More than 8.5 million people live in New York City. That’s more than 27,000 people per square mile. They glide past you on the street, fill buildings that reach into the sky, and zip underneath in packed subway cars. And even with people everywhere, the city offers a sense of privacy, a place where people can get lost in their own thoughts, a feeling of isolation that cuts through the crowds. It can be freeing to be amid so many people and somehow feel relatively invisible.
“The city is definitely an isolating experience,” says painter Vincent Giarrano, who uses that isolation to inspire his works. “What I like about a subject is that I’m seeing something sincere and about how they truly are. That changes when you’re with someone or knowingly observed. I prefer when someone is in their own thoughts, even if they’re surrounded by several people on a city street. A person is more relaxed and natural, not acting for someone.”
Giarrano will explore these ideas in his new works beginning October 12 at Susan Powell Fine Art in Madison, Connecticut. For his show, the artist let the city and his figures tell stories. “For this show I was really focused on the narrative element in my work. I love a subtle, quiet narrative that speaks about the human experience and what real life feels like,” he says. “City life is also a big part of this show. I love exploring the relation of the figure with this incredible man-made environment. There’s amazing energy there, and the variety of people and settings are very inspiring.”
He adds, “Painting contemporary women is another focus for this show. I continue to find them to be the greatest subject; interesting and meaningful on so many levels.”
New works include city scenes like 23rd Street Station, a piece composed while admiring the golden ratio, and the interior scene Brooklyn Bedroom. “I love the character of interior space in New York City, especially the railroad apartment,” Giarrano says. “This is a painting of my friend in Brooklyn. I wanted to capture her life at this time; a young person starting off in the city. I think bedrooms are such interesting spaces. Often it’s the bedroom that... reflects a person’s personality the most.”
In Sara in Sheer Dress, he turns his attention to one figure as she stands in front of a greenish-blue wall, her pale skin and tattoos on her back and arms visible through her dress. “Sara is a friend in New York City that I’ve worked with before. I love her style and taste in clothing,” he says. “She also has an interesting mysterious quality that I wanted to explore through painting her. For this piece I wanted to feature the tattoo on her back. The sheer dress she’s [wearing] is a perfect way of representing the tattoo as well as what I admire about her fashion sense. Posing her turned away also created a nice feeling of mystery. In this piece I really liked the juxtaposition of the complexities of her dress with the simplicity of the background.”
Giarrano’s new show will be on view through November 12.