In 1980, while spending a summer in the Berkshires I began taking photographs at night, seeking out environments where silence seeped deepest, akin to what I loved in Atget, De Chirico, Hopper, and others. Upon returning to NYC I continued, sensing that if pursued diligently, I might be able to evoke the environment I sensed when trolling the streets at night, much in the way Atget caught Paris at dawn at the passing moment between the 19th and 20th centuries or the Bechers revealed our abandoned industrial building landscape, shadowless beneath a constant pewter haze.
Life intervened. The bulk of the next 29 years were spent working as a designer, builder and residential architect. This past fall and winter ’08-’09 I took the project up again, using recent photos as the basis for charcoal drawings. Branching out from NYC, the plan is to eventually comb the country on a personal WPA project to capture in both photographs and drawings, the street’s immense solitude after man has left his tools and gone for the day.
Many artists have done beautiful work on night subjects. Along with the artists cited above one thinks of Van Gogh, Seurat (!), Brassai, G. Ault, P. Hujar, D. Moriyama, A.Katz, B. Naumann (“Mapping the Studio”) and others. For sustained examination however, William Gedney’s photographs are the closest in spirit to what I hope to do. He ended discouraged, feeling he never really “got it”, and I understand this, but his best photos capture a quality of American place that only Hopper achieved.
The drawings have an admittedly atavistic quality that I don’t resist. The scale is presently quite small (11” X 14” on average) but I can see certain drawings on a much larger scale. The medium, charcoal, dense and dusty, seems well suited to rendering the static tidal silence of empty streets and the oceanic heft of buildings.
Artist Bio / CV
Born in NYC 1951
Graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art 1974
I was in two previous Drawing Center group shows
"New Drawing in America" 1982
and various small shows in New Orleans and Philadelphia.
The website for my architecture and design work is