commercially driven” modern architecture, the author asks, “[W]hat are we building and why?” Inspired by the pastoral vistas of his Montana home, much of Anderson’s art reflects quiet, rural themes, but they also address the ravages of technology on spirituality. Some paintings, such as “On Desert Afternoons,” are bold and sun-bright; others are ethereal and almost haunting, such as “On the Veil of Reality,” which depicts the shadowy figure of a cow next to a dark, apparently opulent building. With its whimsical hues of green and blue, “On Imagery I” seems to encourage readers to imagine objects floating in water. The accompanying one-page vignettes are presented with the concrete eye of a poet, and like small stones tossed into a lake, they create lasting ripples of thought. For example, in “On Island Lake, The Beartooths,” Anderson captures the peaceful simplicity of a camping trip: “[t]he stump benches, the roof of pine boughs, the discolored tin ware, the primitive circle of rocks surrounding the fire, the swaying of pinion pine as a half moon appears above the horizon.” Likewise, “On Work Benches and My Father” vividly describes a father’s bruised, cracked thumbnail guiding a chisel’s blade. Other reflections, such as the author’s tribute to his son, are also memorable. (There are a few distracting typographical errors, but they are not overly worrisome.) Anderson ends the book with a somewhat lengthy author’s note that reiterates his wary stance concerning technology and architecture: “I believe we, as a society, will continue to drill deeper into the physical world, placing all our faith in science and technology. And what we will discover at the end of that investigation is a world bereft of meaning.”
A contemplative, often beautiful collection.