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KEVIN BEERS: Monhegan Island
Beginning Thursday, June 18, Gleason Fine Art presents a stunning new series of paintings by celebrated artist Kevin Beers. No one captures the light and mood of Monhegan Island quite like Beers, who describes the island as “a dazzling place with incredible, beautiful light.”
In an interview in American Art Collector magazine, gallery director Dennis Gleason says of Beers: “In his Monhegan paintings, Kevin captures the mood of the island as it shifts through the lengthening days of summer and the fading light of autumn. His paintings of the light keeper’s house reveal the strength and steadfastness of New England coastal architecture.”
Avid collector, actor Remak Ramsay, says of Beers: “Unlike so many contemporary artists, Kevin Beers is well trained in the basics. Combine that with a genuine affection for the people and places he paints and his love of slanting light, and you get a rare magic that, eschewing trendy gimmicks, is as honest and sincere as it is beautiful.”
“Kevin Beers: Monhegan Island” opens June 18 and runs through July 26, with a public reception on Friday, June 27, from 5 to 7 PM. 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 at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at gleasonfineart.com.
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 email@example.com, or visit the gallery’s website at gleasonfineart.com.