Martha Szabo, Up On The Roof: Liberation, Transformation, Celebration

David RIchard Gallery

Oct. 17, 2023 - Nov. 17, 2023

508 West 26th St, Studio 9F
New York, 10001
PHONE 917 853-8161

Up On The Roof: Liberation, Transformation, Celebration

Paintings by Hungarian-born holocaust survivor,
many never before exhibited, memorialize New York City’s
majestic skyline and the artist’s newfound freedom in America

October 17 – November 17, 2023

Artist Reception: Thursday, October 26, 2023 from 6:00 – 8:00 PM

508 West 26th Street, Suite 9F

David Richard Gallery, LLC
P: (212) 882-1705

Private viewings are available by appointment, please call or email the gallery to schedule.

David Richard Gallery is pleased to present, Martha Szabo, Up On The Roof: Liberation, Transformation, Celebration, a presentation of 25 paintings spanning from the early 1950s through the early 1990s, all easel-sized, oil on canvas, and all views of the New York City skyline and architecture as viewed from the rooftop and windows of the artist’s mid-rise and high-rise apartment buildings, where she lived and worked in Manhattan. Twenty of the paintings are hung in a salon style in the gallery in an intimate presentation of several thematic and aesthetic vignettes given the small size of the canvases, ranging from 6 x 4 inches up to 24 x 39 inches. A digital catalog will be published with an essay by Gwen F. Chanzit, Curator Emerita, Denver Art Museum.

With this debut solo painting survey, the David Richard Gallery heralds its exclusive representation of a landmark artist: NYC-based artist Martha Szabo. Featuring oil on canvas abstractions spanning four decades, several art historical –isms, and a lifetime of insatiable creativity, this exhibition marks an important chapter in the history of art and our city.

These deeply personal paintings—informed by Cubism, Constructivism, Fauvism, Expressionism, and Surrealism—invite comparisons with Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso, and Dali. Admirably productive during her extraordinary five-decade career, working with almost tireless initiative despite lack of consistent gallery representation or exhibition deadlines, Martha Szabo painted ode after profound ode to the metropolis she adored, her sanctuary city, her final home after years of hardship, — first Nazi persecution followed by Soviet control of Hungary. Immigration to the US in 1957 enabled Szabo to experience a creative rebirth.

From her Point of View atop a mid-century apartment building, Szabo recorded the architectural drama unfolding as the NYC of John V. Lindsay embarked on its golden era of energetic planning, master building, and construction. Szabo’s vantage point on tall, and ever taller, modern structures, juxtaposed with the expressive rooftops of stalwart, older walk-up buildings that withstood the built environment’s sixties-seventies seismic shift. It was balm for the artist’s spirit to observe and chronicle how natural phenomena burnished the inspiring architectural energy of her adopted imperial city with spectacular cloud formations, sunrises, sunsets, and even rainbows.

“These windowed paintings… are primarily cityscapes of imagination, a masterful record of place in lively dialogue between the external world and inward expression in front of that glass divide,” writes Gwen F. Chanzit, Curator Emerita, Denver Art Museum, in her catalogue essay.

With half a century dedicated to her meditative, evocative practice of painting New York, Szabo produced literally hundreds of paintings, in which contemporary art audiences will recognize and share, in Steinbeck’s phrase, the indescribable joy of creation.

About David Richard Gallery:  In 2015 David Richard Gallery launched DR Art Projects to provide a platform for artists of all stripes—international, national, local, emerging and established—to present special solo projects or to participate in unique collaborations or thematic exhibitions. The goal is to offer a fresh look at contemporary art practice from a broad spectrum of artists and presentations. The Gallery opened its current location in New York in 2017.

Since its inception in 2010, David Richard Gallery has produced museum quality exhibitions that feature Post War abstraction in the US. The presentations have addressed specific decades and geographies as well as certain movements and tendencies. While the gallery has long been recognized as an important proponent of post-1960s abstraction—including both the influential pioneers as well as a younger generation of practitioners in this field—in keeping with this spirit of nurture and development the gallery also presents established artists who embrace more gestural and representational approaches to the making of art as well as young emerging artists.

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