5TH AVENUE by jean pronovost
Just like the painting Greenpoint, Brooklyn, this dreamy and lush depiction of 5th Avenue in New York City is a vision of the future and all about nature’s tendency to reclaim the remnants of fallen civilizations. The temples and cities of the ancient Egyptians, Greek, Romans, and Andean people have become part of the natural landscape as they crumble and crack. One day all of New York City, with its big metal and concrete skyscrapers will be taken over and returned to nature too: the trees will grow and take over the spaces once occupied by roads and buildings, rivers will form and flow where sidewalks and streets used to be, the fish and frogs will return, the birds will nest and sing, etc. The artificial mountains we have built will fall to earth and be scaled by vegetation, animals, and insects; we will become a distant memory of the universe to maybe one day be discovered by an archeological team.
On the left-hand side, there is a church and other Victorian-style architecture that is characteristic of this part of New York City, and then the Empire State building in the distance. The scene painted here is tranquil and serene, like a gentle morning with light fog or mist. Delicate clouds lightly mask the sun, but the light still peers through. The water of the river rushes through the rocks of its bed, and it is surrounded by a dense and vibrant jungle of trees native to the area. Those trees climb up the sides and over the rooftops of the buildings and spread across the city. They are now the inhabitants of this once luxurious and iconic neighborhood.
The painter has laced this piece with a sense of nostalgia for nature, and deep respect for its perseverance and cleverness. This is his vision of the future, one where earth blooms and recreates itself over our mess rather than a violent wasteland Armageddon.