It’s in the nature of newspaper scheduling that you don’t always
get to write about those interesting events, so I haven’t had the time or
column inches to devote to a veteran painter of considerable interest, Charles
DuBack at Jameson Gallery in Portland.
His show ends this weekend, July 26, so here’s a somewhat belated appreciation.
I never saw his work in New York, although he had been part of the
scene there for a long time when I first got there. If memory serves, I first
saw his work shown by the late Don Slagel in a little gallery in Waldoboro. I recognized
right away that here was an artist who had drunk at the fountain of modernist
art with real gusto. He was, and remains, at the age of 82, a believer in the
lessons of Matisse and the other pioneers.
His recent work skirts the edges of true abstraction, with references
that make his work both a picture of something it isn’t, while building
collection of colors and shapes that are their own content. The anchor of
everything he does is color. He uses brilliant hues and strokes, sometimes
creating an image and others creating a setting for a barely suggested
narrative. As with most good modernist art, there are layers of experience in
each of his paintings that only become apparent with time. This is a show to
The Jameson Gallery is at 305 Commercial Street in Portland