In this series of 21st-century landscape paintings, Peter Seward explores themes around the artifice of technology, in this case, communication infrastructure - real and imagined cellular telephone towers disguised as sacred icons. Symbols co-opted for commerce and convenience are incognito—in industry parlance, “stealth towers.” Just 25 years ago, cell phone towers didn’t exist. Now, for some, the visual clutter from them is a contentious issue. Telephone companies respond by creative measures, putting antenna on church steeples, flagpoles, barn silos, water towers, and fabricated trees.
Seward’s latest work juxtaposes the world of 19th-century surveyor, Verplanck Colvin, and the 21st-century world of modern wireless communications towers. In the 1870s, Colvin brought signal towers and technical innovation into the wilderness, while advocating for preservation and creation of the Adirondack Park. In 2008, cell-phone coverage in the Adirondacks necessitates infrastructure and a strategic geographic mapping for service as now, a cell-phone signal defines our “reach.”