My fascination with Provincetown harbor has led me to observe the dramatic tidal changes that the shore experiences. Since many of the town’s residences live with close proximity to the beach, it’s of particular concern in the age of climate change and more powerful storms. These luxury residences and wharfs hosting cottages and second homes, are propped up by structures that both defy Mother Nature and bait it at the same time. I chose low tide to underscore their precarious arc over an increasing problem with the hope that they survive but also with the idea recording them for posterity if they should fall to our lack of action and an increasingly exponential threat. Their beauty aside it’s both a testament to engineering and a visible hubris of days past.
My second season at Alden Gallery has been solid and my wharf series nearly sold out. I’ve been thinking I might want a new subject to study but on this very atmospheric weekend in Provincetown (a very tired hurricane José is falling apart) I wanted to try and capture its mood. I realized I’m not quite done exploring this iconic and central structure in Provincetown as it continually changes palette through seasons and storms. Now if I could only paint the scent of the ocean I’d be legend.
A collector friend of mine saw my show up this past summer and gave me a book on Edwin Dickinson. This prolific and outstanding artist is very much responsible for helping to establish Provincetown as an art colony as well as contribute significantly the founding of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) which serves as an epicenter of art scene here in Provincetown today. I’m still learning the rich history of the painters, writers, and poets that have walked these streets for well over a hundred years. Reading about Dickinson underscores how humbling it is to paint here. The sheer amount of talented artists, both living and passed, serves as an inspiration that is ever harder to find in any given city/town due to priced out gentrification and over commercializing once gritty and edgy artist enclaves (I’m looking at you Lower East Side). As fall takes over New England, many will come to work on the “off-season” towards their next seasons and towards self imposed deadlines in a much quieter town devoid of many of the wonderful, if not overly attended, distractions of summer. It is the near solitude that allows dedicated focus towards a new body of work and although a tad lonely in the dark of winter is fueled by the endless supply of artist community that remains here after the ferry stops bringing in tourists daily. Although artists are still everywhere and continue to work despite a Starbucks on the corner of their neighborhood, I’m always relived and grateful to know that a place like P’town has resisted such corporate trappings by enlarge and you can still literally throw a rock and hit a fellow creative on any given day. Maybe not a rock… let’s go with wig or a feathered boa. Provincetown’s gotta be Provincetown.
This body of work was done in residency at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, Miami this winter and spring. The wharf in Provincetown continues to inspire in it’s geometric forms, ever changing nautical traffic, palette, and mutable appearance via the weather that the end of the world experiences. I continually photograph the location and cull through it months later for a basic foundation of the series. Recently, a respected art collector and friend of mine compared a piece of mine to that of the prolific painter, and Provincetown icon, Edwin Dickinson and gave me a book of his work. Humbled, I could only can strive to reach such heights. Of interest is that the Provincetown Art Association and Museum has recently acquired a body of Dickinson’s work. I hope to see more of this legend’s work by any means necessary.
Opening reception is June 14th at Alden Gallery. Come see the work and the other great artists I’m honored to be showing with.
Hey. Been a while. I’ve been busy during my residency at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami since February. I have to say, it’s been extremely productive and crucial to this new work. Anyone who paints out of a home studio knows that most people think you’re just home all day. It’s very easy to get distracted and end up talking on the phone, doing a load of laundry, have someone ask for a ride, or wait two hours for a contractor that ultimately is a no-show. A studio setting is like having an affair with yourself. No one knows where you are really or how long you’ll be out. You come home smelling like you’ve been somewhere. It’s a place of nearly no distraction and the world gets on until you answer a text or lock the door until tomorrow. It’s liberating and a luxury. I’m grateful to be working well into 2018 here and with a talented pool of fellow creatives. That’s of equal importance in being in an art complex, the ability to critique and drink tequila… If you’re in Wynwood come on up to floor two and say hi. No one needs to know. We’ll do a shot. We’ll keep it a secret…
I’ll be part of a Memorial Day group show called “Wall” at Alden Gallery in Provincetown.
May 26 – June 15, 2017:
“Wall” Group show of all gallery artists
I’m also part of a group show at Alden June 16th and my work will be up throughout the year.
