William B. Hoyt (update)

William B. Hoyt
I was looking through the website of the Maine Art Gallery (in Kennebunkport), when I was struck by this image. On looking up the artist’s website, I realized I had written a brief post about him a couple of years ago.

William B. Hoyt’s clear, precise, realistic approach is most often applied to landscapes and seascapes. In the latter you can see the influence of realist giants like Thomas Eakins, a point he makes clear by including a pinned-up print of Eakins’ Max Schmitt in a single scull over the sink in one of his combination interior/landscape paintings, Flat Water.

Likewise, he has painted a small print of Vermeer’s The Milkmaid into a painting of his kitchen he has titled King Arthur and the Milkmaid (the King Arthur reference is to the brand of the bag of flour), Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World in his Lobsters and Champagne; and has Caravaggio’s Baccus tucked in the window in Kitchen in Tuscany.

There are other references to influences tucked into the interiors in his new work at the Maine Art Gallery. Unfortunately, the images posted there are too lo-res to see in detail.

In fact, it is Hoyt’s interiors that I find most interesting. Though his landscapes have an obvious appeal and are the major focus of his work, the interiors have a stillness and “moment in time” quality that are wonderfully evocative, and I was glad to see that his new works include a number of interiors. The large windows in his kitchen, in particular, invite his repeated theme of interior/landscape combinations, and the porcelain and unpainted wood make for a rich setting to tie the objects together.

Hoyt doesn’t shy away from complex compositions and seems to challenge himself in his interior paintings with numerous objects that vary in color, texture, degree of sheen and sensitivity to reflected light and color. His landscapes are often panoramic in proportion and complex in subject matter.

Hoyt has revised his website since I last visited, but I’m a little disappointed that the new one still doesn’t show his work to best advantage. Instead of elegantly introducing you to the artist and his work, and quietly letting you know that there are prints available, the site starts right in trying hard to sell the Giclées, giving it an air of commercialism. You almost feel that the primary focus of the paintings is to sell the prints. I’m sure this isn’t the case, but it’s an unfortunate effect of the emphasis on the prints rather than on the paintings.

It’s also still way too easy to miss the link at the bottom right of the image pages that brings up the “high-res version”, without which you wouldn’t be able get a much feeling for subtlety and strength of his work.