Andrew Stevovich: Petals on a Bough
Essay by Warren Adelson
Published: Adelson Galleries, Inc, 2007
43 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9741621-6-4
Petals on a Bough
LAST YEAR Andrew Stevovich gave me a present. It was portrait of me, and he extended his hand to tell me that it was in celebration of our twenty-fifth year. I was moved by the gift, unexpected and generous. It is reproduced herein and is typical of Andrew's work, small in scale, a profile painted with his flat, polished surface and crisp, wiry line. I looked at it and saw myself. I looked at it and saw Andrew as well. The twenty-five years were more difficult to see.

Andrew was introduced to me by a man that was my first client, Dr. Bernard Cohen of Gloucester, Mass. When I opened my gallery in the mid 1960's in Boston, Bernie was literally the first person to buy a painting from Adelson Gallery, and over the years became a supportive and constant friend. It was he that suggested I look at Andrew's work years ago, and I was an instant convert to these unusual and original canvases. We have done many exhibitions together, and I have collected many of his paintings over these years personally. I look at them every day at home and his canvases never lose interest or mystery. I love his work and relish seeing the array of characters on my wall that greet me with their lives and emotions.

Andrew's style is not easy to describe: he fits in no artistic pigeonhole. I relate his work to all sorts of other art, from the 15th century to the present, and yet he really looks like no other painter. His subjects are familiar, seeming to be drawn from his life and his surroundings, but the iconography of his pictures is invariably elusive. It always seems something obvious is happening, but the mood, the feeling is usually alien to the event. That is the edge in Andrew's work: it is the surprise in the emotion that you feel.

John Sacret Young, the writer and director, has written about Andrew in the recently published Andrew Stevovich: Essential Elements (Hard Press Editions, 2007). "Here is an artist who sets the table, puts into play with remarkable polish the situations and players of his unique dreamscapes. We find ourselves at a carnival, a nightclub, a racetrack, a card game, a movie theater, a coffeehouse, or we come upon a woman alone with a butterfly, a tulip, a cat, or a drink. We arrive at some unknown chapter in their stories as witnesses, if not voyeurs, and are tugged upon to join these specimens in their strangely sealed worlds."

I have looked at old family photographs and had similar emotions. In my library at home is a framed snapshot of my mother and father standing on a dock by a lake. Harry wears a white sweater and striped pants and holds an oar of the rowboat behind them in the water. Beaze is in high-waisted shorts and a sleeveless top, and links her arm in his. They are very young and their smiles are pure. She called it their wedding photograph; it is inscribed in her hand, "Maine 1934." It was taken seventy years ago, but to me it could be seven hundred; they seem so remote in their period outfits and unfamiliar youthfulness. And yet they project their feelings to me in this small snapshot taken so long ago, and I conjure all the emotions of my days with them. That is Andrew Stevovich's natural gift. It is his ability to glimpse a small moment and make us see its ardor, its powerful emotion. John Sacret Young calls those moments "petals on a bough." I like that. There are many petals in this exhibition.

Warren Adelson
2014 Adelson Galleries
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