The final test of a painting, theirs, mine, any other, is: does the painter’s emotions come across?
— Franz Kline

If emotion is the primary aim of painting, then Joseph Adolphe tackles the heavy-hitters. Stunning as they are, Adolphe’s dramatic compositions, gestural brushstrokes, and saturated palette tout more than mere visual appeal. The upcoming October exhibition of his new works at M Fine Arts Galerie promises both optical pleasure and emotive punch. His paintings transcend art’s decorative function, serving instead as precious records of universal human struggle, welts left behind by the blows of inner turmoil. The technical and stylistic confidence of Adolphe’s creations belies the existential uncertainty that informs their conception. The simmering fluids of anxiety, frustration, and doubt come to a boil on the surface of Adolphe’s canvases. The intensity of the work’s physical execution is palpable. Just as Adolphe’s finished canvases viscerally acknowledges the act of painting, the content of his work emphasizes process over product, exploring the underlying forces of the material world.


As much as Adolphe’s canvases command attention, they also merit time. The viewer of Toro Bravo no. 38—or any of Adolphe’s bull series, for that matter—is greeted first by bravado, forcefully confronted by the bull’s impressive scale, threatening stance, and fervid execution. After several moments of marination, however, the work’s macho impact begins to unravel and evolve, softening and giving way to a more complex portrait of personal power. The slashes of paint comprising the bull’s immense dark form crash and bleed into another, gorily melding the beast with his hazy blue surroundings. A pair of eyes—large and unexpectedly doleful—prompt the viewer to contemplate the bull’s uncertain fate at the hands of a brutal toreador.

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In both subject matter and technique, the artist strikes a precarious balance between solidity and fragility. Sugary pink blooms peek out from a shroud of dense greenery in Peonies no. 2, while plump golden fruits dangle enticingly from the lush branches of The Orange Tree. Dripping with pigment and juicily executed, Adolphe’s fruit and flowers alike appear moments away from melting off the surface of their canvases. In a nod to 17th-century Dutch memento mori still life traditions, Adolphe reminds us of the bittersweet brevity of nature’s treasures. A yellowed skull swathed in crumpled white paper rests on the shelf below a ripe orange bouquet in Still Life no. 9, enhancing the impact of Adolphe’s subtle references to life’s essential transience.

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Adolphe’s work covers a refreshingly wide swath of subject matter. The marked fluidity with which the artist transits between diverse content and genres speaks to the potent universality of his deeper interests. Themes of rebirth and resilience serve as connective tissue, easefully stringing together subjects as seemingly disparate as bulls, flowers, and dishes.


The technical strength and emotional authenticity of Adolphe’s work has not gone unnoticed. Since 1998, his paintings have been featured in over forty exhibitions internationally and are held in numerous private and corporate collections. Adolphe has been the recipient of several awards, including the first place prize in the 2010 “Figure Now” competition at Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri. In the summer of 2012, his painting Mars No. 1 was chosen for the cover of Manifest Gallery’s exhibition-in-print, International Painting Annual.

Originally from Calgary, Canada, Joseph Adolphe moved to New York City in 1992 to attend the School of Visual Arts, where he received his MFA in 1994. Adolphe now lives with his wife and children in New Haven, Connecticut and is a professor of Fine Arts at St. John’s University in New York. To learn more about the artist and his work, visit his website or check out the trailer for HEAVYWEIGHTPAINT, a 2016 documentary following Adolphe and three other painters working in Brooklyn, New York.

Text by Cara Wolahan


It is more than a solitude, it is more than a night. For each solitude has its own mystery.
— Sully Prudhomme

Peering into the world that Jacquet produces is like looking into a world that doesn’t quite exist. It is beautiful and dreamy, it is everything that you could ever want. But it is teetering on the edge of reality.
Jacquet is able to create places that question the viewer’s place in the world and what they are doing. It is “a universe lying somewhere between fantasy and reality” with a “very particular atmosphere.”

When you look at the sky at night, since I will live in one of them, since I will laugh in one of them, then for you it will be as if all the stars were laughing. You will have stars that know how to laugh
— Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Jacquet works in gloss paint and is self taught. He paints seascapes and landscapes. His process allows him to develop texture in certain parts of the paintings while keeping others entirely smooth.


Philippe Charles Jacquet was born in France in 1957. He has since remained a resident of France. Jacquet went to school for architecture and was a practicing architect for twenty years. He also managed a gallery for ten year, but now his days are devoted to his paintings.

Jacquet currently lives and works in Pantin, just outside of Paris, and he exhibits in group and solo shows throughout France.

Jacquet's solo exhibition, "un temps arrêté" opens at M Fine Arts Galerie the First Friday of May. May 5th from 6-8pm.  Please rsvp


Brian Keith Stephens is a well known oil painter and installation artist whose work affects perception of identity through emotion. Stephen’s artistic process reflects the emotions he hopes to extract from his audience. While Stephens paints seemingly simple images of animals or loved ones, upon closer observation it is clear there are multiple layers of sensitive investigation in each piece.

Turn it Up, oil on canvas 51" x 77"

Turn it Up, oil on canvas 51" x 77"

Stephens was raised in Connecticut and uses his artwork to express his “fascinations with myth, the spectrum of human passion, our kinship to the spirit of the wild animal, and challenge of balancing the real with the fanciful.” He believes we must all focus on the past, present, and future in order to remain balanced in time.

Stephens work has always had a focus on the element of time and memory, asking questions such as “Do you want to be a boy or a girl? or “Are you happy with a smile?”. His newest collection works are equally as provocative using more animalistic subject matter and vibrant color.

His show Party Animals invites the viewer to use their imagination and step inside these vibrant and positive paintings to consider the life of each beast portrayed. The paintings exude bright energy and great possibility, providing the perfect portal for fantasy and curiosity.

You are My King, oil on canvas 14" x 16"

You are My King, oil on canvas 14" x 16"

Stephens received his BFA from Lyme Academy College of Fine Art and his MFA from City College of New York. He has exhibited in galleries around the country and internationally. He has participated in multiple art fairs such as Scope Art Fair and Affordable Art Fair.

History Makes Us Believe, oil on canvas 35" x 48"

History Makes Us Believe, oil on canvas 35" x 48"

His show will be at M Fine arts from April 7 – April 30, 2017. There will be an artist reception on April 7th from 6-8 pm.

Artist, Brian Keith Stephens

Artist, Brian Keith Stephens

M Fine Arts Galerie is located at 450 Harrison Ave. 61 Thayer St., Boston.

For more information on the artist, visit


Text by Margaret Britven