Romantic, Nostalgic City Lights
New York City’s bridges, streets, and neon signs speak of romance and nostalgia in City Lights, an exhibit of paintings by Anna Rochegova and Lewis Zacks that opens at the Nabi Gallery on Thursday, February 2, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. The gallery is at 137 West 25th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues. Hours are 11 to 6, Tuesday through Saturday.
Anna Rochegova’s views of New York in mist and snow are filled with a luminosity that recalls the white nights of her native Russia. In this dreamy light, familiar scenes like the Williamsburg Bridge, the windows of nearby tenements, and the spires of Manhattan, glowing in hues of pale blue and amber, become realms of enchantment.
Anna Rochegova, Williamsburg Bridge in Mist, oil on linen, 32x96, 2005
Lewis Zacks paints in a more intimate space, focusing on particular buildings or objects that are rich in local memory. These may be the cottages and fishing boats of eastern Long Island or the palaces and churches of Venice. In the current show, they are street signs found in walks around Manhattan. Often the businesses they proclaim are long vanished—or, in the case of the Second Avenue Deli, recently so.
Lewis Zacks, Pastrami on Rye, oil on canvas, 22x28, 2005
Mr. Zacks lived in New York City for many years, working as a free-lance illustrator and later starting a film production company, before moving to eastern Long Island, where he often shows at local museums and galleries. His love of history, he says, inspired him to paint the disappearing farms of that once rural area as well as the artifacts of businesses that flourished on Manhattan’s Lower East Side—paying homage, in the process, to American masters such as Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Stuart Davis.
Lewis Zacks, Over Easy, oil on canvas, 24x30, 2005
Ms. Rochegova grew up in Moscow, daughter of an artist and an architect, and became herself a well-known painter, showing at galleries there and in St. Petersburg as well as in London and Vienna. She has executed many private and public commissions, among them murals for the Soviet Embassy in Havana and the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In 1995 she moved to New York to join her husband, a Swedish psychologist whom she met through their mutual interest in Tibetan Buddhism. Today they divide their time between Sweden and a Buddhist temple compound in the Catskills.
Anna Rochegova, Corner, oil on linen, 30x40, 2005
City Lights remains on view through March 11.