In an end-of-season celebration, the Julie Heller Gallery East is presenting present a month-long exhibition of masterworks dating from the early 20th century to the beginning of the 21st. The focus of the show is local artists doing work that might be surprising—and is certainly experimental.
“There’s white line woodblock prints, early cubist forms by Marguerite Zorach, William Zorach, and Agnes Weinrich, and many favorite moderns,” says gallery owner Julie Heller. “I’m excited to have this kind of depth and breadth of work in this exhibition.”
It’s a breathtaking swath of American (and in many cases specifically Cape Cod) painting.
Milton Avery is included with Nude with a Long Torso. This is an artist who simply couldn’t win with the critics: early in his career, his work was considered too radical for being too abstract; when Abstract Expressionism became dominant, his work was overlooked as being too representational.
Other artists displayed include Peter Busa, Joseph de Martini, Taro Yamamoto, Ralph Rosenborg, and Dan Mills.
One of the show’s highlights is a 1907 woodcut by Provincetown Printer Edna Boies Hopkins, an American artist who made woodblock prints based on Japanese ukiyo-e art and Arthur Wesley Dow’s notan formula of three main elements: a balance of light and dark, line, and color. Although a painter, she is primarily known for printmaking, specializing in color woodcut, and was a principle printmaker in the Provincetown art colony.
Another striking Provincetown painting included in the exhibition is Sol Wilson’s Repair Shack Interior. Wilson immigrated to America in 1901 and settled in New York City, but spent summers in Provincetown, winning national prizes and medals. Over nearly 30 years of summer seasons, Wilson traveled the lower Cape, making quick pen-and-ink and charcoal sketches from which he worked up his paintings in his studio in New York during the winter. He created so many marine paintings that he became known as the “Blessing of the Fleet” painter!
Contemporary art on view includes a large-scale coastal abstract by Hannah Bureau. Born in Paris but living in an old textile mill in the United States, Bureau creates images where visual plains and geometric shapes intersect and create a sense of visual distance and depth. Another contemporary work is plein-air painter Mary Giammarino’s Beach Plum Cottages; Giammarino’s street scenes of Provincetown, as well as her paintings of surrounding sand dunes and shoreline, are rich and lush with sunlight and shadows.
All of the pieces seem to offer different perspectives on the last century and the start of this one, with many of them being specifically Cape-based and oriented. There’s a sense of movement through the years as styles and artists changed, but also a unifying and clarifying sense of involvement in the life and spaces surrounding the artists. Definitely a not-to-be-missed exhibition!
The show runs through the end of October.
JULIE HELLER EAST
465 Commercial Street