Taking inspiration from Dressed to Kill, British Naval Uniform, Masculinity and Contemporary Fashions 1748-1857, by Amy Miller (Curator of Decorative Arts and Material Culture at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, England), New York-based visual and performance artist Robert Appleton creates a series of 12 new paintings depicting sailors from 1750 to 1849. Completed in his characteristic style – expressive eyes, strong lines, and a flight of fancy – the small paintings convey portraiture in poetic and adventurous ways. Entitled “A Sailor’s Return,” the exhibition title references an earlier body of work by the artist, completed between 1998 and 2002, wherein he looked at 101 sailors in different media: acrylic on canvas, gouache on paper, and small sculptures in mixed media. The exhibition at Paul Sharpe Projects presents three groupings of portraits from a cycle of 12 paintings, all 8×8 inches. The supports are canvas and found linen.
This is Appleton’s third solo show in New York since 2000. He has shown at Paul Sharpe Contemporary Art, Marymount Manhattan College, participated in Performa 05, and was part of an artists panel at the Jersey City Museum in conjunction with the exhibition “Paint | Not Paint” at Paul Sharpe Contemporary Art.