In Philip’s New Works show at Maine Art Shows in Kennebunk, there are a few pieces featuring children at play that connect to each other. Inspired by time at the dock on Cranberry Island a few years ago, In the Moment, Double Cannon ball, Diver and Tandem celebrate summer the way Maine children have for decades… by simply playing outside.
We have all seen them – these ‘free-range’ children. Some of us were even lucky enough to have been one. They are the children who head out the door with bathing suits on underneath their clothes on a bicycle that used to belong to someone else. They are the children who, when the first light of day breaks, “go play” until summoned home for a meal, or more likely, bed-time. They are the children of Maine.
Philip was able to spend countless hours watching this phenomenon during his Heliker-LaHotan Foundation Residency. No iPads, no cell phones, no PlayStations. Just sunshine and summer. Capturing these moments on film, as well as in small studies, Frey found the magic. Working en plein air is difficult. “There is an immediacy when painting outside,” says Frey. “My paintings sometimes begin with drawings, plein air oil sketches or photographs that become the basis of larger studio works. Exploring different subjects through a series of work allows me to investigate various color palettes, compositions and paint handling within those parameters.”
These pieces will be on display until July 16th at Maine Art Shows, 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk. As in all things, being there is the best way to take in the wonder that this work holds. However, they can be viewed in the on-line show at Philip Frey, New Works, or on his Artist Page on Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture’s website.
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When speaking with Philip about this show, some specific pieces of work, and how he moves through the creation of his work, he paraphrased Jackson Pollack. “It’s about the paint and the process, it’s not about the artist.” He may have been referring to something very specific, comparing his style to Pollack’s, but the phrasing rang true for Philip as an artist. For him, it is not about the end result or the name on the catalogue, it’s about watching the magic that happens with a brush stroke; creating movement with a sweep of color and bringing the canvas to life with a talent he knows he is fortunate to have. As we interact more and more with Philip Frey’s collectors and friends, one theme rings true. Not only are they happy for the success of the show, but they are happy for the success of Philip, himself. “He is a great man, as well as great artist.”
Many have also commented on the “change” in Philip’s work. Frey attributes the strength and growth seen in his show, New Works, to time spent at the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation Residency on Cranberry Island in 2012. His residency was a few years ago, but it changed not only his final products, but his process. He comments on this during our interview.
One of the most remarkable changes is what Frey calls, “incidental marks.” These marks happen with the “throwing” of paint that might occur throughout the painting process to fold in texture, direction and a sense of spontaneity. “It gives a sense of movement,” says Philip. “It’s a throwback to when I worked with watercolor.” He refers to Japanese watercolor and calligraphy and the looseness of the brush. Watch the video below to hear it from Philip himself.
If you haven’t had a chance to come by 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk to view Philip Frey’s New Works show, consider this an invitation. The show will be on display until July 16th. He has additional pieces at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk, as well. You can also see his work online by clicking the SHOWS link, as well as his entire collection on his Artist Page.
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To uncover the secrets and stories behind a piece of art is one thing; to discover the physical secrets hidden underneath the paint is quite another.
Usually, for Philip Frey, the beginning of beautiful starts with venetian red. A background color he washes on, rubs off, and then proceeds to hide beneath the layers of oil paint we see on the surface of his work. By the time his end result is achieved only wisps and fragments of the stunning color peek through, but this first step is an integral part of his process.
This is not the only secret he conceals below the finish of his work. Recently Philip pulled out a series of abstract panels he created a while back. At the time he wasn’t satisfied with them. These panels covered in Raymar linen held blocky abstracts of scenes captured in just a few moments. In them Frey found inspiration for several of his smaller pieces that grace the walls at Maine Art Shows. By applying more detail, more color, more “Frey” he was able to create pieces like the one below. Who knew covering up could expose such beauty.
While visiting we were able to witness Philip “peel back” one of these painting. He shared some of the original panels similar to those he used in “Raining Clouds and Sun” and “Split” pictured above. The panels have to remain a secret, at least until his exhibition at the University of Maine Museum of Art next spring. Yet we were lucky enough to listen to him walk through a bit of what happened as he developed quick studies into fabulous abstracts worthy of his New Works show. Below is a small video clip of Philip discussing this process with us.
This “painting behind the painting” is new for Frey. “I think of Philip as one of our most creative in terms of always trying to step outside of his boundaries to try new things. It is how we learn and how we expand our knowledge,” says John Spain, owner of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture.
There are so many secrets to discover when visiting with Philip Frey’s work. We welcome you to come and find them out for yourself. The show is running until July 16th at Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk, or virtually at Philip Frey, New Works. Also, check out more of Philip’s work on his Artist Page at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture’s website.
