A Light in the City

Art by Rick Secen

July 27, 2022 - September 26, 2022

The Municipal Art Society of New York (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.

Artist Statement

The inspiration for this collection of paintings finds its true source from the people I witness every day and the city that they are perpetually molding.

From the street corner, I watch hundreds of people hustling about, getting it done, surviving the day, and beating the odds in a city that moves at a relentless speed.

While the day is unpredictable and each morning seems to burst into disarray, we may pause and discover that there is also a wonderful rhythm written into the fabric of the urban experience.

The streets move to the beat of traffic lights. Trains burst violently into stations, load passengers, and depart over and over again. Boats eb and flow, slicing through the harbor. Helicopters launch and land in rhythmic order. The whole city moves to an unseen conductor.

This collection, which is composed of works from the last seven years, features paintings of our city which were constructed using methods that capture this dual nature of city life.

The paintings are full of texture and vibrating color, while being sequestered to strong shapes. Light and atmosphere churn into the perfect lines of city perspective. Both light and air are depicted as characters themselves, moving between the buildings, under the bridges, through our parks, and coming into direct contact with the people who live here, where together they share a moment of silent chaos.

About the 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 www.ricksecen.com or follow him @ricksecen_studio

Photo 1 of 30
A Light From Above, by Rick Secen.
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Flatiron Spring, by Rick Secen.
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Remembering the Light, by Rick Secen.
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Cup and Saucer, by Rick Secen.
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The Brooklyn Inn, by Rick Secen.
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Backyard Escape, by Rick Secen.
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Elizabeth Street Garden and Lion, by Rick Secen.
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Shoes from a Wire, by Rick Secen.
Photo 9 of 30
Steam Vent, Steamy City, by Rick Secen.
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Stop Light Looking Up, by Rick Secen.
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Train Crossing Manhattan Bridge, by Rick Secen.
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Black Liberty Leading, June 2020, Columbus Circle, Trump Tower, by Rick Secen.
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Bold Song, by Rick Secen.
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Man, Wall, and ATM, by Rick Secen.
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Distant Light, by Rick Secen.
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A Performance, by Rick Secen.
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Chinatown in the Rain, by Rick Secen.
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Fishing the East River, by Rick Secen.
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Hot Dog Vendor, by Rick Secen.
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Leaning Downtown, by Rick Secen.
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Rusted Beam with Blue Rocks, by Rick Secen.
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Radio City Evening, by Rick Secen.
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On the East River, by Rick Secen.
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Mellow Green, by Rick Secen.
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Ludlow in Winter, by Rick Secen.
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Cold Walk, by Rick Secen.
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Katz's Deli in Winter, by Rick Secen.
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Two Water Towers, by Rick Secen.
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A Light Rain, by Rick Secen.
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Manhattan from Pier 4, by Rick Secen.