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KENNETH STUBBS – Provincetown Watercolors 1934-1963

7 September – 6 October, 2007

ACME Fine Art’s autumn season will open with a retrospective exhibition of watercolors by the noted 20th century modern artist Kenneth Stubbs. The exhibition will be comprised of a fine group of eight rare watercolors that were painted during the artist’s summer sojourns to Cape Cod between 1934 and 1965.

Kenneth Stubbs was a gifted artist and teacher who had an unwavering allegiance to modernism. In the early 1930s he studied in Provincetown with E. Ambose Webster, who is considered by many to be Provincetown’s first important modernist. Webster’s Summer Art School was the first of numerous art schools on Cape Cod to emphasize a modern point of view. Stubbs was one of Webster’s most important students, and Webster became to Stubbs a mentor, an inspiration, and a colleague. Like his mentor, Stubbs was dedicated to the dissemination of modern ideas through his artwork and teaching. He taught for many years at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C., and the Corcoran also became an important venue for the exhibition of his work.

In recent years the Cape Cod Museum of Art and the Provincetown Art Association and Museum have mounted retrospective exhibitions of paintings and drawings by Kenneth Stubbs. ACME Fine Art has represented the artist’s estate since 2002, and in 2003 an exhibition of landscapes titled Shorescapes, was the gallery’s first solo exhibition of Stubbs’ work. It was one of the gallery’s most successful shows to date, drawing an enormously positive response from fans of more traditional forms of expression and from dyed in the wool modernists alike.

Stubbs had a fundamentally clear and consistent artistic vision; yet, he –unlike many artists of his generation- was able to grow artistically without ever needing to negate or reject what had gone before. The watercolors that comprise the basis for this exhibition were selected to demonstrate the remarkable arc of Stubbs’ growth as an artist, and to reflect the artist’s changing points of view towards the Cape Cod scenery that was so frequently his inspiration. Many of these watercolors have not been exhibited since they were painted; yet, each retains a freshness and clarity of vision that gives the entire group a timelessly contemporary appeal.

ACME Fine Art’s retrospective exhibition of watercolors by Kenneth Stubbs will open with a reception at the gallery from 6 to 8 o’clock on Friday evening 7 September 2007. The exhibition will run through 6 October 2007. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

LESTER JOHNSON – Figurative Oil Paintings from the 1960s

7 September – 6 October, 2007

ACME Fine Art’s Fall season will open on Friday, 7 September 2007 with an exhibition of oil paintings by the noted figurative expressionist artist Lester Johnson. A reception at the gallery from six to eight that evening will kick off the exhibition.

Lester Johnson is one of the relative handful of avant-garde artists who abandoned non-figurative painting in the 1950s in order to harness the power of the human figure as a primary vehicle for artistic self-expression. Today Johnson is recognized as one of the most important and influential painters of his generation. Since his first solo exhibition at New York’s Artists Gallery in 1951, Johnson’s work has been featured in more than 100 solo exhibitions, and included in important group exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to name just a few. Lester Johnson’s work is in the permanent public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. (Complete lists of permanent Collections and Exhibitions, and a chronology is available on-line at acmefineart.com.)

ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of Lester Johnson’s work will feature fifteen oil paintings from what was a pivotal decade for Johnson: the 1960s. During the 1960s the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, and the H.C.E. and the Sun galleries in Provincetown were frequent venues for Johnson’s contemporary work. It was also during this decade that Johnson’s paintings were selected for inclusion in seminal exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His canvases from this period are bold and vigorously expressive regardless of scale, and they demonstrate a poetic virtuosity that has become Lester Johnson’s hallmark.

Much has been written about Lester Johnson and his work from the 1960s. The quotations selected for this piece were chosen for their eloquence and insight into the artist and his work, and they are intended to both illuminate the paintings, and to shed light on Lester Johnson’s place in American art history. Speaking about his own work from this period Johnson said the following: “There is no balance in my paintings because balance seems to me to be static. Life, which I try to reflect in my paintings, is dynamic…. To me my paintings are action paintings -paintings that move across the canvas, paintings that do not get stuck, but flow like time.” To which the noted critic and art historian Dore Ashton added: “And so they did.”

