On Thursday, July 21, Gleason Fine Art opens two new shows: Ed Parker: Painting the Story II and On the Water with Michael Kahn. Both shows will run through August 16, with artist receptions on Friday, August 5 from 5pm to 7pm
Ed Parker: Painting the Story II – Southport artist Ed Parker is one of America’s leading marine painters. His paintings are influenced and shaped by 19th-century graphics, early American paintings, historical photographs, and maritime traditions. Parker’s Yankee sensibility combined with a deep respect for history and a sophisticated sense of design, proportion and color all contribute to his unique position as a maritime artist with a sense of humor.
This sense of humor is conveyed through a painted story. For example, Parker paints “Dog Watch,” a maritime term for a night watch as a watch on a boat or at a lighthouse, quite literally as a tightly packed, watchful group of dogs (a golden retriever, an English setter, a Labrador retriever, a french bulldog and two terriers) huddled on top of a lighthouse and “watched”. Parker’s paintings often contain something you don’t expect or that is hidden from view. In Dog Watch, the surprise is a sleeping kitten, as clueless as only a cat can be, on the right side of the lighthouse.
Another delightful example of Parker painting history is 1st Maine Moose Derby. In it we see four differently but neatly dressed people on eager, long-legged moose galloping along a lake shore. A jockey leads the race while a gentleman in boots, red plaid and a deerstalker hat stands at the back of the pack trying his best, and the best of the moose to catch up. A lady in the middle of the racers rides side saddle, as if riding a moose wasn’t difficult enough. Parker swears there were real moose races, domesticated it is hoped, on which the 1st Maine Moose Derby is based.
The artist himself is best at explaining how his exquisite, humorous paintings differ from those of other maritime artists: “Whereas most maritime artists tend to capture a moment,” says Parker, “I’m trying to capture a moment of a story or an event … It can be real, it can be just plausible enough to be real. It is visual storytelling and the viewer can choose how the story begins and ends. My intention is often a humorous or whimsical attempt to see our culture, or not our – so different past history from a different perspective that perhaps reveals something new within the story about the culture, our history and our place in it.”
“On the Water with Michael Kahn” – A summer resident of Castine, Michael Kahn is world-renowned for his stunning, handcrafted, sepia-toned photographs of the maritime world. With skill, patience, and an intimate knowledge and interaction with his subjects, Kahn has carved a unique niche in the otherwise crowded field of photography. Whether he’s hanging from the rigging to photograph a racing yacht in motion or waiting for the early light to be just right on a deserted beach, Kahn always brings his rare combination of immense talent and dogged determination to bear on whatever he’s photographing.
In “On the Water with Michael Kahn”, the artist has donated photographs from different series to the gallery: one is dedicated to boats, the other to dunes. Many of Michael’s Kahn photographs are meditative, but the Dune series is particularly so. Kahn would spend days on Martha’s Vineyard photographing the dunes, and later in the studio would transform a few into sensual, elegant photographs.
Boats, especially sailing boats, were Michael Kahn’s first great fascination. His photo of the 34.4 meter J-class racing yacht “Velsheda” will captivate you. The magnificent yacht is heavily over-crowned, aiming for a bridge which, to the viewer, appears too low to accommodate the towering mast. Kahn’s photography is a brilliant expression of the thrill and potential danger of sailing.
“Dory in the Mist” is so beautiful that one family actually burst into tears watching it. Kahn’s photo focuses on a single pod dory floating in the mist. The picture is peaceful, serene; The Dory itself is as perfect as an object can be – sculptural, balanced perfection. In fact, the Dory was designed as a workboat, but that hardly seems to matter in this stunning photo.
Michael Kahn’s process begins with a medium format camera and black and white film. The film is developed and then projected through an enlarger onto plain fiber paper coated with gelatin and suspended photosensitive silver grains. When the exposure sequence is complete, the print is run through a series of developing chemicals, washed, dipped in toning chemicals, washed again and finally air dried.
To see both shows beginning July 21 and the gallery’s entire inventory of contemporary and legacy art, visit the gallery’s website: gleasonfineart.com. For more information call the gallery at (207) 633-6849 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gleason Fine Art is located on Townsend Ave. 31 at Boothbay Harbour. Summer Gallery opening times are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m