The most striking feature of “Eye to Eye: Paintings and Drawings by Paul DuSold & Ben Solowey” is that in it, the Studio of Ben Solowey has found an especially effective way of reusing the past, maintaining continuity, and embracing the new. In that regard, the show is a classic.
The aura of the 34-acre Solowey farm, setting for the exhibition, is of course very welcoming, and paintings by Solowey, who died in 1978, fill one room of the studio. They were selected not by a curator but by painter Paul DuSold – an important distinction – whose own oil paintings fill the next room.
The “fit” of this young Chestnut Hill artist in the wonderfully bucolic setting is strikingly appropriate. The works most personally significant to DuSold are still lifes, also a Solowey passion. DuSold has a strong old-master touch but occasionally offers subtle clues, like a crumpled paper napkin, that his painting was done today, not centuries ago. Details matter to both – the only flowers Solowey painted in his still lifes were those he grew himself. (A glance at his still-well-tended garden bears this out.)
DuSold, who doesn’t do landscapes, included some of Solowey’s in the show. But both have painted the human figure and portraits, and on June 19 at 2:30, DuSold will give a portrait-painting demonstration in this studio, the first artist to do so since 1978. The public is invited. The eyes have it.
Victoria Donohoe, Art Critic