December 10 – January 3, 2020
Reception December 12, 2019 7-8:30 PM
Joshua Sariñana gallery talk 6:15 PM on December 12, 2019
I have always been drawn to the monumentality of structures such as these; initially to the magnificent grain elevators that rise above the plains of the mid-west and now more recently to these stunning industrial forms in Seattle. The Seattle Gas Works are structural marvels that have an enduring visual interest for me on two scales, for their sheer enormity and for their careful attention to minute detail.
These structures are the sole survivors of this era of gas works in the United States. As well, they are a unique landmark for the City of Seattle. They are well-known in the preservation community as outstanding examples of industrial archeology, adaptive reuse and urban landscape design.
In 1975 Paul Goldberger wrote in the New York Times that “Seattle is about to have one of the nation’s most advanced pieces of urban landscape design. The complex array of towers, tanks and pipes of the gas works forms a powerful industrial still life … serving both as a visual focus for the park and as a monument to the city’s industrial past. The park represents a complete reversal from a period when industrial monuments were regarded, even by preservationists, as ugly intrusions on the landscape, to a time when such structures as the gas works are recognized for their potential ability to enhance the urban experience.” (NY Times, 8/30/75)
Lee Cott studied architecture at Pratt Institute and Harvard University. After a 45-year career as a founding principal at Bruner/Cott & Assoc., Architects in Cambridge, Massachusetts and professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, he now devotes his creative energies to his life-long involvement with photography. Lee’s recent photographs of barn structures, farm stands, iconic Boston buildings and the industrial constructions at the Seattle Gas Works are all crafted with the same sense of delicacy to portray extraordinary beauty in familiar, ordinary and conventional structures.
Cott has photographed throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and South America. Images from an early travel portfolio, Prairie Vernacular, were published in Design and Environment magazine. Lee has lectured on architecture and urban design at Harvard University, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Peabody Essex Museum, The Graham Foundation and The Boston Public Library using color images made over the course of his lifetime. He has exhibited at juried shows at the Concord Art Association and the Chautauqua Annual Exhibition of Contemporary Art as well as the Griffin Museum. This year, Homage to Serra #3, was included in the Krakow Witkin Gallery’s annual AID’S Benefit Auction. In January, 2020 a photograph of Lee’s will be included in the Cambridge Art Association’s Broken Beauty invited exhibition and in March 2020 he will have a solo exhibit of his recent work at the Concord Public Library.
Lee is a self-taught photographer. He has recently studied at the New England School of Photography, The Maine Media Workshops and at the Griffin Museum of Photography’s Ateliers 28 & 30 with Meg Birnbaum and the Advanced Critique with Emily Belz