Galleries : Ben Shattuck at Craven Gallery
"A thrilling young artist, very dramatic work, arresting and strong in narrative," says gallery owner Carol Craven about Ben Shattuck, whose paintings are on exhibit at the Vineyard Haven gallery through July 4, with a reception on the 3rd.
Raised in South Dartmouth, Mr. Shattuck graduated from Cornell University in 2008 and had his first exhibit at the Craven Gallery last summer. He is something of a phenomenon: His paintings sold out at last year, and Ms. Craven expects another sellout this year.
His landscapes, bird portraits, and still lifes, which will be on display, are characterized by powerful brushstrokes, a heavy application of paint, and compositions bordering on abstract expressionist.
"I've been very lucky," the 25-year-old painter says. When he had a joint show with his father, painter Bill Shattuck, at 5 Traverse Gallery in Providence, R.I., that one, too, sold out - in an hour.
"Good Lord, maybe I'm onto something," Mr. Shattuck recalls thinking.
The Deerfield Academy graduate started on a path to become an English major, despite the fact that his father is a successful professional artist. "It was wonderful to have him there," he says. "I had all the sensibilities brewing, but I came into it later."
Now he appreciates being able to use his dad as a resource. "It's such slippery ground out there," he says of the professional art world.
Mr. Shattuck studied at Rhode Island School of Design, but it wasn't until he visited Cornell University and fell in love with it that he applied to the Art and Architecture School there. While he enrolled in several English courses, the painting took over and he emerged with a degree in Fine Arts.
Birds hold an abiding fascination for the artist, and his undergraduate studies include an ornithology concentration. He has participated several times in Cornell's tern restoration program at its Shoals Marine Laboratory on Maine's Appledore Island, where he returned on a grant to study the common eider this spring. A number of his bird portraits will appear at the Craven Gallery.