The day is brilliant: asphalt glimmers, people knife through the crowd, buildings look cut out against a rare blue sky. The sidewalk is mobbed, the sound of traffic deafening. I walk slowly, and people hit against me. Here and there, a face, a body, a gesture separates itself from the endlessly advancing crowd, attracts my reviving attention. The city is opening itself to me. I feel myself enfolded in the embrace of the crowded street, its heedless expressiveness the only invitation I need to not feel shut out.

Nothing heals me of a sore and angry heart like a walk through the very city I often feel denying me. To see in the street the fifty different ways people struggle to remain human until the very last minute—the variety and inventiveness of survival technique—is to feel the pressure relieved, the overflow draining off. I join the anxiety. I share the condition. I feel in my nerve endings the common refusal to go under. Never am I less alone than in the crowded street. Alone, I imagine myself. Alone, I buy time. Me, and everyone I know. Me, and all the New York friends.

Vivian Gornick, “Approaching Eye Level,” Beacon Press, 1996.

Magenta Plains is thrilled to present Pain Quotidien, Alex Kwartler’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Pain Quotidien includes eight new large-scale fresco paintings and a suite of smaller figural and pictographic oil and acrylic paintings. The exhibition is on view on the first floor of the gallery as well as in our window gallery at 95 Orchard Street.

Alex Kwartler lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. In 2014 he presented a solo show entitled A Superficial Lyric at Nathalie Karg Gallery in New York. His work has been included in group exhibitions at White Columns, Bortolami Gallery, Mitchell Innes & Nash, Martos Gallery, Casey Kaplan, Petzel Gallery, Wallspace and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Frieze, Artforum and Art in America and is featured in Painting Abstraction published by Phaidon Press. He received his MFA from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ and his BFA from Cooper Union, New York, NY. Kwartler will be an artist-in-residence at The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas in Spring 2017.