Thomas Crotty, a Massachusetts native, moved to Maine in 1964, drawn by the power and beauty of its coastal landscape. At the solo retrospective of his work at the Portland Museum of Art, then director Dennis O’Leary said, “For more than four decades, Thomas Crotty’s disciplined and luminous paintings have surveyed Maine’s exclusive realm, demonstrating an extraordinary sensitivity towards space, texture, the mutability of water, and the vitality of light.” Crotty seems particularly drawn to the unique aspects of winter in Maine, and it is interesting to study what it is that make these particular paintings so memorable.
In Snow Ledges VI, the gravitas of the sunlit outcrop as it pushes towards the dark sea makes us feel the power and order of the earth. Crotty employs the bold interplay of light and dark – called chiaroscuro – to structure his painting and give it a dramatic punch. The movement of the glacial heave is a portrait of nature at a certain time in a certain place, but it also portrays a profound sense of timelessness. It is a splendid study in the tension of opposites – between light and dark, cold and warm, wet and dry – that are highly rendered in places and simply suggested in others. It is the back and forth of these extremes that grabs us in the gut and gives this painting its complexity and depth.
Thomas Crotty lives and works in Freeport, Maine. He is the owner and founder of Frost Gully Gallery. Since 1969, his work has been featured in several solo exhibitions in Maine art institutions including the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Bates College Museum of Art, the Van Vechten Gallery of Fine Arts at Fisk University, and the Maine Center for Maine Contemporary Art. He may be reached through his gallery website.
Call for entries: Send us your Outdoor Palette submissions. Contact Adelaide Tyrol at (802) 454-7841 or via email at atyrol [at] ostudio.com for details.