Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wyeth traditions

Portrait of Shorty by Jamie Wyeth 1963

I swooned in awe today while viewing the Jamie Wyeth exhibit at the Boston MFA. JW is a skilled contemporary realist to be sure, but is not afraid to expand beyond the mastery of rendering that runs in his family blood to a bit of abstract expressionism. He once hung out with Andy Warhol at the factory in NYC, so  it's no wonder he busted out of his conservative painting technique.

My favorite painting might be the one shown above— the Portrait of Shorty. It's gritty and real and I'm in love with that fabric on he chair. And that JW painted it when he was in his late teens is crazy to me—such innate talent.

Other paintings that I liked included a series that JW painted in 2007 of the Seven Deadly Sins—paintings that address human frailty and the sins of pride, envy, anger, greed, sloth, gluttony and lust, as noted by Dominican Saint Thomas Aquinas. But in Wyeth's clever twist, these sins are acted out by seagulls—birds that the artist has observed for decades along the coast of Maine and from his studios on Monhegan and Matinicus islands. “Gulls are nasty birds, filled with their own jealousies and rivalries,” Wyeth once said. See detail from one painting below.

I also really liked the portrait show below, of model Orca, (yes, his real name). 

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