All of us have moments when we pause and stare into space, engrossed in thoughts and feelings that exclude all other consideration. It’s these kinds of moments vividly captured in stark, sparse, unadorned fashion by Edward Hopper’s mid and late period paintings. He invites psychological identification and participation.
The urban landscapes demonstrate a related quality: liminality (spaces of transition both physical and emotional). Although they exist in every urban center, it’s cities like New York that have come to be identified with this quality. The more historically-preserved architecture provides a richer graphic choice.
That his popularity has grown to international cult status is testament to the universality of his vision: a vision that, as a creative worker, I share and have come to admire in his paintings. Hopper became one of many important influences on my work as he is on so many visual creatives worldwide.
The show ‘Edward Hopper’s New York’ at The Whitney exhibits many of his iconic paintings. Their simplicity invites all viewers seeking a kind of validation for their most personal moments–not just those who actively follow art. His work requires no explanation. It provides a certain solace for those of us who have felt alienation and/or abandonment. We are not alone, even in isolation.