North America is a mythology made of landscape and things. The first element provides the background for the light quality, a sense of unlimited space and the feeling that the sky is holding its breath to accomodate every man’s dreams and vision. The second one is what man built over this pristine territory, filling it with buildings, highways, neon lights, motels, movie theaters, restaurants, cars. And people. Because this vast land had to be populated by Americans in order to be called America. Many painters, photographers and writers (the most visual artists) have been portraying this myth for more than a century. Why bothering to add one more to the list? you might ask at this point. We found an answer in Robert Gniewek, an artist from the photorealist movement. If you make a quick check on the web, you’ll find other names like Richard Este, John Salt or Don Eddy, under this label. But Gniewek is somehow different. His paintings are lush, mouth-watering, saturated by colors with sleek, shiny surfaces, polished metal and wet tarmac, preposterous signs about materialistic propaganda. He is not afraid to idealize today’s America instead of the past one, creating an interesting bridge between yesterday and today. But what time is it in the painting? The question is not banal, since the only way to get an idea of an american decade is to look at cars. Objects become the only measurement of time passages. People are like french fries, a side order on the visual plate. Barely present, they are impersonal, uninteresting, bored and alienated, This is the mythology in Gniewek’s paintings: a beautiful landscape that survives without us and surpasses us. It’s the place, along with all its objects, that represents the idea of freedom. The paintings we selected from top to bottom are running through a long, sleepless night. The last four are in full daylight. Here, it seems the magic is gone: we are back to the naked structure where neons, roads, dried plants, red lights and parking lots reveal themeselves for what they are. And always present, the absence of people. A great loneliness of the soul.