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Provincetown Art: A Summer Gallery Calendar

by Rebecca M. Alvin

Finally, the summer is here. And in Provincetown’s art world, that means the weekly gallery openings are in full swing up and down Commercial Street, with a couple of others on Bradford Street, as well. Things are always both the same and different as we get back to the galleries and artists we love to see year after year and get used to the shifting gallery landscape. This winter, there were some notable gallery closings, including Albert Merola Gallery and AMP, both of which featured provocative contemporary art that added so much to the overall scene. But Provincetown is an art town, and as such, we have so many galleries to absorb those losses and offer us a summer season of engagement with artists of all kinds and from a wide range of locations. It’s all here! And with that in mind, we offer this preview of the gallery season, focusing on just a few of the many exceptional shows and events on offer this year.

If Provincetown’s rich artistic heritage is what you’re looking for, then the trifecta of spaces to explore includes the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM), Berta Walker Gallery, and Bakker Gallery, all of which host exhibitions of artists from Provincetown’s past, as well as, in some cases, the present.

Good Bear/ Bad Bear by Jackie Fuchs (Art Love Gallery)

Farthest east, Berta Walker Gallery has a lovely space to exhibit multiple solo shows at once. Their season is already underway, but one very special trio of shows is coming up July 14 – August 5. While all three artists give us distinct works, many of which feature the human form, of special note in this exhibition is Wellfleet artist Robert Henry, who will also turn 90 during the show. Henry is well known around here, as was his wife, Selina Trieff (who died in 2015), also showing in this exhibition. Henry has continued to make art for 70 years  and he is also a prolific social media poster, regularly writing his thoughts about art and the process of making art for his online friends and followers. In addition, Danielle Mailer will show her bright and colorful metallic sculptural pieces.

Over on Commercial Street, a short walk from Berta Walker, is PAAM, Provincetown’s fine art museum, which houses a vast collection of works from the Provincetown art colony’s more than 100 years of existence. Open year-round, the museum does an amazing job of bringing attention to contemporary artists connected to Provincetown, including numerous artist-member shows, major retrospectives, and interesting pairings, group, and solo shows. For most of the summer, PAAM will feature contemporary artist Mira Schor in a show running July 14 – September 17. Schor’s work, not only as a painter and multimedia artist, but also as a writer and editor, is imbued with her feminist lens, taking on issues of gender, representation, and identity in a career spanning more than 40 years. The exhibtion, Summer Studio: Mira Schor in Provincetown, is curated by artist Breon Dunigan.

Closer to the center of town is the third in the trifecta, Bakker Gallery, which currently has a show of works on paper by Herman Maril(through July 2)always unearths new and interesting works by well-known artists, but also brings to light accomplished, but less discussed artists. Such is the case with what looks to be a fascinating show of works by an artist Gerrit Hondius, who brought his own expressionistic touch to Provincetown scenes. Although he exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York on more than one occasion, his works are still not as well-known as those of other Provincetown modernists. An exhibition of his works will be on view here July 21 – August 6.

Flying Taxis Over Manhattan by Lisa Grubb (Gallery 444)

There are also a couple of notable events in the Provincetown art world. This year, the Mary Heaton Vorse House will host a mid-career retrospective of photographer Susan Mikula, represented locally at Rice Polak Gallery, August 10 – September 10. Mikula’s work utilizes instant film, primarily Polaroid, to capture moments in a hazy stillness that evokes memory as a creative tool. There will be receptions for the artist on Thursday, August 10 and Friday, September 8 at the Vorse House.

And of course, the main event of the season is the Fine Arts Work Center’s annual gala, this year honoring writer Susan Choi, philanthropist Michael F. Fernon, and artist Tala Madani, an Iranian-American artist whose work tackles racism, gender roles, and numerous issues facing humanity with a satirical angle. The event will be held Saturday, July 15 on the grounds of the Pilgrim Monument and features dinner, drinks, and entertainment. Tickets are already on sale for this key event.

Throughout July and August, galleries throughout town feature artists, often rotating through their rosters or introducing new works on a weekly or biweekly basis, cumulatively creating an atmosphere of artistic dialogue and creative stimulation. Beginning right at the very end of June, there are some intriguing shows coming our way. Greg Salvatori Gallery is a contemporary gallery with weekly shows that emanate from owner Salvatori’s interests in exploring identity, human as well as spatial and formal relationships, and the cutting edge of artistic approaches today. A particularly fascinating show, Augment and Elevate runs June 30 – July 6 and features mind-blowing works by Jaime Byrd. The artist’s vibrantly colored oil paintings, notable for the general absence of human forms in them, are given an added dimension ( or two) when one looks at them with a special app, revealing augmented reality content. Unlike any other artist’s work in town, these paintings come to life in a sense, through the added element of motion, three-dimensionality, and music. Over at Schoolhouse Gallery there are five featured artists in a show running June 30 – July 19Joel Janowitz, Stephanie Frank Sassoon, Breon Dunigan, and Jen Bradley offer new works in a variety of approaches, from Sassoon’s subdued oil paintings featuring homes and castles with human-level personalities (one of which is on our cover this week), to Janowitz’s richly abstracted images of the natural environment. In addition, the Gallery is collaborating with the Mary Heaton Vorse House on an exhibition of David Hilliard’s large-scale photographs, many portraits of women inspired by and intended for exhibition in the Vorse House. That special exhibit will be up June 30 – August 6, so there are many opportunities to have a look at his beautiful photography in this legendary space.

