Sumner artist’s works selected for Boston exhibit


SUMNER – Joel Babb of Sumner, who captured critical acclaim with his Boston cityscapes, will be the focus a one-man show titled “Illumination” opening April 29 at Vose Galleries in Boston.

Babb lives with his wife, Frannie, and German shepherd, Ruskin, in a small cabin he built on Greenwood Road.

“I wanted to devote my time to painting and not have a mortgage hanging over my head,” he said. He proudly talks about how he started with a one-room cabin he constructed for $1,400 in 1971. He later added a studio that had been a workshop building at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. He took the building apart and added it to his cabin.

Though Babb has traveled the world over, studied the old masters in Rome and Munich, graduated from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts and taught in the Education Department of the Museum of Fine Arts, he finds himself more and more drawn to the rural scenes of Maine.

Babb’s easy manner and modest demeanor projects him as just another Sumner resident as he and Frannie participate in the rural life around them. He would easily be comfortable in any society, but seems to thrive living remotely, observing and painting his surroundings.

Looking around his studio, one is surrounded by realistic paintings that take you into the Maine woods. “Gooseye Brook,” which is in the show, brings one into every detail of the brook at Sunday River. He takes a three-dimensional view, transforms it to canvas to give the viewers eye the exact feeling of being there.

“Eggmoggin Reach” takes viewers to the coast of Little Deer Isle and “Big Niagara” evokes fond memories to all who have visited Baxter Park.

Babb will have several paintings of Rome, which he did on location, and many of the Boston cityscapes.

Babb’s 30 paintings will be on display at the Vose Galleries from April 29 to June 17.