Through A City Darkly
Artist Jeremy Mann’s Urban Realism at The Christopher Hill Gallery
Perched above St. Helena’s quaint Main Street, The Christopher Hill Gallery has, for ten years, served as an oasis. For urban expats craving contemporary, international art and intelligent conversation, Hill’s gallery on the second floor (above a shop that somewhat inexplicably sells exclusively Kokopelli jewelry) provides a much-needed break from wine country kitsch. From pop art to German expressionism to urban realism, Hill’s gallery is a dynamic and wide-ranging tour of the 20th Century schools of art.
Starting March 17th, Jeremy Mann, a San-Francisco-based artist who has had two previous solo exhibits at the Hill Gallery, is once again taking over the space. Mann is known for his monochromatic depictions of gritty urban street scenes, and the 30 new paintings from his Composition series are in keeping with the theme.
“Abstract shapes, lines, areas of light and dark, all coagulate into an image which echoes the feeling of what a person experiences when lost within the hustle and bustle of a city, but also holds serenity to the peace which can be found within its elements of quiet beauty,” Mann says in his statement.
Hill appreciates that Mann stays far away from sentiment and cliché: you won’t see trolley cars, romanticized skylines or The Statue of Liberty. “Through the arrangement of shapes, of detail, of form, line and balance, I attempt to capture an uncategorized reality before me in a personal style which reflects the way I’ve come to view the world,” writes Mann.
Using only his hands and rags as tools (no paintbrushes or scalpels) Mann paints monochromatically: all green, all blue, all brown or all grey. While those familiar with Manhattan or San Francisco may recognize specific details from intersections and underpasses, Mann’s paintings capture, the feel of each city: the intangible, evanescent atmosphere. The sense of place is as strong as that of longing.