William Scott Gallery brings us two shows June 30 – July 12, with the ever-popular John Dowd’s recent paintings of nighttime scenes and California artist Sandra Jones Campbell’s expressionistic acrylics featuring images from found photographs she’s recreated. And On Center Gallery has two shows June 30 – July 10, one featuring Tucker Eason, who describes his paintings as “abstractions masquerading as representational work,” and the other an exhibition of the marvelous sculptures created by Kevin Box Studio.

Saturday, July 1, from 6 – 8 p.m., join Michael Stuetz at the Hawthorne Barn for a special show of his Provincetown-related photographic portraits shot over the past 30 years. Larkin Gallery also offers an array of weekly, or sometimes biweekly, shows. A provocative example is Ellen Llewellyn’s show July 7 – 12, which includes paintings that evoke intensity through their weather subject matter—specifically storms. The visceral memories and associations we have to these particularly thrilling weather events are recalled looking at Llewellyn’s works, even when they are not paintings of storms but rather portraits that hint at inner storms.

Art Love Gallery often showcases pop art and works that delight the senses with their contemporary vibes. For Bear Week, owner Jackie Fuchs has created a theme show, Bear July 8 – 20, where “a variety of artists create ‘bear’ art to celebrate the community.” Meanwhile, Gallery 444 hosts guest exhibitions all season long, so there is no one style represented here. But if you like contemporary art with a comic-book and street art influence, the gallery is hosting artist Lisa Grubb July 12 – 26 for a really fun show you will definitely want to put on your calendar.

July 21 – August 28, Mark Schianca will be showing his work at Stewart Clifford Gallery. Schianca is best-known for his swimsuit paintings, but he will mostly be showing paintings he made of Provincetown as well as some scenes from Mykonos, Greece, that are quite stunning. And at Alden Gallery, they have added Chris Firger to their roster of wonderful artists. He will have his first show there July 21 – August 3, consisting of representational acrylic paintings, many of which depict Provincetown scenes. And up on Bradford Street, over on the west end of town, just past Shank Painter Road, there is the Provincetown Commons gallery, which is an exhibition and event space that has a full roster of shows booked. The shows running July 25 – August 6 include work by wildlife photographer Robert Slott, quiet New England paintings by Gary Cosenza, and Ken Lockwood’s intriguing abstract paintings for a trio of shows that offer something for everyone.

James Frederick mounts exhibitions of his own work throughout the season at his Frederick Studios. A prolific painter, he always seems to have something new to show us. His show August 4 – 13 is called Road Trip and is infused with imagery from Frederick’s midwestern roots and inspired by a trip he took earlier this year.

Another prolific artist who shows his own work in a studio/gallery is Adam Peck. Although he does not have a specific exhibition of his own work, and he does feature other talented artists, it’s worth visiting Adam Peck Gallery any time because Peck’s small-scale paintings are lovely to look at, as are the beautiful boxes made by artists David Bergeron and Bill Meves, and they’re available all season.  

Continuing with our August shows, Rice Polak Gallery has a new artist whose work, intriguingly, is created on linoleum squares, evoking connections to home life many of us will find familiar. Bill Miller will have his first show here August 17 – 30, along with mixed media painter Willie Little, and a show of Susan Mikula’s work, running concurrent with her Vorse House exhibition mentioned earlier.

Simie Maryles Gallery features painters in various styles, but really is known for featuring rich oil paintings that bring us back to the old masters. Maryles herself is an exceptional painter who will have exhibitions of her own work July 28 – August 10, but another show that should not be missed is John Brandon Sills’ August 18 – 31, featuring his atmospheric landscape paintings.

Studio Lacombe usually features works by artist-owner Gaston Lacombe, but he also brings in pop-up shows by other artists he wants to introduce us to. One particularly exciting show this season is Ryan Rudewicz, whose “Rude Polaroids” are fabulous. The Cape Cod native will exhibit his photographs of young, queer life in the retro Polaroid medium here August 24 – September 4.

Bowersock Gallery is one of the most eclectic galleries in town, featuring sculpture, paintings, mixed media, and artists with vastly different approaches to their work. But this year, it will be especially exciting to see Steve Bowersock’s own work on view August 25 – September 15. It’s been a pleasure to watch Bowersock, a self-taught artist, who is also a gay military veteran from the Midwest, grow artistically over the last decade in his neo-surrealist style. The new work promises to be some of his best yet.

All season, Galeria Cubana’s Michelle Wojcik brings Cuban art—and sometimes the artists themselves, when they can navigate the ridiculously complicated U.S. visa process—to Provincetown. It will be interesting to see her final show of the season, August 31 – September 11, which features works by William Acosta as well as a special exhibition: Ronaldo Encarnacion + Rigoberto Mena : Carta Blanca (Carte Blanche). All three of these artists work in exciting contemporary approaches. Although at press time it was uncertain, there is a possibility that Mena, one of Cuba’s most well known contemporary artists, will attend the opening reception for this show. What a wonderful bridge to Labor Day and the fall season, when we welcome the changing light and unique autumnal spirit following what will likely have been a lovely summer.

For complete, up-to-date schedules and opening reception information, as well as special events, please consult these websites for the places mentioned in this feature, listed here in alphabetical order:

Adam Peck Gallery •
Alden Gallery •
Art Love Gallery •
Bakker Gallery •
Berta Walker Gallery •
Bowersock Gallery •
Fine Arts Work Center (FAWC) •
Frederick Studios •
Galeria Cubana •
Gallery 444 •
Greg Salvatori Gallery •
Hawthorne Barn • (no web) 25 Miller Hill Rd.

Larkin Gallery •

Mary Heaton Vorse House •

On Center Gallery •
Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) •

Provincetown Commons •

Rice Polak Gallery •
Schoolhouse Gallery •
Simie Maryles Gallery •
Stewart Clifford Gallery •
Studio Lacombe •
William Scott Gallery •

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Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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