Opening Friday, August 26, 5-8pm
These paintings are affectionate portraits of the humble tuber in its more flamboyant state, forgotten but lively, in the back of the cupboard.
Since 2011, I have periodically recorded these finds. I first draw them in conté or graphite to discover just the right pose, and then paint them in oil on 20” x 16” panels. After a while I tried rendering them even larger, where their fascinating patina and decorative appendages can be appreciated even more. Seeing something small blown up to an unnatural size has always interested me, like the gigantic 17th century flea engraved by Robert Hooke.
These portraits have mostly been painted in my studio, in winter, when I take a break from my habit of painting the rocks (outside, in watercolor) along the shore of Cape Ann, north of Boston, where we have a cottage. Friends have mentioned the strange similarity of these boulders, deposited on the beach by the retreating glaciers, to the potato, and I must admit there is something familiar about their form. But the potatoes have a charm and amusing persona that I just don’t see in the rocks.
For years I resisted showing these potatoes outside my studio because I liked watching them grow as a family of related shapes and personalities. Elaine and Charles, the proprietors of Gladstone Jewelry and Gallery, have finally twisted my arm to go public.
- Christopher Pullman