What started out playfully enough as time travel and an excuse to dress my friends up as circus performers turned out to be pretty serious. Once I committed to recreating the full reality that Walt Kuhn’s paintings suggest - from the lighting, models and makeup to the costumes and backgrounds - I saw what he saw. I could then freely and honestly exercise my own interpretive eye, and, as Baudelaire put it: “avoid borrowing the eyes and the feelings of another…”
This exhibit is an homage to Walt Kuhn and his struggle to find his own artistic way. It celebrates the brightly clad entertainers of Kuhn’s paintings -he called them “metaphors”- and shares his pursuit of form, “the universal substance of art.” The theme of le masque and the dynamic of revelatory deception weave their way through each stark design and darkly shadowed eye, raising questions of identity and disguise.
I had often wondered what my brush would do with some of Kuhn’s arrangements and I have always been fascinated by the turn of last century and the art world of the time. This body of work is the beginning of a humble meditation on both.
Click below for more information and directions. This exhibition is open and free to the public, Mon - Sat.
The unexpected play of light, form and interpretive realism characterize my approach to painting.
I trained at the Rhode Island School of Design, Ingbretson Studios and Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy, and I’ve called Portsmouth NH home since 2010. I focus most intently on the portrait and human figure. My love of observation, precise draughtsmanship and the painterly search for values and color puts my working methods squarely within the nineteenth century aesthetic tradition. Applying these methods to contemporary life and my own sensibilities and tastes I do both commissioned work and exhibit across New England and the country.
I co-curated the 2016 exhibition “Illuminating Tarbell, Legacy in Action” here in Portsmouth NH and am an active painting instructor, teaching workshops and private students. My work is in noteworthy collections including the St. Botolph Club and the New Hampshire State House.
see more images on instagram @alastairdacey
please feel free to email me for information