Thursday, December 5, 2013
By DANIEL KANY
(Continued from page 1)
John Whalley’s “Devotional Harmonist,” is among his 20 pieces in the show “World of Wonders” at Portland’s Greenhut Galleries.
John Whalley’s “Testament” is among his 20 pieces in the show “World of Wonders” at Portland’s Greenhut Galleries.
"WORLD OF WONDERS" -- DRAWINGS AND PAINTINGS
BY JOHN WHALLEY
WHERE: Greenhut Galleries, 146 Middle St., Portland
WHEN: Through Oct. 27
HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday
INFO: 772-2693; www.greenhutgalleries.com
Whalley's work isn't narrative or even nostalgic. Rather, it's about the fascination with how we invest objects with ideas and histories.
My favorite piece in "World of Wonders" is "Nation's Business." It depicts venerable keys and seasoned coins on a well-worn, over-stuffed envelope dated 1936 (and backed up by the cancelled 3-cent postage), all sitting on a hand-marked accounts ledger.
It's a drawing of awesome skill. But the content here is uncannily directed at us; a time of economic crisis and war blossoming across the ocean. This is us at another time -- concerns about the economy, security and the relationship of the government and business. It's an extraordinary image.
Once again, Whalley includes a box of the artifacts in his pictures. I wish he wouldn't, but it is fun, and reveals both his incomparable skill and the extent to which he departs from the objects he depicts.
The 20 works in "World of Wonders" represent an extraordinary feat. Whalley is a great artist, and this is a fascinating and mind-bogglingly impressive show. It's also sweet, fun, smart and immensely enjoyable.
Freelance writer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:
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John Whalley’s "Nation’s Business” is among his 20 pieces in the show “World of Wonders” at Port land’s Greenhut Galleries.