Denison and Paradise at Alden Gallery
Alden Gallery, 423 Commercial St. in Provincetown, presents a two-person show of works by Alice Denison and Jane Paradise opening Friday, Sept. 3 and running through Sept. 16. There will be an opening night reception from 7 to 9 p.m.
Denison, who has been with Alden Gallery since its inception, is showing works from her Pangloss series, named after a character in Voltaire’s Candide. “Most of the new work in this show is round, which I chose for its spatial effect,” she says in a press release. The botanical paintings evoke a modernized William Morris. Paradise presents “Provincetown, From Dusk Till Dawn,” a selection of pared-down, contemplative photographs. “The quietness of Provincetown really became evident during the last Covid year, both in the physical manifestation of its streets and in my mental state,” says Paradise.
Angela Ales, the Astrologer
“Read the Signs,” a show of recent works by magic realist painter Angela Ales, opens Friday, Sept. 3 and runs through Sept. 15 at Bowersock Gallery, 373 Commercial St. in Provincetown. There will be an opening night reception from 7 to 9 p.m.
Ales explores the “belt around the heavens, Aries through Pisces,” dividing the Zodiac’s dozen chapters into images that probe deep into the subconscious. “I have adopted a surrealist technique — automatism,” says Ales in a press release. “It is an extraordinary and exciting exercise whereby the process of painting becomes a search — a discovery of unfamiliar and untapped territory.” Articulated with a vibrant palette and a literal rendering of fantasy forms, her works take you on an out-of-body experience.
Bradley Wester Goes to the Disco
“DISCOrd,” a show of works by Bradley Wester, opens at Farm Projects, 355 Main St. in Wellfleet, on Friday, Sept. 3 and runs through Sept. 14. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Using unconventional materials such as colored zip ties and silver Mylar pegboards, Wester creates looping, elliptical patterns that seem to follow their own logic. Tapping into glitter, glitz, and glam to fashion his own “queer aesthetic,” Wester creates a safe haven for self-expression. His linen panels use spray paint and stencils to catch the spots of transient light cast from a disco ball, sometimes with Styrofoam spheres attached.
‘Access to Beauty’ at Exuma
“Access to Beauty,” a show of new paintings by Miriam Dretler, opens at Exuma Fine Art, 283 Commercial St. in Provincetown, on Friday, Sept. 3 and runs through Sept. 16. There will be an opening night reception from 5 to 10 p.m. Dretler depicts flowers and Outer Cape landscapes using vibrant tonalities. An assortment of watercolor, oil, and acrylic works from 2020 and 2021 will be on display.
The Fantastical Jennifer Clifford Danner
Jennifer Clifford Danner presents “Necessary Fantasy,” a show of her works at Stewart Clifford Gallery, 338 Commercial St. in Provincetown, opening Friday, Sept. 3 and running through Sept. 15. There will be an opening night reception from 7 to 9 p.m.
Danner, who is Stewart Clifford’s sister, is a multimedia artist working in ceramics, oil paint, gouache, and watercolor, often on handmade paper. The underlying theme is nature — the silhouettes of sea creatures such as jellyfish, lobster, and algae against saturations of blue. She also paints portraits and narrative scenes in a simple, flat, semi-naïve style that feels out of the ordinary. Her portraits, in particular, are full of a joie de vivre that extends to all her work, including her folksy ceramic animals.
John Dowd’s Summer Show
John Dowd’s Labor Day weekend exhibit at William Scott Gallery, 439 Commercial St. in Provincetown, has been an annual event that his followers have attended for decades, often with a frenzy of enthusiasm. His streetscape oil paintings have become emblematic of Provincetown — reproduced on posters and hung on the walls of collectors far and wide.
“It’s awfully flattering,” Dowd tells the Independent. “That said, I never really sense the reality of what people feel — it’s just like puffing you up. Who knows what other people think about your work and why they’re gravitating to it? I just keep my head down and keep doing the work. I keep exploring and trying to get better.”
Although elements of his paintings remain familiar, Dowd continues to experiment with light and shadow and his palette, as well as the where and how of what he chooses as subjects.
“The studio is my favorite place to be now,” Dowd says after an all-nighter last weekend. “I don’t know if it’s because of Covid and that it’s a safe place. I’m still interested in the work and the place, and I can’t imagine ever getting tired of it. I guess I’m doing the right thing — I like it more now than ever.”
As a longtime member and current vice chair of the Provincetown Historic District Commission — and thus partly responsible for preserving the streetscapes he paints — Dowd is wary of talking about the ways in which the town is changing, and how expensive it has become for artists to live here. “For all the doom and gloom,” he says, “I don’t know anywhere else that has as much of an arts community.”
Dowd’s new show, “Summer Work,” opens Friday, Sept. 3 and will be on view through Sept. 16. —Howard Karren
Kate McConnell’s Almanac
Kate McConnell presents a show titled “Chasing Light” at AMZehnder Gallery, 25 Bank St. #3 in Wellfleet, from Thursday, Sept. 2 through Sept. 15. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.
The show consists of works from McConnell’s Almanac series — small oil studies of the ocean on gessoed paper — as well as some larger paintings. McConnell, a former book designer and graphic artist, paints the great outdoors, from the mountains to the Cape, with a particular interest in trees and fragile birds’ nests. With a loaded brush informed by a love of color, she parlays shapes that, at times, teeter toward abstraction only to coalesce back into form.
Trifecta at Off Main Gallery
Robert Shreefter and visiting artists Thea Abu El-Haj and Helen Kwah are exhibiting works at Off Main Gallery, 75 Commercial St. in Wellfleet, from Friday, Sept. 3 through Sept. 23. There will be an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Shreefter’s collection of silkscreen prints titled “Old Geographies” explore identity and place, mining his childhood and adolescence with a wandering filigree of line. Abu El-Haj examines the color and light of Iran and Lebanon, where she grew up, as well as Palestine. Using pastels and oil paints, she creates pleasing abstractions of architectural forms rendered in sage green, burnt orange, crimson, and lavender. Kwah’s “Fingerprints: Choreography of Resistance” uses the repetition of pigmented fingerprints to create an abstract cellular network interested in how we are seen and recognize each other.
Orestes Gaulhiac’s ‘Smiling Face’
“Volver a Ver Tu Sonrisa (Returning to See Your Smiling Face),” a show featuring the celebratory optimism of Orestes Gaulhiac’s paintings, will be on display at Galería Cubana, 357 Commercial St. in Provincetown, from Thursday, Sept. 2 through Sept. 13. With a carefree palette and simplified form of cubism, Gaulhiac’s depictions of animals, kings, queens, heroes, and clowns reveal the community at the center of our differences and the importance of nature in connecting to the larger world.