Kurt Solmssen: The Yellow Boat
Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) is pleased to present The Yellow Boat, a major retrospective of work by plein air artist Kurt Solmssen. The exhibition is comprised of over forty paintings, prints, and drawing studies, from the mid-1980s through 2021. Artworks are borrowed from collectors, the artist, and Linda Hodges Gallery in Seattle. The exhibition will also feature several works promised to BIMA’s Permanent Art Collection. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same title, published in 2020, with an essay by Justin Ferate. The book is available in the BIMA Store.
Solmssen is best known as a plein air painter, capturing life in rural Vaughn, WA. He paints from his waterfront home, on a remote part of Puget Sound, as well as surrounding areas. For more than three decades, he has captured landscapes in various seasons, and family and friends in domestic settings.
His paintings are elegant, yet familiar, and convey strong ties to both people and place. Primarily representational, his works explore the space between visual realism and abstraction. Ranging from luminescent to subdued, Solmssen beautifully blends subject, composition, surface, and light. The yellow row boat, a frequent focus of his paintings, is more than an ordinary vessel pulled up onto the beach. It embodies family histories, a strong sense of place, and perhaps a romantic notion of timelessness.
Originally from Philadelphia, Solmssen began his studies in 1979 at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. After receiving certification, he studied at the University of Pennsylvania, and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1986. Afterwards, he and his wife Rebecca Schofield moved to the family summerhouse in Puget Sound, where they both worked and raised their family.
Solmssen has shown widely in the United States, exhibiting at galleries in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seattle, and Santa Fe. His paintings have been exhibited at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Tacoma Art Museum, Bakersfield Museum of Art, and BIMA.