From Brooklyn to the Bronx in 36 Paintings



Stipan Tadić, “Smoker – twentieth Ave” (2022), oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches (all photographs courtesy James Fuentes Gallery)

For many of 2022, Stipan Tadić rode the D prepare from Coney Island to the Bronx and again as he meticulously explored every cease, retracing the route numerous occasions in the hunt for excellent scenes for his collection of New York cityscapes. Now, Tadić’s completed undertaking Metropolis: 36 Views of New York — composed of 36 oil canvases that doc the blocks surrounding the subway line — is on view by way of September 5 at James Fuentes Gallery in Manhattan’s Decrease East Facet.

The result’s a collection of ubiquitous New York imagery: hen hanging in a steamy restaurant window, supply drivers ready within the chilly, and the unabashed stare of a bodega cat. Generally Tadić sketched what he noticed and different occasions he snapped pictures, bringing each again to his studio to color them in his attribute cartoonish model.

Now a resident of Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, Tadić was born and raised in Zagreb, Croatia, and moved to New York to earn an MFA, graduating in 2020 and staying by way of the pandemic. However he says he nonetheless paints from an outsider’s perspective. With dozens of scenes so distinct from each other, even when the areas they painting are geographically shut, the completed collection probes the notion of whether or not one can actually ever know a spot.

“New York offers you a number of concepts with out you going too deep into your individual creativity,” the artist stated. “New York is doing its personal factor, and you’ll decide that up.” Tadić needed a undertaking with a starting and an finish, and located inspiration in Nineteenth-century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai’s collection 36 Views of Mount Fuji. The woodblock prints all present the mountain foregrounded by completely different individuals and actions in various areas all through the identical area. Tadić thought the concept might translate to depicting New Yorkers who share one commonality — on this case, the D prepare. The “subsequent logical step,” the artist stated, was to doc town alongside the subway line, which he thinks gives “essentially the most elementary mapping of New York.”

Stipan Tadić, “Bodega Cat – fiftieth Avenue” (2022), oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches

Tadić didn’t romanticize what he noticed on his subway journeys or alter the passengers’ clothes or equipment. “I needed the work to be within the now,” he stated. The artist’s works are rife with timestamps: A person in a portray close to the Fordham Theatre within the Bronx wears a masks and the Tommy Hilfiger tricolor coat that was in every single place final winter. In “Ecuadorian Restaurant – 62nd Avenue,” Tadić paints his hen dinner in vibrant colours and his environment in black and white, rendering a pair of diners, the subway entrance, and the brick buildings exterior as washed-out sketches compared to the meal in entrance of him. A snapshot of a winter morning exterior of the Barclays Heart on Atlantic Avenue exhibits supply app drivers, bundled up and chatting with their scooters parked ready for the primary pickups of the day.

Stipan Tadić, “Greenwood Cemetery – ninth Ave” (2022), oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches

Different works enterprise past obsessive documentation. Tadić infuses his work with historic references and contextual info, usually compulsively spilling his inner commentary onto the canvas, nevertheless misplaced it could be on the viewer. In his portray “Bedford Cafe – Bedford Park,” {a photograph} tacked on the wall above the diner desk depicts a prepare yard — the artist knew one was close by and needed to verify this small truth made it into the piece. Different particulars are far more recognizable, even iconic: A headshot of Jean-Michel Basquiat seems above an overhead view of Greenwood Cemetery, the place Basquiat is buried.

The remainder of the work is painted from life. A steaming cup of diner espresso and a well-known set of condiments assist set a comfy diner scene, one of many warmest and most acquainted areas within the collection. Lots of the work embrace videogame references, reminiscent of imagery from a Nineteen Nineties recreation referred to as Elders Scroll in “Bodega Cat – fiftieth Avenue.” Right here, a relaxed central determine lies surrounded by shiny packaged junk meals, gazing on the viewer from his resting place on a rubber non-slip mat, sporting a slight look of worry however an much more convincing expression of not desirous to rise up.

Stipan Tadić, “Bedford Cafe – Bedford Park” (2022), oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches

“Smoker – twentieth Avenue” depicts two topics standing under horizontal bars that seem when a file downloads, and one other strolling beneath the three dots that emerge when an individual varieties on an iPhone. A warm-hued portray of the Bryant Park Christmas honest exhibits a navigator and a younger man with an imaginary mission scrawled under: “Discover a German bratwurst.” It’s a lighthearted response to what may very well be a really grim remark: That dwelling in a spot as dense and overwhelming can strip somebody of empathy and make them scale back different individuals to facet characters in their very own life.

In different works, Tadić paints New York Metropolis devoid of human topics. An overflowing trash can is plastered in flyers and a dirty subway tunnel is empty. In a large view of Yankee Stadium, Tadić provides his topics again into the canvas within the type of floating close-ups. In all of his works, Tadić paints the locations and the individuals he sees intimately, translating their photographs from the pictures and sketches he took close to the D prepare to playful musings that talk to the limitless variety of tiny worlds that exist alongside a single New York Metropolis subway line.

Stipan Tadić, “Winter Morning – Atlantic Ave Barclays Heart” (2022), oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches
Stipan Tadić, “Christmas Market – forty second Avenue Bryant Park” (2022), oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches
Stipan Tadić, “Pobeda – fifty fifth St” (2022), oil on canvas, 18 x 14 inches
Metropolis: 36 Views of New York is on view at James Fuentes by way of September 5. (picture Elaine Velie/Hyperallergic)
Metropolis: 36 Views of New York at James Fuentes Gallery (picture Elaine Velie/Hyperallergic)


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