Some while back, I sniped that, while landscapes of the kind that made the New Hope School of Impressionist Painting so influential continue to be painted in the absence of the actual scenery, the McMansions that knocked farmland off the map seem not to have inspired anyone.
I was wrong. For several years, pastel artist Michael Wommack of Langhorne has been exploring the suburban grid, affectionately in the case of Levittown, where he grew up, and with more of an edge when it comes to pretentious developments in the former hinterlands.
Wommack’s “A False Sense of Security,” among works on view at Pennswood Village through May 12, was inspired by a cul-de-sac in a pricey neighborhood the artist drove past one day…
He calls his tract-house studies “The Suburbia Series.” “People who know Levittown call it ‘The Levittown Series,’ ” he says.
This might confound suburban critics who often argue that suburbs have little redeeming value. Art dealing with the suburbs, whether it is in novels, on the big screen, or on canvas should then be devoted to the hidden dark sides of suburbia. But, suburbs, like other locations, are made up of people trying to make sense of the world, however misguided their efforts might be. For someone who grew up in one of the Levittowns, it sounds like a perfect subject to me.
It would then be interesting to see how people respond to such paintings. Would critics take non-critical depictions of the suburbs seriously? Would exactly would purchase paintings depicting Levittown-like communities?