Lewis’s paintings, like those of many Abstract Expressionists, straddle the boundary between abstraction and figuration. The predominantly dark palette of this work evokes the nocturnal cityscape of the title; the delicate lines that crisscross the surface have been interpreted as laundry or power lines. In City Night Lewis has transformed this quotidian subject matter into an atmospheric and luminous abstraction. “The elements of painting constitute a language in themselves,” the artist wrote in 1949; the dynamic interplay of light and dark in City Night demonstrates his deft control over the medium.
Gallery label from Abstract Expressionist New York, October 3, 2010-April 25, 2011.