|Out of the Ruins A New York Record is a hauntingly powerful collection of those paintings, accompanied by poignant fragments from enduring works of literature. Jean Holabird has lived just four blocks north of the World Trade Center complex for twenty-seven years. In documenting the aftermath of its destruction and removal, she has created a work that is of great historical value, unique testimony pertaining to a singular period in New York’s history. It provides not only a human scale to the tragedy, but an alternative iconography to the frequently seen naked footage.
Out of the Ruins is a memorable collection in many ways, drawing on years of the artist’s practice of her craft, the proximity of the subject matter to the artist’s life, and the sense of civic duty and history that all come together to record this event for all time.
The poetry and prose that Jean selected to accompany her paintings, were gleaned from snatches of memory, as well as from friends and family. The words speak of loss and bereavement, survival and defiance, disbelief and acceptance, and finally, love of New York City. From John Milton and Dante to Seamus Heaney and Frank O’Hara the words speak to the artist’s experience, and through that, to the reader.