Philip Koch: Isle of Dreams Exhibition- Ogunquit Museum of American Art

     New Day, oil on canvas, 30 x 40 inches, 2022

Ogunquit Museum of American Art in Maine is presenting Philip Koch: Isle of Dreams from May 1 - July 19, 2022.  Theresa Choi, the Assistant Curator at the museum, selected works for the show with a focus on themes of islands and shoreline. 

Ogunquit Museum comes with an important link to my personal history.

Early in my career seeing work by Edward Hopper made a powerful impact on me, inspiring me to change from painting abstractions to working as a realist. The Ogunquit Museum has hung my paintings in the same gallery space where in 2005 they showed the oils Hopper painted on the grounds of what would become the Ogunquit Museum. Here's one of those canvases- Hopper's Sea at Ogunquit from 1914, a view painted from life directly behind where the museum stands today.

My wife Alice and I made a special trip from Baltimore to Ogunquit to see that 2005 show of Hopper's work. You can stand and gaze on the same rocks that lie just feet from the museum's gallery. It's a reminder that painting has to be an inner response to the subject. It's most of all about what the artist singles out for emphasis, what is left out, how the color choices may radically depart from what was observed. 

A realist painting succeeds when it creates its own new world.

 Clearing, oil on canvas, 30 x 60 inches, 2022

The idea for my oil Clearing began years before in a series of vine charcoal drawings I made on location on the bridge over Otter Cove on Mt. Desert Island, up the Maine coast from Ogunquit. My color choices were invented to evoke the resonance I felt between the shifting patterns in the water against the sky.

Here are a few more of the paintings in the current exhibition. 

    Late July, oil on panel, 6 1/2 x 13 inches, 2021

Late July came into being back in my studio based on vine charcoal drawings I made of the Porcupine Islands just off of Bar Harbor, ME.

Narrow Cove, Ogunquit, oil on panel, 12 x 16 inches, 2021

The Narrow Cove, Ogunquit oil was done from the drawing below. While faithful to the general silhouettes in the drawing it injects an unanticipated note with the color decisions. I feel the painting is accurate in how it gives a sense of how it feels to stand before those rocks and the ocean.

Narrow Cove, Ogunquit, vine charcoal, 8 x 12 inches, 2021

My wife Alice  took this photo of me studying the rhythms of the rock formations just outside the museum.

 Philip Koch working on the above charcoal drawing on the shore
just behind the Ogunquit Museum, Oct. 2021.

In the next few posts I'll tell a little background on the remaining works in the museum's exhibition.


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