Six of One
April 10 - June 22
Thursday, May 1, 2 pm: Richard Neal, Joe Diggs, Andre van der Wende
Thursday, May 29, 2 pm: Sarah Dineen, Jackie Reeves, Jamie Wolf
“Six Of One” is a mid-career collective of 6 contemporary Cape Cod painters curated by artist Bailey Bob Bailey. The exhibition features the work of Joe Diggs, Sarah Dineen, Richard Neal, Jackie Reeves, André van der Wende, and James Wolf.
“Six of one, half a dozen of the other,” the idiom to which this exhibition refers, implies that despite their seemingly divergent approaches to contemporary painting, there’s a common thread amongst these six artists.
Every few months over the past 6 years, this group of friends gather in one another's studios to share and critique each others work. Not only does it provide them with shared knowledge, license and endorsement, but more importantly it’s a form of empathetic validation that propels each artist to look harder, reach wider, go deeper. The tie that binds this group, and beautifully coaxed out by curator Bob Bailey, is their committed engagement toward a truthful dialogue of what contemporary painting is, was, and can be; a definition that stops short of figurative or abstract distinctions so that it can be all these things and more.
Cross pollination occurs along a strong line of abstraction that underpins each artists work while still maintaining a deep connection to the world at large. It’s all a matter of degrees. Housed within an abstract framework, Jackie Reeves weaves figurative elements that continue to expand upon her rich familial narrative filtered through a lens of memory, time and space.
Richard Neal’s paintings of gridded cityscapes rendered in his typically muscular and inventive fashion, form an urban dystopia that plays at the edge of seduction and tension. Sarah Dineen’s large abstract paintings immerse the viewer in a palpably theatrical space that explores the psychology of light and dark; while Joe Digg’s carries ambiguity to ethereal levels in his abstract allusions to the temporal world, between matter and antimatter.
While referencing Chinese landscape paintings, James Wolf’s large watercolors on paper and acrylics on canvas also play within known modes of abstract expressionism to produce attractive interplays of light alongside their superlative kinetic energy. Laced with sly humor, and taking cues from the landscape as well the body, André van der Wende’s work incorporates a revitalized inquiry into what color and paint can do as a metaphor for personal truth to produce paintings modest in size but large in presence.
Image: Jackie Reeves, "Mad Mission"
George Nick: In Search of Time Lost
April 3 - May 18
Gallery Talk: April 10, 4 pm
Reception: April 10, 5:30 - 7 pm
As one of the museum’s “Over the Bridge” exhibitions, the George Nick show will give Cape art-lovers the opportunity to view 18 works by a prominent Boston area artist who’s won national recognition for his realist paintings. His fidelity to such subjects as Back Bay exteriors, vintage aircraft and automobiles, and sun-splashed interiors is coupled with a spirited handling of paint and a gift for discovering refreshingly distinctive points of view. Nick is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston; and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.; among other important institutions.
Eli Marsh: Pine, Sand, Ocean: Outer Cape Designs
April 3 - May 4
Gallery Talk by Richard Bump: April 10, 2 pm
Richard Bump, family friend of the Marshes, has taken responsibility of caring for a large portfolio of Eli Marsh's work which he discovered in a horse barn on the family property in Wellfleet.
Reception: April 10, 5:30 - 7 pm
Self-taught artist Eli Marsh (1892-1976) repeatedly expressed his strong sense of design and rhythm while capturing the starkly beautiful landscape near his Wellfleet home. “Pine, Sand, Ocean” will give an intimate look at about 18 of his oils, watercolors and pen-and-ink washes, dating from the late 1940s through the end of his life. Of particular interest are his interpretations of the view from his home, looking through pine trees and out over dunes to the ocean beyond. The works can be roughly dated by the height of the pines. A longtime professor of Physical Education at Amherst College, Marsh purchased 40 acres of land in Wellfleet in the 1930s. After building, he and his wife summered there prior to his retirement in 1958. Afterwards they traveled in the summer, but lived there in the spring and fall.
Doug Johnson: Abstract Expressions
March 13 - April 20
Reception: March 14, 5:30 - 7 pm
Gallery Talk: April 3, 2 pm
Over the past decade, Cape Cod artist Doug Johnson has worked in a style inspired by the New York School – the post-World War II avant-garde art movement that held sway through the 1950s.
Van Gogh and Picasso were Johnson’s very earliest sources of inspiration and, over time, he’s experimented with many styles and directions. However, he cites a longstanding and recurring debt to the New York School, or Abstract Expressionists, typified by such painters as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline dribbling, splashing and smearing paint onto their canvases. “Their sense of adventure and freedom to create a new profound visual language excited and motivated me,” Johnson says. “I feel the artists should be explorers in the realm of visual experience.”
The museum’s exhibition comprises about 20 acrylics on canvas, ranging in size from 2 to 6 feet. Although they have such evocative titles as “Then Came Pink,” “Kooky Love,” “Circus” and “Cool Breeze,” the works are totally nonrepresentational, often with many small shapes – frequently more or less round or rectangular – playing across the surface. The painting “Fifth Dimension” features a bright array of “circles,” many caught up in a swirl of movement, others seemingly aglow with light. In “Strata,” two loosely massed horizontal bands of blue, red, black and white shapes stretch across a predominantly gold background, creating, indeed, a suggestion of strata. The piece is somehow reminiscent of the gilded robes enveloping the lovers in Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss.” While Johnson’s works contain no recognizable objects, his approach certainly encourages viewers to devise their own interpretations.
As an asthmatic child, Johnson spent many solitary hours drawing, and he fell in love with the creative process. He earned a degree in Fine and Applied Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, N.Y., then continued his art studies at San Jose State University and Sonoma State University in California. He’s been active in Cape Cod’s art community for more than 35 years, opening his first art gallery in 1990. He currently owns and operates the Doug Johnson Gallery on Route 6A in Orleans. In addition to painting, Johnson has worked with clay, photography, printmaking and collage. He is also an avid collector of African tribal arts.
Image: Fifth Dimension