Friday, July 26, 2013

The Reason I Am Here......

The Reason I Am Here.......

Title wall of the current show at PAAM, Provincetown. L to R: paintings by Robert Beauchamp and George McNeil that year after year I am fulfilled, I learn, I am comforted, I am challenged, I am loved...and I love. I am talking about Provincetown and those who know me know that I have spent time here in the Summer for nine years now. I fell in love with this magical place on a week long visit. And, as many before me have felt, one week wasn't enough the following summer and then, without me knowing why, neither was two or even three weeks. And so now Tim and I spend a month here. And even that seems like too little. And a day like yesterday is exactly the reason. 

I picked up a friend from the ferry terminal and, since this is her first time in Provincetown, spent a few hours showing her "my P-town" which meant that we went in a few galleries, had my favorite lunch which is take-out from Angel Foods enjoyed during a picnic on the water behind the East End institution that is Angel Foods. 

And then, along with two other Louisiana friends who are in town, crossed the street to PAAM, Provincetown Art Association & Museum, to see the latest incredible shows. Every Summer PAAM mounts a show that I get so into that I have to go back more than once. Last year it was a huge Motherwell show and this year it is "Pioneers from Provincetown: The Roots of Figurative Expressionism" curated by Adam Zucker and on view until September 2nd. 

About this show, PAAM says:

"In the 1950s a new wave of painters invigorated Cape Cod’s artistic community and challenged the Abstract authority, using the figure as the key structural element in their compositions.
Whether drawn to Provincetown by the charismatic and influential artist-teacher Hans Hofmann, the promise of like-minded community, cheap rent, or the brilliant seaside light, the influence of these artists continues to be felt today."

The show is wonderful. And celebrates artists that are very well known and those that, unfortunately, never quite made it on the art world stage which is a pity, of course, but thanks to PAAM the work is out there again for the world to see.

I will go back next week to revisit this show and possibly will find additional favorites once I spend some quiet time with the pieces but for now, here are the five that hit me yesterday.

I am never disappointed with the experience of seeing a Wolf Kahn. And to see work done when this now 86 year old master colorist was only 29 is such a wonderful experience and treat. 

Wolf Kahn
Our Studio in Provincetown, 1956
Oil on Canvas
18" x 24"
from Private Collection

I have never seen a Wolf Kahn figurative piece and suspect that most have not. This one's eyes are incredible and that shocking green scarf is fantastic. I want to know her!

Wolf Kahn
Emily in 1956, 1956
Oil on Canvas
30" x 24"
from the Collection of the Artist

Tony Vevers is a name I've heard since I began following the art world of Provincetown. And after seeing his work in this show, it's time I do my research to learn more and see more. This piece moved me. And an artist friend and I discussed the choice to add color only on the children. That's what seeing a show together does--dialogue and thought leading to the sharing of ideas and wonders.

Tony Vevers (1926-2008)
Whale on Beach
Oil on Canvas
37" x 44"
from the Collection of Tabitha Vevers and Daniel Ranalli

Again, an artist that I've heard about but haven't researched. There's the being challenged to learn part of why I come here year after year.

Robert Henry
Idyll, 1963
Oil on Canvas
30" x 23"
from the Collection of the Artist

Again, time to get on it, Jeffery, do the research! This piece is intense and huge. I need to spend some time with it on my next visit to PAAM.

George Segal (1924-2000)
Still Life, 1961
Oil on Canvas
96"  x 72"
from the Oakleigh Collection

As if the Pioneers of Provincetown show wasn't enough, PAAM currently has a show up in the smallest room of the Museum. Titled, "Around Town: PAAM Collection Works", this show celebrates views of Provincetown by some of the most well know Provincetown artists in a curated grouping that is a wonderful art history lesson since the grouping goes all the way back to Charles Hawthorne (born 1872, founder of Cape Cod School of Art in 1899) and continues to Anne Packard, one of Provincetown's most well known living artists. This show is why PAAM is so smartly run. In a small room with only 16 pieces, one can understand what and why the Provincetown art world is.

Far left: untitled Provincetown scene by Henry Hensche (1901-1992)
Far right: Historical Museum, Provincetown, 1961by Ross Moffett (1888-1971)

L to R: paintings by Ross Moffett, Charles Hawthorne, Anne Packard, Bruce McKain

Again, another wonderful show. But the four stand outs for me were:

Again, I am challenged to learn and must do research on this artists. I absolutely love the light in this painting and the reflection in the water.

Bruce McKain (1900-1990)
Oil on Canvas
25" x 33"
Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Henry Fogelman, 1991

Never heard of her before this show. Love her modernist approach in this view of Provincetown.

Helen Stiles (1911-1992)
A Provincetown View
Acrylic on Canvasboard
22" x 28"
Gift of the artist, 1990

One of my favorite Provincetown artists, Arthur Cohen, has produced work that brought me to tears. Literally, a piece that I saw several years ago at Munson Gallery in Chatham immediately caused tears to well up. That's because Arthur Cohen had captured what it is that I love and feel about Provincetown. I have since acquired two very small works on paper pieces by the artist and recently saw several small pieces that are available from Anne Irwin Fine Art in Atlanta that I have a close watch on. If you are in Atlanta, ask Anne or Emily to show you the Arthur Cohen pieces.

Arthur Cohen (1928-2012)
Cape Cod Wharf, 1968
Oil on Canvas
16" x 20"
Gift of Dr. & Mrs. Henry Fogelman, 1991

And then, WOLF KAHN. Again!

I have a dream of staying in one of the dune shacks in Provincetown, an experience that one can apply for with the proposal of a project to be worked on while doing a residency in one of the shacks that still exist in the dunes of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

Wolf Kahn captured a world that beckons me with this piece. 

Wolf Kahn
My Shack on the Dunes, 1947
Oil on Canvas
17" x 21"
Gift of the artist, 1986.

If you've been to Provincetown and were bitten by the love bug of the town, you know what I mean when I wax rhapsodic about this special spot at the tip of Cape Cod. And what Anne Packard talks about in an interview, that I will share when I do a blog post on her, when she said, "I couldn't wait to come back......come back."

1 comment:

Adam I Zucker said...

Hi Jeffery,

Thank you so much for a wonderful post about "Pioneers from Provincetown: The Roots of Figurative Expressionism"

I enjoyed reading about the works/artists that resonated with you! I look forward to hearing your second opinions on the Segals et al!

All the best,

Adam Zucker