The Washington Post November 30, 1991
Landscapes Made From Memory


By Mary McCoy

Deserted shadowy buildings define the sense of place in Steven Fuchs’s ink and wash paintings at Gallery K. This Arlington artist paints familiar scenes, mostly from around the Washington area, but he paints them in the dead of night, when buildings have a lonely drama, thanks to deep shadows cast in the artificial glow of streetlights.

These night scenes are rendered in a friendly, illustrative style. Free from the activity of daylight hours, they are full of the history of their buildings, and they are full of promise. Lit by spotlights high on three towering cranes, "Clarendon" resembles a stage set, awaiting the next step in its transition, Its 1920s vintage storefronts, now occupied by Asian businesses, seem quaint and curious compared with the blank façade of an office building rising across the street. With a characteristic streak of mischievousness, Fuchs labels the green awning over one of the doorways "Bank of Confusion."

Fuchs doesn’t stint on detail. He draws every brick in the sidewalk outside the Mayflower Hotel and even takes on the Shriner’s building with its triple arched doorway encrusted with decorative motifs. The enthusiasm of many an artist would fail at such tedious tasks, but Fuchs makes it look easy, even fun, keeping his linework loose and lively through-out.

The storybook quality of this work turns each scene into a narrative. With dramatic perspective and lighting, buildings loom large or nestle cozily on street corners. The architecture becomes the vehicle for this narrative, whether it is the history of a rambling complex of grain elevators in Gaithesburgh or the interior of a tiny apartment with city lights glinting off its windowsills. For Fuchs, architecture is the setting for the playing out of history and dreams.


 


 

 

 

 

 

The Washington Post November 30, 1991


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