|Berta Walker Gallery
208 Bradford St.€ Provincetown, MA 02657
508-487-6411 € FAX 508-487-8794
Press Photos are available through downloading the images at the following
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 7/23/05
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
DUNES AND SEA"
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.
PROVINCETOWN: LAND AND SEA"
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
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
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
August 26 September 11 (revised exhibition dates)
(FOUR ONE-PERSON EXHIBITIONS)
POLLY BURNELL, "My Town, This Year",
oils on porcelain
KAHN/SELESNICK, "The Time of the Great Inflation", mixed
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
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.