On Saturday, June 27th, Philip Frey hosted the opening of his solo show, New Works, with Maine Art Shows. All three rooms of the gallery at 10 Chase Hill Road are filled with pieces Philip has created for this one-man show. This show will run until July 16th.
Philip lives in Sullivan, Maine in a lovely little house nestled in the woods just off the beaten path. His studio sits right next door with a short stone path connecting the two through the trees. He has surrounded himself with the solitude and woodsy beauty of Maine hidden minutes from the rugged coast of Acadia and Mount Desert Island. He has found the best of both worlds.
Over the years Frey has immersed himself in watercolor, acrylic, and oil; painting still life, figurative, and landscape. Yet the one constant throughout most of his work has been the inspiration Maine has given. Whether it’s the rough and rocky coastline or a group of young children celebrating summer on the dock, there is an outside presence of where we call home. It weaves its way through all medium and style to show off its charm and allure through Philip’s work.
Over the next few weeks we will offer ‘Behind the Scenes’ posts about Philip and his collection of work on Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture’s Blog. Individual paintings will be seen through his eyes and stories will be told through his voice as we take a closer look into the beautiful world of Philip Frey.
New Works will be at Maine Art Shows for the next three weeks. They are open every day from 11-5. If you can’t make it in for a visit, the online show. Philip also has more work on his Artist Page at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture or come into the gallery at 14 Western Avenue here in Kennebunk to see his complete collection.
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To begin with, “thank you” to all who came out for the opening of Philip Frey, New Works. From eleven yesterday morning until seven o’clock in the evening we enjoyed the company of so many wonderful people. Philip and the staff put in a long day at Maine Art Shows, but the time was well worth it. This was obvious when only an hour after opening a third of the pieces were boasting little red stickers. Philip Frey, New Works was an immediate success.
During an opening it is always interesting to eavesdrop on an artist with new clients. The passion and love for what they do is never as obvious as during these moments. With the quality and quantity of work in this show, Philip was kept busy answering questions and inquiries about particular pieces, as well as his process. Even discussions of place came into play. The love of Maine and her beautiful coast was shared by all who attended and often was the deciding factor in which piece to take home. Appreciation for a painting grew ten fold when both artist and patron were able to share memories of a place so perfectly captured on canvas.
Ten Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk is lucky enough to be the home for Philip’s new collection of work for the next three weeks. Maine Art Shows is open from 11am – 5pm every day and will happily show you around. If you can’t make it in by July 16th, please visit the show on-line, Philip Frey, New Works. Don’t forget Philip has additional work at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture down on 14 Western Ave in Kennebunk, and on his Artist Page, as well.
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Last week time was spent with Philip Frey at his home and in his studio. After seeing the artwork for his upcoming show first hand and listening to Philip’s stories, excited doesn’t begin to describe the emotion swirling around the opening of New Works. Even though the inside peek at many of the pieces happened during the visit, some pieces were wrapped for travel or leaning against easels waiting for that final approval. It just wasn’t the same. It’s time to see it all come together, in true Maine Art Show style.
Watching the staff at Maine Art Shows pick and choose what goes where, and next to what, and in which room is crazy. How do they decide? Amy and Natalie make it look easy, but it takes hours of hard work, arranging and rearranging to make “New Work” come to life. As a result by mid-afternoon on Friday, the gallery on the first floor of 10 Chase Hill Road is finally quiet…and without a doubt, absolutely perfect.
It is definitely a treat to wander through the rooms with nothing but silence to critique the work. Time is undisturbed as the memories and visions of Philip Frey spill into each room. Views of Acadia National Park and Schoodic Peninsula, abstracts of water and sky, and children captured in play complete the celebration of summer.
Please come and join Philip, his New Works, and Maine Arts Shows in this celebration. The gallery is open from 11-5 every day starting Saturday, June 27th through Thursday, July 16th at Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill in Kennebunk. You can also visit virtually at Philip Frey, New Works. Be sure to check out the rest of Philip’s work at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture or virtually on his Artist Page.
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When heading into Kennebunkport from Rt. 9 it is impossible to miss Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture. Known for the large display of Lyman Whitaker Wind Sculptures in the front yard, Maine Art has greeted visitors and locals alike for over fifteen years now. We have always thought it was a great place to visit, but when Jeff Peterson from WGME’s Road Trippin’ called to set up a time to film and interview, we were happy to oblige and help him spread the word.
Owner John Spain met with Jeff and his cameraman, Matt, down on 14 Western Ave outside of Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture. The gallery wasn’t open yet and fewer people were wandering around Kennebunkport at that time. John filled him in on some of the history, what the difference is between Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture and the gallery on 10 Chase Hill Road, Maine Art Shows, what’s up and coming for art openings, and of course a little bit about those famous Wind Sculptures.
