Building Series: 1975 -1979
“This was the very first industrial image I produced. On a trip to Ohio to visit my wife’s parents, we passed through Washington, PA, — a midsized industrial town not far from Pittsburgh.
Diana was driving, and I was sleeping. I woke up just as we passed an old, derelict factory that had a huge corrugated wall, probably 6 stories tall. The expanse of the wall was interrupted only by one door at the top of the building and the fire escape.
The sun was hitting the wall in such a way that every shadow and every detail was intensely crisp, and the image burned into my mind. Upon our return to Washington, DC, I immediately set about recreating my memory of the wall, in 3-dimension, in an effort to recreate and own that startling moment.
My mentors included the Washington Color School painter, Gene Davis and the artist Ed McGowin. Gene’s stripe paintings are reflected in my corrugated facades, but Ed’s great skill at “mining” his Southern heritage as a fundamental source of his art, had a great influence on me. I lived in Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC (a city decidedly lacking in industry), but I was born and raised in Chicago.
I determined to surround myself with ‘factories’, initially as a source of inspiration that would inform the abstract welded steel sculpture I was making at the time. The steel works were industrial in technique and concept, and while I still weld to this day, by the late 70’s and early 80’s the buildings took over.
There are times, after I have completed a particularly small, detailed and tedious element for one of the landscapes, that it is refreshing to go into the welding studio and take a sledge hammer to a big piece of steel!”
Janos Enyedi, 1970s
excerpted from Memories of Milltown, catalog.