Monday, July 6, 2015

Nightscapes of New York City, My Newest Series.

Nocturnal Street Scene, 2015, 22"x30," watercolor, gouache & pencil
on paper.

A View of the Chrysler Building, 2015,
26 1/2"x21,"watercolor, gouache
& pencil on paper.
I love the way New York City looks at night; there is something magical about the place:  The darkness obscures the massiveness of the architecture, while the dazzling lights create an illusory and ethereal environment.   When it’s very dark out, buildings disappear above the level of the illumination from streetlights, traffic lights, storefronts and signs; pretty much everything above the second or third floor fades into darkness.  Those lights that shine out from upper story windows are rarely strong enough to define anything outside.  Instead they often look like twinkling little stars in the night sky

 When I walk around the city at night I sometimes feel as if I’m wandering through a gargantuan interactive light sculpture.  But one that is more interesting and mysterious to me precisely because the effect is not the consequence of a grand design, but of something more haphazard and random:  The aggregate of many individual efforts, mostly independent of each other, which coincidently, or not, adds up to a spectacular whole.

Reflections on a Corner, 57th & 7th, 2015, 20"x30,"
watercolor, gouache & pencil on paper.
So, not surprisingly, I decided to do a series of New York City nightscapes.  I started a couple of years ago.  However, progress has been slow.  I’ve discovered that it is challenging to capture the hallucinatory quality that very bright lights have in the dark, but it has been rewarding too.  To me, the nightscapes are evocative of everything I most associate with the city:  A sense of anonymity, or aloneness despite the crowds; extreme commercialism; and, more than anything, the insignificance of the individual in the midst of a place this huge, this densely populated.

To date, I don’t have enough paintings in my nightscape series for a solo show.  However, I have completed a few that I am pleased enough with to have had included in an occasional group show.  One such takes place July 9 - August 25, 2015 at the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, 1 Centre Street, 19th Floor.  I gather viewing is by invitation only, though.  Apparently security won’t let anyone into the building unless they have their name listed-----and then only with a photo ID.  If you are interested in seeing the exhibition, contact me at and I’ll see what I can do.  You could also try contacting the Art Students League of New York, since it is their show:  All the participating artists are either students or members of the League.  Or, you could wait until I have my solo nightscape show----but you’ll have to wait at least another year for that!

All copyrights are reserved to the artist (c) 2015.

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