Paper Houses - yellow
Paper Houses - red
Paper Houses - adobe
Truchas Series
Lobster Gut Series
Subways Crossing Series
Lower Basin Series
Lower Basin Explanation
Color Column Series
Chama Valley Series
Buoy Strings Series
Sierra Nevada RR Series
Gallery House Series
Class One Railroads Model Photographs
Class One RR Series
Mergers & Acquisitions Series
Airport Series Model Photographs
Airport Series
Airport Series Enlargements
Grenada Series
Color Traffic Series
Streams-Bogs Series
Rainbow Polyphony Series
Upland Series
Fashion Series




These abstract paintings acknowledge the transformation of the last stretch of the Charles River in Boston. The banks have been rebuilt with three new parks and new sculptural roadway bridges now span the basin. Having spent nearly ten years attending civic advisory committee meetings, I sought to illustrate the scale and colors of this intensely urban place.

The uses along the banks include tall apartment buildings, elevated ramps to serve the new bridges, a concrete batching plant, warehouses, a sports arena, a major railroad station, a rehabilitation hospital and a house of correction. The basin is also spanned by a viaduct carrying trolley tracks, a bascule bridge carrying four railroad tracks and a dam with three locks separating the river from the harbor and the sea.

To capture the spatial characteristics, I decided to create an abstract model. It has a pentagonal base supporting five fins of varying height which radiate like spokes from an empty central hub. Spanning between the fins are square edged tubes to represent the crossings: the concrete viaduct; the steel and concrete railroad bridge; the steel four lane highway bridge; the high cable stayed ten lane highway bridge; and the low concrete and brick dam.

The model went through some refinement. I wanted glimpses between the bays so portions of fins were removed in an ordered way. The spans were set at two heights above the river. The finished model was illuminated by a high, bright light in order to produce crisp shadows. It was then photographed. Each bay displayed its distinguishing features. The photographs informed the paintings' layout drawings.

The colors used in the paintings came from the place. I photographed the spans and the nearby banks in the morning and afternoon sunlight. The type and amount of each color was noted. Each face of each fin has a pattern to guide the position of the square edged tubes and the position of the appropriate bank colors. Elevation drawings of the completed model were transformed into the Lower Basin paintings.

Malcolm Montague Davis

450 Harrison Avenue, Suite 313, Boston, MA 02118Tel 617-266-0460 E-mail mmd@malcolmmontaguedavis.comStudio visit by appointment.