When I think about the conventions of painting -- a tradition I respect immensely -- I notice that my concern has always been with the interplay of light and structure" says artist Stephen Magsig. "Light, since it defines everything, is what my work is about -- how light changes things, how it inflects the surfaces of places we imagine for ourselves and inhabit, like sunlight touching a window sill, illuminating and creating contrasts and shadows."
Working with images he personally photographs, Magsig looks for crucial details in both the highlights and the shadows, in the brightness and obscurity of each scene. The artist says, "I get caught up in the mix of organic and non-organic human signs: the color of loaves of bread in an Italian bakery window, the reflections of facades in the car’s windshield, the abstracted angles of cornices and architectural detail." New Yorkers will recognize many of the scenes Magsig paints, yet the universal appeal is the atmosphere and mood which attracts those for whom the images hold no personal significance. The painterly quality of the work provides enough photo-like detail to "slow people down to look and wonder about the scene." The artist creates work that depicts New York City as a dynamic metropolis -- although his images are devoid of people. The appreciation Magsig holds for the subjects he paints allows him to create beauty in streets that may escape even those of us who live there.