Southwest Art

DOWN to EARTH

ON A FIRE ESCAPE above the bustling streets of San Francisco’s Chinatown, a woman hangs laundry out to dry. The colorful assortment of T-shirts, trousers, and undergarments contrasts gaily with the painted-steel landings and ladders, the makeshift clotheslines, and the rich ornamentation of the structure, built in the years following the massive 1906 earthquake. Enhancing the impeccably detailed scene even more are the shadows cast by the bright morning sun—a latticework as sharply defined as the building, the clothing, and the dignified mother or grandmother performing her daily tasks.

Yes, the scene faithfully captures A MOMENT IN TIME, as the photorealistic acrylic painting is titled. But it also expresses so much more. “One of my motivations in choosing my imagery is to celebrate and call attention to the beauty in that which is ordinary,” says Lynette Cook, the Bay Area artist who created the work. “I see value and loveliness in what many people pass by.”

Over the past

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