6 April 2008 3:38 PM
From the 12th to the 16th centuries, Europe saw the rise of those fantastical structures so acutely referred to as Medieval skyscrapers: the Gothic church. With its flying buttresses and pointy spires reaching to the Heavens, structures like Paris’s Nôtre-Dame-de-Grace spoke not only of human ingenuity but also of hubris, the desire to marshal technical progress to religious heights. It’s the kind of desire that led to the toppling of the mythical Tower of Babel, and it’s one that also lies at the obsessive heart of Brian Pittman’s meticulous drawings. A professional architect, Pittman has continued the student’s task of drafting great structures from sight but has twisted it to adult ends, revealing through repetition and exaggeration the more excessive ends of religious ambition. His is a tricky tactic, hiding fanaticism under the seeming order of rigorous representation, and in that it is both discomfiting and revelatory, as are the sources of his inspiration.