NYC Parks today reopens the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park with “Paul Hunter: Confinement Gardens.” Created during the COVID-19 pandemic, Paul Hunter’s series was inspired by his walks through New York City’s public parks and gardens during lockdown. As he sought refuge from these restrictions in the city’s greenspaces, he experienced the restorative power of flowers in bloom, which gave him hope despite the surrounding pandemic and political turmoil.
“For decades, the Arsenal Gallery has showcased artworks that explore nature, urban landscapes, and park history, and we are happy to reopen the space to visitors for the first time since the start of the pandemic,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “Paul Hunter’s paintings are a timely reflection on the inspiration New Yorkers have found in greenspaces during these difficult times, reminding us of the hope and respite parks continue to provide.”
NYC Parks’ Arsenal Gallery closed in March 2020 as a result of the pandemic. As a precaution due to COVID-19, several new policies are being implemented to keep visitors safe. To enter the gallery, COVID-19 vaccinations are required for those who are eligible, and mask-wearing is required for all. Guests will be required to sign in, and groups of five or more people can call 212-360-8114 or firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-register.
Paul Hunter is a New York City-based painter whose work is inspired by light and luminosity. In his “Confinement Gardens” series, Paul Hunter’s non-figurative compositions combine floral and leaf forms with wholly abstract linear patterns. To achieve the paintings’ luminous power, he applies several coats of translucent acrylics over an under-layer of aluminum leaf which reflects and refracts light through the layers of semi-transparent paint. “I am fully aware of the deteriorating natural environment, and the artifice of cultivated gardens, an ‘unnatural’ space where plants are protected,” says the artist, “However, during this time, I was nonetheless seeking a vision of hope, and celebrated nature’s ongoing luxuriant beauty in these lush green paintings punctuated with colorful notes of imagined flowers.” The paintings will be on view through November 18, 2021.
The Arsenal Gallery is located on the third floor of NYC Parks’ Headquarters in Central Park, on Fifth Avenue at 64th Street. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., except holidays. Admission is free.