Richard Finkelstein:
Sitting in the dark with strangers

December 10, 2015 - January 30, 2016
Opening reception: December 10, 6-8pm
Press release Images

The lights begin to dim, ambient noises fade away, suddenly there is a burst of light overhead and you are transported... this is the premise of Richard Finkelstein's newest body of work: Sitting in the Dark with Strangers. In this latest series Finkelstein uses miniature figurines and meticulously fabricated sets to compose his images and explore the experience of the movies.

Movies open a window into the world of our fantasies, melding what we see with what we desire, what we fear and what we hate. In Finkelstein's photographs we enter into this world, sitting in the darkness as characters and as dreamers, then pull back as only observers. While the movie ends and the usher comes with his broom to sweep up the sodas and popcorn, while the posters are torn down and discarded, the images continue to live on inside us.

Finkelstein’s works find inspiration in painting and film. In The Man Who Wasn’t There the linear breaks and stark lighting are reminiscent of works by Edward Hopper, while Hitchcock films inspire intrigue from the film Suspicion in the image Beware, My Lovely. Not only is the film directly referenced in the movie posters that fill the wall, but also in the action of the man watching the woman - the sinister words on the poster link them: A story of love... under the threat of MURDER! Through his work, Finkelstein not only comments on how movies impact our emotions, but how like a dream, a film allows a viewer to give up the appearance of reality to that which is unreal.

Sitting in the Dark with Strangers is Richard Finkelstein’s second exhibition with the gallery. After a successful career as a trial lawyer Finkelstein has turned to creating art. His photographs, paintings and drawings have been shown in various venues. Finkelstein was born in Philadelphia in 1950 and lives and works in New York City.

Sitting in the dark with strangers in Feature Shoot

Inspired by Hopper and Hitchcock, Photographer Creates Magical Miniature Scenes at the Movies
Feature Shoot
Ellyn Kail | January 29, 2016

As the story goes, the 1886 audience at the 50-second silent documentary The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat were so terror-stricken by the picture of a black and white train approaching that they leapt backwards for fear of certain annihilation. The fable, regardless of its veracity, speaks to the power of film to elevate even the most banal scene into the realm of preternatural.

For Sitting in the Dark with Strangers, New York City-based photographer Richard Finkelstein plays on cinema’s inherent ability to merge fact and fiction by fastidiously constructing model sets in which tiny figurines watch movies, pass by posters on the side of the road, and perhaps steal kisses under the illumination of a drive-in theater.
To continue reading, click here.

Finkelstein in New York Magazine

To Do: January 27 - February 10, 2016
Twenty-five things to see, hear, watch, and read

16. SEE Sitting in the Dark with Strangers
Enter Richard Finkelstein's fantasia.
In this show of photographs (and one light box), trial lawyer turned artist Finkelstein unleashes a fantasy world in miniature, with his sets and figures producing haunting cinematic scenarios. All the wonder and mystery of Joseph Cornell crossed with Edward Hopper and Alfred Hitchcock. Robert Mann Gallery, through January 30.

Photograph Magazine review

Richard Finkelstein: Sitting in the Dark with Strangers, Robert Mann Gallery
Photograph | Reviews
By Jonas Cuénin

One could argue that Richard Finkelstein’s work is as much about modeling as it is about photography. In this exhibition of 18 medium-format prints on view at Robert Mann Gallery through January 30, Finkelstein draws us into his miniature, cinematic world, bringing villages, streets, houses, and movie theaters to life. In order to reproduce this environment and explore the experience of film, the subject of the series, Finkelstein conjures a dark, intriguing atmosphere. Movie screens, which are sometimes contemplated by his imaginary characters, are a constant presence in the images, either literally or by implication. The figures and scenes in these photographs are so delicately fabricated that they are endowed with an intangible sense of reality. To continue reading, click here.

Finkelstein in Flavorwire

Photos of the Cinema-Going Experience Capture the Magic of Movies in Miniature
Flavorwire | Photography
Alison Nastasi
January 22, 2016

Following news of New York City’s iconic Ziegfeld movie theater shutting its doors after 46 years, Richard Finkelstein’s exhibition Sitting in the Dark with Strangers takes on a new resonance. On view at the Robert Mann Gallery through January 30, Finkelstein’s photos are constructed from meticulous sets with miniature figurines, capturing the cinema-going experience.

The Edward Hopper-esque images are a treat for eagle-eyed cinéastes, as Finkelstein references classic films in every detail, down to the posters on the wall. The act of seeing and watching is emphasized between audience and screen, as well as between figures. “Through his work, Finkelstein not only comments on how movies impact our emotions, but how like a dream, a film allows a viewer to give up the appearance of reality to that which is unreal,” writes the gallery.

Theaters like the Ziegfeld are disappearing, but Finkelstein’s photos remind us that the films live on within. To view the article, click here.

Richard Finkelstein featured in Booooooom!

Artist Spotlight: Richard Finkelstein
December 31, 2015

Cinematic series by New York City-based artist (and former lawyer), Richard Finkelstein, features miniature figurines and carefully constructed sets to capture the experience of going to the movies. “Sitting in the Dark with Strangers” is on display at Robert Mann Gallery until January 30th, 2016. To view the feature on Richard Finkelstein, click here.