Berta Walker Gallery
208 Bradford St.€ Provincetown, MA 02657
508-487-6411 € FAX 508-487-8794

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Berta Walker Gallery is pleased to present three one-person exhibitions opening August 12, and continuing through August 21, 2005. The artists, Salvatore Del Deo, John Kearney and Nancy Whorf, will be accompanied by a group exhibition of Provincetown Masters to include works by Oliver Chaffee, Edwin Dickinson, Charles W. Hawthorne, Hans Hofmann, Karl Knaths, Blanche Lazzell, Ross Moffett and Agnes Weinrich. Reception Friday, August 12, 7 ­ 9 pm.



Salvatore Del Deo's paintings are always a mix of deep feeling and painterly technique, and the current exhibition distills that mix to a rich concentration. One identifies with the painter's compassionate gaze. This season, we are treated to the intimacy, quiet, calm and serenity of the dunes, the abstract interpretations of a simple doorway, and the animated conversation of the fishermen at day's end.
Through his painting, Del Deo is engaged in a spirited dialogue with the world, with nature. It is this challenge that has held his passion through the over fifty years of his painting career and has resulted in an immense and diverse body of work. His is a style that seems to traverse the continuum from the realistic to the abstract, with a natural fluidity available only to one who is thoroughly centered. He works with the visual vocabulary built up over years of study and looking and seeing. Del Deo has painted all the familiar scenes of his life at land¹s end ­ fish, dunes, figures on the back shore, boats moored at the town wharf, trap sheds and lighthouses, the gardens, the citizens ­ all made new for the viewer through the painter¹s rich palette and soulful perspective. It is as if he is focusing long-stored energy through the lens of pure color ­ the color concentrated, coagulated by that intense focus.
Discussing his paintings in an interview with Lynn Stanley, Del Deo has said: "I run the gamut when it comes to subject matter. I come to the studio every day not knowing what I¹m going to paint. I want to keep a sense of discovery in my work. I try to stay away from the narrative aspects of the paintings for as long as possible although sometimes that¹s hard." Asked by Stanley why avoiding the narrative was important to him, Del Deo continued: "When you look at the surface of (my late friend) Rothko¹s paintings, those layers of color are so sensitiveŠThe more you stay away from narrative, the less you bracket yourself in a specific time sequence. It¹s like a beautiful piece of chamber music, where the composer¹s most subjective expression is put on paper and then transcends the merely personal."
Del Deo¹s inspiration flows from his love of landscape, nurtured through years spent in the dunes and at his secluded, hand-built home surrounded by trees. Discussing his work with sculptor Joyce Johnson in the Cape Codder on the occasion of his 40 year survey exhibition at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Del Deo said: "The creative process takes timeŠand it is unpredictable. It has its own meter and cadence.
Salvatore Del Deo came to Provincetown to study with Edwin Dickinson, met his wife, writer and art historian Josephine Del Deo, and stayed. Over fifty years later, he still paints in his studio daily, tends to his chickens and vegetables, and, in the true tradition of his Italian homeland, stomps grapes for wine in the Fall.


Bronze and automobile bumper sculpture

John Kearney¹s wild and exotic animal sculptures will arrive at the Berta Walker Gallery on August 12 , preceded by a life-size Kodiac bear, already installed in front of the Gallery. Over the years, these great life-sized animals made from automobile bumpers -- horses, varying kinds of dinosaurs, polar bears, kangaroo and joey -- have earned Kearney the titles of "king of recycling" and "magician in metal."
An internationally renowned sculptor, John Kearney works in "heavy metal" - steel, chrome and bronze - but with the heart of a true romantic. Whether welding together old American car bumpers from the 60¹s and 70¹s or working in bronze with the Mediterranean lost wax technique, Kearney shapes familiar animals from our real and literary lives - goats, rabbits, giraffes, whales, barracudas, and others ­ into art that simultaneously charms and disarms. Kearney¹s work can seem purely whimsical at times, such as his bronze series of "Jonah in the Whale" (behind a car steering wheel or busily rowing, etc.) that also serve as functional containers. But, at other times, Kearney succeeds in bringing us closer to seeing more clearly our own society. The power of juxtaposing the hard, reflective surface of invulnerable steel from perhaps the most iconographic symbol of our "civilization" ­ the automobile ­ with the organic shapes of life-like vulnerable animals, succeeds in creating that disarming moment, when our normal expectations are surprised, and we have the opportunity to see with more innocent, perhaps wiser, eyes, the actual world we are inhabiting. Kearney¹s imaginative works contains a vision that is similar to some of our more beloved storytellers, Frank L. Baum , "The Wizard of Oz", and Lewis Carroll¹s "Alice in Wonderland." Like them, Kearney has the uncanny ability of tweaking reality and making us understand that magic is the key to really understanding what is right before our eyes.
Describing tKearney¹s sculpture in a Chicago exhibition, Rick Kogan of the Chicago Tribune wrote: "Kearney¹s genius is that he can transform prosaic objects into compelling pieces of art (that are) powerful and arrestingly close to life." While Norman Mailer has said of Kearney, "(he¹s)Šone of the greatest sculptors in America."
Much of Kearney¹s time is spent gathering and processing the metal. He does not do preliminary drawings for his sculptures but, rather, seeing three-dimensionally, he cuts out the shapes he will need and through imaginative compositions, breathes life into his metal menagerie. He does, however, study very intently, nature photos of the animals he¹s about to bring to life in metal.
Kearney, who lives in Chicago in the winter and Provincetown in the summer, began his formal art studies with Carl Milles (a student of Rodin¹s) at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. He learned under water welding and was a boat pilot of amphibious landing craft on the U.S.S. Warhawk during World War II. Kearney¹s many awards include a Fulbright Scholarship to Rome, Italy. His bumper sculptures are in the permanent collections of museums and universities throughout the country, including Chicago¹s Museum of Science and Industry, Lincoln Park Zoo, and the Detroit Children¹s Museum. At age 80, Kearney has just completed the third of the huge, three-sculpture commission for Oz Park in Chicago. His first sculpture was "the Tin Man", made entirely from bumpers; the next two, the lion and the scarecrow, were both made of bronze.
Since chrome automobile bumpers are so scarce, Kearney now only makes large bumper sculptures on a commission basis. However, a few small sculptures are still finding their way to Provincetown.



