Kevin Beers starts off his 26th year at Gleason Fine Art with a new show, “Kevin Beers: Isle Views,” which began on June 23 and runs through July 19.
A reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. July 1, and Beers will be onsite to sign copies of his new book, which is available for purchase at the gallery.
Beers’ admiration for the powerful realism of the great American painters Edward Hopper, George Bellows and Rockwell Kent began long before he visited Maine for the first time. When he did travel to Maine from his home in Brooklyn, it was to search out the places painted by the trio of master painters—craggy islands, dramatic headlands guarded by lighthouses, sun-dazzled white buildings and intense blue seas and skies.
As with so many artists before him, Beers was struck by the quality of light in Maine, by the way it bounces off surfaces everywhere, creating sharp shadows and brilliant colors. This was a watershed moment for Beers, who, until his revelatory visit to Maine, had focused primarily on his “portraits” of old trucks and cars (which he still loves to discover and paint). Beers had found what he wanted to paint: Maine’s coast and islands, especially the remote, beautiful Monhegan Island, which has steadfastly remained a siren call for artists for nearly two centuries.
With his new show, “Isle Views,” classic Beers is on full display in canvas after canvas of dramatically-lit paintings of Monhegan’s famous lighthouse hill and red-roofed lightkeeper’s house, village and headlands, as well as stunning views of Pemaquid and transcendent oils of dories and skiffs. At this point in his career, Beers’ skill is so highly developed that each painting is fresh and thrilling.
Two paintings in particular, “Blackhead” and “Lone Dory,” are nearly reverential in their beauty. “Blackhead,” one of the towering headlands on Monhegan Island, has been painted many times, but Beers’ version is completely his. He paints it as though no one else had painted it before, and he paints it so well that the viewer will also feel as though they have never seen it before. “Lone Dory” is a portrait in light and shadow of a single dory floating in a calm sea. The dory in the painting is the definition of perfection; its elegant, sculptural lines could not be improved upon.
Gleason Fine Art is at 31 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor. Summer gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call Gleason Fine Art at 207-633-6849, email the gallery at firstname.lastname@example.org, or go to www.gleasonfineart.com.