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Martin Lewis | Relics [Speakeasy Corner] | etching

A dramatically lit, bird’s-eye view of a NYC street-corner. One of the finest among many superb drypoint-etchings by, arguably, that medium’s greatest chronicler of the life of the city at night, Martin Lewis. One window, into one streetcorner, at just one moment; within which Lewis, to me, captured countless, in every other moment, untold stories; narratives of the night; already made more enticingly curious by shadow, and the illusion of being at a few yards remove. I’ve looked at this rectangle of ink and paper – fascinating how brilliant the light appears where there is actually only a not=particularly white surface – hundreds of times, and it always seems to be a newly issued, and quite personal, invitation; and, with this particular rectangle, I know it is, as well, to thousands of other people, to reconsdtruct the stories; turn the corner, float down and on to the pavement,… different choices for every viewer. The choices then exponentially increased with every added moment that one is williing to allow themselves toremain transfixed. Personal opinion, but I think this is one of the great visual arguments for the necessity of a superb artistic imagination, carried by superb graphic skill, for the creation of a superb work of art; no matter the medium, style, purpose, period, and so on. The most experienced, thoughtful, discerning viewer- if willing to look at a work of great creative power; to their eye limited by level of skill;with an impulse, not to judge but, to “complete” the experience,by further envigorating and defining line, color, composition, or whatever necessary, to them, can have that always sought, inexplicable, and unique experince, of direct communication of an intense creative impulse, from, or with a great artist. -Sam