peter seward
 
 




This series of landscape paintings depict real and imagined "stealth towers," industry parlance for cellular telephone towers disguised to blend in to "natural" landscapes. The incognito towers are symbols of commerce co-opting sacred icons—trees. church steeples, flagpoles, totem poles—for industrial use.

Modern communication infrastructure is contrasted with wilderness, suburbia, and the 19th-century world of discovery and innovation. A persistent, symmetrical composition orders the picture plain around the tower presenting an object of worship. The central motif and the elevated height of the cell-phone towers suggests our "connectedness" has taken on religious significance.

In more recent work, images from Verplanck Colvin's Adirondack Survey (1847–1920) conjure the historical continuum of bringing technical innovation into the wilderness. Colvin built "signal towers" on freshly-cleared mountaintops, while advocating for preservation and the creation of New York State's Adirondack Park, where I live.

The conflict of preservation versus infrastructure still exists today as efforts to provide cell-phone coverage in the Adirondack Park requires an intense approval process—and state-of-the-art camouflaged tree-towers—amidst the protests of those wanting absolute protection of "Wilderness." Hence the name, "Frankenpine," was coined to campaign against its intrusion.