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The Mass Media

Jamie Wyeth exhibit at MFA displays work of famous realist painter

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Jamie Wyeth exhibit at the MFA

The Jamie Wyeth exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston displays the life’s work of a realist painter with an artistic pedigree, and whose career took him through Andy Warhol’s New York studio, The Factory. The “retrospective” spans 60 years, beginning with childhood sketches, and moving through a variety of life events and interests in different subjects, objects, and landscapes.
The paintings are frequently photorealistic, although occasionally Wyeth deviates from realism into abstraction. The “Portrait of Shorty,” a photo of a man sitting in a high back chair, features the adherence to accuracy, while “Portrait of Warhol” has moody lighting and colors, making it almost unrealistic.
Most of the pieces in the exhibit are portraits. Some of the subjects are public figures or celebrities, such as John F. Kennedy and Arnold Schwarzenegger, while others capture the everyday characters of Wyeth’s life. The landscapes are of rural woodland near Wyeth’s home in Pennsylvania, and often of rocky islands.
While working in New York during the 1970s, Wyeth became friends with Andy Warhol, and later worked for two years in his studio. Various paintings, and two dioramas with miniature figurines, shed light on the impact of this time on Wyeth.
A set of seven paintings depict seagulls representing the seven sins. Nearby, different mediums cover a giant canvas of cardboard, with a scene of seagulls flocking around a boy filling a furnace with trash. Opposite, a video plays that cuts between the process of making the cardboard painting and an interview with the artist.
Wyeth comes from a family of established realist artists. He learned to draw in the workshop of his father, famous realist Andrew Wyeth, himself the son of well known illustrator, N.C Wyeth. From a young age, Jamie Wyeth was homeschooled by his aunt, painter Carolyn Wyeth.
The Jamie Wyeth exhibit will be at the Museum of Fine Arts until Dec. 28, and is located in Lois B. and Michael K. Torf Gallery (Gallery 184).