Summer Haunts: Philip Frey and Florence Leif (1913-1968)
June 18 - July 31, 2014
During the summer months, Bert Gallery is featuring an intimate exhibition of two artists, contemporary Maine painter Philip Frey and historic Rhode Island artist Florence Leif (1913-1968). This is an exhibit of paintings recording their favorite warm season retreats, Sullivan, Maine near Mt Desert Island and Truro, Massachusetts near Provincetown, Mass.
Frey and Leif share an interest in painting outdoors, especially in the summer, a great antidote for a long New England winter. Moving out of the artist studio to the natural surroundings became popular in the late 19th century with a group of French artists known as the Barbizon school. The now popular Impressionists followed, further revolutionizing painting from life. Today, Philip Frey goes to his Maine milieu and forty years ago Florence Leif went to the Cape Cod vistas to capture the immediate experience of nature. Both artists produce paintings that are not sterile renderings of their surrounding but reflect a sensory integration of nature: sight, sound, temperature and atmosphere.
A small collection, twenty works, by Frey of Maine and Leif of the Truro/Provincetown landscape, is on view. Leif displays paintings of Pilgrim Lake, Provincetown Harbor and Highland Light. The rocky shore of Maine, sailboat races and rugged pines are the favorite subjects of Frey. The colorful and vigorous plein air canvases capture the light, texture and colors peculiar to their favorite summer haunts and demonstrate skilled and thoughtful painters.
“There is only one true thing: instantly paint what you see.”- Edouard Manet
About the Artists:
Philip Frey (b. 1967) is known for his vibrant paintings of the Maine landscape. His painterly approach, and his interpretation of color and light, give way to joyful paintings. Motifs include seascapes, landscapes, and Maine's working waterfront.
Frey's sense of color stems from an interest in Fauvism, a major avant-garde European art movement in the twentieth century. Henri Matisse, who Frey credits as a major influence, embraced this expressionistic style characterized by vivid, exuberant color. Other European artists, whose work Frey admires, include Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Edouard Manet.
Frey holds a BFA from Syracuse University, New York. He studied painting at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and printmaking at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts. He has received several grants and awards, including the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation Residency in 2012, and his work can be found in private and corporate collections nationwide and abroad.
Florence Leif (1913 - 1968) was born in New York City. She graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in painting in 1934 and went on to study under John R. Frazier. At age 26, she was one of the few women artists in several years to have a “one-man show” at the Providence Art Club in 1939. Her summers were spent painting in her home on the Cape overlooking Provincetown and the ocean. She traveled widely in Europe and lived in Rome for a year with her husband, Gordon Peers, the chair of the RISD European honors program. Leif became recognized for her bold, yet fluid brushwork, which she applied to subject matter ranging from seascapes to portraits. Her desire to learn, experiment and discover new things was constant. During her lifetime she exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Carnegie Institute and the Worcester Museum of Art. She was represented in the Rightful Recognition show at the Newport Art Museum. Her work has also received numerous awards and is included in many private collections.