Transforming the Landscape
By Fred Camper
November 24, 2006

Born in Chicago in 1941 and still a Chicago-area resident, Lurie has been a practicing lawyer since 1965 but has had a longtime interest in art. While in high school at Senn he worked for a wedding photographer, took photography classes, and did photography for the yearbook. He became interested in architecture in 1966, when he got involved in efforts to save Henry Hobson Richardson's Glessner House, then threatened with demolition. Lurie read up on Richardson, provided legal services, and helped clean out the place for its renovation. He learned more about architecture and art when some of the architects he worked with became clients and he began to specialize in real estate and construction law. Glessner House also helped him gain a sense of the importance of place, as the neighborhood had changed from its former affluence to a mix of rooming houses and industry.

In 1998, impressed by an exhibit of photographs showing derelict buildings in the Dakotas, Lurie talked to the photographer, Maxwell MacKenzie, about the equipment he'd used: a panoramic camera. Lurie bought one for a trip to China in 2000 but also started taking photographs in Door County. The beautifully composed Schoolhouse makes the stark white building, set against dark green trees and a blue sky, seem monumental. Silo Door, which emphasizes surface detail and shadows, shows the influence of Aaron Siskind's abstract photos. Lurie owns one of them, given to him by a friend: architectural photographer Richard Nickel, who was crushed to death in 1972 while photographing what remained of Louis Sullivan's Stock Exchange.

NewCity  Chicago September 2005

Passionately drawn to the ramshackle structures that dot the roadsides of his beloved Door County, Wisconsin, Paul Lurie has ratcheted up the intensity of his color photographs of them to the clarity of a beneficent LSD trip. In Lurie's earlier rural studies, the individuality of his subjects arrested the viewer's interest, but now every detail of what the camera has captured stands out vibrantly and forthrightly for itself, down to individual blades of grass, each with its own distinctive hue. Although Lurie's images are tightly composed, their unearthly precision decomposes them into their simplest, yet always strident elements; two adjoining red barns in varying states of disrepair dominate an image that implacably forces us to turn our gaze away from them to outbuildings, wild shrubs and a pocked pole to which we would never have attended but for the photographer's ruthless quest for refined perception.-------- Michael Weinstein.

These wonderful pieces have transformed the entryway to the Center for the Intensive Treatment of Personality Disorders--creating a cheerful welcome for more than a hundred patients who are treated there daily. The soothing rural themes of your work are a true gift to those who must cope with the stresses of mental illness coupled with life in an urban environment.

Kenneth J. McMillan
Senior Director of Development
St. Lukes Roosevelt Hospital Center
New York, NY
August 21, 2007