Manhattan Midtown Texture

By Isabella S. Minichmair

As an artist, I always look for colour, texture and spatiality to investigate and convey information, emotion and environment. So, if I ask myself, “what effect does New York City have on my artwork?”, I immediately remember colorful reflections on glass façades. Every time I visit NYC I’m impressed and inspired by the texture in the variety of buildings.

Sure, every city has its special architectural features. In midtown Manhattan, it’s the unique blend of Art Déco buildings, stunning modernist architecture and also, like everywhere, less appealing buildings. The glass façades in between this variety works as a mirror, or a kind of membrane, between real and imagined spaces – especially on sunny days. Therefore, it is nearly impossible to perceive the texture of one single building when it always has the mirror image of other buildings in tow.

The glass façades seem like a metaphor for the social coexistence in this pulsing city. Ultimately, no one can exist without others, or, no artistic investigation or innovation can be unaffected by others. So it isn’t surprising that the mirror has a centuries-old artistic and cultural tradition that addresses transcendence and transformation. It is also a means of self-perception and the narcissistic self-duplication. At the same time, a mirror is a gateway to a different place – one that lies in the eye of the beholder (observer). Much like for Alice in her Wonderland, behind the reflections of the glass facades we can find the idea of a “third space” – a space that arises in our minds, if we allow it.

What can be recognized in large contexts also affects the details. In NYC, even lost things appears intrinsic (elemental). We can never be sure – was the object intentionally placed as art, or was it disassembled over time? We can imagine that street objects had an owner, a kind of former life and story, that engage our own memories and stories as well. Just like with the glass facades, this blurring of boundaries (limitations) or mixing up real and imagined spaces that NYC claims of its visitors is what inspires me the most. It is a kind of thinking and discussing out of the box – “thirding”, if you will. Like my last visit and exhibition at Agora Gallery, where I met so many talented, lovely and open-minded people from all over the world, NYC’s art scene all comes together in a special state of mind at special places. The effect? With your heart and soul, you never will leave this amazing city!