Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and my eyes have seen some truly beautiful things in the galleries this week. At first glance, none of the pieces here seem to have much in common. But each is rendered with astonishing skill by artists of great talent and even greater devotion. Each of these artists has vision, technical prowess, and, I have to assume, a good deal of patience. And they have all created things of beauty that are indeed a joy forever.

Denise Driscoll, Between 8 (acrylic on panel, 48’ x 36”) Julie Heller East

Some artists have a brilliant color sense, some have an unerring eye for composition, and some have technical skills that boggle the mind. Denise Driscoll has all three. In her current show it’s impossible to choose which piece is the most gorgeous. There are sublime, unexpected color combinations and patterns that are somehow read as bold from a distance but subtle up close. The icing on the cake is a universe of tiny, glinting dots of iridescent paint that spin and twirl like ropes of seed pearls over the surface of the paintings. I have to think these paintings are labors of love – and I love them.

Tsultrim Tenzin, Jamaal (oil on linen, 20” x 16”), Simi Maryles Gallery

There’s a timeless quality to Tsultrim Tenzin’s portraiture. It’s very much in the classical, academic tradition yet there’s nothing stuffy or tired about it. You almost believe this guy could blink his eyes and step right out of the frame. But despite it being incredibly lifelike, you don’t forget for an instant that this is a painting. The brushwork is elegantly on display. The artist isn’t going for hyper-realism; he’s making a painting. And one that is the perfect blend of the real and the ideal. If I ever sit for a portrait I want the 27-year-old Mr. Tenzin to paint it.

Kate Ryan, Six of One (oil on panel, 12” x 4” x 2”), William Scott Gallery

This small gem of a work first pulls you in with its bravura depiction of a handful of glass marbles. But more than just a faithful rendition of familiar objects, this piece also works on an abstract level. If you’d never seen a marble in your life, you’d see this painting as a beautifully balanced, carefully composed symphony of color and shapes. The curvilinear and the rectangular play out in harmonious notes of blue and green. You can almost hear the music.

Jarrad Tacon-Heaslip, Verve Light (acrylic and resin on panel, 24” x 3”), On Center Gallery

Jarrad Tacon-Heaslip’s work is proof that exquisite can also be bold. Vivid yes, but also highly refined. Initially you’re struck by the dazzling combination of meticulously considered colors. But then there’s the jewel-like surface: a generous layer of resin that perfectly – and I mean perfectly – enrobes these painted lines. That crystalline surface and the three-inch depth of the panel combine to make this piece almost as much sculpture as it is painting. But whatever you call it, it’s mesmerizing.

 

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 three years ago.