Freilicher's historic paintings will be hung in conversation with new work by contemporary artists Dancy and Heidkamp in a show that highlights common interests: improvisation, painting as a window, studio as subject, and the desire to interact with, and, at times, reinvent the New York cityscape.
From the 1950s until her death in 2014, Jane Freilicher painted images of the countryside and the city as seen from her studios in Watermill and Manhattan, New York. In company with the work of her peers Fairfield Porter and Larry Rivers, Freilicher’s paintings utilized expressionist technique but were in direct opposition to the heroic abstraction that was in vogue when she began her career. The gallery will exhibit paintings from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s depicting the view from her lower Fifth Avenue studio window. This body of work documents the changing skyline of lower Manhattan, albeit imprecisely; Freilicher admittedly would reinvent things when the paintings needed it. In a 2009 interview, poet and fellow New York School member John Ashbery described her work as “inviting the spectator to share her discovering of how impossible it is really to get anything down.” As a result of this process, the subject of these paintings seems less the city and more a celebration of intuitive image making or the sanctuary of the studio.
In Mira Dancy’s work, images are layered and reflected to a dizzying effect. Fragments of advertisements, storefront windows of retail spaces, signs, and repeated figures from the artist’s own dramatic lexicon merge into new images. In this exhibition, a canvas depicting a table top (a nod to Freilicher’s penchant for still lives set against the backdrop of the city) includes a rose and a study for the other canvas in the show, inviting the viewer into an intimate space within the artist’s studio. In addition a neon sign by Dancy will serve as a more literal reconfiguring of the cityscape, by manipulating the view into the gallery window, that beckons the viewer in.
In Daniel Heidkamp’s observational paintings, his immediate surroundings offer a framework for stylistic, technical, and, at times, narrative improvisation. The paintings in this exhibition depict views through windows in New York City hotel rooms as well as in his Brooklyn studio. The paintings do not purport to be indexes of these spaces. Rather, embellishments are added and the skyline is adjusted for compositional effect ,and “Easter Egg” surprises as varied as a Mike Kelley sculpture or a ballet class in a distant window are invented, and slipped in.