The subject matter in this series is simple and focused. It’s clear what he’s focusing on– the shadows of a man’s face, the volume of a cow, the difference a vase of flowers brings to a dark space. Newman is pointing to certain parts of each subject, and at the same time he shrouds other parts of it in a quiet mystery– much like dusk does to things. There is nothing terribly extraordinary that he is showing us, but it is how he is showing us that is impressive. The sleeping (or so we hope) body of a homeless man is translated into a cluster of fantastic lines create lovely shapes and forms. The top is spinning fast enough for the background to be a few rough lines, but we notice that it’s about to fall at the angle it’s spinning. Although we can sense that the subjects are mobile, Newman has managed to capture them in a still moment. Time has frozen.
The figures in his work have an eerie quality about them. None of the characters seem to be paying any attention to the viewer, but rather, totally wrapped up in their own minds. Even the ones directly facing the viewer seem to be looking slightly behind us. None of them are clear enough for us to recognize, putting us in the same sort of haze that the subjects seem to be stuck in. These intriguing characters have a commanding presence that demands attention even though we can only decipher so much about them.
Newman is a talented printmaker with a knack for expressive translation. The work is beautifully simple and gently mesmerizing, and overall, something worth stopping to imagine with.