Road Trippin is a segment on WGME that focuses on northern New England tourism. Where to eat, where to play, and of course where to shop. They air on Thursday mornings on Channel 13, WGME, but their webpage keeps video of past visits in case you miss one. Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture will be featured on the July 2nd show that is coming to Kennebunkport.
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Everyone sees through a different eye. Beauty, as well as art, is objective. Artists can stand before the same landscape, encapsulated by the same surroundings, yet the results captured on canvas vary in a way that is indescribable. Jeffrey T. Fitzgerald describes this well when talking about the creation of “Meeting House.” “I met with this group down by the ocean. We all had different opinions and were projecting somewhat different paths, but we stood together under the most beautiful sky.”
In Maine, the sky before us changes with a heartbeat. Trying to capture it in paint is a skill in which many find envy. To be able to witness the reproduction of these moments through the eyes of so many talented artists and friends must have been truly overwhelming. And thus, “Meeting House” was born. “With all our differences, the sky, as the big picture, became the cohesion or symbol for our friendship. It was a roof on a small town meeting room where ideas and messages are offered,” explains Fitzgerald.
So often, the story behind the work is one we, as admirers, do not have the privilege of hearing. To be part of the inner circle is a gift that helps us to engage in art at a different level other than with just our untrained eye. Now, we can stand in front of Jeffrey’s work, and bring not only our own experiences and stories to the table, but his as well. With this newfound information we see, “the colors of the piece and their colonial or primitive stoic New England sensibility” come to life.
We encourage you to come and visit with Jeffrey’s work in the Choice Show at Maine Art Shows, 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk. The rest of his collection can be seen down the hill at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture at 14 Western Avenue, also in Kennebunk. As always, you may view Jeffrey’s work on his Artist Page on the website, but we hope you come see it for yourself.
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Reflection – the throwing back by a body or surface of light without absorbing it. Reflection – a thing that is a consequence of or arises from something else. Reflection – serious thought or consideration.
For artist Susan Wahlrab, “Reflection” is all of these, beautifully balanced in the pulse of quiet and flow. “I choose a place that is personal to me, yet still a universal image of the conversation between the two islands and the warm, safe cove. It is the relationship of earth and water, where water and land meet, dancing together,” says Wahlrab. With the physical comes the mental, the emotional. “The word reflection is also contemplation for me; an inner and outer connection where a balance of stillness and movement meet.”
It was only after a conversation with Vermont State Curator, David Schutz, that Susan truly began to understand her work’s connection to the concept of reflection. “I was so excited about the ‘ah-ha’ moment, I wanted to paint the largest painting I could.” This piece is a 48 x 36 varnished watercolor on claybord, and is destined to be a focal point in any room. “Laying the panel flat, I literally had to sit on top if it as I worked. Lots of up, down and crazy positions. Definitely the most physical challenge ever!” The end result is a feeling of beauty and wonder that only standing in front of this piece can bring. The scale and color and subtle nuances are blended together in a way even Mother Nature would respect.
It has been over thirty years now that Susan has been discovering landscape through her art. “Reflection” represents those years, both in nature and in the studio. Even though this one was a very personal venture, it is with great happiness that she will pass it off to new owners. “I hope they find their own connection and discover something new each time light and life changes; each time moments are spent in reflection.”
All of Susan Wahlrab’s work can be seen on her Artist Page on Maine Art Painting and Sculpture’s website. Please consider, however, coming in to see it for yourself at Maine Art Shows at 10 Chase Hill Road in Kennebunk. Words and images do not do it justice.
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This abstract style is new for Sandra. “It feels like ‘weaving’ with brushstrokes,” she says when talking about Hope Springs II. Sandra is incredibly modest when it comes to her work. “This painting practically painted itself, since I’d been walking around with the ‘thought’ of it in my mind for several weeks.”
“I did this piece in February of this year,” Dunn says. Inspired by the endless winter that wrapped around New England, she had to find spring underneath the cold blanket of snow. Ever the optimist, she focused on the “tiny seed buried deep in the cold, dark ground”. She had more hope than most to be able to see this scene in her mind while being buried in a winter landscape. “It was a burst of color as the sprout rose up and reached above the ground,” Dunn claims, describing the crisp and clean colors that cover this canvas.
This piece is the second in a pair. The first, Hope of Spring, can be found at Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture on 14 Western Ave, Kennebunk. Sandra also has two others in the Choice Art Show. Magenta Glads & White Rose and Monhegan Delphinium. The show will run until June 25th. We welcome you to stop by either gallery to see her work in person, or you can visit at www.maine-art.com.
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