Provincetown Berta Walker Gallery

35th Season

By: - May 13, 2024

2024 is the 35th Anniversary of Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown. The season will introduce three new artists never before shown by BWG: poet and artist Rosalind Pace (in collaboration with her exhibition at PAAM, curated by Grace Hopkins (May 3 - June 23, 2024); painter Tom Boland, and sculptor Ted Chapin. Additionally, this year’s exhibitions also include an exciting variety of mini shows of new work by Gallery artists and gallery-represented artists’ Estates. 


A large show featuring “The Anchors of the Berta Walker Gallery” will celebrate the artists who keep the gallery thriving: Director Grace Hopkins, Gallery Assistant Laura Shabott and Gallery Assistant/Installer Bert Yarborough. Accompanying this show will be a group show of art by former staff, including Sky Power and Erna Partoll (both of whom worked at the gallery for ten years), as well as photos of individuals, friends, and family who have made the Gallery’s existence possible (a visual “introduction of gratitude,” if you will, in our book of visuals.)



A quintessential Provincetown year-rounder, William Fitts creates vibrant and unexpected gouaches and monotypes. Although this is Fitts’ first one-person exhibition at Berta Walker Gallery, he has frequently appeared in a variety of group shows. He is also the author of a cookbook featuring family recipes, all accompanied by original drawings Fitts created over a number of years. 

Fitts was an early Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and then studied with Philip Malicoat. With a young family to feed, Fitts turned to his skills as a fine woodworker, specializing in wood bulkheads. These bulkheads are easy to spot even today because he topped each one with a carved turtle to represent his “Turtle Woodworks” crew. Later, after hanging up his tool belt, Bill refocused on his art, and for many years, became a fixture at the Fine Arts Work Center’s Summer Printmaking Classes, working closely with Micheal Mazur and Bert Yarborough, among others.

As his mobility waned in later years, Bill turned to working in gouache, many of which will be included in this exhibition. Throughout his years, Bill has been very involved in the arts and services of Provincetown. He was a Vice President of the Provincetown Art Association (early Seventies), member of the Beachcombers Club, a volunteer firefighter for 25 years at Provincetown’s Pumper #5, and Captain of the Forest Fire Squad, a member of the town’s Water Commission for seven years, Founding Board Member of the Peaked Hill Trust, and a member of the Conservation Trust on which he still sits.

Born in Forest Hills, New York, in 1936, while not particularly encouraged in creating art at home, Bill found encouragement from the parents of friends in the neighborhood: Hudson and Ione Walker. Through their encouragement, and his later introduction by them to Provincetown and the Fine Arts Work Center, Bill was finally able to concentrate on his artistic talents, moving here full time in 1964.





Elspeth Halvorsen was an icon of Provincetown's art community known for her unique luminousbox constructions, finely wrought from the humblest of found and recycled materials. Viewing Halvorsen's constructions is like a walk in the moonlight. Daytime reality dissolves, the box becomes a stage, and found objects are alchemized into a contemplation of the mysteries of the universe and the human heart.

This exhibition focuses on the artist’s minimal abstract wall constructions. Susan Rand Brown wrote in Art New England, "Often contemporary in narrative content…Her best tone is magisterial, finding the cosmic in nature's cycle of creation, decay and renewal.”  And, Cate McQuaid wrote in The Boston Globe, "When Halvorsen constructs boxes from wood and glass, they contain galactic meditations. She balances expansion and containment, liberty and boundaries.” Berta Walker notes "Elspeth was a constant inspiration to me.She was gentle and quiet yet very determined, ensconced in nature, yet deeply compassionate about world affairs and human suffering. Her joy in making art kept her in her studio right up to the last months of her life.”

A resident in Provincetown since the mid-1950s, she was not only an especially talented sculptor but was also instrumental in organizing the much-heralded cooperative Rising Tide Gallery.  Additionally, Halvorsen anchored a unique Vevers family of artists: her husband, painter Tony Vevers and daughters, artist Tabitha Vevers and filmmaker Stephanie Vevers.

In 2013, artist Varujan Boghosian curated a major survey of her work titled “An Intimate Cosmos” at the  Provincetown Art Association and Museum, about which he observed “Her works stand on their own two feet beside Joseph Cornell…at their core, they are very dynamic pieces that call to mind Myron Stout’s totemic works, or Naum Gabo’s…close to God-like work…She balances expansion and containment, liberty and boundaries.”  




BUDD HOPKINS (1931-2011)

Budd Hopkins was part of New York’s initial wave of abstract expressionists which included Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, among others. Hopkins’ hard-edged paintings, collages, and architectonic sculptures inspired art critic Michael Brenson to comment in the New York Times, “If the work is about sacrifice and violence, it is also about ecstasy and illumination.”

His oeuvre includes early abstract expressionist works, then a collage-based hard-edge period, to the guardians and altars, and finally, his return to action painting with his series of dancing guardians.”  Art historian, artist and art writer John Perrault wrote the following:  "Budd Hopkins was embedded in his time but also removed from it.  His intelligence, which is clearly revealed in his writings about art, also shines through his paintings.  He was an original.” Perreault continues:  “Hopkins did not abandon the emotional expression and spirituality of abstraction, even as he was aware that pop art and minimalism had begun to dominate both the art market and the art discourse.  Instead of following the trend, he re-thought art and its relationship to contemporary life, returning to the collage aesthetic pioneered by the cubists he admired in the early 20th century. He reinterpreted and generalized the basic principles of collage to offer a fresh look at modernism and what  followed.  And Hopkins saw the collage aesthetic as operative in literature and music, as well as the visual arts.  He continued to hold in view the clean and hard with the delicate and messy, optical perspectives, tactility and scale. We can also now look at Hopkins’ career as a kind of collage.”

Hopkins took little notice of the spirituality of his art, even though his work was focused on Temples and Guardians, the planets, the sun, the moon, concepts of the universe and spiritual protection, created through the use of bright color, shaped canvases, hard edges and expressionist paint.  Hopkins wrote: “Art is the visual expression of the painter’s sense of life. At its deepest is the harmonious combination of the artist’s final dream and his sense of reality.” Hopkins earned a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1976 and a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship in 1979. His work is in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of Art, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Hopkins resided in New York City and Wellfleet, Massachusetts.