A Conversation About Provincetown Galleries
by Laura Shabott
Provincetown, a renowned arts colony, is a safe harbor for diversity, not just for lifestyle choices, but also as a place where artists of all mediums exhibit their works. Today, there are well over 50 galleries within three miles on its two main streets, Commercial and Bradford. It’s a stunning number of venues in such a small town, giving the art scene an urban sensibility, especially on a Friday night.
The range of quality is wide; abominations, mediocrity, good, great and masterworks dot the visual landscape, as would be expected in an environment where creativity on all levels is encouraged. What is also true is that excellence glows like a gemstone discovered in a rock while taking a gallery stroll. It is the spirit and skill of the artist that leaps out at the casual viewer, whether student or serious collector. Let’s take a walk. Berta Walker Gallery (208 Bradford St.), at the edge of the East End Gallery District on Bradford Street, is often called Provincetown’s other museum and with good reason. Included in her impressive roster is the great artist/ teacher Hans Hofmann, a catalyst for the American Abstract Expressionist movement. His legacy continues today with former student Paul Resika, who studied with Hofmann from 1947-50 in New York and Provincetown.
While Resika can loosely be described an en plein air painter, this would over-simplify the essence of his work, which can only be described as light. Somehow this master artist has captured it, like one would put a lightning bug in a jar. Luminescence is the common thematic, whether the subject is a boat, house, vase or a figure. Resika’s exhibit, “Colors and Forms of Provincetown,” August 1 through 15, will be extraordinary.