Huguette Caland, Jules de Balincourt, Erik Benson, Bruce High Quality Foundation, Richard Estes, Ralph Fleck, Bill Jacklin, Julie Mehretu, Ron Milewicz, Enoc Perez, Ed Ruscha, Gary Simmons, Melanie Smith, and others
Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art announces a group painting show, Metropolis: Painting of the Contemporary Urban Landscape, opening April 29th, curated by writer and art critic David Ebony. The show features paintings by an international array of artists, focusing on urban landscapes. Metropolis offers a meditation on contemporary urban existence through the architectural environment, implied social interaction, and activities of the populace inhabiting these vital centers. With a title taken from architecture critic Anthony Vidler’s seminal essay, Psychometropolis, Ebony considers cityscape images in terms of increasingly sophisticated surveillance and the anxiety of the contemporary city life.
While frequently alluring, many of the works in the show reveal a conflicted reality underneath their seeming orderliness. Vidler says about this Psycho-metropolis, “modern architecture seeks to keep the two dominant themes in precarious balance”, including the need to reinvent the aesthetic language with the need to address “utopian and materialist attempts to refashion the social world.” Continuing he states “The most hopeful utopias were at best saturated with ironic defense against their possible, if not inevitable failure.” These themes are evident in the works on view, sometimes in surprising ways. For example, the people in Jules de Balincourt’s seemingly bucolic urban park turn out to be protesters, Gary Simmons’s striking architecture appears on closer examination to be on fire, and “crime” hovers over Ruscha’s nocturnal streetscape.
According to Ebony, “Although many of the cityscapes in the exhibition are aerial views, or dark images of urban structures seen from afar, with signs of human presence merely implied. “Metropolis” is not intended to convey a post-9/11 dystopian vision, nor do the works here suggest a hierarchical social study of the urban landscape in the sense of a view from the “Club of the Sons” in Fritz Lang’s celebrated 1927 film, “Metropolis.” Instead, the exhibition offers a fresh discourse on urban existence considered from a rather cool, contemplative distance”.