LESTER JOHNSON: Oil Paintings from the 1960s will be on view at ACME Fine Art, Boston through 6 October 2007. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

LESTER JOHNSON – Figurative Oil Paintings from the 1960s

7 September – 6 October, 2007

ACME Fine Art’s Fall season will open on Friday, 7 September 2007 with an exhibition of oil paintings by the noted figurative expressionist artist Lester Johnson. A reception at the gallery from six to eight that evening will kick off the exhibition.

Lester Johnson is one of the relative handful of avant-garde artists who abandoned non-figurative painting in the 1950s in order to harness the power of the human figure as a primary vehicle for artistic self-expression. Today Johnson is recognized as one of the most important and influential painters of his generation. Since his first solo exhibition at New York’s Artists Gallery in 1951, Johnson’s work has been featured in more than 100 solo exhibitions, and included in important group exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Whitney Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to name just a few. Lester Johnson’s work is in the permanent public collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, National Museum of American Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University. (Complete lists of permanent Collections and Exhibitions, and a chronology is available on-line at acmefineart.com.)

ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of Lester Johnson’s work will feature fifteen oil paintings from what was a pivotal decade for Johnson: the 1960s. During the 1960s the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York, and the H.C.E. and the Sun galleries in Provincetown were frequent venues for Johnson’s contemporary work. It was also during this decade that Johnson’s paintings were selected for inclusion in seminal exhibitions at the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His canvases from this period are bold and vigorously expressive regardless of scale, and they demonstrate a poetic virtuosity that has become Lester Johnson’s hallmark.

Much has been written about Lester Johnson and his work from the 1960s. The quotations selected for this piece were chosen for their eloquence and insight into the artist and his work, and they are intended to both illuminate the paintings, and to shed light on Lester Johnson’s place in American art history. Speaking about his own work from this period Johnson said the following: “There is no balance in my paintings because balance seems to me to be static. Life, which I try to reflect in my paintings, is dynamic…. To me my paintings are action paintings -paintings that move across the canvas, paintings that do not get stuck, but flow like time.” To which the noted critic and art historian Dore Ashton added: “And so they did.”

LESTER JOHNSON: Oil Paintings from the 1960s will be on view at ACME Fine Art, Boston through 6 October 2007. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

ROSE BASILE – In Provincetown

4 May – 9 June, 2007

The work of the noted contemporary artist Rose Basile will be featured in a solo exhibition of her recent oil paintings at ACME Fine Art in Boston. The exhibition will open with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday evening 4 May 2007, and will be on view through Saturday June 9.

Rose Basile chronicles through her paintings the day to day life of the common person on Cape Cod and coastal New England. Basile uses symbolism, and formal composition to elevate and transform how we see what might otherwise seem mundane. She does so with a willingness to address political issues without regard for political correctness and with a sense of humor that proves itself to be universal. There is an apparent lack of self-consciousness in Basile’s aesthetic that connects her to a visual tradition of twentieth century Provincetown artists such as Oliver Chaffee, Marsden Hartley and Mary Hackett. While there may be thematic similarities with these artists as well, Basile’s canvases speak in a strong voice that is hers alone.

For ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of paintings by Ms. Basile, Gallery Director David Cowan has selected a group of paintings that date from as early as 2000, which were painted in Basile’s Provincetown studio. Several of the paintings are from the artist’s acclaimed Fishermen Series that was exhibited in 2004 at the Roche Jones Duff House & Garden Museum in New Bedford Massachusetts. The Fishermen Series was created over the course of a decade -between 1993 and 2003- as a lamentation of the dying fishing industry. Many of the paintings from this series employ Christian iconography, and draw on renaissance compositional traditions that together achieve a powerfully mannered 21st century artistic statement. Literary references abound in Ms. Basile’s work, and one important example that will be featured in the ACME Fine Art exhibition is an almost monochromatic painting titled Don Quixote of Nantucket Sound that addresses the political debate over windmill farms proposed off the Cape Cod coastline.

