June 30 through August 28, 1988

This exhibition has been supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Federal agency.

Eugene Baguskas was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1933. He attended the School of the Worcester Art Museum and received his B.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art and Architecture in 1962. Currently, he is an associate professor of painting and drawing at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia.

Initially, these idyllic scenes populated by cows, moose, hawks, geese, and fish suggest a time of natural innocence. On second view, these tranquil vignettes are too good to be true. Gene Baguskas consciously exploits our cliched images of bucolic nature, noting, “[My work] is on the verge of irony, there is an element of tongue in cheek here.” These deceptively simple works, which partially resemble the pastoral scenes of a Maine travel brochure, belie the artist’s extensive training. He uses brushwork to establish a rhythm of textures in each piece and throughout the body of his work and to conflate the depth of field as do unschooled artists. While Baguskas strives for a primitive conceptual innocence, his education and sensibilities assert themselves in the sophisticated brushwork he employs to animate these images from the distant reaches of his New England youth.

Baguskas worked on the twelve paintings created for this exhibition during the last eighteen months. There is a perceptible increase in the amount of animal characters he includes in his work from the first ones he painted, which have only a few creatures in them. More fish and fowl now vie for attention with the almost ubiquitous cow and moose. Because these are environments unfamiliar to most, Baguskas includes details known only to those who spend much time in them. Rarely does anyone witness a gathering of moose, fish, geese, crows, and insects as in Moose Look. This exaggeration of Nature gives his work a mythical quality. Baguskas does allow some symbols of civilization to intrude on his peaceable kingdoms; the bow of a ship is visible in Moonlit Journey, and Twin Falls Too includes, as the artist puts it, his “L.L.Bean man.”

Gene Baguskas does not paint from nature. The animals in these seductively simple canvases are derived from magazines, memory, and photographs from friends. The landscapes are entirely invented. Once attracted to these works by the lush color and engaging subject, the viewer is rewarded with Baguskas’s intriguing humor and expert technique.

Anne Monahan
Curatorial Intern

Checklist

All works courtesy of The More Gallery.

Moonlit Journey, 1987
Oil on canvas
72″x 48″

Moose Look, 1988
Oil on canvas
72″x 66″

Grazing, 1988
Oil on canvas
64″x 64″

Swan Flight, 1988
Oil on canvas
68″x 68″

Twin Falls Two, 1988
Oil on canvas
63″x 42″

Aqua Lilies, 1988
Oil on canvas
44″x 66″
Collection of Mr. & Mrs. Lester
Rosenwinkel

Miss Moose, 1988
Oil on canvas
32″x 32″

Big Falls, 1986
Oil on canvas
28″x 28″

Shallows, 1988
Oil on canvas
26″x 26″

Mr. Moose, 1988
Oil on masonite
24 1/4″x 22″

Herring Run, 1988
Oil on canvas
18″x 18″

Swan Morning, 1988
Oil on canvas
18″x 18″

Selected Individual Exhibitions

1986 The More Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1982 The More Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1981 Butcher and More Galleries, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

1976 Green Mountain Gallery, New York, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions

1985 Three Artist Show, The More Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1984 The Spirit of the Coast, Monmouth Museum, Monmouth, New Jersey
Philadelphia Art Alliance, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Personal and Intimate, The More Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Sweet Dreams and Nightmares, The More Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

1983 ‘Til the Cows Come Home, Sande Webster Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Landscape, The Cheltenham Art Center, Cheltenham, Pennsylvania

1982 Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Portraits, The More Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Morris Gallery displays the work of outstanding contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth, schooling, or residence. The exhibitions are chosen by a committee composed of area artists, museum personnel, and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are: Moe Brooker, Paolo Colombo, Bill Freeland, Faith Ginsburg, Carrie Rickey, Eileen Rosenau, Judith Tannenbaum; Academy staff Judith Stein, Morris Gallery Coordinator, Frank H. Goodyear, Jr., Linda Bantel, and Susan Danly.
Copyright, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1988

Mary Powers Holt

See Mary Powers Holt's full Portfolio