Gallery Night, Stephen Posen

In Chelsea, on Thursday night, you could feel the beat of the street.  Galleries were having their first openings of the year.  If you want, you could literally walk from gallery to gallery and see what is the latest and greatest.  The art world is all there.  A small segment of New York City that is a world on to itself. 

We were invited to see the opening at the Sears Peyton Gallery.  Always nice for all the friends of an artist to come to the opening give praise and support the artist.   The gallery is located on 11th Avenue on the 8th floor.  It is amazing how many galleries there are  in the Chelsea area.  Many have store front property but the majority of them are on different floors of the buildings. 

I went to see Stephen Posen’s work.  Artists, be it a writer or a painter or a photographer, goes through peaks and valleys in their career.  Sometimes, you can look back at an artists life and see where they peaked.  Yet, others continue to churn out great work and at the end their life is the peak of their crescendo.  Sometimes artists, like some of the greatest scientists of our time, peak in their early 20’s. 

Stephen Posen graduated with a MFA from Yale in 1964 and was awarded a Fulbright Grant uponImg_3472_sm_2

graduation.  He went to Florence with other young up and coming artists, Chuck Close to name one.  Stephen met his wife in Florence  (who happens to be an incredibly bright and successful in her own right).  I love Stephen’s earlier works.  They are beautiful, intense and layered.  His earlier works are mature.  Quite frankly I was blown away by his earlier work knowing that he did these pieces in his late 20’s, early 30’s.  They look like someone who has been honing their skills for 40 years. 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I went to see Stephens work at his loft.  A fantastic loft that they have owned and lived in for over 30 years.  That was back when you had to be an artist to buy a loft in Soho.  His new work looks like the work of a young emerging artist.  An intellectual work in progress.  Gritty, beautiful and unpolished.  Not knowing the age of the artist, one can see that he is going somewhere.  One would think it will be very interesting what he does next.  This work is raw and there is such brilliance here, let’s see what he does next.  Like a first novelist, flashes of brilliance and the second book is out of this world.  Then you find out he is maybe late 50’s or just turned 60 and you see his early work when he is 20 that looks like an artist who did it was in his late 50’s.  So, a total wow. 

Perhaps Stephen Posen is going through what ever artist hopes for.  A new beginning.  Putting out completely different work from his past yet taking his skills as an artist and putting his ideas and talent into a new body of work. 

The show is really well curated and all the other artists are young ( at least younger than Stephen ).  I have seen many artists never move past their best work and get stuck doing the same thing.  Lots of time I have seen an artist where I wonder are they ever going to move past this work.  Even artists that are quite successful and I can point to a time where I thought they peaked.  Stephen, is the first artist, that I have seen, where his is gathering steam again up the hill.  It is really refreshing and inspiring to see.

(His early work, a painting, is the jpeg on top and his current work (photos, drawings, etc.) is the jpeg in the middle of the page)

Comments (Archived):

  1. Göran Assarsson

    Good evening (local time)
    It is a really interesting article you have written and I really sympathize with your opinions on his work and his progress (intended recession) as an artist. One thing I found astounding though, is the choice of art in the top of the article. How come you chose that painting? It is a painting that hasn’t been on display for over twenty years, which has left it’s home country and been flown all the way to northern europe..

    So… Why just that one?

    Best regards,
    private collector.