Ben Aronson, Hollywood Hills, 2022, oil on panel, 72 x 60 in.
The city — be it Paris, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, or any one of a number of urban centers — is a place of dreams and beauty. Like distant mountains, skyscrapers take on a sheen of violet in the morning sunlight. Buildings lining both sides of an avenue, like the walls of a canyon, are illuminated in tones of the desert earth. And vibrant touches of burnt orange pop in an autumn street scene depicting Manhattan’s Upper West Side. You don’t just know it’s autumn by the fall colors. You feel it.
“My work is about the study of light and perception,” says artist Ben Aronson, whose impressionistic cityscapes are an amalgamation of realism and abstraction. “It’s not just how things look, but how it makes us feel and how it engages our emotions.”
Aronson, 64, captures everyday moments in the life of a city — from street level views of traffic and pedestrians to sweeping bird’s-eye perspectives from high above the rooftops — and invests them with atmosphere. Rendering them abstractly, Aronson conveys enough information for the viewer to complete the picture because he captures not just what we see but a sense of how we apprehend the world around us through our eyes.