GRACE MARTIN TAYLOR – White-line Woodblock Prints, Printing Blocks & Monotypes

4 May – 9 June, 2007

On Friday 4 May 2007 an exhibition of white-line woodblock (“Provincetown”) prints by the noted artist Grace Martin Taylor (1903-1995) will open at ACME Fine Art in Boston. The exhibition will feature more than one dozen of Taylor’s distinctive white-line prints, which were created in small editions between 1928 and 1985. In addition, a fine selection of rare watercolors and drawings that were studies for the prints will be shown alongside them. Another important highlight of the exhibition will be the first-ever exhibition of three double-sided, hand-carved, wooden printing blocks created by Ms. Taylor during the 1930s. This also marks the first time that any of the artist’s color wood printing blocks have been offered for sale.

Her cousin and mentor, Blanche Lazzell, introduced Grace Martin Taylor to the printmaking technique that led to what is now commonly referred to as the “Provincetown” print. It was Lazzell who encouraged Taylor to travel to Provincetown to study. In her first summer there Taylor took a course of fifteen private two-hour lessons from her cousin in what Lazzell called “Color Wood Block Printing, one block method.” Both women were West Virginia natives who came to spend many a summer in Provincetown, where they enjoyed the collegial atmosphere of the art colony, and where they produced some of what is now considered their best work. One of Grace Martin Taylor’s earliest efforts in the Provincetown Printing technique –possibly done during her first summer there- is titled Sails and Gulls, and it will figure prominently in the ACME Fine Art exhibition.

Grace MartinTaylor earned her A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of West Virginia. In addition to studying with Blanche Lazzell, she also studied with Henry McCarter, and Arthur Carles at the Pennsylvania Academy, with Emil Bisttram in Taos, New Mexico, and with Hans Hofmann at his School of Fine Art in Provincetown. Taylor’s work has been exhibited extensively. Notable venues include: the Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Academy of Design, Smithsonian Institution, Baltimore Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, and the National Museum of Women in the Arts. Most recently, four of her white-line woodblock prints were featured in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston’s 2002 exhibition From Paris to Provincetown.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of print work by Grace Martin Taylor will open with a reception between 6 and 8 on the evening of Friday, 4 May 2007. ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING

23 March – 28 April, 2007

For much of the twentieth century the concept of figuration in contemporary modern art was taboo. In the heyday of the Abstract Expressionist movement most avant-garde artists eliminated all traces of representation from their often-enormous “action” paintings. However, the power associated with the human figure was found compelling by a number of artists who, whether they were trained in the classical tradition or not, found themselves rebels, either against traditional representation or the concept of non-representation, or both. For the exhibition that opens on 23 March 2007, ACME Fine Art has assembled an excellent group of more than twenty paintings and drawings that together illustrate and explore how some notable twentieth century artists -all of whom considered their work “modern”- used figuration in their work.

The artwork making up the exhibition was created between 1915 and 2000, and this breadth of time is reflected in the visual variety of work that will make up the exhibition. The earliest painting in the exhibition is a 1915 tonal masterpiece by Edwin Dickinson called Boy Provincetown. Mid-century artwork by such artists as Jack Tworkow, Lester Johnson, Mercedes Matter, Bob Thompson, Dorothy Eisner, George McNeil, Stephen Pace, Tony Vevers, Maurice Freedman, and Jo Cain will be included. In addition to those of George McNeil important late twentieth century artwork by Robert Beauchamp, and the contemporary artist Simon Gaon will also be represented. Some of these artists have been categorized as “realists”, some as “figural expressionists” or “neo-expressionists”; while others defy categorization altogether. What the artists have in common, and what the artwork demonstrates, is the common understanding that the presence of the human figure by its very nature regardless of how it is rendered- enhances communication with the viewer, imparts tremendous power, and has the potential to convey a wide variety of human emotions.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition of figurative artwork by modern artists is titled FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING, and it will open with a reception from six to eight in the evening on Friday 23 March 2007. The exhibition will run through 28 April 2007. The gallery is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday. Please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551 for further information.

