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AT 31 TOWNSEND AVE, BOOTHBAY HARBOR
HELEN ST. CLAIR: A Life in Art
With an opening reception on Saturday, May 25, from 5 to 7 pm, Gleason Fine Art celebrates the decades-long career of one of Maine’s most admired painters—Helen St. Clair. Her show “A Life in Art,” which opened May 16, runs through June 19 at the Boothbay Harbor gallery.
Educated at prestigious Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, St. Clair spent the 1970s and early 1980s in Albany, New York. In the mid-1980s, with children grown and husband Jerry retired, the St. Clairs decided the time was right to find the place by the sea that they had always wanted. In Boothbay Harbor, they found the perfect house--an antique cape on its own point of land with a stunning view of the harbor and islands.
In her studio overlooking the harbor, St. Clair blossomed as an artist, moving with equal skill between figural studies, landscapes, and evocative still lifes. In her spare time, St. Clair attended as many art shows at museums and galleries around the state as possible. Always humble, St. Clair rarely introduced herself. Only later would it become apparent that the petite blonde lady who had asked the astute questions was one of Maine’s best known artists.
St. Clair’s goal as an artist is a sensitive tension between direct brushstrokes and the subtleties of line, edge, and color. Her soft edges are well known and admired by collectors and fellow artists alike. “I am often asked how I eliminate the harsh edges. It’s hard to explain, because I just do it instinctively,” says St. Clair. “It just comes naturally.”
Indeed, St. Clair has also been called a “pure painter.” Arts writer Phil Isaacson says of St. Clair: “Very little that offers an opportunity to pause and reflect escapes her eye or interest. There is an assurance and consistency that speaks to me of the love of painting.”
Gleason Fine Art is honored to have represented Helen St. Clair for nearly two decades. Please join us at the gallery at 31 Townsend Avenue on Saturday, May 25, from, 5 to 7 pm, to celebrate the life and career of this remarkable artist.
AT 545 CONGRESS STREET, PORTLAND
Gleason Fine Art opens two new shows at its Portland gallery, “Philip Barter: New Work” and “Clarence K. Chatterton (1880-1973): An Artist’s Artist” on Friday, May 3, with an opening reception from 5-8 PM.
PHILIP BARTER: NEW WORK, paintings and wall reliefs
Philip Barter was born in Boothbay but has spent much of his adult life north of Ellsworth in the village of Sullivan. Philip began creating art in the 1960s, spent the 70s lobstering to better provide for his growing family, and finally returned to making art full time in the 1980s.
From the beginning, Philip’s brilliantly colored, modernist-influenced paintings and wood reliefs stood out from the myriad landscapes more traditional artists were creating. Arts writer Carl Little says of Philip, “The appeal of Barter’s stylized renderings of trees, clouds, and rivers is powerful. His ability to extract the essence of the landscape provokes marvel. His palette, often not for the faint of hue, underscores his lively vision.”
In 1992, Bates College bestowed on Philip Barter an honor that only a few of Maine’s finest artists receive: a 25-year retrospective. With a feature in Down East magazine, followed two years later with a spot on Charles Kuralt’s “Good Morning America,” the elder Barter’s career was thrown into high gear, where it has remained since.
CLARENCE KERR CHATTERTON (1880-1973): AN ARTIST’S ARTIST
In 1880, Clarence Kerr Chatterton was born in Newburgh, New York, a bucolic small town about an hour up the Hudson River from New York City. Chatterton’s intense interest in painting led him to venture beyond the Hudson River Valley to study at the New York School of Art.
The talented Chatterton quickly became part of a remarkable group of young artists that included Edward Hopper (with whom he shared studios), George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent—all students of Robert Henri, who was both one of the most influential teachers of his time and leader of the Eight, also known as the Ashcan Painters. Through Henri, Chatterton learned to see beauty in the ordinary, use color fearlessly, and value the quality of light above all else.
In 1910 Chatterton, Hopper, and other members of the Henri group were invited to exhibit at the MacDowell Club in New York City. In 1925, Chatterton decided to approach the prestigious Wildenstein Gallery and was offered his first solo exhibition.
It was Chatterton’s pioneering depiction of small-town America—Newburgh, New York and the coastal Maine villages of Ogunquit, Biddeford Pool, Kennebunk, and Monhegan—that won Wildenstein, and collectors, over. A 1936 New York Times article on Chatterton was titled the “Poetry of Realism.” Chatterton himself simply said, “I paint sunlight, blue skies and houses because I like them.”
Chatterton was also making a mark in an entirely different universe—academia. In 1915, at Vassar College, a small, all-female school in Poughkeepsie, Chatterton became one of America’s first artists in residence. He retained that position for 33 years, teaching 3000 students.
Chatterton painted because that is what he was born to do. He did not seek fame. Despite his own reticence, his importance as one of America’s finest artists was frequently commented on: “Chatterton must be reckoned among the indigenous—and important—American painters. His sentiment of place is supported by a strong, forthright technique (New York Times, 1931).”
In 1948, Chatterton retired from Vassar College as professor emeritus of art and artist in residence. He would spend the next two decades in Poughkeepsie, quietly pursuing his art until his death in 1973. Gleason Fine Art has represented the Chatterton estate since 2005.
Both “Philip Barter: New Work” and “Clarence Kerr Chatterton (1880-1973): An Artist’s Artist” opens May 3 and runs through June 29. Please join us Friday, May 3, from 5 to 8 pm to meet Phil Barter and members of his large, talented family. For more information, call the gallery at 207-699-5599, email us at email@example.com, or check out our website gleasonfineart.com. Gleason Fine Art, Portland, is located at 545 Congress Street. Gallery hours are Wednesday – Friday, 11 am–6 pm; Saturday, 11 am–5 pm.
Helen St. Clair
May 16 - June 19, 2013 in Boothbay Harbor
A Life in Art
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 25, from 5 to 7 PM