ROGER PRINCE Congress Street Gallery
SHARON YATES Congress Street Gallery
Please click images above for full view.
Cows are the subject for this exhibit. Bronze and ceramic for Roger Prince--oils & watercolor for Sharon Yates. Roger Prince grew up in Turner, Maine, surrounded by orchards and dairy farms. He has been sculpting cows from memory and imagination for almost a lifetime. Sharon Yates works en plein air, completing each piece on site, in the fields surrounding her home and studio in Lubec, Maine. Both artists are retired art professors.
A graduate of Colby College (BA) and Columbia University (MA) Prince spent a Fulbright year making sculpture in Italy. He has exhibited throughout Maine, New England and also in New York including the Whitney Museum of American art Biennial. This is his third exhibit at Fitzpatrick. Yates graduated from Syracuse University School or Art, Syracuse, New York. She received an MFA from Newcomb School of Art, Tulane University, New Orleans. She has exhibited widely in Maine and in galleries and institutions along the eastern seaboard as well as in Canada. Her New York exhibits include the National Academy Museum, and her awards include the Rome Prize in Painting, American Academy in Rome, Italy. This is her first exhibit at Fitzpatrick.
Excerpted Maine Sunday Telegram review by Philip Isaacson: "Roger Prince--Sharon Yates at June Fitzpatrick Gallery," March 29, 2009
I am fond of cows as a concept, but rarely in paintings. My attachment to the critters lies in their extravagance. Their bony girdles, disproportionate and constructed without regard to anatomic harmony, are an obvious developmental afterthought. Their udders--particularly the milk factories attached to Holsteins--are so submissive to gravity that they imperil the whole concept of spinal support. And besides, their heads are too small. Paintings of landscapes with cows are comforting, but don't offer much in the way of emotional intensity. Paintings of cows in a landscape, on the other hand, can be both a delight and an ever-fresh source of corporeal animation. Those lumpy, bony carcasses can really move when motivated. I've learned much of this over time from the small plein air paintings of Sharon Yates. Her work has an immediacy--a sense of nearness--that is almost startling. Yates paints cows in situ, and you can feel it with your eyes. They are right there in front of you, but probably not for long. And that's part of the wonder of her work. The creatures are apt to wander off before the painting is finished. The cows set the tempo; the painter scrambles after them building their ambulations into the paint. And her surfaces are spellbinding. While the brushwork is as quick as the unpredictable subject matter demands, somehow a luxuriance is contributed to the paint that is almost at odds with pasturing cattle. The elegance of Yates' hand and the first-glance banality of a ruminating bossy seem to be curious bedfellows. But in time, they settle in. Yates is enchanted by the creatures, and we come to accept them as worthy of her accomplishments as a painter. Her small paintings--that's what they have to bare a feast for the eye. They're at the June Fitzpatrick MECA, as is another enchantment, cows in ceramic and bronze by Roger Prince.
Prince, who has generationally deep roots in Turner--Holstein country--has a tuned eye when it comes to the attitudes of the beasts. And he exemplifies them with such humor and irony that they become irresistible. I've never felt the urge to own a sculpture of a cow before this show; here, I want to own them all. I'm particularly drawn to a pair of recumbent ceramic pieces near the entrance to the gallery. They won't replace the lions in Trafalgar Square, but for all their docility, there is something magnificent about them. In them, for a second, it appears that God got it right when he created the cow. The extravagance, the exaggerations that define the beast, are made irreducibly appropriate, and all's well with the world. If I owned one of the pieces, I'd rub it every morning for good luck. Prince's bronzes are principally unique castings, and his hand seems very close by. Some, in their slenderness, seem annotative; a few seem whimsical; all are warmly indulgent.
Roger Prince statement
They were common as family; I grew up with cows. Later they were subject matter for a commission and I spent a summer climbing through Paul Varney's barn doing wax sketches. The earlier work shown here is part of a personal collection which has not been shown recently, other pieces are from this winter. In total they represent encounters with various formal problems over the years.
Sharon Yates statement
Years ago I cast aside painting scenic coastal motifs and along came cows--intriguing and beautiful. I was struck by their angular forms moving in the changing light and weather and compelled to find my way in painting them in their world. To find a pasture without a bull is the beginning; I haul in my gear and watch the herd roam the fields, woods and barnyards waiting endlessly for some to slow down or settle at rest; always a gamble--always chaos. Cows are worth the trouble because they have intensified the immediacy of my experience in painting outdoors. They ignite the landscape. Positioning myself low to the ground and close up to these animals, I see their anatomy and movements no matter how slight. I like to paint a cow in the foreground countered by others in the distance or on the run. Aesthetic decisions come and go; ruts, wet spots, manure and fences often rule. I do not work from sketches nor do I use photographs. I rather thrive on the unexpected.