P E T E R M. G I S H
August 19th through September 5th
Opening reception August 21st 5 to 7pm
Twenty or so works in oil on canvas by Peter Gish will be on view from August 19 to September 5. The opening reception is on Saturday, August 21, from 5-7 pm at the Jessie Edwards Studio on the second floor of the Post Office building.
From small still-lifes to large sea and landscapes, Gish’s work is infused with light. The purity and clarity of the colors seem to be lit from within. A still-life of three apples with their crisp contours in reds and yellows seems to float upon its own reflection. “Last Rose,” painted in November 2009, captures the fragile folds of pink petals blooming at the end of attenuated stems reaching for the waning autumn light. In contrast, “Beach Roses, Surf Hotel,” is filled with mid-morning summer light that sets off the roses blooming in the left foreground and the gables, rooflines, and cupola of the Surf Hotel, seen from the unusual perspective of the Old Harbor beach below the hotel. (continued below)
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In “North Light,” late afternoon light casts shadows across a sandy path to the lighthouse, with dune grass in deep blues, purples, greys, and greens. Again, the perspective is unusual: from the north looking south from Sandy Point with the granite of the lighthouse’s west wall and the white of the tower reflecting the declining sun. A few gulls wheel around the black lantern set against a deep blue sky.
Shadows of beach roses fall across the bleached stairway on Mohegan Bluffs in “Stairway – Southeast Bluffs.” The stairway thrusts from the foreground into the center of the brush-covered sandy cliffs with a tranquil sea and sky beyond. “Salt Pond – Breezy Point” is a softly luminous small scene with mid-morning light falling on the beach and across the still waters of the Salt Pond to the near abstract forms of the Narragansett Inn.
In “Newport Bridge – Sheep Meadow,” Gish has somehow transformed the steel of the bridge into a graceful arc of blue rising behind a pastoral scene of sheep – dabs of white – grazing in a meadow under a darkening cloud-streaked sky. The white arches of the bridge are filaments disappearing into the sky. “Tidal Pool,” is also set along the Jamestown, R.I. coast with the Beaver Tail Lighthouse in the background. The foreground is dominated by a sun-bleached rocky shoreline. Three lighly-drawn figures dabble in the crystalline waters of the tidal pool shimmering in blues, greens, turquoise, and purples. In contrast to this sheltered scene, “Rocky Coast,” is a turbulent view of dark slabs of rock pounded by swirling surf rushing into the foreground.
“Etretat/L’Aguille” offers an intriguing parallel to scenes of the Southeast Bluffs. Etretat is a village on the Normandy coast, north of LeHavre, France. In this piece, Gish depicts the “L’Aguille,” (the needle), the arch which is part of the western cliff of the Falaise D’Aval, the 2,300 foot slate cliffs for which the village is famous. Western light reflects off the white cliffs into the shimmering blue and green water – luminous in the foreground against grey sand and fading into more subdued tone in the background. Etretat was painted by many artists, among them Monet, Courbet, and Matisse. Gish first visited the village in the 1990’s, and said recently that he has a particular affinity for Monet, who died in 1926, the year Gish was born.
At this writing, Gish is still at work on a large (30”X40”) oil of the South East bluffs, which he hopes to include in the show.