Art We Love – Lightning Strike
One of the great bonuses of being an artist is the ability to meet and interact with other artists. In these moments, the work they produce becomes more than an artifact, it becomes an extension of the times we’ve had together, the conversations, the laughs and the inspiration. All the works featured in this piece share that in common, they are from artists I consider my friends. They also share what in French we call a “coup de foudre,” which translates to a lightning strike. We use this expression in French to describe a strong emotional reaction to something, like falling in love at first sight. All these pieces of art triggered that lightning strike in me, that feeling of “wow, I love this!” Consequently, these works are now part of my personal collection. – by Gaston Lacombe
Mark Adams, Leaping Fox, 2018, watercolor on paper, 38×45, The Schoolhouse Gallery
Mark Adams first came to my attention when the PAAM gave him a solo show. Talk about a lightning strike! For me, it was the discovery of an artistic genius. His ability to convey his love of nature through his art is unique and deeply touching. In time we became friends, and I commissioned this piece from him. The agility of the leaping fox is mirrored by the agility of Mark’s brushstrokes. They both display an economy of movement, so confident, precise and just perfect. And since I am Canadian, I have a special attachment to images depicting winter scenes. Snowy landscapes have a quiet, a stillness, that I also feel when looking at this painting. It’s the largest piece in my collection, and probably also the closest to my heart.
Greg Salvatori, Queen Mary, 2021, photograph, edition 1 of 13, 8.5×11, Greg Salvatori Gallery
Greg Salvatori has this amazing ability as a photographer to bring out the very best from his subjects. It’s not easy, I know, since I worked many years as a commercial photographer myself. His magnetic personality puts everyone at ease in the studio, and the resulting images show it – even when it’s a dog. His photos of dogs always make me smile, but when he showed me the raw images from a photo shoot he had just finished with a black poodle, I exclaimed: “Oh my God that’s Queen Mary!” By that, I meant Mary of Teck, wife of England’s George V and grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II. It was uncanny how the dog’s regal stature, the pompous look in its eyes, the curl of the hair, and the hang of the jewels reminded me exactly of images of Queen Mary. This was a lightning strike that made me laugh and laugh. There is so much joy in Greg’s work, and this was the time when it struck me the most. And that Christmas, under my tree was a touching gift from Greg, “Queen Mary, edition 1 of 13.” This good doggy has been displayed in my living room ever since.
Kurt Walters, Popsicles (The American Desserts Series), 2021, acrylic on wood panel, 10×10, Simie Maryles Gallery
I really admire (and envy) Kurt Walters’s ability to render reality so clearly and precisely. In addition, his work is filled with wit and humor, just like Kurt himself. A little story always seems to hide behind his paintings, and that is what sold me on this one. I had been wanting to add a piece of his work to my collection, and the lightning strike came when Kurt posted a progress pic of “Popsicles” on social media with the caption: “Popsicles shown looking for his date amongst all the beach umbrellas, trying to deliver his treats before they melt.” With that, the painting erupted to life in my head. It wasn’t just an image anymore, it became a whole comedic scene, including suspense, stickiness, frustration and folly. The fact that the man depicted in the painting also wears nothing but an orange floater around his naked waist elevated the whole comedy of the scene. “Popsicles” was not even finished yet, but it was already bringing me so much joy. That evening I rushed over to the Simie Maryles Gallery and bought it about a month before it was even completed. It’s been making me smile ever since.
Melissa Wilkinson, Slither II, 2022, watercolor on paper, 10 1/4 x 14 1/4, On Center Gallery
I met Melissa Wilkinson on the queer art circuit – exhibits or events that promote art from the queer community. I was immediately captured by her extremely intricate work, often melding more than one image into one. It reminded me of lenticular photos, the pictures you wiggle around and they change based on the viewing angle. But the lightning strike came when I was looking at her website one day, and saw this watercolor of guys in vintage sports gear. Right away jumbled memories of teenagehood flooded my brain; boys in short shorts, gym class and gym bodies, hot jocks who were so enticing but also so out of reach. I immediately asked Melissa about this piece, but it had sold. However, a few weeks later, a gift arrived in the mail, she had created a new one for me. Surprise! So here they are, my teenage fantasies, framed and on display in my dining room.
To find more Art We Love & Why from the archives go to: ART WE LOVE
Gaston Lacombe (born 1971, Edmundston, Canada), is a Provincetown, MA based Canadian/American multidisciplinary artist exhibited in galleries, museums and alternative venues in 14 countries on 5 continents. His work is in private collections worldwide and in the permanent collection of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Studio Lacombe – Gallery and Studio