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    Art We Love & Why: Bravado

    Duncan Johnson Tartan
    July 27, 2021

    Art We Love & Why – The Bold and the Beautiful

    As is true for most of us, there are some works of art that draw me in instantly. But It’s only when I get closer and understand more about a piece that the initial infatuation may turn to love. I admit I’m a sucker for bravura technique – the way Picasso could lay down one continuous, undulating line to convey everything you needed to know about the model before him. Or sometimes it’s a bold vision – when it’s all my brain can do to comprehend how an artist could conceive of and execute such a work. Each of the pieces here, though diverse in technique, have in common a boldness of spirit, a bravado.

    Rob Dutoit, Shack at Twine Fields (pastel on paper, 19” x 25.5”) – Berta Walker Gallery

    Rob Dutoit Art

    It takes an artist of great skill and insight to create a piece like this and make it look effortless. I don’t know how long Rob Dutoit studied the scene in front of him before laying down the first marks, but it’s clear that he had completely absorbed all the essential elements of the landscape. The sunny summer sky, soft green grass, and cool shadows at the edge of the woods are all beautifully articulated with a few quick gestures. But what really blows me away is the house. Just a bunch of scribbles – exquisite, perfectly gorgeous scribbles.

    Duncan Johnson, Tartan (salvaged wood, 40” x 42”) – Kobalt Gallery

    Duncan Johnson Tartan

    Scraps of salvaged wood – not the most auspicious lead-in to describe a piece of art. Yet Duncan Johnson has managed to take another man’s trash and make it treasure. No photograph can do justice to the mesmerizing power of this piece. Each of the thousands of strips of wood has been crisply cut and meticulously applied in layer upon layer upon layer, creating a vibrating energy. He’s balanced the color and weight of each strip of wood to create a work of art you can get lost in and see anew every time you look at it.

    Anne Packard, Bedroom View (oil on canvas, 30” x 40”), Packard Gallery

    Packard Bedroom View

    What’s so bold about a rumpled bed, you might ask? Well first, there’s the paint. Confidently applied by a master and perfectly capturing the light radiating off the bay. Then there’s the scene itself. Most artists would probably (1) make the bed and (2) focus on the million-dollar view out the window. But not Anne Packard. Like Whistler, she has created a symphony in gray and white, using a limited palate and a balanced composition to elevate the mundane to the sublime.

    Ted Kinkaid, Cloud 31988 (Cole) (56” x 56”), Schoolhouse Gallery

    Ted Kincaid Cloud

    Wondrous and hypnotic – hyperbole maybe – but the first words that come to mind in describing Ted Kinkaid’s exquisite cloud series. He’s an artist who enjoys pushing the envelope technically, blurring the line between painting and photography, but he is also inspired by the past, in this case the luminous paintings of Thomas Cole. And just as with the Hudson River School, there’s a quiet sense of awe here that transports you to another world.

    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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