Armed With Light Against The Dark

I don’t usually link to news sites that bug visitors about subscribing to their site. I wouldn’t want to encourage their garden wall mentality. This item is pretty unique; so I thought I’d post it (also have to give the paper some credit for calling this section “Weird NJ”).

This interesting sculpture is a fountain built, by Waylande Gregory, for the W.P.A. (Works Progress Administration) during the depression. The work is a monument to Edison’s success with the light bulb; called “Light Dispelling Darkness”.

One of the features that makes this interesting is the artist’s depiction of the evil of darkness:

Where the work really takes a turn toward the surreal though is on the six arched viaducts that buttress the fountain’s base. They radiate from the center pillar, each depicting the “dispelling” of one horrific-looking evil of society in brilliantly glazed terra cotta sculptures. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are represented, who, according to the Old Testament shall scourge the Earth prior to Judgment Day. The additional two sculptures represent Greed and Materialism.

War is shown as a Trojan soldier on horseback carrying a shield emblazoned with a skull and wearing a WWI gas mask. Famine, a cadaverous woman with deep sunken eyes who carries the scales of justice. Pestilence is depicted as a lustful blue character covered in festering yellow sores and riding a horse with a dollar sign on its hindquarters. Materialism is represented by a serpent-like creature, which possesses five grotesque human faces and is trailing a ribbon of stock market ticker tape. Greed is portrayed by two hideous, yet beautifully detailed, octopi writhing in battle with each other. Death is rendered as a scythe-wielding skeleton riding a lightning bolt.

According to the news item, the terra cotta fountain went through a restoration project in 2005. If you find yourself in north Jersey be sure and swing by Edison and check out this cool art deco fountain; with luck you might get to see it with the water turned on.