Peter Michael Gish ~ New Work 2014

There is great variety in this display of Gish’s latest work from the delicately detailed colors of a striped bass still-life to the strong, deep, textured tones of a sunset with the small white disc of the sun setting in a sea of many hues – magenta, deep blues, greens, and orange, and casting yellow and orange streaks across a sky heavy with dark clouds.

Some of these oils capture the timeless sense of an idyllic moment:  the clusters of buildings of Littlefield Farm seen in late spring, its soft green fields running down to the sand and water under gentle clouds in a clear blue sky. “Crescent Beach” is a summer scene of bathers on a sandy stretch of beach with the Surf Hotel behind rising into a cloud-streaked blue sky.  “Vail Beach” is another tranquil view of a tidal pool, rocks, and sandy beach merging into the bluffs. Luminous blue water and frothy white surf roll in to the curving shoreline.

Recently, Gish said that his paintings are his response to a beautiful world. “Blue Dory” is a good example. This small (9” x 12”) oil is Gish’s response to being smitten by the shades of blue of the dory resting on the sand in Old Harbor.  The lines of the Surf Hotel and the contours of the grassy dunes provide context, but his intense interest is in the blue of the small boat.

Gish uses intense colors and layers of subtle brushstrokes in several studies of flowers in their natural settings. A bearded iris in purple, magenta, and deep blue with fuzzy dashes of yellow is vivid against varied green foliage. The tissue-like petals of poppies literally pop with their shades of salmon, red, and pink set off by their smudgy black centers.  The deep blue water of a pond off Cooneymus is dense with green discs of lily pads and their crisp, spiky white blooms.

Full of light, shadow, and movement, Gish’s still-lifes hum with vitality.   If you ever wonder how many colors and shades are needed to create the color “white,” study Gish’s cluster of white roses in a translucent glass vase.  Another still-life that Gish has refined over several months is suffused with light. A gleaming stainless steel stockpot reflects the objects arrayed in front of it – an empty wine bottle, a cobalt blue glass plant mister, two onions, a rumpled blue-striped towel. Each of these objects could be a still-life on its own, full of texture and depth (especially those crinkly-skinned onions). All together, in this shimmering scene, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.