Grubbs Gallery Presents O’Flynn and de Bethune

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Reception: Saturday, September 26 —cancelled

A husband and wife team, who explore the space between realism and the abstract, will open the Grubbs Gallery 2015-16 season. See Grubbs Gallery hours.

Agnes de Bethune and Thomas O’Flynn met in Boston in the 1970s and began traveling the country, refining their own styles: his in collage and sculptural assemblages, hers in the two-dimensional realm of oils, watercolors, and acrylics.

Although the art they create is distinct, Ms. de Bethune and Mr. O’Flynn have had a long history of mutual inspiration. Arguably one of the best examples of their playful collaboration is their annual holiday card, which can be assembled into a 3D art cube. Turn the cube one way and it becomes Ms. de Bethune’s hyper-realistic oils; turn it the other, and it’s suddenly Mr. O’Flynn’s assemblages.

Ms. de Bethune, a Massachusetts native who lives and works in Jersey City, received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. She has worked as a graphic artist, as a teacher at Pratt Institute in New York City, and on museum exhibits. Her work been exhibited in New York City and elsewhere in New England and California. Prior to establishing her own studio, she attended Massachusetts College of Art.

In considering her work, she asks viewers to examine the small details, composition, the psychological content, and the so-called “Photoshop effect.”

“[The paintings] pay homage to that tradition by means of small prismatic references here and there, as well as the inclusion of the photographer/painter in the image itself,” she writes. “The main idea to examine is: do we actually see what we think we see?”

Mr. O’Flynn, a Southern California native, studied Art at Long Beach City College and California State University Long Beach, where he received his BFA. After a U.S. Army tour in Vietnam, he returned to college to major in printmaking.

His gallery exhibitions have included the Long Beach Museum of Art and Chelsea Studio Gallery in New York. His work is in private collections on the West Coast, New York, New England, Delaware, and Brussels, Belgium.

In his artist statement, Mr. O’Flynn describes his process as alternately creating pieces that reflect what he wants as an artist, and pieces that reflect ”what the objects want.”

“Found objects give me a way to incorporate the real world into my imagined one,” he writes. “The art is a platform to step off of, a different way to wander around one’s own thoughts and ideas, a way to reflect on the nature of things.”

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