Exhibition: Paul Strisik

Exhibition Information

Strisik 36518 web exhibition cover

Paul Strisik (1918-1998)
Acadia Surf

Catalogue cover
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On exhibition October 3, 2015 - November 28, 2015

Notable exhibition of works by Cape Ann painter Paul Strisik (1918-1998), N.A. is extended through November 28th! 

The first of two exhibitions featuring the work of the renowned Cape Ann, MA, painter Paul Strisik, A Single Blade of Grass features twenty-six works that chronicle Strisik’s travels throughout the United States, from his beloved New England to the West and Southwest. Ever in search of new material to keep his focus fresh, he also traveled out of the country frequently, and his paintings from Portugal, France, Switzerland, Spain and England in this exhibition further demonstrate his ability to capture, as he was fond of saying, “the essence of a scene.”

In his nearly fifty year career, Paul Strisik amassed a series of awards that few, if any, artists achieve: over 200 awards, including seventeen gold medals, as well as accolades from the many art organizations where he played a leadership role. To view a complete list of his awards, please click here.

He relished his life as an artist, especially the camaraderie of his peers and the relationships with his students. His wife of  thirty years, Nancy Strisik, recalls:

His knowledge in various areas drew people to him to experience his understanding, his tremendous sense of humor, and his generosity of spirit. When around Paul, you knew you were with someone who could change your life in a minute with his goodness of heart and expertise as a painter that he shared enthusiastically and unselfishly.

Paul Strisik N. A.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Strisik came to painting later in life, after serving in the armed forces during World War II. Painting had always been a hobby during the painter’s early years, but after the war he soon discovered his great passion for the subject and began studies with a modernist painter named Nicolai Abercheff. Strisik soon found, however, that abstraction was not suited to his ideals of self-expression and finally found a mentor/teacher in Frank Vincent DuMond (1865-1951), one of the most influential teachers at the Arts Student League of New York who influenced thousands of students during his fifty year teaching career. After three years of study there, Strisik found inspiration in the paintings of Velasquez as well as the Dutch masters. During his summers painting in DuMond’s landscape classes, the artist found plein air painting formed the rock bed of his artistic methods, and the goal of capturing the essence of a scene and its light became the focus of his entire career.

In 1951 Strisik moved to the North Shore art colony of Rockport, MA, where he established a studio and soon after opened the Strisik Gallery on Main Street, next to the Rockport Art Association. From here his reputation for painting New England scenes grew into a thriving career; always searching for new inspiration, however, he soon ventured further afield and became one of the most well traveled painters in America. During his first trip to the Southwest, he developed a higher keyed palette and learned to capture the earth colors so typical of the region.

After marriage in 1968 to his wife, Nancy, who became a supportive partner and encouraged his travels, they continued their sojourns to the Canadian Rockies and eventually, over the years, to the British Isles, six European countries, Greece and Morocco. Eventually the couple resided during the summer and fall in Rockport and the winter and spring months in Sante Fe, NM.  Throughout his journeys, whatever his location, he continued to strive for his artistic ideal:

. . . sunlight on a single blade of grass is such a miracle, and so difficult to capture in paint, it is worth a lifetime of trying. Paul Strisik*

Paul Strisik’s numerous contributions to the art world extend far beyond his abilities as an artist. He was a leader, serving two terms as president of the Rockport Art Association, and he was a member of fourteen art groups, including such national organizations as the National Academy of Design, the American Watercolor Society, Allied Artists of America, The International Society of Marine Painters, The American Artists Professional League and the Salmagundi Club. He gave scores of demonstrations at art associations throughout the country and conducted numerous painting workshops and taught in art schools in this country, Mexico, Canada, Greece and Jamaica. His protégé, distinguished Rockport artist Ron Straka, perhaps best sums up Strisik’s contributions to the art world:

His paintings have soul, where others often are just a description of place and tine. Paul has enriched the cultural heritage of all of us, and through his works. . .will continue to contribute to the good of mankind. 

[his] intelligence, total devotion to his work, sharing of his acquired knowledge and humility puts him. . .in the company of the great men of the world.*                              

---Marcia L. Vose, Vose Galleries, 2015                        

*As quoted in The Life and Art of Paul Strisik, Judith A. Curtis, 2001