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Paint Factory

Post #1249 • October 29, 2008, 9:48 AM • 6 Comments

One of the sights to see in Gloucester is the Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory, which is not frequently open to the public, but this weekend was the site of an art exhibition. Tarr and Wonson formulated an effective copper-based bottom paint that resisted barnacles and other sea life, and "Copper Paint" is displayed proudly on the side of the building, which stands as a handsome, brick-red landmark of maritime industry on the Gloucester shorline.

We were there largely to see the work of Jeff Weaver. Some of his recent paintings recall a good Wyeth in tone, while taking advantage of a buttery yet specific touch with oils. Hearteningly, his works seem to have snapped into place in recent years, comparing newer to older works. These paintings are undeniably aimed at a tourist art market, and the tourist market is littered with nonsense. But I have to wonder whether the Armory show or Art Basel/Miami Beach couldn't also be considered a tourist art market, albeit aimed at a different sort of tourist - the fair-hopping collector with aspirations to high culture. That landscape is no less littered with nonsense. Maybe they're all tourist markets. Better yet, maybe art ought not be judged by who buys it.

I have considered, though (and this thought first came to me upon my arrival last year in Laguna Beach, where the art scene, frankly, is dominated by insipid paintings of coastline) that what we call the tourist market would make a logical refuge for figurative talent. That, and comics. The only problem would be making the professional situation enabling to great work. But in that, the genre market and what we usually consider the serious market differ more in degree than kind. Given what goes on at the high end of the nominally serious market, in some respects the advantage may go to the former.

Photos are mostly Supergirl's.

Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory, Gloucester, October 2008

Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory, Gloucester, October 2008

Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory, Gloucester, October 2008

Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory, Gloucester, October 2008

Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory, Gloucester, October 2008

Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory, Gloucester, October 2008

Tarr and Wonson Paint Factory, Gloucester, October 2008

Comment

1.

ahab

October 29, 2008, 10:50 AM

I notice by way of the links that it's, "Tarr and Wonson Paint Manufactory".

We should consider a name change: NESM.

2.

opie

October 29, 2008, 2:38 PM

Most artists would die for such a building.

3.

Jack

October 29, 2008, 6:11 PM

"maybe art ought not be judged by who buys it"

There's no maybe about it. People who buy or (claim to) like work because it's in such-and-such collection, or such-and-such gallery, or even such-and-such museum, as opposed to their own eyes and taste, should really just pay a good interior decorator and be done with it.

4.

Chris Rywalt

October 30, 2008, 1:38 PM

There are buildings like that, about the same vintage I'd say, in lovely downtown Paterson, New Jersey. Paterson was Alexander Hamilton's favorite city, the one he'd hoped would lead America's industrial future, trampling the Jeffersonian agrarian ideal. Hamilton was right, of course, although I don't know how much Paterson had to do with it. These days the city is a showcase of what happens when industry moves on, leaving a nasty slum, acres of contaminated brownfields, and many piles of brick.

Those piles of brick have been converted, in some cases, into subsidized artists' housing and studio space. An acquaintance of mine got an apartment in a converted mill which is absolutely gorgeous inside and out -- just don't leave anything in your car when you go inside. One morning he came out to find someone had broken into his car just to defecate on the front seat. But the rent's cheap: At a time when living in Manhattan, even Harlem, is a hilariously expensive endeavor, he's paying around $200 a month for his one-bedroom.

So, Opie, you could move up here and get into a building like that.

5.

opie

October 30, 2008, 2:06 PM

Sounds good to me. And just a few miles from NYC.

6.

John S.

November 1, 2008, 8:39 PM

Hey Franklin can you explain this a little more: "The only problem would be making the professional situation enabling to great work. But in that, the genre market and what we usually consider the serious market differ more in degree than kind."

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