From Mike: Week two of “Gallery Art We Love”. George will be back next week. This week we have a guest I would describe as a true maverick and Renaissance kind of guy. Please enjoy his picks and visit these amazing Galleries.

Remember, Friday night is always the Gallery Stroll. One of our favorite things to do all Summer in Provincetown.

Alex Stadler is a multidisciplinary artist, author, textile designer, illustrator and curator. In Provincetown he shows ceramic work at Room 68.

Betty Lane, Mattie, 1947 oil on board, 16 x 21

In 1930, when Betty Lane’s work was presented at The Phillips Memorial Gallery in DC it was singled out for special praise by Matisse. Spend time with her paintings and you’ll understand why. Joyful, rigorous, intellectual and empathic-when she paints a plant or a landscape you can see it blooming and fading at the same time. Similarly, in this portrait of her neighbor’s daughter Mattie, painted soon after she moved to Brewster MA in 1946, you see both the existing child and glimpses of the adult she may become.

Tom of Finland, Suite of 11 Drawings, 1959-60, pencil on paper, 9 x 12 in

A 11 part Motorcycle series commissioned by a British man named Tony (surname unknown) and executed by Tom of Finland between 1959 and 1960 for a fee of 20 pounds (then roughly $800.00) a month, this suite of drawings (one of which is shown here) was a revelation to me. I had only seen T of F’s work in print and wasn’t ready for the luscious pencil work that seems to caress everything it describes-thick leather jackets, gleaming motorcycles, a young man’s naked butt… This work is simultaneously smutty and elegant, and that’s not something you see every day.

Midge Batelle, The Poet’s Chamber, oil on board, 2019, 36 x 36 in

Midge Battelle’s work-to me-comes right out of her many years in Provincetown. It’s all in there, the sun bleached surfaces that seem to absorb light, the mother of pearl quality of the sky here at dusk, even the plain spoken geometry of the architecture. Another thing to spend time with when looking at her pictures is the lovingly applied, feather- stroke way she lays down paint. I always want to eat, or at least lick her her paintings.

New work by Midge Battelle will be showing at Art Market Provincetown from July 10-29

Drag Queen with Curly Hair Backstage at “Camille”, 1974

vintage gelatin silver print
14-3/4″ × 14-3/4″ (37.5 cm × 37.5 cm), image
20″ × 16″ (50.8 cm × 40.6 cm), paper
signed, titled and dated verso in pencil by Stephen Koch for the Peter Hujar Archive; estate and copyright stamp verso in ink
print made by the artist
All images © The Peter Hujar Archive, LLC; courtesy of Pace Gallery, New York and Albert Merola Gallery, Provincetown

Hujar is using all of the tools in his arsenal in this one. Mastery of composition, manipulation of light and surface, timing-all to make you lock eyes with this beauty and try to puzzle out the Mona Lisa level complexity of her expression. The deliciousness of between-ness ripples all through this image-even down to the pleasures of being offstage while preparing to go onstage.

Showing at Albert Merola Gallery July 24 – August 12