On Friday, Aug. 3, Gleason Fine Art in Boothbay Harbor will host a First Friday reception from 5-7 p.m. for acclaimed still-life painter Abbey Ryan. This young artist shot to fame when she was selected by Oprah Winfrey to be the featured artist in O: The Oprah Magazine. Since then, Ryan has added more than a dozen magazine, book, newspaper, and radio features to her resume.
Ryan creates exquisite still-life paintings. Look closely at a Ryan pear, for example, and one will see the world in a single piece of fruit — round, sensuous, blushed perfection. Or look at her peanut butter and jelly sandwich and understand the pure joy of biting into that nutty, creamy, salty sweetness.
Ryan’s background includes both fine art and science. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in both fields. However, it is her studies with master painter David A. Leffel at the Art Students’ League in New York, combined with her travels to Italy, that continue to have the greatest impact on her work. Ryan’s fascination with the painters of the Dutch Golden Age reflects her own Dutch ancestry.
In her paintings, Ryan investigates simple natural and handmade forms positioned in space so that their context is subdued. Applying the discipline of science to her art, she finds that painting daily provides her with the calm and focus necessary to make the small, gemlike still-life and trompe l’oeil paintings she favors.
“‘Focus,’ I think, is the operative word. Ryan’s approach has always impressed me as contemplative, conveying a quiet sense of devoted attention,” said Charles Parker, in “Lines and Color.” “Her subjects are traditional – largely fruit, cheese, and other small food items, often accompanied by pottery or metalware. These are approached in a manner inspired by 17th-century Dutch still life, with objects emerging in deep chiaroscuro from dark backgrounds.”
Friends, collectors, and fellow artists are invited to join in for a glass of wine or beer and the chance to meet Ryan on First Friday, Aug. 3, at Gleason Fine Art, 31 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor. “Abbey Ryan: Poetic Realism” runs from August 2 through September 3. Call the gallery at 633-6849 for more information, check out gleasonfineart.com to view Abbey’s show and the entire collection of contemporary and estate art, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.