I am a philistine. The reason I am a philistine is because when it comes to art, I only like what I find beautiful. Today in the world of art, you’re supposed to appreciate art for the ideology and thought that goes behind it. If you only like what’s beautiful, then you are a philistine. I am quite happy being a philistine and hope I remain a philistine for the rest of my life.
Nonetheless, there have been a few recent works of art I felt I ought to show you. The common theme is New York.
Above (very top) is Thomas Connolly’s ‘New York Church’ (Oil on panel, 28″x32″, 2004). The church in question is the Glad Tidings Tabernacle, an Assemblies of God church, whose brick façade is only just visible on the left side of the painting. Towering in the fog is the Empire State Building. Then, crossing the vortex of West 33rd Street, we move to 1 Penn Plaza, then moving closer Madison Square Garden, and finally closest to us, the General Post Office.
The plethora of architectural styles here is not unlike many Manhattan street scenes. The rocket-like Empire State Building, the ‘toilet bowl’ alledgedly created by the combination of 1 Penn Plaza and Madison Square Garden, and McKim Mead and Wright’s classical beaux-arts Post Office.
Stephen Magsig’s paintings are almost like a more confident and recent take on Hopper. To me, they have the same empty beauty that much of Hopper’s work has, but are more precise (for better or worse). Above is ‘O’Nieal’s’ (Oil on linen, 60″x42″, 2002) and below is ‘Green Door, Mercer St.’ (Oil on linen, 42″x36″, 2003).
Moving along, there’s Nicholas Evans-Cato and his hazy depictions of New York. A domed savings bank branch in Brooklyn features prominently in many of his paintings, including ‘Panorama’ (below, Oil on canvas, 30″x90″, 2004)…
… and ‘Causeway’ (below, Oil on linen, 28″x48″, 2002), painted from the elevated line we have a peek at from the gap in ‘Panorama’. All these paintings have been exhibited at the George Billings Gallery on West 25th Street.