Fans of artist David Witbeck might quickly – and rightfully so – associate him with a particular subject. “I’ve been painting my signature fishermen for eleven years,” Witbeck says. “They’ve become my identity as an artist, but it’s not all I am.”
Witbeck’s recent work, which includes figurative and landscape pieces, will be on display for three weeks at Maine Art Gallery in Kennebunk, beginning Saturday, September 22. The artist will attend the opening reception that evening, from 5 to 7 PM.
Witbeck’s larger-than-life coastal characters have earned him many ardent followers. During recent years, however, the Rhode Island-based artist has focused his energies on other subjects. For example, last October he spent time in Maine, in Friendship and Stonington, so he could focus on pole wharves. Witbeck is drawn to their spindly and fragile appearance, which belies their ability to withstand the constant barrage of the tides.
“I love walking low-tide mudflats, around and under pole wharves, looking for whatever secrets the receding water may have revealed,” Witbeck says. While his subject matter may shift, his loose, bold, expressive style has not. “The actual wharves in these harbor villages don’t look a bit like the ones I painted for the show,” he says. “As always, my work has always been more about what it feels like than what it looks like.”
John Spain, Maine Art’s owner, says that Witbeck’s work evokes joy. “I’ve had the pleasure of representing David Witbeck for eight years and one of the most enjoyable parts is watching peoples’ first reactions to his work,” Spain says. “It begins with the smiles on their faces, and then they stand and really study each piece, the amazing compositions, and the masterful execution.”
Witbeck looks forward to discussing his work and his process at the opening. Maine Art Gallery is at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk. The gallery opens 10 AM daily. FMI, visit maine-art.com or call 967-2803.