At Home with Roberta Feldman

Roberta has lived in Chicago for 35 years, she says that she and her husband wanted to live in a city that felt like a city. Roberta says that she wanted to live in a large, dense city -- like New York City, where she grew up. She has lived in Streeterville for 10 years, after having lived in Lincoln Park for about 20 years. Roberta lives on the 66th story of Lake Pointe Tower with her husband. Chicagoans will know Lake Pointe Tower as the building near to Navy Pier, on the east side of Lake Shore Drive. Roberta hesitated to say that she felt like her building feels like home.

Living on the 66th floor of a modern high rise building is truly unique. Roberta says that her condo doesn’t have a cozy corner that makes it feel home-y, the experience of being at home is dominated by the view. When I asked Roberta about the feelings that she associates with home, she said that she associate home with a sense of security and familiarity, but also with drama, in her current home, the view provides the drama. Those dramatic views change through the seasons.

It took me a long time to decide what to paint from Roberta’s home. Roberta’s opinion of the meaning of home is informed by her study, she describes home as “a center space” the place go away from and the place you go back to. She also described this particular home as a unique refuge. Being so far above the city makes everything really quiet and the chaos of the city below seems very far away. I was hesitant to paint the view from Roberta’s home because skylines are so commonly depicted in art. I was struck though by how dominant the view is, in Roberta’s experience of home. It brings both drama and a sense of refuge and calm to her. The night I visited Roberta’s home, in November of 2014, the view was a little misty, the sky reflecting orange tones and mysterious layers of clouds.

Special thanks to Stefano Vita for use of his music in the audio recording.