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Fred Gutzeit – FOUR SIDEWALKS, 1978, acrylic on canvas, 72 inches high

Fred Gutzeit - Four Sidewalks


These four canvases are part of a series of 60 paintings, that started with a painting of a single section of sidewalk.  This was a section of concrete not far from the Mulberry Street Library on Houston Street.  That painting in 1975 was of the bright sunlight on the sidewalk at noon.  Twenty more followed including early morning light, afternoon cloudy light, light from a rain-wet sidewalk, light from a reflected neon sign in a rain puddle, and a fantasy (dream sequence of concrete aggregate forming into geometric patterns).
The series of 21 paintings formed a cycle moving from dawn to “new” dawn.  These paintings are 46 inches high, and others are various sizes including works on paper .  The four six foot high canvases here are variations on the patterns of the aggregate – into shifting planes of first dawn and new dawn patterns.

Patricia Eakins, in American Artist Magazine – October 1975, says:
“Thus these paintings are not really about sidewalks or even altogether about light and color, but about the subtlety of perception.  And as if to make sure the viewer understands this, Gutzeit suddenly shifts the frame near the end of the series, a technical change to startling effect:  ‘At first the grains of matter composing the sidewalk section were constant – I made a stencil – and it was only the light that changed.  Now the random grains are shifting into structures, geometric configurations – a kind of order.’ ”

Fred Gutzeit has lived and maintained his studio on the Bowery since 1970.  There is a folder on file in the library of all 60 paintings with further information.  If interested, please ask a librarian for the folder.

Open now. Ends December 30th, 2018. Mulberry Street Library