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ABOUT THE ARTIST
Apart from representing the work of outstanding emerging talent, A R E A also handles the estate of relevant artists. To bring back to light the work of painter Malcolm Preston (1920-2011), we are co-hosting an exhibition at the St. Botolph Club curated by Cathryn Griffith and Shaw Sprague. The show is a retrospective of the artist’s works and includes some of his most significant pieces from 1956 to 1996.
The opening reception is free and will take place on January 17th, from 5:30-7PM. The Club is also inviting non-members to attend a dinner after the opening, but payment by credit card is required in advance of the evening. The all-inclusive cost, including the meal, wine, and service, is about $75 per person.
Born in West New York, NJ, Preston attended the University of Wisconsin. After service in World War II in the Aleutian Islands, he received a MA and Ph.D. in Art History from Columbia University. He was Professor of Art History and Fine Arts at Hofstra University on Long Island, and served as Dean until his retirement in 1968. While at Hofstra he wrote, produced and hosted a television series, The Arts Around Us for the National Educational Television Film Service, which was aired on WOR-TV in New York City.
Despite living in the New York Metro area for the first half of his life, Preston’s mature works were produced in the late 20th century. After retiring from his post at Hofstra, Preston and his wife left Long Island for the Outer Cape, following in the footsteps of Truro’s most renowned American artist, Edward Hopper. Is there something in this coastal town that entices these metropolitan refugees? Preston certainly found a persistent—if somewhat removed—peacefulness in the rural landscape.
In the 1950s, Preston’s works have markedly Post-Impressionist and Cubist influences. By the 1980s, however, Preston’s works show a growing interest in his new surroundings. Painting from the scenery around him, Preston depicts often local fishermen set against lavender sunsets. Unlike his earlier figural work, Preston’s paintings of this time express a preference for landscape. People are often no more than featureless shadows, should they appear at all. His landscapes are created with photographic precision and the presence of an other-worldly mysticism. By the 1990s, however, his figures see a reemergence to the forefront. They remain unknown and ominous. Strongly contoured, they take the luminosity of his fantastical landscapes into the modern age.
His work is represented in many private and museum collections such as Hofstra University Collection; Portland Museum, Queens Museum, Islip Art Museum, Cape Cod Museum of Fine Arts; and others. His work was widely exhibited at galleries and museums including Audubon Artists; Mourlot Gallerie; ACA Gallery, Eggleston Gallery, SAC Gallery, AAA Gallery, Heller Gallery (In Provincetown), Provincetown Art Association, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Wisconsin Salon and Art USA.
Preston was the recipient of multiple grants such as the Joe & Emily Lowe Foundation grant (1950); Ford Foundation grant (1956-57) and the Shell Oil grant (1964). He was also an art critic and contributor for several newspapers, including the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, Arts Magazine and the Newsday among other magazines and newspapers.
Preston passed away in 2011 in Andover, MA at the age of 91, leaving behind an alluring and varied body of work. His paintings are part of numerous private and museum collections, and his estate is now represented by A R E A Gallery.
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