JP artist preserves Casey Overpass in paintings

December 20, 2013
By

FOREST HILLS—Jamaica Plain resident Sean McCabe is getting inspiration for his art from the impending transformation of the Casey Overpass into the Casey Arborway.

A collection of McCabe’s paintings depicting the overpass and the area around it is currently on display at the James’s Gate pub at 5 McBride St.

“Aesthetically, many see The Casey Overpass as an eyesore and, to some, an unlikely Forest Hills landmark,” said McCabe. “I like the idea of it wearing this duality. I see the overpass representing a time and place in Jamaica Plain history, as well. The community has seen enormous changes in the past 10 to 20 years and I feel the bridge is a representation of succumbing to that change.”

The Casey Arborway, an at-grade surface street network, will replace the crumbling Casey Overpass. The project has been controversial since its inception in early 2011 and some local activists are still pushing for the overpass to be replaced with a new bridge.

Casey Overpass is the State Route 203 bridge over Washington Street at the Forest Hills T Station. Demolition of the bridge is slated to begin next spring.

“I have a more than passing interest in the project,” McCabe told the Gazette. “The structure will be drastically changed, replaced or destroyed, and I wanted to capture the urban landscape before that happened.”

“As a longtime JP resident, I have seen polarizing issues rise in the community, and that also attracted me to subject,” he said.

McCabe paints from photographs, as “standing in traffic would be suicidal,” he said. He adapted his painting technique to reflect the decay of the structure and “achieve a more tactile surface much like the paint and rust of the bridge itself.”

McCabe said his intent is to draw attention to “what is often overlooked” and the rapid pace of change in Boston.

“The Casey Overpass is a piece of JP history that some will never know existed in the not-to-distant future. By recording the structure as art, it serves as a snapshot of what was and hopefully begins a conversation about how change impacts communities, lives and sense of place,” he said.

McCabe’s paintings will be on display through Dec. 29. His website is seanmccabe.com.

"Delivery Bros Truck" by Sean McCabe. (Courtesy Photo)

“Delivery Bros Truck” by Sean McCabe. (Courtesy Photo)

"Three Pole Shadow" by Sean McCabe. (Courtesy Photo)

“Three Pole Shadow” by Sean McCabe. (Courtesy Photo)

  • deepfreeze

    Speaking as an artist, I think it would have been more successful had he been painting from observation in the middle of traffic. If something isn’t suffering for your art, you’re not doing it right!

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