Painter Nancy Whorf is known for her vibrant, expansive Provincetown scenes. Her many views of the town, the narrow streets, the harbor and boats, snowy walks, hidden gardens, sunsets and storms are a testament to her love of this storied seaside town where she grew up. Whorf's philosophy of painting is a reflection of her way of living. The world goes around, some things change; some things stay the same; community matters; nature is true.
In some ways, Whorf is creating a kind of visual memoir, for behind many of the paintings is a memory. Her eye focuses on the place she knew as a child and young woman - the busy life centered around the wharves when Provincetown was a vital fishing center. She says the work is "thoughtful and sentimental." But Whorf doesn¹t ignore the sometimes harsh reality of living by the land and the sea. These are not just pretty landscapes.
Paintings in this exhibition include fishermen mending the nets, the great snows of winter, the comfort of bringing home "the catch of the day". The extraordinary beauty of Whorf¹s work is magnified by the truth she tells. In her characteristic brusque way, Whorf says, "I can¹t paint a pretty picture. I have to paint the truth I know." Provincetown is an emotional and visual place for Whorf.
In an interview with Suzanne Horoschak, Whorf said: "You feel, as a painter, that you have something to say. You understate it, overstate it. You have to have a certain philosophy about life and living and, for me, the wonder of it all. Cornball as this all may sound, it's marvelous and wonderful -- the seasons, the elements, and our interplay with them...I'm not making a political statement because it doesn't make any difference in the scheme of things. A plant or a storm, those are important, but the rest of it --it's all (part of) the highway of life. I paint what I feel has magic to it."
Whorf continued throughout her career to develop her expressive emotional content and the narrative element through both subject and technique. She commented recently from her new home in Florida where she moved for health reasons: "I know Provincetown. There's a lot of information there. I think I got better at saying more with less. I wanted to simplify, to suggest. That's what I like about the palette knife. It's easier to suggest." Over time, Whorf has refined her knife stroke to the merest twist of line, the touch of color, to express the mood, to suggest the whole world of Provincetown.
The viewer is struck by the truth of place; but in the end, Whorf's work is really all about the paint. The rich, saturated color, the flick of the painting knife - she is a master.
At the age of 14, Nancy Whorf began her formal art study as a folk artist decorating furniture for Peter Hunt, and for twenty years owned a shop in Wellfleet that sold her painted furniture. Yet, early on she wanted to explore her own painting more deeply and spent a year at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston Museum School, where she studied with Karl Zerbe. The influence of Charles Hawthorne can be felt from her studies with Vollian Rann and her father John Whorf. Since the late 80's, Whorf has focused exclusively on her own painting. Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout the country and she has received numerous commissions from public and private organizations such as Lincoln Park Zoological Society, Tiffany's in Chicago, Abby Rockefeller, and other private individuals. Whorf has been included in numerous books and articles about master painters of Provincetown. She was the subject of a one-person exhibiton at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in 2001. This summer, her work can be seen in the Cape Museum of Fine Arts, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, and the Cahoon Museum. NANCY WHORF PLANS TO RETURN TO PROVINCETOWN FOR THE OPENING RECEPTION.

NEXT EXHIBITIONS: August 26 ­ September 11 (revised exhibition dates)

POLLY BURNELL, "My Town, This Year", oils on porcelain
KAHN/SELESNICK, "The Time of the Great Inflation", mixed media collaborations
THOMAS MC CANNA, porcelain sculpture
WOLF KAHN, "A Return to Provincetown", oils and pastels (in collaboration with the
retrospective exhibition scheduled to open at the new Provincetown Art Association
and Museum September 2nd.

Please note the benefit and exhibition "Saluting Provincetown¹s Volunteer Fire Department", originally scheduled to open September 10, has been re-scheduled for the Spring of 2006.