While conducting research in preparation for another show, Anthony Thompson Shumate connected the fourteen Stations of the Cross to the top fourteen gas service stations. This connection along with the religious right’s interest in oil then became the driving inspiration for this series of work.
In work that combines both corporate design and contemporary art aesthetics, Shumate creates a subversive commentary on the modern American social landscape. It is unimportant to the artist if the audience is fully in tune with all intellectual, artistic, and sociopolitical aspects of the work, but rather once having seen the work, audience members begin to participate in the commentary or issue that the work itself addresses.
Since the invention of the automobile and highway, the American zeitgeist has always been in love the with vestige of the open road, and what scenery they might encounter. Harking back to the familiar days of when cars were king, each stained glass is created to be a nostalgic memory of our American landscape. The series of works consist of fourteen framed stained glass pieces; eight landscape gothic arches, and five circular logo based works. Each of them displayed as traditional church motifs, including both gothic arches and circular cathedral designs.
The eight landscapes were pulled from the eight primary geological locations where oil is harvested. The five circular works are designed to reference the familiar 1960s services stations’ signage and the forms from locations like the Cathedral of Canterbury. This unconventional process began by creating the image on glass through the use of extruded and poured resin. This material then created a Tiffany like aesthetic while remaining sign-like, which was an important element to the work.