A few Bryan Memorial Gallery staff members ventured southeast to Gloucester, MA a few weeks ago for the opening reception of A Father and Son’s Journey in Paint, featuring the works of Tom Nicholas, NA and his son, T.M. Nicholas. As a staff, some among us are usually on duty at the gallery, so rarely if ever do we make it together to opening receptions. However for this occasion, the stars aligned and 3 of us were able to attend, along with one of our artists, Andrew Orr, and literally 100’s of others.
The exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester brings together over 100 paintings by father and son, a veritable conversation in paint between the generations. In brief, T.M. studied with his father as well as with others, and such a dual exhibition had been a career goal since he was a teenager. In fact, the timing of this exhibit (Tom is in his 80’s’ T.M. is in his 50’s) is perfect as the presence of both painters and Gloria Nicholas, Mrs. Tom Nicholas, informed the undertaking.
Bryan Gallery has shown the works of Tom Nicholas almost since the beginning of the gallery (35 years ago), and of T. M. Nicholas just as soon as he was ready to participate. As painters in the great Cape Ann tradition, they raise a bar and set a standard that grows and develops continuously, with fluidity and graciousness that reflects their personal, respective integrity.
Both are extraordinarily generous artists: generous with their time, with their ideas and thoughts, with the expansiveness of their vision and with a kind of risk taking that always surprises. Just when you think you’ve seen the best from either one, there’s another thought in paint, another location, another idea that surprises and solidifies one’s estimation, another notch above the last.
While Gloria Nicholas is herself not a painter, one understands completely the contribution of her superb organizational skills, in addition to the same from Laurel Nicholas, mother of the 4 Nicholas granddaughters. Blood can be thicker than paint.
Wishing we lived closer, it might be possible to attend one of the three lectures that accompany this exhibition: February 15: T.M. Nicholas and Stapleton Kearns; March 14: Judith Curtis and April 4, T.M. Nicholas. In addition, an informative catalogue sets the tone for the scholarship about both artists which will undoubtedly be woven into the legend and lore of the arts on Cape Ann.
Tom Nicholas and T.M. Nicholas: A Father and Son’s Journey in Paint
Cape Ann Museum, 27 Pleasant Street, Gloucester, MA 01930 through April 12, 2020, open daily except Mondays. 978-283-0455. www.capeannmuseum.org
The current issue of American Art Review includes an article by Judith Curtis about this exhibition