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University of Chicago Contrasts

by Leon Sarantos in Current Work

Current Work

I am working on a series of paintings of the Main Quadrangles on the University of Chicago campus, including Botany Pond, Bond Chapel, Gargoyle Overlooking Hull Court and the C-Shop. I’ve lived in Hyde Park for many years now and have enjoyed walking through the campus, picnicking at Botany Pond, and having a hot cup of coffee at the C-Shop on a winter’s day.  I’m also an architect and my paintings are inspired by the beauty of the Gothic Revival architecture in the Main Quadrangle, symbolizing the conservative traditions and stable framework of the university, contrasting with the life and vibrancy of the ever-changing student population, illustrated with their multiple electronic devices, backpacks, and diversity.

Work In Progress

I’m inspired by admiring the gargoyles adorning campus buildings, which led me to paint Gargoyle Overlooking Hull Court.  The perspective for this painting was challenging, as it’s painted from the viewpoint of the gargoyle atop Cobb Gate.  The gargoyle is meant to personify the enduring presence of the university hovering over the lively, transient presence of the students.  I’ve exhibited this painting as a work in progress and gotten positive, but conflicting feedback on it.  Some people think it’s finished and I shouldn’t change anything.  My idea is to add shadows to the bushes along the path, and more detail to the images of students.  So, finished or unfinished, what do you think?