James Aponovich: A 52 Week Painting Marathon

By Mary Tinti

July 5, 2012

James Aponovich AP52 / Wk 7 “Bowl of Fruit with Flame Orange Tissue,” 2011.
Photo courtesy of the Clark Gallery website.

There is much more to the luscious legumes, beautiful botanicals, and teasing trompes l’oeil still life paintings of Aponovich 52 than meets the eye…

In a bold and admirable maneuver, New England painter James Aponovich gave himself an artistic endurance challenge: to complete a painting a week for 12 months straight–a creative marathon of sorts that concluded earlier this June. The results of this endeavor–all 52 of them–are currently on view at the Clark Gallery in Lincoln, MA, but the paintings themselves are only part of the story; the rest, perhaps even more intriguing than the artworks, can be found on the Aponovich 52 blog.

This online companion to the exhibition allowed curious fans to follow Aponovich’s race to the finish in real time, much like one might track the splits for an elite runner. Each blog post came to include preview images of his weekly creations and became a vehicle through which the artist could share thoughts about his techniques, influences, and overall painting philosophy.

In the words of Aponovich: “Artists, by the nature of their work, are solitary. Our most important hours are invisible to the public…We are judged not by our effort but by the end product...the art. But most art is not entirely successful; it only points the way for improving on the next attempt….True success is simply starting again, striving for something ineffable, unrealized and unimagined.”

With these musings in mind, Aponovich 52 can be understood as far more than an entertaining exhibition gimmick: it’s a self-imposed throw down to bring some closure to the stacks of unfinished paintings in his studio and create an online community to help cut through the loneliness so often felt by artists toiling away in isolation. Now that the painting marathon is complete, the blog serves as a tremendously valuable archive of the journey and an incomparable resource for understanding the process behind each of the works in the show.

I recommend experiencing Aponovich 52 as I did: take in the paintings in person at Clark Gallery and then follow that real-life encounter with an eye-opening visit to the Aponovich 52 blog so as to learn the behind the scenes stories from the best source possible: the artist, himself.

James Aponovich - Aponovich 52
June 12th – July 29th, 2012
Clark Gallery
145 Lincoln Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Thursday 10:00 - 6:00, Friday & Saturday: 11 - 6:00, and anytime by appointment


About the Author
Mary Tinti Mary Tinti
Mary is a Koch Curatorial Fellow at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum. On her blog, Dress For Sports, she says, "I love innovative public art, creative design, and unique intersections of architecture, sculpture, and installation.  And I love stumbling upon cool collisions of art and everyday life." Mary has a Ph.D. in art history from Rutgers University.


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