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TOM CURRY: ISLANDS
Monet had his haystacks and Brooklin, Maine, artist Tom Curry has his Chatto Island. Rising 26 feet above the sea, Chatto is a dot in Blue Hill Bay. Yet it is this island, with its rising and falling tides, dramatic cloud formations, and ever- changing seas, that captivates Curry and provides an inexhaustible resource for his art. Curry's tiny island is a constant in his compositions of two-thirds sky and one-third island.
"When we moved to Maine 20 years ago, I was blown away by so much sky," says Curry. "I started right in on the idea of space. I began trying to get that feeling of the power of the sky and to get that sense of space."
Curry's painstaking technique begins with an oil or pastel sketch he makes in the field. In the studio, he translates the sketch onto a gessoed board, upon which he establishes the complementary colors he wants. Then he sands the entire surface. After the sanding, he using a palette knife to apply paint, softening the edges with paper towels. The finished painting possesses startling depth and transparency.
Considered one of Maine's most important contemporary artists, Curry has recently been the subject of several articles, including one in the August issue of American Art Collector, and a book published by Down East Magazine. With "Islands," Curry has given Gleason Fine Art, his primary New England gallery, a dozen new paintings, several of them monumental in size.
For more information, call the gallery at 207-633-6849, email at email@example.com or visit the website at gleasonfineart.com.
BOATS AND HARBORS: BILL IRVINE, HENRY ISAACS, DAVID WITBECK, PHIL FREY, and SUSAN LANDOR KEEGIN
From Blue Hill Bay to Boothbay Harbor, paintings of Maine's harbors and the boats that call them home.
CELEBRATING MONHEGAN ISLAND: A Survey
Celebrating Monhegan Island: A Survey, which showcases artwork done on the famous island from the 19th century through present day, opens this week and runs through July 26, with a public reception on Friday, June 27, from 5 to 7 PM. When Captain Cook landed on Monhegan Island 400 years ago this summer, he not only noted the rich fishing grounds but also the stunning vistas. Those vistas, unspoiled to this day, have drawn artists to the rugged island for two centuries.
Luminist William Trost Richards, a 19th century visitor to the island, painted the majestic “Blackhead” in 1890. Ashcan School founder and renowned teacher Robert Henri first visited Monhegan in 1903, at the behest of his close friend, artist Edward Redfield, a Boothbay Harbor resident. Thoroughly smitten with the island, Henri wrote his New York students George Bellows and Rockwell Kent that: “This is the real thing. This is a wonderful place to paint—so much in so small a place” (Henri, The Art Spirit).
Henri’s elegaic “The Sea” depicts a soft, blue day looking from the island across Duck Rocks toward the mainland. In “Prayer Meeting,” a rare, but well-known lithograph, Henri’s famous student George Bellows captured an animated sermon being given in the Monhegan church.
Many other Henri students made their way to Monhegan Island over the next few decades. Emil Holzhauer came in the 1920s and returned many times during the 30s, 40s, and 50s. In “Monhegan Dock,” Holzhauer depicts the busy town pier. Andrew Winter was one of the few artists who lived year-round on Monhegan for a time. The magnificent “Pulpit Rock” puts the craggy pulpit rock front and center with Blackhead in the background and gulls wheeling above the turgid ocean.
Abraham Bogdanove, also a Henri student, painted on the island in the 1930s and 40s. In “Manana from Monhegan,” Bogdanove places a fisherman’s shack and dory in the foreground with a fishing smack floating in Monhegan Harbor in mid-ground.
Modernists James Fitzgerald and Ernest Fiene were on the island working at mid-century. Fiene’s striking “In for the Night” shows lobstermen unloading their boats at day’s end. Fitzgerald’s powerful “Rough Seas” shows the artist’s skill at painting Monhegan’s notorious seas.
Interest in the island did not stop at the end of the millennium. Artists Henry Isaacs, Peter Sculthorpe, Peter Poskas, Andrea Peters, and Phil Frey have all added to the island’s artistic legacy. In Isaacs’s exuberant “Cliffs at Lobster Cove,” the artist uses hot tangerines and yellows to create a feeling that Monhegan in summer is second only to Provence for heat and color. In “Above Pulpit Rock,” realist Peter Sculthorpe uses exquisite detail and a reverence for nature to portray his Monhegan Island.
Celebrating Monhegan Island opens this week and runs through July 26. Gleason Fine Art is located at 31 Townsend Avenue in the center of Boothbay Harbor. For more information, call the gallery at 207-633-6849, email the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the gallery’s website at gleasonfineart.com.