“The Boston Harbor Islands Project by Joseph McGurl is an ongoing exploration of the islands and waterways located within the perimeters of Boston Harbor,” says Collins Galleries (MA). “The project began unintentionally during a painting trip to Grape Island during the summer of 2016. As he was finishing his day’s work on the island, it dawned on McGurl that the harbor and islands held within them and more importantly within him everything he wanted to explore and share about the empirical and philosophical aspects of his art making.
“The islands are where he developed his love for the ocean, the landscape, nature, and all that is contained within the coastal realm.
“McGurl grew up on the peninsula of Squantum in Quincy, Massachusetts, where he spent his youth exploring by boat the shoreline and islands of Boston Harbor and learning how to draw from his father, muralist James McGurl. Some of his earliest outdoor paintings were of Rainsford Island, a familiar haunt where he and his friends would often gather and set up camp as teenagers.
“McGurl’s love for the islands of Boston Harbor was also fostered by the writings of the legendary storyteller and historian Edward Rowe Snow. As a youth McGurl read Snow’s romantic and seafaring stories about pirates, shipwrecks, ghosts and other nautical adventures, connecting the young artist’s imagination to the mysteries of the past, in particular those that happened just outside his window where he could see the islands and the light from Boston, Minot’s and Graves lighthouses flashing in the night sky.
“This love of the natural elements combined with his artistic abilities created the unavoidable path to become a landscape painter.”