November 17, 2019
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Wyeth’s retrospective dissected at COA forum tonight

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College of the Atlantic | BDN
College of the Atlantic | BDN
“Jamie Wyeth: Get Into Reality” is the topic of a Champlain Society discussion tonight at College of the Atlantic by the show’s curator, Dr. Elliot Bostwick Davis.

“Jamie Wyeth: Get Into Reality” topic of Champlain Society discussion at College of the Atlantic

BAR HARBOR, MAINE — The new Jamie Wyeth retrospective at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, is at the heart of a talk to be given tonight at College of the Atlantic by the show’s curator, Dr. Elliot Bostwick Davis.

Davis, the John Moors Cabot Chair at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, curated the 2014 Jamie Wyeth retrospective, which spans six decades of Wyeth’s career.

Davis will discuss the Maine artist’s various modes of representational painting in the context of art past and present during her talk, titled “Jamie Wyeth: Get Into Reality,” 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20 at the Thomas S. Gates, Jr. Community Center.

The evening is open to members of COA’s Champlain Society. For more information, call COA’s Dean of Advancement, Lynn Boulger at 801-5620.

In her exhibition book on the retrospective, Davis presents a full range of the artist’s work — from his earliest, virtuoso portraits to his most current mysteriously symbolic seascapes.

According to a review of the book at the Museum of Fine Arts website, “the more than 100 paintings and works on paper lavishly reproduced in this book invite us to discover what meets the eye of a prodigiously gifted, adamantly individualistic American artist.”

Davis joined the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in January 2001. In her position, she has led the department’s curatorial staff in the planning and installation of the Museum’s new wing for the Art of the Americas, which offers a broader definition of “American” art by including more than 5,000 works from North, Central, and South America.

She received her M.A., M.Phil, and Ph.D. in art history and archaeology from Columbia University, where she received her M.Phil. in European painting and sculpture before choosing a dissertation topic in American art. She has also studied studio art and printmaking extensively at the Arts Students League of New York. Before attending Columbia, Davis earned a Masters of Art in liberal studies from New York University and is a cum laude graduate of the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Princeton University.

According to the museum, the first comprehensive retrospective of artist Jamie Wyeth (born 1946) examines his imaginative approach to realism over the course of six decades, from his earliest childhood drawings through various recurring themes inspired by the people, places, and objects that populate his world.

A member of a family of artists—including his grandfather, Newell Convers “N.C.” Wyeth (1882–1945); his father, Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009); and his aunt, Carolyn Wyeth (1909–1994)—Jamie Wyeth has followed a unique path, training with his aunt Carolyn after leaving school at age 11, studying anatomy in a New York City morgue and working in Andy Warhol’s New York studio, The Factory.

“Jamie Wyeth” — on display at the MFA through Dec. 28 — includes approximately 100 paintings, works on paper, illustrations, and assemblages created by the artist, many in a range of “combined mediums,” his preferred term for the distinctive technique he brings to his compositions.

The exhibition also features landscapes of the worlds he inhabits in the Brandywine River Valley (between Pennsylvania and Delaware) and Midcoast Maine — especially Tenants Harbor and Monhegan Island.

College of the Atlantic was founded in 1969 on the premise that education should go beyond understanding the world as it is, to enabling students to actively shape its future. A leader in experiential education and environmental stewardship, COA has pioneered a distinctive interdisciplinary approach to learning—human ecology—that develops the kinds of creative thinkers and doers needed by all sectors of society in addressing the compelling and growing needs of our world. For more, visit