NANNO de GROOT: EARTH, SEA & SKY

9 February – 17 March, 2007

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition NANNO DE GROOT: EARTH, SEA & SKY opens with a reception on Friday 9 February 2007 from 6 to 8 in the evening. The exhibition will feature a substantial group of important oil paintings form the artist’s Provincetown period. Gallery Director David Cowan collaborated with the artist’s widow, Pat de Groot, in selecting a group of paintings that would individually and collectively demonstrate the remarkable emotional range of this talented abstract expressionist painter, and that would also exemplify the simple yet powerful beauty that his late work achieves.

The Dutch born artist Nanno de Groot (1913-1963) emigrated to the U.S. following his service in the Dutch Navy in the early 1940s. His painting career began when he moved to New York City in the late 1940s, built a painting studio, and began painting in a highly sophisticated, abstract mode. The 1950s were a time of great creativity for de Groot. It was the height of the abstract expressionist movement in New York, where de Groot’s highly abstract, deftly expressed, linear figure canvasses were exhibited at the Stable Gallery, the Bertha Schaefer Gallery and at the Hansa Gallery. In the mid-1950s de Groot discovered the Provincetown art colony, and spent his first summer there in 1956. De Groot quickly became a prominent member of the Provincetown community of artists, where he regularly showed his work in solo exhibitions at Nat Halpert’s H.C.E. Gallery from that first summer on.

The early 1960s saw de Groot and his wife Pat buy land, then design, and build a house on the bay in Provincetown. By 1962, they had taken up permanent residence there. De Groot’s paintings from this period remained abstract; however, instead of using the human form as his inspiration, de Groot’s inspiration now came from the landscape around him. Most commonly he painted open fields, flowers, and the sea, and his work from the 1960s reflects and expresses this artist’s profound artistic connection with nature. There is a bravura and vitality about these paintings that also reflects the personality of the artist. The canvasses are typically thick with oil paint that appears to have been almost frenetically applied however elegant the result. De Groot’s fields wave as if in a wind created by the artist’s dramatic gesture, and his seas writhe with an underlying energy that is in no way dissipated by the medium. The overall effect is reminiscent of his Dutch kinsman Van Gogh’s late landscapes, but in a scale, and with a focussed expressive quality that is unique to Nanno de Groot.

ACME Fine Art’s exhibition NANNO DE GROOT: EARTH, SEA & SKY will be on view from 9 February through 17 March 2007. The exhibition will also be viewable on-line at www.acmefineart.com after 12 February.

GEORGE LLOYD (1945- ) PAINTINGS & DRAWINGS FROM TWO DECADES

5 January – 3 February, 2007

ACME Fine Art’s 2007 season will open with an exhibition of paintings and drawings conceived during the 1970s and 1980s by the noted artist George Lloyd. The exhibition will commence with a reception between 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. on Friday 5 January 2007, and will run through 3 February 2007.

As an undergraduate at the Rhode Island School of Design Lloyd studied with Richard Merkin, Robert Hamilton, and John Frazier. During the 1960s, while earning his graduate degree at Yale University, he studied under both Lester Johnson and Jack Tworkov. Since that time Lloyd has held teaching positions at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Oregon, Wesleyan University, and Cornell University.

