Past Present Future
New Works by Mary Anne Erickson
Oriole 9 Woodstock
September-October 2020

Opening Sunday September 20th from 5:00-6:30 pm

For many years my primary focus as an artist has been documenting the vanishing American roadside. I’ve watched with dismay as each year more and more of the beloved signage and landmarks from my past have been washed away. I’ve come to realize that in my heart I’m really a preservationist, a documentarian of our roadside cultural landscape.

Aside from just loving the typography and graphic imagery of the signage of the past, I feel an intense sense of poignancy at the loss of the world I grew up in and so took for granted. I suppose that could be said for all of us - it’s hard to quantify what exists around us in the present and appreciate its inherent value. We have all become somewhat mollified by the standardization of buildings, branding, and signage of our current urban and suburban landscapes. One day even these current stretches of malls and commercial properties will take their own place in the history of what’s fashionable to be replaced by structures and signage more in keeping with future times.

So to the title and theme of the show “Past Present Future”. This gypsy fortune teller’s sign captured my attention walking down a New York City street one evening. I knew I had to paint it for some reason I didn’t understand at the time. I was just compelled by the imagery. In the intervening time period from when I started and finished the painting, my husband Richard and I chose to build our dream house, sell the home we loved, and jump into the void living in a rental home and using all our savings to build our new dream. I finished the painting in the dead of January 2020 and hung it on the wall. it became my touchstone. What is it that lurks just behind that curtain? When you peel back the fabric of the present, what awaits us on the other side. . . in the future?

Who knew in January what the rest of 2020 would bring? And for all of our plans for the future, what do any of us really know?

I do know that in my dream of the future I’ll be telling more visual stories that memorialize all the things I love about the past! I will continue to document the folks who have created their dreams along the roadways and towns of America. To this calling I give myself and hope to have many more years to share with you.

To enjoy more of my paintings and stories check out my website: 
Lorraine Motel, Memphis - In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
Oil on canvas, 46"x36"

The Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee has legendary status for many reasons: the most important being what happened on April 4, 1968 when Martin Luther King, Jr. stepped out of Room 306 to chat with friends in the parking lot below. Sadly, as he turned his back to walk into his room he was shot in the neck and died immediately. The rest is history and Room 306 has been preserved for eternity as a memorial to the great man who lost his life there.

.... to read more click here...
Roy's, Route 66, Amboy CA
Oil on canvas, 76"x40"

The story of Roy’s Motel and Cafe is a classic Route 66 legend. Founded in 1938 by Roy Crowl it was originally a gas station constructed along the “Main Street of America”, the main east-west highway crossing the nation from Chicago to Los Angeles. In the 1940’s they expanded to include a service garage and an “auto court” for weary travelers crossing the Mohave Desert.

After WWII during the 1950’s, the American public discovered the joys of traveling the open road and their business grew to encompass and entire town of 700 people. But the icing on the cake for the business was the creation in 1959 of their huge boomerang sign which beckoned travelers from miles away.

Sadly in 1972 interstate 40 bypassed this entire section of Route 66, which is the part of the tale that is all too familiar to anyone who loves Route 66. Roy’s business nearly dropped to zero. The whole establishment faded into obscurity for many years until Timothy White purchased the entire town in 1995. They maintained a skeleton operation selling gas and souvenirs but sadly went into foreclosure in 2005.

At the moment, a man named Albert Okura is in the process of restoring the entire operation to its former glory as a “nostalgic tourist” destination and we applaud his efforts.

I’ve had the honor of visiting Roy’s twice. And ever since I’ve wanted to paint this wonderful sign. I knew the scale had to be large, so chose a horizontal format to help convey the vastness of the California desert where this little slice of Route 66 heaven lives.
Avalon, Miami Beach
Oil on canvas, 36"x48"

I visited Miami Beach several years ago and while walking around at night was particularly taken by the Avalon: the classic deco lines, the beautiful font and of course the vintage car sitting out front. (One of the fav tricks you see all along Route 66!) I've tried to find out more history on the place, but the current management hasn't posted much and I'll need to do some more digging.
Look forward to celebrating with you on
Sunday September 20th at Oriole 9 from 5:00-6:30
17 Tinker Street, Woodstock, NY.
We'll have some snacks and wine at the entrance to the restaurant and viewing of the artwork will be done in small groups, for social distancing.
And if you can't make the opening, do stop in
for a delicious breakfast, lunch or dinner and enjoy the paintings!

Many thanks to Jessica and Chris Anna for hosting my show.
To see all of my work, visit
or contact me at or 845-594-4050