Presenting the history of American Art as seen through the eyes of Provincetown

Cynthia Packard



Describing the experience of viewing Cynthia Packard’s paintings, Melanie Braverman, poet, novelist, teacher, writes: “Cynthia Packard's .... paintings are translucence embodied.” Entering the artist's studio is like entering one of her paintings. Every surface is covered in paint… Walls are completely lined with paintings of varying sizes and palettes, wed one to another by virtue of an ecstatic intensity that makes her subjects, whether still life or human, appear to be morphing from the inside out.

A canvas may start from a live model, flowers from her garden or a boat lulled by the waves. The works are bold, yet innocent, edgy, and deep. An overall textured canvas may at first sight appear purely abstract, only to reveal with further viewing, the movement of seagulls returning at dusk, or a figure emerging from the canvas. Light flows and brings alive the atmosphere around them. “The figures in her paintings routinely seem caught in the act of moving from one dimension to another, the body made fugitive with light” wrote Braverman.

Born in Florida, Packard grew up in Princeton, New Jersey. She studied sculpture and art history graduating with honors at the Massachusetts College of Art. She then moved to Provincetown in 1981, connecting deeply with her artistic roots. Her great-grandfather Max Bohm, who arrived in Provincetown in 1915 at age 45, became one of the leading forces in the art colony, along with Charles W. Hawthorne, Edwin Dickinson, and E. Ambrose Webster. On arriving in Provincetown, Packard spent five years studying drawing with Fritz Bultman, a renowned abstract expressionist who studied with, and enjoyed a life-time friendship with, Hans Hofmann.Today Packard acknowledges the diverse stylistic influences of impressionism and abstract expressionism that guide her brush, as practiced by Fritz Bultman, her great-grandfather, and her mother, Anne Packard, a renowned landscape artist.

Art writer Deborah Carr writes that Packard’s paintings “explore paradox and contrast; consider moody interiors and verdant spaces. She juxtaposes graceful curves and sharp edges, dark contours and amorphous boundaries. The viewer of Cynthia Packard’s [painted] world realizes that remaining aloof from her powerful images is not an option.”

Painter, sculptor, and art teacher, Cynthia Packard has taught at FAWC, Castle Hill, PAAM, and privately in her studio. She has exhibited widely and is included in museums and significant private collections. PAAM presented Packard in a huge overview exhibition several years ago, and she has been invited to show later this summer at Yale. A mother of four, Packard is an athlete, holds a black belt in karate, and does yoga on a daily basis. Three dogs Keep her company in her studio.

In her interview with Susan Blood of the Provincetown Banner, Cynthia talks about being an artist: “You will always be seeking. You will always be struggling. You will have these wonderful moments, and once you have them you have the responsibility of doing it again! There's a battle going on in here. There's a battle and then it's ecstasy…I say talent is fearlessness, stamina and discipline. I feel right now that I am alive, and I have been given a gift, and I am painting like I have never painted before.”