Unlikely Landscapes, Cityscapes, and Still Lifes

ILLUSION OR CONFUSION
Steve Whitehurst (c.1967)
24” x 11”, oil on canvas
Donated by Shirley Whitehurst
March 2017

The artist depicted floating aquatic daisies surrounding the reflection of the sun in a pool of rippling water. The viewer is left to ponder who is lurking in the foliage.

EASTER ISLAND
Illegible
24" x 30, oil on canvas
Anonymous donation
December 2006

This is a panoramic view of the seldom visited Woman's Section of Easter Island, a tiny isolated Polynesian island famous for its ancient stone figures known as maoi.

Time and gravity have clearly taken their toll on this particular ancient statue.

A NEW DAY
Will
23" x 19", oil on canvas
Received as a gift from the artist at the Vince Lombardi Rest Area on the New Jersey Turnpike, July 1984 and
donated by Fay Pelloth
August 2012
MOBA #561

The volcanoes belch their final eructation as the morning sun lights up the sky, portending better days ahead.

WINTER MONOLITH
KDR (August, 1997)
18" x 24", oil on canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
October 2005
MOBA #284

A strange monolith casts a glowing shadow on the tundra in this icy landscape. Even the trees shrink from the symbolic industrial structure in their midst. What else will be revealed as global warming causes the glacier to recede even farther?

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

TWO TREES IN LOVE
Julie Seelig
12" x 16", acrylic on canvas
Donated by Sally Seelig, the artist's mother
May 2006

A heartening painting which makes up for lack of realism with a surplus of symbolism. The cloud caught in the branches of the most prominent deciduous confirms the artist's vision of a world where dreams can be captured and landscapes tamed, if you only try hard enough. 

KEYS TO THE CITY
Anonymous
30" x 50" , paint, plaster, keys, and cloth on plywood
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
October 2007

Once a sleepy backwater, Key West is threatened with overdevelopment since becoming a popular destination for sailing enthusiasts.

From— Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

AURORA BOREALIS
M. Choquette (1931)
18" x 22", oil on canvas
Donated by Mary Fadel
January 2007

Blinded by the Northern Lights, the beautiful maiden wandered the coast nightly hoping for a glimpse of her lover's ship that she feared lost at sea; unaware that he had joined the Navy because he preferred the company of his fellow sailors.

THE WATERFALL
Anonymous
20" x 16", oil on canvas
Purchased at a flea market in Buffalo, NY
August 2007
MOBA #346

Snow capped peaks tower over this summer meadow featuring evergreens, wild flowers, and a waterfall of mysterious origin.

MOBA curators speculate the peak in the distance is probably Gorilla Mountain.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

ON A WINDY DAY
Bob "Grandpa" Roots
14" x 18", oil on canvas board
Donated by the artist
February 2009
MOBA #455

Watch the MOBA Curator Talk about this painting.
The wild westerly wind that devastated this peaceful bucolic landscape was strong enough to denude mature trees, grossly distort fair weather clouds, rend the fur from a cow, bend a wrought iron weather vane, and induce panic in a basset hound whose ears and tongue point due east.

Donated by the artist Bob "Grandpa" Roots of San Miguel, CA, this two-dimensional American landscape is reminiscent of the work of Anna Mary Robertson "Grandma" Moses (American, 1860-1961) who also began painting as an octogenarian and became famous for her pastoral "naive folk" paintings.

In the note accompanying his donation, Mr. Roots wrote, "...I was happy with the way the barn turned out. It was when I started animals and people that [I realized] I was having problems with proportions . . ."

He enjoys other creative pursuits in addition to painting. "I have won the World's Worst Poetry Contest in Pismo Beach, CA, placing 1st, 2nd, and 4th in separate years . . . [and] . . . I have made many bottles of home brew and wine . . ."

The MOBA curatorial staff speculate that Grandpa Roots' imbibing of the fruits of the latter may have contributed to the "problems with proportions" that make this painting particularly delightful.

MAY IN THE MOUNTAINS
Laevia Carson
Oil on board
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
1990s

This quick study of spring in the Alps captures a reflective fleeting moment at a scenic vista near an international border. The solid beauty of the apple blossoms of, perhaps, France in the foreground contrasts with dreams of Italian ice creams in the distant, suggested mountains. 

SEE BATTLE
Viv Joynt
24" x 18", acrylic on canvas
Donated by the artist at a MOBA event in Ottawa, Canada
May 2007
MOBA #394

We don't need binoculars to predict which dreadnaught will be victorious in this nautical fray. Some viewers assume that the small object just beneath the ship on the right is a lifeboat carrying sailors lucky enough to escape the inferno. The MOBA curatorial staff has determined that it is, in fact, a ladybug on the window just in front of the binoculars.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

TREES, WHEELBARROW, AND BIRDS
Anonymous
20" x 16", oil on art board
Purchased at a thrift store in Boston, MA
May 2007
MOBA #381

Three trees are balanced precariously in a wheelbarrow, but the artist's straightforward optimism and good cheer assure us that the future is bright. Leaf colors, though unlikely, are intense; bluebirds circle though the trees; and the loaded wheelbarrow sits lightly on the grass. The artist's confident strokes convince us that all is well.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

MY FAVORITE THINGS
Janet Gallans
16" x 24", acrylic on board
Purchased at a yard sale in Boston, MA
MOBA #178

A lemon standing on end, a yacht in a urine bottle. The oddly skewed rendering of each object lends an other-worldly quality to this otherwise simple still life.

