Kenneth Stubbs
(American artist, 1907-1967)

photograph of the artist
skip navigation
Art Works
Reviews & Writings
About This Website

Kenneth Stubbs -- Tradition and Idea: Works on Paper

Classifying representational art on a lesser plane than abstraction for the last half century, Provincetown is finally embracing painter Kenneth Stubbs. Like many of his contemporaries, Stubbs became enthralled with cubism, producing the brightly colored paintings for which he is most known. His widow of thirty years, Miriam Stubbs, and curator Bob Bailey have drawn works from this oevre that depict places he held close to his heart.

In this quiet show, a series of six works stand out--three delicate watercolors entitled Dunes [1, 2, 3], and three sumi-ink works called Sunshine and Shadow, Edge of the Provincelands, and Near New Beach, in which the negative space of the paper, read as sky and sand, is offset by fragile, understated brush strokes, suggesting the sun shimmering on the mostly white dune landscape of Provincetown. His depictions of the hodge-podge of houses within the town, including his own, speak with the familiarity found in a decades-old relationship, where the bombastic is replaced with understatement that allows a dialogue to continue rather than being spent at once.

Like last year's The Boys from Indiana show, featuring the works of Stubbs' contemporaries Phil Malicoat, Bruce McKain, and George Yater as well as the pre-eminence of Truro's Edwin Dickinson and Edward Hopper within the history of American art, this exhibit helps balance objective and nonobjective ways of working. As Bob Bailey says of Stubbs, he "was a Provincetown painter of great discovery, a man with a clear and certain voice of his time."

Rich McKown, Art New England, October-November 2000, p. 53