WELLESLEY, MASS. – The Crane Collection, Gallery of American Art, is showing new paintings by Jeremiah Stermer until May 31.
A master of still life, Sterner has developed an approach to painting that is an intriguing fusion of traditional and contemporary elements. Representational in subject and based technically on the work of the great Dutch still life painters, Stermer’s still lifes have a certain surprise and tension that distinguishes his paintings among his peers.
Stermer seeks to paint his subjects as realistically as possible — delicately, translucently, with some painterly economy — and as free as possible from trendiness or contrived cleverness. He brings objects into sharp focus and makes them vivid and tangible. Colors are applied thinly and blended smoothly, and there is virtually no evidence of brushstrokes. Shadows and reflections figure largely in his work.
In this new series of paintings, Stermer has developed his fascination with light even further than before. In a 14- by 20-inch painting called “Illumination,” he includes a second light source within the composition, here a burning candle in a low silver candlestick, set crisply on top of an antique leather-bound book, tucked into a stucco niche.
He continues his playful theme on paintings within paintings in the work entitled “Timeless Treasures” that shows a framed pencil drawing of a floating Japanese umbrella behind a still life arrangement of gladiolus in a silver rimmed glass pitcher. The viewer is thrown off balance wondering just what is “real.”
The Crane Collection, 564 Washington Street (Route 16), is open Monday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and by appointment. For information, 781-235-1166.