After their recent trip to the exhibition Cult of the Machine, a group of eleventh-graders from Oakland School for the Arts created their own paintings inspired by the exhibition. Scanning today’s landscape for scenes that echoed the show’s early industrial views, the fifteen students (led by teacher Andrew Junge) chose to paint subjects both unexpected and everyday: a computer circuit board, a tangle of streetlights, an electrical pole set against the sky.
Like many of the artists featured in Cult of the Machine working nearly a century ago, the students painted their subjects in the Precisionist style—an aesthetic defined by smooth surfaces and streamlined geometries, reflecting both the beauty and coldness of the Machine Age. With their crisp lines, simplified forms, and often exaggerated color schemes, the students’ fifteen paintings similarly capture the sublime beauty of the modern industrial environment.
Image: All works: 2018, Acrylic on canvas. From left, top row: Eli Fredenburg, Roxy Rymland, Eli Hauser, Haven Hibser, Emmett Stephens; middle row: Elsa Rudolph-Swanson, Rona Raz, Jake McRae, E. B. Couts, Luis Leon; bottom row: Dejon Erving, Rami KD, Sean Busse-Boozer, Rowen Sanford-Eckhaus, Arthur Johnstone