In May, Greenhut Galleries in Portland, is excited to present a solo exhibition of new works by long-time Greenhut artist, former Maine College of Art drawing and painting instructor and Art Department Chair, Ed Douglas. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, May 2 5-7 and the show runs from May 2 – June 1. Well-known poet Maine, Jonathan Aldrich, has written beautifully about his friend’s work:
Ed Douglas is a master of color. Like Matisse, one of his favorite painters, he works until he gets it right. Sometimes we can see where he has thinly, or partially, painted a fresh color over a previous one — part of the long process he adheres to, a process inviting the viewer to realize an intended aspect of the painting. Sometimes we notice an odd patch of color, seemingly discordant until we understand that the created tension in some way balances the whole. Energy and light emerge from his best paintings.We sense this quality even from far away.
Ed is often drawn to series. He has painted purely non-representational designs, but also a great series of primitive standing stones, of graveyards, of quarries, of flowers. For some time now his work has turned to human figures, people busy at their business, or a single person looking out at us, or a nude threesome simply (it seems) standing around — but always more abstract and designed than we might expect. Although Ed is a very serious artist, his work rarely strikes us as tragic or sad. (The graveyard series may be a kind of exception.) Unlike many abstract expressionists, his view is truly positive and even compassionate. In fact, I find an underlying humor in some of his latest work, subtle and perhaps not striven for. In social life he loves a joke. (I can image a dialogue: Me: “What’s that strange little patch for?” Ed: “It’s for sale.”)
Thus, while we may be initially attracted to a Douglas painting for its subject matter, this is not the painter’s wish, nor is it our own when we understand what we are looking at. The painting, when completed represents only itself. One viewer once complained, “The arm in that paintings seems too high.” Ed answered, “That’s not an arm. It’s paint.” And he meant it. The painting is the painting, and if it does not represent anything external, it would be the sensation(s) he experienced from something he had seen or imagined, or even the act of creation itself. For Ed, sensations are the key. Let’s just simply say that Ed Douglas’s finest paintings are sensational.
Born in 1935, Ed Douglas began his fine arts education at the Rhode Island School of Design earning a BFA in 1963. He earned an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, where he studied with Bay Area giant Richard Diebenkorn. From 1973 to 2000, Douglas taught drawing and painting at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine, and for most of his tenure there, he also served as Chair of the Art Department. Douglas has been a Visiting Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Ohio, and the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. In 2013, he was an invited guest lecturer and art critic at Colby College. Ed’s work is included in the permanent collections of the Portland Museum of Art, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Dayton Art Museum, Dayton, Ohio, Lincoln Land Community College, Springfield, Illinois, the Cincinnati Art Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Papendrecht Museum of Contemporary Art, Netherlands, as well as in private collections in the United States, Canada, Spain, Netherlands, and Greece. Ed Douglas maintains a residence in Maine spending summers in Essex, New York.