June 16 – June 29, 2017:
Raul Gonzalez lll, Sean McCabe, Paul Pedulla, Heather Toland
On our annual August trip to Mt. Desert in Maine this year I opted to pack my oils but had no clear idea of what I was going to do or paint. We stay with some artists in a very basic cabin on one of the lakes there and thought I might find some inspiration. Honestly, I didn’t. However, one morning while I was having coffee I picked up my iPad and looked though some of the photos I had taken. I did a couple of scrolls and noticed a picture of MacMillan Wharf in P’town I’d taken in 2012. I don’t store a lot of pics on that tablet and rarely look at the photos but I stopped on it. It was a wide shot from the beach and I became intrigued by it the more I zoomed in since it lost its recognition. I suppose the semi-abstractness of the cropping is what led me to start the series. Provincetown is awash with competent landscape studies. I wanted to capture the feeling without it being completely realistic or abstract. That idea became MacMillan Wharf (I). It seems a interesting direction from when I first starting painting scenes of Provincetown a few years ago. It feels like stepping on the first rung of a very tall ladder.
I’ve always loved walking the dog on the town beach in Provincetown. From where I live in the East end, it affords a full view of MacMillan Wharf where the ferry from Boston docks. It’s no secret the light and air play a big part of artist inspiration here at the end of the Cape. Hawthorne, Hensche, Hofmann, Hopper and hordes and scads of artists and writers have interpreted this environment through their disciplines. It has also inspired me to do a study of the wharf as a series since I find the shapes of the outbuildings, boats, posts, masts, lines and rigging to be fascinating and somewhat abstract. My palette so far is derived from a morning fog that hazy overcast that comes just after dawn many mornings in spring. I look to capture the salt of the air more than the true rendering of a sloop.
Robert Morgan and Sean McCabe
Opening reception: Friday, August 19, 7–9 p.m.
Alden Gallery | 423 Commercial Street, Provincetown
It’s been MONTHS since I’ve posted anything. Busy.
I’m part of two juried shows under my alter-ego, Sean Mick. The first is 3s Artspace in Prortmouth, NH. That show is up August 5th – September 3rd. It was selected by Christopher French for the 3S Juried Exhibition: On The Map.
In Boston, I’m part of the the Juror’s Choice at Uforge Gallery selected by Elizabeth Devlin up August 5th – 28th.
Please visit these extraordinary galleries if near by.
These geometric constructs represent individuals I’ve met. People and animals have an energy to them, a vibe, a presence. There is a feeling of wavelength involved and these indelible energies reflect what we are inside; contradictions, hopes, addictions, ego, love, self awareness, doubt – all part of our complex composition. This work looks to visually interpret the presence of the subjects. A sort of portrait or study drawn from the immaterial and intangible yet somehow recognizable, or at least equatable, of who they are.
Some new ink block on paper works of mine will be shown during this month’s First Thursday at Caramelo Clothing Company. The work is a departure from paint on canvas and somewhat of a reaction to our trip to Spain and France this fall. Influenced by street art (Europe is packed with great work), contemporary art, and printmaking this is my first in these series. For the portrait series, I approached the print blocks not as the method of predominately creating the image but instead serving as a building components of the image. Thematically it’s a reflection on how we eat, what constitutes food and at what expense. Although the “vocabulary” of the printing blocks will expand, I started by using my styled initials that serve as a signatures for my canvases and other works. In the second block printing approach, I’m using repetition to make spot paintings reminiscent of Thomas Downing and Andy Warhol. I’m fascinated by color blocking and association told in primitive form. I also admire repetition as way of allowing the viewer to observe color, and not the subject, to convey distinction.
If you’re in JP tomorrow, or at all during November, please stop by this beautiful store and take a look. Price sheet will be up front. The holidays are coming. Just say’n. – SM
Over the summer I made a small batch of few-of-a-kind t-shirts. Provincetown has no shortage of marine and old-timey themes in stores, tourist shops, and art galleries like whales, ships, lobsters, seagulls… all that shit. I kind of smooshed that idea together with the real flavor of town that’s not hanging out in the ocean – the bears, drags, dykes, circuit queens, and bearded scenesters. Limited edition run, all hand painted, and kinda sloppy. You can find them at Trevor in Provincetown and Caramelo in Jamaica Plain. Hit them (or me) up if you want one.