Mindy Taylor, gallery director at Fry Fine Art Gallery in Peterborough, has worked to present a number of special artist shows over the last 18 months. But recently, when the doors open each morning, she notes guests have already arrived to see the latest exhibit.
Once inside they don’t just wander through the paintings, but take the time to stop, take in the details, move closer and observe and often, Taylor says, bring home inspiration from what they have seen. The artists drawing such intense interest are Numael and Shirley Pulido.
Despite being well-known among the artist set in the Monadnock Region, the Pulidos aren’t necessarily a household name throughout the greater community. However, just a few moments standing before their work can change that.
Both Numael and Shirley paint in the style of the “Old Masters,” and for even those unfamiliar with fine art, the detail, colors and use of light and shadow is evident, admirable and stunning.
“If, as a child, you loved to draw and paint, it is the most natural thing in the world to stand in a museum for the first time with your mouth wide open in awe. In our case, that wonder has never ended. The Masters, while painting the beauty of the world we know, portrayed yet another world altogether than photographic realism,” said Shirley and Numael in a joint email to ELF.
“We are so lucky these extremely talented artists are right here quietly practicing their art in Hancock,” Taylor said. “It makes sense for the Fry Gallery to shine light on them. Not everyone is familiar with them outside other artists, but the classical nature of the scope of how they work makes it relatable to the public.
“Similar to fashion, a classic look does not go out of style. A simple black dress and string of pearl worked years ago, and it can work now. It transcends time and generations. Lots of us have taken an art class, so we can appreciate what the Pulidos are doing.”
Prior to the opening of the show, Taylor had received feedback from many sources insisting a show by the Pulidos would be perfect for the Fry Gallery. As she found once she began developing the exhibition, the Pulidos “live and breathe art.”
“I was invited to their studio and blown away by their talent and thought how beautiful to spend your life side by side with the person you love, creating art,” Taylor said. “They are not on social media, so it was important to bring them to the gallery so everyone could see their work.”
One of the most challenging aspects of putting the show together was, for Taylor, to create something that would both please the Pulidos, and do justice to their work, their legacy and their commitment to art. Some paintings first needed framing, and then Taylor worked to hang the show in such a way that the eye would flow from one work to the next, to create balance and to match what was in Shirley’s mind’s eye for a series of interiors she had completed and would be displaying.
“We thought the Fry Gallery was one of the most beautiful spaces to exhibit one’s work we have seen, worthy of Boston or Paris, and it is in our own backyard,” the Pulidos wrote by email. “Its impressive collection of 19th-century paintings has made a wonderfully compatible space for our work to be shown.”
“Their work fits in seamlessly as the rest of the gallery is primarily from the late-19th and early-20th century. Because Shirley and Numael paint in the classical realism style it is a perfect fit and keeps up with the quality and flow of the rest of the gallery,” Taylor added.
When asked about making their classical style relevant to a modern audience, the Pulidos responded, “As long as we are discussing ‘pictorial art,’ or the world of one’s actual visual experience, then the most basic principles of good painting are eternal, whatever the individual style might be.
“As for the modern audience, there is probably no ‘one’ modern audience. There is always ‘the going thing’ which changes every few years.
“But if the artist can remain loyal to what he truly and authentically loves in his most private heart, the world will accommodate that honesty, and appreciate it whatever the style may be. In our case, a relatively secluded life has probably kept us from any extraneous pressures.”
The desire to remain true to themselves and their calling is part of what drew Taylor to the couple both personally and professionally. In the end, she described their show, which is actually the first time they have exhibited their work together, as being about “their love, life, legacy and commitment to art. It is the story of them.”
To view “The Life and Work of Shirley and Numael Pulido” exhibit at Fry Fine Art Gallery through Sept. 29, visit Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 36 Grove St. in Peterborough. Additional details can be found at fryfineart.com. To learn more about Numael and Shirley Pulido’s art and their class offerings, visit pulidostudio.blogspot.com.