Jamie Gibbons, Head of Education at the Addison Gallery of American Art
One of my favorite paintings is one that U.S. history classes come to look at all the time. It’s a painting of the headquarters of General Grant from the Civil War. I like it because it’s one of those paintings where there’s a million tiny little details, and the longer you look at it, the more you find, and it’s definitely the kind of painting that once upon a time, I would have just walked right by in the gallery being like, ‘Ah, I don’t know, that doesn’t seem like there’s a lot going on there.’ And then you stop and you look at it for a minute and you go, ‘Is that a marching band? What’s happening over the wire? Why are there all of those fires?’ It’s sort of a lot of short stories within this much larger work.
Donoma Fredericson ’23
My favorite piece is “Movement: Seas after Hurricane Red, Green and White, Figure in Blue” by John Marin. This is an oil painting made in 1947…The piece is pretty abstract so before reading its title I honestly didn’t know what, if any, scene it was supposed to depict. Though looking at it afterwards, the water becomes obvious and it’s hard to see anything except the sea. The composition is somewhat unconventional, featuring thick, visible brush strokes. There’s also a considerable blank border on the canvas between the paint and its frame. Ironically, this became my favorite painting at the Addison because I found it calming to look at despite how hectic the scene itself is. The color palette and thick brush strokes make it fun to explore visually. This painting was a gift to the Addison from Norma B. Marin. I don’t tend to attribute any particular meaning to this piece, but think of it with more of a personal connection of being representative of a space I can go to calm down and reflect.
Gordon Wilkins, Associate Curator at the Addison Gallery of American Art
I’ll talk about a work that has always intrigued me, one that is rightfully considered to be one of the great treasures of the Addison’s incredible collection–Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Wave, Night” from 1928…This is a disorienting painting, one characterized by flatness, dominant horizontal bands, and subtly modulated color. It is an enigmatic, mysterious, and almost hypnotizing painting that people must experience in person to fully appreciate…This painting resonates with me on several levels. On the personal end of the spectrum, my mom’s side of the family has lived in Maine for hundreds of years, so I’m predisposed to being drawn to artistic depictions of the state. I grew up going to Mid-Coast Maine every summer (the most perfect place to be during that time of year) and worked at the Farnsworth Art Museum, which specializes in American art made in Maine, all through college.