Fred Poisson ~ Country Work

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New watercolors on paper by Fred Poisson will be on exhibit at the Jessie Edwards Studio on the second floor of the Post Office building from June 26 to July 9. The opening reception is on Saturday, June 28, from 5-7 pm in the gallery.

“Art resides in daily life,” Fred observed in a recent conversation. His new watercolors in “Country Work” reflect that insight. They invite us to contemplate the quiet quotidian aspects of off-season island life seen in the various seasons and hours of the day. The warm autumnal light of  “Country Living” casts shadows across a weathered  grey shed with pumpkins by the open door, through which we glimpse wood  being piled inside for the winter.  In “Red Day Sailor,” early morning light falls on a solitary red sailboat in the empty Salt Pond glimpsed through the narrow space between two Narragansett Inn outbuildings, one in shadow, the other a bright white dappled with the shifting shadows of branches of the thick dark tree trunk in the right foreground.

In contrast, “Little Shackleton” is a spare, wintry scene of another solitary boat – this one caught in the grip of the freeze-and-thaw pattern of this past January. The cold blue-white of the crackling ice is in the foreground while the fishing boat sits anchored in the unfrozen waters of the pond that reflect the pale blue and pink sky at dusk. “Salt Marsh Sundown,” a study in late winter, shows ice still on a pond and snow still on the brown, bristly marsh stalks and on the field beyond with the outlines of the Sullivan House looking pagoda-like against a pale sky.

In “Spring Fog.” the austere, muted tones of winter give way to new, fresh, green grass and the soft haze of fog that forms as warm air meets cold water.  The dark browns and greys of a small shed with gabled window are set off against the green grass and soft greys of sky and water, their tones repeated in the white spikes of a picket fence across the entire foreground.

“Jen’s Shoreline” is a study in contrasts, with warm, pale light filling the left and top, while deep green foliage lines the shore, and the water shimmers with the reflection of shore and sky.  In “Flood Tide,” a view of the inner pond by the bridge on Beach Avenue, early morning light literally does flood the scene with rich greens and soft white, their limpid reflections vibrant in the lucid blue water.

Clear early morning light suffuses a large horizontal study (60” x 20”) of a familiar cluster in the foreground of three rocks in a small tidal pool on a pristine Scotch Beach.  Darker tones on the left gradually soften in the early eastern light so that green dune grass merges with a blue sky, which gets whiter as it blends with the gently lapping water and the swath of sand. The darker edges and planes of the rocks are in relief yet also in harmony: Zen garden meets New England beach.

In his show last summer at the gallery, Poisson’s combination of western technique and eastern sensibility caught the eye of Block Island residents Herman and Linda Mast, who have traveled often to China and have many friends there. They connected Poisson with a museum in Guilin, China.  Poisson was invited to exhibit his work in March 2014 at the inauguration of the Zhengwang Art Museum in Guilin, China, where some of it will remain as part of the permanent collection.