Virtual Gallery Talk with Rick Secen

A Light in the City

Join MAS on Thursday, September 8th at 5:00 PM ET as we explore photographer Rick Secen’s new exhibition A Light in the City. Rick’s exhibition is the first collection of paintings to be featured in the Doris C. and Alan J. Freedman Digital Gallery. The artist will be in conversation with Johnny Thornton, Director of Arts Gowanus and NY Director of Established Gallery. The pair will talk about Rick’s highly textured, narrative paintings, and delve into how he selected the characters and subjects in this collection of works.

Please note this is a virtual event. Time will be allotted for audience Q&A at the end of the program.

Attendance is FREE with RSVP but donations are appreciated.

About the Exhibition

MAS is pleased to present a collection of paintings by artist Rick Secen. Capturing scenes of New York City life with a particular eye for the changing character of light, Secen’s art evokes the experience of the seasons in the five boroughs. From the bright skies of spring and the enveloping rays of summer sun, to the sharp shadows of fall and the cool softness of winter light, A Light in the City depicts a year in the life of an ever-evolving metropolis.

This exhibition is the first collection of paintings to be featured in the Freedman Gallery.

Read more about the exhibition and explore the featured works by clicking here.

Thursday, September 8
5:00 PM — 6:00 PM


  • Manhattan from Pier 4, by Rick Secen.
    photo 1 of 2
  • From left to right: Rick Secen; Johnny Thornton.
    photo 2 of 2

About the Speakers

Rick Secen, Featured Artist

Rick Secen is a Brooklyn-based artist who has been working primarily in oil painting since 2015. After graduating from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2005, he moved to New York City to pursue sound editing for film.

Coming from a film-making background, his instinct in painting leans heavily on the art of storytelling. In 2018, Rick had his first solo exhibition, titled City Witness, featuring a series of paintings themed on stories from his community in the Lower East Side.

In January 2022, he had his second solo exhibition titled Guiding Lights, which portrayed characters in isolation having a direct interaction with a light source. The series was directly born from pandemic living.

Along with works of art containing narrative, Rick is also pursuing a personal on-going documentary project. By filming and interviewing local artists in their studios, discussing their projects, their processes, and their stories, he discovers the many ways there are to be a working artist.

To see more of Rick’s work, visit or follow him on Instagram @ricksecen_studio.
Johnny Thornton, Executive Director of Arts Gowanus

Johnny Thornton (he, him) is an artist and curator that lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He is currently the Executive Director of Arts Gowanus and co-owner of Established Gallery. Born in Connecticut, he spent his childhood in Johannesburg, South Africa, before moving to Tucson, Arizona, where he studied Fine Arts at the University of Arizona. He received his Masters of Fine Arts from Parsons the New School for Design in 2012. Thornton has curated exhibitions, public art installations, and community art projects throughout New York City. His work has been exhibited throughout the United States and is part of several private collections. Thornton’s art studio is located in Gowanus, Brooklyn.

Follow him on IG @_johnnythornton and @established_gallery_