NO VISIBLE MEANS OF SUPPORT
Elizabeth Angelozzi
17" x 19", acrylic on linen
Purchased at a Boston thrift store
MOBA #240

Pink carnations defy gravity in this unlikely still life. Free from the constraints of their vase, the flowers stand independently tall, proud, and in full bloom.

From - Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press

POST APOCALYPSE
Anonymous
22" x 28", Acrylic on canvas
Acquired from trash
mid-1990s

The bright birch, reminiscent of a cheerful Gumby, salutes the twins on the foreground hill -- but the hopeful evergreens are ever green. 

THE HORROR, THE GLORY
Tom McKinley, 1952
22" x 26", Acrylic on canvas
Donated by the artist

No detail, and indeed, no man is spared in this bellicose epic. Battle lines reach to the sky itself, where gun smoke feeds the fury of a storm, imminent in the heavens. Alleluia! 

TIKI HUT
Viv Joynt, Ottawa, Canada
16" x 20", acrylic and straw on canvas
Donated by the artist
MOBA #393

Viv combined media and techniques in this tropical scene. The dense finger-painted grass threatens to envelop the tiki hut and the palm tree, heavy with coconuts. Fluffy clouds float above, and the sea virtually shimmers. But where are the people? Who built this? Have they abandoned this paradise for the lure of the mysterious mountains across the sea?

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

The Picnic
Anonymous
22" x 30", oil on Canvas
Purchased at a thrift store in Roslindale, MA and
donated by Mark Onishuk
November 2006

Aware that inter-office dating was frowned upon by upper management, the young lovers decided to take an extended lunch break on a private island where they would surely not be seen.

THE LIGHTHOUSE
Anonymous
14" x 18", acrylic On Canvas
Rescued from trash in Boston, MA
1990s
MOBA #129

Without pausing to clean off his brush, the artist dashes off a building, bright as a barber’s pole, in the shadow of an encroaching dune reminiscent of a voracious hedgehog. The angry sea has already swallowed the beach. The rich green low ground grass suggests a swamped foundation. Footsteps retreat from the threatened beacon, but the wire still hangs from the unlit lamp, begging to be plugged in.

STILL LIFE WITH JUICER
Anonymous
16" x 20", oil on canvas
Anonymous donation

The sad fate of the luscious little orange is clear as it innocently sits before the red juicer and its ominous shadow.

WATERMELONE IN UNA GONDOLA A VENEZIA
R. Mercer
26” x 33” oil on canvas
Donated by Mary Fadel
May 2007
MOBA #274

"The Venetians have always loved anguria or watermelon as a refreshment. Thin slices were served in the noblest parlours – in the absence of any more robust food – as several Grand Tourists observed disapprovingly. But Thomas Coryate, the irrepressible seventeenth-century visitor, was an enthusiast of watermelon: ‘it hath the most refridgerating vertue of all the fruites of Italy.’ However he warned travellers to beware of consuming too many of the other kinds of melon: ‘For the sweetnesse of them is such as hath allured many men to eate so immoderately of them, that they have therewith hastened their untimely death …'"

Michelle Lovric, from an article published in The Lady, XXX, 200x. She is the author of Carnevale, The Remedy and The Floating Book, historical novels set in Venice.

From: Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks, by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco

CLAMP LAMP, WICKER CHAIR, AND SINK
Anonymous
40” X 30”, acrylic on canvas
Found in curbside trash in Brookline, MA
February, 2017

The artist presents a colorful Escheresque tableau featuring furniture, cloth, and an array of electrical, mechanical, and plumbing fixtures.

 
STILL LIFE WITH ANTLER
Jeanne Galarno
18" x 24", acrylic on art-board
Purchased at a Salvation Army Thrift Store
1990s

The breezy rippling of the striped fabric, the gaseous swell on the left side of the wicker bottle, the descent of the heavy orange material, the crumpled paper in sharp relief expanding in the foreground, the teetering of the precariously balanced antler; many minuscule movements lend a nervous energy to this otherwise still life.

CLAMP LAMP, WICKER CHAIR, AND SINK
Anonymous
40” X 30”, acrylic on canvas
Rescued from trash in Brookline, MA
February 2017


The artist presents a colorful Escheresque tableau featuring furniture, cloth, and an array of electrical, mechanical, and plumbing fixtures.
 
ON A WINDY DAY
Bob "Grandpa" Roots
14" x 18", oil on canvas board
Donated by the artist
February 2009
MOBA #455

Watch the MOBA Curator Talk about this painting.
The wild westerly wind that devastated this peaceful bucolic landscape was strong enough to denude mature trees, grossly distort fair weather clouds, rend the fur from a cow, bend a wrought iron weather vane, and induce panic in a basset hound whose ears and tongue point due east.

Donated by the artist Bob "Grandpa" Roots of San Miguel, CA, this two-dimensional American landscape is reminiscent of the work of Anna Mary Robertson "Grandma" Moses (American, 1860-1961) who also began painting as an octogenarian and became famous for her pastoral "naive folk" paintings.

In the note accompanying his donation, Mr. Roots wrote, "...I was happy with the way the barn turned out. It was when I started animals and people that [I realized] I was having problems with proportions . . ."

He enjoys other creative pursuits in addition to painting. "I have won the World's Worst Poetry Contest in Pismo Beach, CA, placing 1st, 2nd, and 4th in separate years . . . [and] . . . I have made many bottles of home brew and wine . . ."

The MOBA curatorial staff speculate that Grandpa Roots' imbibing of the fruits of the latter may have contributed to the "problems with proportions" that make this painting particularly delightful.