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Scenic icons in peril

Local artist’s series on historical barns is meant to raise awareness of their destruction

Vanishing Barns Red is a painting featured in Carole Warburton’s exhibit displayed at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center.

Vanishing Barns Red is a painting featured in Carole Warburton’s exhibit displayed at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center.

— Several years ago, Carole Warburton was driving down Vischer Ferry Road in Clifton Park when she noticed an old barn surrounded by woodlands. It was in the middle of being excavated to make room for a housing development.

Eventually the barn was torn down, the woods were cleared away and a pond on the property was filled in.

“I drove past it every day for years, and now the environment and ecosystem of the area was radically changed,” said Warburton. “It bothered me that no one cared, and I felt there had to be a way to preserve it.”

Before the barn was demolished, Warburton, an artist from Rexford, painted the scene. Soon after began her series of artwork on “Vanishing Barns.”

She became fixated on the project, doing research on barns across New York to better connect with the subject matter.

“As we travel through the New York countryside, we can identify elegant Gambrel-roofed barns, English barns, Dutch barns, basement barns, bank barns, round and polygonal barns. These structures are symbols of our American heritage and the hard work that produced useful and life-sustaining products,” Warburton writes on her website.

She said after the first painting, she began to paint and draw a whole series of forgotten barns for her newest collection. She would travel the Mohawk and Hudson valleys in search of new barns and would even ask friends if they had suggestions of older barns in the area.

There are now more than 15 pieces in her “Vanishing Barns” collection.

“I’m kind of inspired by the beauty of them,” she said. “Even those in a state of deterioration are very strong and powerful structures.”

Warburton said the series is meant to heighten awareness of the historical importance of the barns.

“Perhaps in some way, this may avert their destruction to make way for housing projects and industrial development that deplete our natural resources and decimate ecosystems that might better be utilized to provide food and clean water to our communities,” she wrote.

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