Art We Love & Why – It Only Takes a Moment

Art can do many things – it can inspire, it can provoke, and sometimes it can just make you smile. In these tumultuous times that’s a pretty neat trick. The pieces here don’t really have anything in common other than that they drew me in, I got lost in them, and found that they had put a smile on my face.

 

Michael Eade, Wild Apple Tree (Study), no. 16 (egg tempera, 22k gold leaf, oil on wood panel, 5” x 5”), Gary Marotta Fine Art

This little gem was created with the most old-school techniques, yet it feels utterly fresh and contemporary. You can’t help but marvel at the minute dabs of paint that weave together in the leaves or the bulbous glistening apples built up with layers of gesso and gold leaf. For an artist who clearly has the patience and talent to paint in a hyper-realist mode, Eade has instead followed his own vision and created something timeless and uniquely his own.

Michael Eade, Wild Apple Tree

Michael Eade, Wild Apple Tree (Study), no. 16 (egg tempera, 22k gold leaf, oil on wood panel, 5” x 5”), Gary Marotta Fine Art

Judy Plaff, Fish Story (steel, melted plastic, acrylic, paper lanterns, fluorescent and neon lighting, 56” x 171” x 45”), GAA Gallery

No photo can do justice to Judy Plaff’s exuberant installations now on view at GAA Gallery. You need to be in the space with them, basking in the neon glow and marveling at their complexity. From a distance it’s hard to grasp what you’re looking at. Then you move closer and start to see paper lanterns, swirling ribbons of metal, and a tangle of melted plastic. And let me say that Judy Plaff is to melted plastic what Michelangelo was to marble. How she manipulates such a mundane material into these swirling, luminous, intricate worlds I don’t know, but I’d be happy to look all day to figure it out.

Judy Plaff, Fish Story

Judy Plaff, Fish Story (steel, melted plastic, acrylic, paper lanterns, fluorescent and neon lighting, 56” x 171” x 45”), GAA Gallery

 

James Balla, RINGRING (oil paint on linen, 39” x 30”), Albert Merola Gallery

If you stand in front of this painting for a few seconds you’ll swear it’s moving. Or talking to you. The orbs of color pulse and mingle with each other in a joyous dance. It might seem pretty straightforward at first glance, but soon you begin to appreciate the perfectly calibrated negative space between each form and the exquisite, carefully considered palate. Balla has titled this exhibition “Songs Without Words,” an apt rubric for such elegant compositions.

James Balla, RINGRING

James Balla, RINGRING (oil paint on linen, 39” x 30”), Albert Merola Gallery

 

Sandra Leinonen Dunn, Carrying Salt II (oil on canvas, 4” x 6”), Cortile Gallery

This perfect little painting has the immediacy and spontaneity usually associated with a photograph. Luscious strokes of paint capture the sun on the fisherman’s back and you can feel the weight of his body leaning on the barrel. It’s an ordinary moment so lovingly and skillfully depicted as to make it an instant classic. A timeless ode to the men on the docks who have been an elemental part of New England life for centuries.

Sandra Leinonen Dunn, Carrying Salt II

Sandra Leinonen Dunn, Carrying Salt II (oil on canvas, 4” x 6”), Cortile Gallery

 

George Rogers is an artist and ceramicist. After a career in museums including the MFA in Boston and the Smithsonian, he and his husband moved to Provincetown full time four years ago.

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