Kenneth Stubbs
(American artist, 1907-1967)

photograph of the artist
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Putting Colors To Work

Kenneth Stubbs (1907-1967), a mid-century American modernist, has a jazzy little retrospective up at ACME Fine Art. Stubbs was clearly a skilled realist painter – one early work here, the 1935 portrait “Grace Powell," deftly depicts a noble young woman in an exotically patterned dress. But he threw himself in with the Cubists, and began painting flattened, fractured seascapes and still lifes crackling with color.

Stubbs built his compositions on geometric ratios. He discerned the way shadows, light, and reflection could cut a single plane into many shifting shapes, and as his work grew more sophisticated, he flattened all volume out of it until he seemed to be dealing only in shards of color. He painted a number of small pieces, each titled “Shorescape," in which he set these shards deflecting against one another, evoking a jumble of cottages along the beach.

The most dazzling work in the show, “Sunbathers" (1962) has him at the height of his powers. It depicts a clutch of beach denizens, some chatting, some wrangling small children. They're all in bright, sunny hues, and colors pinwheel over the scene. Shadows slither like vipers around the crowd, mixing it up with sickles of bright light, like sunlight cast off the water. The whole thing undulates and glimmers like the sea.

Cate McQuaid, Boston Globe Arts Section, April 5, 2012


Cubist Movement
Kenneth Stubbs: A Retrospective Exhibition

Cubist and Provincetown denizen Kenneth Stubbs (1907-1967) made work focused on flat pattern and proportion. The show highlights still lifes and landscapes made over 30 years, many in brilliant, refracting webs of color. Pictured: Behind the Cathedral. Through May 5. ACME Fine Art, 38 Newbury St.

Cate McQuaid, Boston Globe Arts Section, April 24, 2012