Few would disagree with those who call Sam Posey a Renaissance man. Today he works primarily as an artist whose paintings are currently on view at the Ober Gallery in Kent.
After graduating from RISDI, Posey changed course to become a successful race car driver. In 1969 he won the Lime Rock Trans-Am; he raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans finishing in the top 10 five times. In addition he drove in two Formula One world championship events. Posey then went on to a career as an auto racing commentator and analyst for ABC Sports winning an Emmy for Writing for his coverage of Alaska’s Iditarod sled dog race.
Posey has also written two books - Playing With Trains about model railroads, and The Mudge Pond Express, an autobiography about his racing career and love of the sport.
These accomplishments might be enough for many people, but Posey has done much more. He designed a number of buildings including several at Lime Rock, as well as having a successful career as an artist.
Almost 20 years ago he was diagnosed with Parkinsons Disease, which he says was “like being ambushed.” As the disease progressed – slowly in his case - painting became a saving grace in part because it helps to calm the tremors. Posey tends to talk about racecar driving and painting in the same breath and often compares painting to taking a curve on a race track. He says both actions are intuitive.
The artist’s dealer, gallerist Rob Ober, believes Posey has begun to trust the paint more than he once did. “Too many artists are trying to capture what they see rather than letting the paint and the texture of the paint and the mistakes you make while painting dictate the directions. He’s learned to trust it particularly with the nudes which is the direction he seems to be going in where he rides the edge between the object and abstraction.”
In one painting “Nude and Tractor” Posey depicts a tractor making its way up a steep hillside. Below what at first glance appears to be a stone wall can actually be seen as a reclining nude.
Close examination of Posey’s paintings reveals qualities that one might overlook from a distance. Posey has used many layers and gradations of color in his painting of a barn to indicate the texture of the weathered red walls as well as the moss growing on the green roof. His colorful farm yard images of silos, barns, and cows I found particularly evocative of our New England landscape.