SYZYGY - LINING UP OF CELESTIAL BODIES

Newman's 19 paintings and companion photographs collectively represent the poetic interplay of two powerful mediums - painting and photography.

Newman's paintings are exact and arresting.  His digitally produced photographs are softer.  This contrast blurs boundaries between reality and perception.  In Syzygy, the medium associated with direct reportage becomes impressionistic while Newman pushes painting to exceed the intensity of reality.


For each individual work, Newman affixes a painting of a spherical object to a photograph twice its size.  These matches are carefully considered based on the works' aesthetic compatibility.  In most instances, he has personal and aesthetic reasons for combining particular paintings with photographs but he avoids literal narrative connections that lock two images into a rigid partnership.  The conjuncture of images is associative and allows viewers to find pleasure in threading connections.


Newman's paintings of individual circular objects suspended in the center of wood canvases share the same liberating sensibility as their photographic companions.  The rounded shapes at the center of Newman's paintings appear harmonious.  Creating them, however, is a demanding and time-consuming process from which Newman derives much satisfaction.  In his multi-media practice he depicts beautiful and meaningful subjects, but the most captivating component in his art is an invisible one.  Time and its varied influence on his creative life is Newman's hidden motif.  By producing his paintings from photographs, he makes a transition from instantaneously, and instinctively, captured images to labor-intensive works.  His paintings take years to complete, with help from numerous skilled assistants trained in his studio.  The discipline required for painting and the instinctive skills of photography are equally liberating, and in Newman's work they combine with fluidity and harmony.   


-Ana Finel Honigman