Henry Isaacs' new show at Gleason Fine Art begins June 30 and runs through August 2. Henry's First Friday reception, July 1, 5 to 7 pm, offers a special treat: a conversation between Isaacs and Bob Keyes, the popular former Maine Today Media arts writer, from 6 to 7 under the Gleason Gazebo.
Isaacs' early training as an artist was a rigorous one, spent primarily at the esteemed Slade School of Art in London, where he spent countless days studying and drawing the human form, followed by teaching in both England and Italy.
Isaacs' return to the United States in the early 1980s was both exhilarating and challenging: "The color and landscape that I newly found in Maine freed me to shift away from the figurative painting and drawing of my training." In the four decades since, Isaacs has painted brilliantly colored landscapes with exuberance and energy. His joy in painting is transmitted to the canvas and thus to his devoted clientele.
Isaacs, 71, was born with the wandering spirit that satisfies the curious soul of the artist. He has traveled widely and often--to Africa, Europe, Central America, the Himalayas in Nepal, and nearly every state in the United States--making small studies as he goes, which he later transforms into paintings. However, with Covid, Isaacs stayed pretty close to his adopted home in the state of Vermont.
When he began to travel again, Isaacs sought the kinds of human presence found in urban locations--Portland, Maine, Boston and Cambridge, and New York. Thus emerged a new body of work, completed over the last two years in the streets and parks of New York and the banks of the Charles River, all dotted with human forms, eating, walking dogs, picnicking.
As with all of Isaacs' series, this new work began with a commission. A client asked Henry for small paintings of her Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn. He suggested painting families playing and walking dogs. Isaacs soon ventured beyond Park Slope, completing one painting of a couple picnicking in Manhattan. These are loose figures, more the suggestion of human forms than identifiable people.
Another client wanted paintings from the Charles River. Isaacs followed the river from Boston to Newton, filling his paintings with people rowing, sailing, and jogging. "Rowers on the Charles River," which shows five rowing shells headed toward one of Cambridge's iconic bridges, is especially delightful.
While humans and their dogs are featured in many of Isaacs' new paintings, sailboats are prominent in many others. Stunning depictions of Portland, Nantucket, Boston, and Freeport harbors are alive with boats under sail. In these paintings, the skies are blue, the clouds are many, and the colors are bright--classic Henry Isaacs.
"Henry Isaacs: New England and New York" opens at Gleason Fine Art, 31 Townsend Avenue, Boothbay Harbor, on June 30 and runs through August 2. A catalog with an essay by Bob Keyes is available for the asking. Henry's reception is First Friday, July 1, from 5 to 7 pm. Henry and former arts writer Bob Keyes will hold a conversation from 6 to 7 pm under the Gleason Gazebo. Call the gallery at 207-633-6849 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Check out all of Henry Isaacs' paintings, and the rest of the gallery's contemporary and estate offerings, at our website: gleasonfineart.com.