This past Tuesday my residents and I gathered around the television to see the 2016 presidential election results. We watched in confusion as the Electoral map turned red. The candidate who fueled the hatred of the American people against each other, a symbol of separation, had won the election. Watching this event unfold felt like a joke, but I could no longer ignore the hatred that still prevails in this country. As I try to make sense of this event, many people compare it to the terrorist attack of the World’s Trade Center on September 9, 2001. On 9/11 people also watched the television scared and confused about an attack of terror, a day where hatred won. The painting “Towers” by Philip James Dodd uses lines, dull colors, composition to depict the physical ruins of the Twin Towers and the metaphorical ruins of the United States of America that invokes emptiness and devastation.
The four lines in this painting that extend upwards create emphasis on where the towers once extended and create a feeling on emptiness. By creating these line the painter is reinforcing that the towers lay in ruins and do not extend upwards as they once did. Additionally, the lack of straight lines in the flag of the United States lets the viewer know that the flag is on the ground. This placement is symbolic of the country in the state of ruin, because the American flag is traditionally not supposed to touch the floor as a symbol of respect, but here it is on the floor demonstrating the devastation and tragic state at which the country is in.
The use of dull colors adds to the effect of devastation and is what created the distinction in the lines of the painting. The color grey is the most dominant one in the image that surrounds the lines of the towers and the American flag. The artist choose the color grey to represent the physical smoke of that day. To reaffirm his intentions Dodd says “the towers are echoes in the dusty sky, piles of rubble whose destruction resonates across the horizon”. The distinction in the rubble and the upward sky where the towers should be is important because there is less of the color brown which is used for the ruins of the tower than the light shade of pale blue. Additionally, the pale blue extending upward is symbolic of the thousands of souls rising to the heavens from the ashes of the rumbles.
The composition of the flag and the space where the towers should be are both in the middle of the image, the painter creates emptiness and at the same time creates the numbers nine and eleven through this composition as a memorial. The placement of the lack of towers is the eleven and the nine is laying down position present in the flags. This detail is important because the American people will never forget the tragedy that happened on 9/11.
Dodd, Philip James. “9/11 Art Gallery | Voices Education Project”. Voiceseducation.org. N.p., 2016. Web. 12 Nov. 2016.