SOPAC’s Reflect: NYC exhibit brings urban life to South Orange

A new art exhibit, “Reflect: NYC” opened at SOPAC on Sept. 11.

The exhibit by Michael Steinbrick highlights quiet reflection among the constantly changing atmosphere of the busy Manhattan streets. “They are all photorealistic, but for me, there’s a lot more going on on a higher level of consciousness,” Steinbrick said. In addition, his paintings include elements of both linear and abstract styles.

Steinbrick obtained his BFA from Montclair State University and then worked as a muralist and scenic designer. He developed an interest in the city-scape and his work has been featured in various places. For him, featuring his work at SOPAC was a sort of coming home, as he is local to the area.

Steinbrick captures the city-scape through photography, then he paints them. On many occasions, he captures a moment and that tells a story.

Xanadu, a piece that captures the heart of Times Square, highlights this combination of styles. The lettering and framing of the various building and objects represents a linear style. However, the reflections and colors in the vehicles and on the billboards represent a more abstract style. This piece illustrates the ever-changing atmosphere of NYC, as it would be completely different if the picture was taken only moments after.

“The Valley of the Dolls” painting draws the viewer to the billboard towards the back and the young woman in the bottom right. These two aspects of the piece show contrasting lifestyles and for the girl, a desire to escape from the commercialism of society.

“I am so interested in this artists’ paintings because it perfectly brings together some of the things I’m most passionate about – social change and expression through art,” said Caitlyn Webber, vice president of the Photography Club.

In “Courageous Army,” Steinbrick’s personal favorite, the story unfolds as it was painted. He describes it as, “An African American man is looking up and it was about his seeing something that he’d probably thought he would never see in his lifetime, this inauguration.” Here the greatest detail directs the viewer to the Inauguration of former President Obama on the screen, and the man looking up at it.

Michael Cappelluti, president of P.O.E.T.I.C., said, “The city is a place that could mean a million different things to a million different people. So, when an artist depicts something as grand as the city, that’s an opportunity to learn and view the world from a completely new and exciting perspective.”

Other students highlighted just how different the exhibit is from others they had seen.
The exhibit can be found on the second and third floors of SOPAC and will be there until Nov. 24.

Daniel D’Amico can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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