“Cities and Memory” features visionary drawings from renowned architect and urban planner, James Rossant, displayed in conjunction with poems reflecting on his art by his daughter, Juliette Rossant.
James Rossant (1932-2009) was a pivotal architect in the New Towns movement. Rossant, with his partner William J. Conklin, devised the master plan for Reston, Virginia in the early 1960s. The artworks in this exhibit range from 1972 to 2008 and give insight into Rossant’s prodigious imagination and the fantastical processes that underpin his architectural creations.
As described by architectural critic Joseph Giovannini, Rossant’s drawings “fly off the grid, off the wagon of rationality, into a surrealism and humor of imagination liberated from the right angle and architectural propriety. […] These are temperamentally joyous drawings, propelled by curiosity and a spirit of exploration.”
Juliette Rossant’s poems are ekphrastic: they are responses to her father’s paintings. They examine memories and reflections about her father’s life and ideals as artist and architect. They also amplify her father’s keen sense of play, whimsy, and intimacy.
In 1991, the Conklin Rossant firm donated their Reston archive to George Mason University’s Special Collections Research Center in Fenwick Library. Selections from those archives also appear in this exhibition.
Learn more at fenwickgallery.gmu.edu. Fenwick Gallery is located in Fenwick Library on Mason’s Fairfax campus, and is open to the public during Library business hours.
Fenwick Gallery at Fenwick Library at George Mason University located at 4400 University Dr., Fairfax, VA.