For ACME Fine Art’s first solo exhibition of paintings by George Lloyd gallery director David Cowan has elected to focus on the artist’s work from the 1970s and 1980s. This was a lively and productive period for Lloyd. During this time he lived first in California’s San Francisco Bay area and then in Eugene Oregon. The early 1980s saw Lloyd return to the northeast, ultimately settling in Portland Maine in 1984. In characterizing the work from this period, the artist divides the work from these two decades into three distinct “periods” all of which will be represented in the exhibition. They are the “Figurative”, the “Geometric” and the “Early Portland” periods. While these distinctions are apt and readily apparent upon viewing the work, what is also apparent is the artist’s consistently abstract point of view, his eye for fundamentally balanced yet dynamic composition, and an elegance of expression that is always confidently achieved through a variety of means. The resulting work is poetically forceful and sensitive, and usually contains a sense of careful consideration while also expressing a fundamental appreciation for the spontaneous gesture. Typically there is an underlying structure that in many cases gives the work an architectonic quality. This quality comes naturally to the artist, since he grew up in Boston in a family full of architects and since his early after-school employment was as an “office boy” in one of Boston’s oldest architecture firms.

George Lloyd’s debut in Boston came in 1969 when he was included in a group exhibition at the Alpha Gallery titled New Talent. Since that time Lloyd’s work has been included in group exhibitions at the University of California, Berkeley, the Oakland Museum, the National Academy of Design, and at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. His list of solo exhibition venues includes: Davison Art Center, Wesleyan University, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, the University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor, and most recently (2006) at the Portland (ME) Museum of Art. Lloyd’s work is in the permanent collections of the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the Oakland Museum, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, the Portland Museum of Art, and the University Art Museum at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay. Gallery hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday.

Rose Basile

Rose Basile is originally from Newark, NJ. College days were at Boston University for her undergraduate degree and she later returned to Boston University on a fellowship for her Masters in Education and Psychology. Upon graduation she taught in the public schools of Rhode Island, the Newton school system and also at Rhode Island College in Providence.

After 20 years of teaching she moved to Chatham in the late 1910’s where she owned and managed her own rental properties. Art has always been important and a strong influence in her life, since three generations of women were in the art world: in fabric design, art education and – her favorite Aunt Jennie – a New Jersey folk artist. Rose started watercolor painting in her high school days and from then on always attended one or two workshops a year. The most important step was taken when she attended evening classes at the Boston Museum School. At the same time, she was teaching in the Newton school system and later attended a summer art workshop at Haystack, in Maine.

In 1999 Rose moved to Provincetown and began studying art, immersing herself in the local art world and taking oil painting classes at the Provincetown Art Association & Museum (PAAM).

JIM FORSBERG: THE EARLY YEARS

The work of the noted 20th century abstract artist Jim Forsberg (1919-1991) will be featured in a solo exhibition of his oil paintings, works on paper, and graphic relief printing blocks at ACME Fine Art in Boston. The exhibition will open with a reception from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday evening 23 February 2006, and will be on view through 25 March.

Jim Forsberg was an art student during the heyday of abstract expressionism in the 1940s. Forsberg’s early training was with Will Barnet and Vaclav Vytlacil at the Art Students League, and with Hans Hofmann at Hofmann’s School of Fine Art in New York and Provincetown. Forsberg was an accomplished printmaker and painter whose approach steadfastly adhered to the modernist principles he adopted during his formative years. Jim Forsberg’s work has been widely exhibited ever since his debut in New York in the 1940s. Today paintings and/or prints by Jim Forsberg are in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Chrysler Museum, the Everson Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

For the upcoming ACME Fine Art exhibition, gallery director David Cowan has assembled a fine cross-section of work that dates from the mid-1940s through the 1950s. This was a particularly creative and fertile time for Forsberg. While the influences of his esteemed teachers can -upon careful examination- be detected, Forsberg’s independent artistic temperament is always predominant. The work from this period explores notions of balance and counterbalance, formal relationships between the part and the whole, and the complex physical forces that come into play between forms in space.

ACME Fine Art is located at 38 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay. Gallery Hours are 11:00 to 5:30 Tuesday through Saturday. The gallery is now also open on the First Friday of every month until 7:00 p.m. For further information please contact the gallery at 617.585.9551, or info@acmefineart.com.