Art We Love – Spring 2023
Provincetown is many things to many people. In fact, it can be everything to everyone all at once. For art lovers, that means plenty to choose from in every taste and budget in our array of galleries. The works in this issue all happen to be by local artists, and the range and breadth of vision they display tells me that the Ptown art colony is alive and thriving well into its second century.
Ryan McMenamy, Seated Figure 9, 2023, gouache and pencil on panel (48” x 36”) – On Center Gallery
If “less is more” were a religion, Ryan McMenamy would be the pope. With the most limited palate and an economy of line, he conjures elegant and timeless figures. He convinces us that the negative space of bare wood is both flesh and cloth. Within his perfectly balanced composition, he gives his subject a coiled energy by cropping him tightly in the frame. He tells us just enough, and by doing so makes us want to know so much more.
Arthur Egeli, Clouds Over Long Point, oil on canvas (8” x 10”) – Egeli Gallery
Sunset skies can be wondrous, but pictures of sunsets can easily veer into the cliché. In trying to capture the dazzling, even psychedelic colors of a great sunset, it’s easy to go too far or to come up short. Here, Arthur Egeli got it just right. The lushly painted clouds in hues of salmon and lavender and sapphire have just the right balance. And with a few deft brushstrokes the lighthouse provides a sense of scale that gives this small painting a big impact.
Thom Markee, Freddie the Great, mixed media (40” x 82”) – Thom Markee Studio
Portraiture is a challenge. You want to produce a recognizable likeness but also capture something of the subject’s spirit. I think anyone who encountered Freddie Rocha as he roamed the town would agree that this piece does both. It’s a powerful, iconic presence, boldly painted – almost mythic like the man himself. But the delicate collaging of scratch tickets and cigarette packs that surround the figure gives it a fragility and a nod to Freddie’s gentle spirit.
Todd Perry, Untitled, oil on canvas (36” x 48”) – Hammock Gallery
It’s easy to idealize Provincetown, the “happy place” for so many. But anyone who has lived here year-round will tell you it’s a place of both light and shadow. With its low raking light and inky sky, Todd Perry’s moody harbor scene captures that dichotomy. The setting is instantly recognizable, but also a bit surreal with the skewed perspective of the dock and the boats swirling in the foreground. It’s not the postcard view of the town, but true nonetheless, and it packs an emotional punch that holds your attention long after the usual views have faded from memory.