A new exhibition of oil paintings by Newport native Luke Brenner opens to the public Thursday, December 8 at Kristen Coates gallery and runs through December 31.

Most people know Brenner as a popular bartender at the Clarke Cooke House, the legendary heartbeat of Newport, RI. He’s also an established portrait and landscape painter. 

Brenner studied under renowned West Coast artist Pia Stern and attended University of Hawaii, Manoa. While Brenner is continuously evolving, his focus is on oils, and painting light as it hits his subjects.

“The light in Newport and on the island at this time of year is incredible with the low-slung sunshine, so I’m very pleased Kristen asked me to do this show. It ushers in my productive phase,” says Brenner.

The lifelong surfer and father of three also says, “I bartend, and because it’s so busy, summers tend to be less productive and rewarding as a painter.” 

As a gallerist and curator, Kristen Coates has been showing Brenner’s work over the last six years and she came to understand that he creates in cycles. 

“At first I thought he wasn’t interested in showing his work, but after some time, I noticed a pattern. Luke’s energy is absorbed in the summer, by the Cooke House, his family, surfing…energy he would otherwise have for the canvas during studio time,” she notes.

Coates elaborate, ”In the winter there’s a great pause in that frenetic energy. We return to what could be without all the distractions of a white-hot summer and as an artist, Luke returns to the canvas.”

Kristen Coates entitled the show Surf, because Luke, the man and artist, like many of us on the island, is tied to the tides. 

“We have the ebb and flow of seasons in the studio and also as our public-facing selves at various times of year. We balance our winter hermit against our summer social butterfly.”

Visitors and locals are welcome to see and feel SURF at the opening on December 8. 

Parking is limited, walking, carpool and Uber encouraged. There will be inspired cocktails and gifts with purchase. Artwork will be accompanied by a reusable commemorative tote.

10% of all sales will be given to Clean Ocean Access who work locally for a clean, healthy ocean that is accessible to all.


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