So one of my friends has decided that she loves my work and wants me to do something for her of the State Hospital. Built in 1911 as an Asylum for a few dozen world weary men and women, it grew over many decades to become a sprawling complex housing 5,000 patients. In the mid 1980's the property was closed, the last of the mentally handicapped were released into the wild while the building was left to melt into the scenic hillside and rolling fields of the grounds. The reclamation process was interrupted a few years ago when the Minervini group began to redevelop the entire property for mixed use commercial and residential use.
The State Hospital has always been fodder for local ghost stories, the hunting grounds for the most desired species of tree and shrub for biology class leaf collections, hiking and making midnight excursions at your own peril. Stuff of legends and nightmares, nearly everyone in town has a story to tell. With the push to reclaim from the Earth that which the Earth wished to reclaim there is a great panic to photograph and chronicle the patina and patterns of neglect left on its stories walls. Decay is a natural part of life. No matter how beautiful this renewed facades will be, there is also a beauty in the aging process.
The building is an amalgam of many romantic themes of gothic architecture and the romantics in town who see beauty and character in the desolate structure wish to preserve those characters. And so we photographed and chatted and photographed some more. I will go again in a few days to take more pictures. There are things that I did not think to get a shot of because I was so lost in the experience. I did not get the exact angles that my friend wanted and while we will share back and forth for a time, I would like my own shots.
Most likely this series will be in acrylic and atmospheric, suggestive. I do not think that I will do a watercolor series of realistic features. My perspective skills leave me less than confident.
For myself, these are the photos that inspire me most:
Here the Italianate styles seem to dominate the skyline as it does with the fret and ginger work above the trattoria on the grounds. The cupolas are crowned with the Minervini family symbol. This puts me in mind of Michelle's duomos and the wonderful visual textures. These are but two of the four cupola designs on the property.
I still have not decided which country's Victorian era construction this emulates. As we walked around I was put in mind of an English Manor house. But then this façade would seem to fit somewhere in Venice as well. In either case... I felt as if I were a spectre lurking about for the sordid stories of the family in residence, perhaps the Copper Beeches, Shoscombe Old Place or a Medici family retreat.