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The Zen of Red Trees, Gardens, and Seabirds

The Zen of Red Trees, Gardens, and Seabirds - Cape Cod LIFE July 1990 |

Provincetown artist Anne McAdam painting “1989 Garden of Suzanne Sinaiko #4.” Notice how the fence running along the right-hand side of the picture blends in with that of Anne’s painting, appearing as one continuous fence. Photograph by Edwina A. Halsey.

The Red Tree was a gift, a gift to be shared,” Anne MacAdam says of the major abstract which appeared in her 1989 show at Bayer Fine Arts in Provincetown. “It grew there, on that canvas, through three months of intensive work. I had no idea when I started that it would realize my hopes so completely.”

When you first encounter this large (59″ x 66″) painting, you are immediately drawn into it. It has great power, and the sweeps of its major compositional lines are irresistible. The exuberance of its color shocks, then excites, and finally reveals a profoundly detailed complexity of textures, forms and rhythms, which both intrigue and entertain. It is hard to find a place to stand clear of such passion.

At first you are not aware of what this surging maelstrom could be. Upon getting closer and reading the title, it becomes apparent that it is, in fact, a red tree. By then it doesn’t matter; you are engulfed. The forms and patterns of the tree itself are so aligned and reinforced by their harmonic relationship that the object is irrelevant; only the energy, the order, and the intelligence found in the tree’s innermost structure remain. This is not a destructive abstract but rather one of probing and understanding, an expression of love and, perhaps, reverence.

Provincetown artist Jim Peters was among the many people attending Anne’s show. His admiration of her work is obvious: “The large, based on foliage patterns but expanded to become a lesson in red, a blazing declaration of constrained passion, was the anchor of the show – a most beautiful painting.”

Anne found a profound sense of gratitude upon completion of The Red Tree, a joy in the power and clarity of it. Reflectively Anne says, “I think this is the closest I have come to the center of my own path. It is so much my deepest sense of truth.” Her eagerness to get on with the search is electric, and she is working hard on a disciplined program to get to where she wants to be. “It’s great to have talent, but taken alone it’s not worth anything if you don’t know how to work.”

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