PRESTON – Local painter Stephen Flanagan has dedicated his professional life to digging for treasure. For the last three and a half years, cooling towers, elevator motors and twisted metal panels from the 2001 World Trade Center horror have consumed him.
The cooling towers have bundles of chopped up copper pipes that, to the Preston painter, look like a heart or an organ.
“I wanted the images to shift into abstractions, biomorphic compositions that would bring a new, perhaps more beautiful life to these tragic remains,” he said.
Flanagan’s paintings of actual World Trade Center debris, which came about after six months of letter writing and interviews at New York City Police headquarters, will be exhibited from Aug. 12 to Sept. 23 at the Earlville Opera House Gallery, East Main Street, Earlville. An opening reception is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Flanagan was permitted to take pictures at the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island and a scrapyard in Green Island. Some of those actual photographs also appear in the exhibit.
The opera house and gallery’s executive director said the quality of Flanagan’s submission more than a year ago for a showing was “amazing” and “something we knew that we wanted to show.”..