Karol Wyckoff: passion from my heART
Retrospective- 68 Years of Painting
August 7 - September 14
Reception: Thursday, August 7, 5:30 - 7 pm
Gallery Talk: August 14, 2 pm
Bass River artist Karol B. Wyckoff is nationally recognized for her paintings – especially her crisp watercolors, which exploit the medium’s transparent properties to the fullest. The Cape Cod Museum of Art will pay tribute to her long and successful career with the retrospective “passion from my heART: 68 years of paintings by Karol B. Wyckoff.”
Wyckoff worked on her show all winter (from her Florida residence), arranging to borrow back many paintings from collectors in order to assemble a true retrospective. The earliest piece dates from 1946, when she was 10. It was an entry in an art contest for Girl Scouts – and won her a week at camp. “Dirty Laundry,” a 1988 painting of a southern live oak dripping with Spanish moss, will be on loan from the collection of sportscaster Brent Musburger.
With her mastery of technique and draftsmanship, Wyckoff brings a magic touch to virtually any subject – be it sailboats in a quiet harbor; a full moon over Sandy Neck; a snowy street in Boston; an impromptu bouquet, stuck in a boot; or children playing in the sand at the seashore. Virtually no scene is too complex or beyond the scope of her versatility and interest, so long as it can lay claim to some charm or beauty. No matter what the subject, her paintings typically convey a strong sense of season and weather conditions. Wyckoff made sure spring, summer, fall and winter are all represented in her show.
Wyckoff never considered being anything other than an artist. She majored in Illustration at Rhode Island School of Design and enjoyed a short career as the art director for Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. before getting married in 1960. She never stopped painting and – when widowed with two children ages 13 and 16 – managed to support her family through the sale of her paintings. Later she owned and operated her own gallery – the Karol B. Wyckoff Gallery – in Wellfleet for a number of years.
A Signature member of the American Society of Marine Artists and New England Watercolor Society, Wyckoff is particularly proud of having been invited to decorate an egg for the annual Easter egg hunt at the White House. Her work has also been on view at the Copley Society of Boston; the New Bedford Whaling Museum; the Salmagundi Art Club and World Trade Center in New York; and Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Conn., among many other venues. She’s also twice had a painting selected for inclusion in an Art for the Parks exhibition in Jackson, Wyo.
The artist provides an annual art scholarship to a Barnstable High School student by donating a painting – to be raffled off – to Hyannis Rotary Club. She has also endowed an annual scholarship at her alma mater, RISD.
Contemporary Cape Cod Artists
Based on Deborah Forman's book, Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: People and Places
August 20 - September 14, 2014
Reception: Thursday, August 21, 5:30 - 7 pm
Gallery Talk: Thursday, September 4, 2 pm
Contemporary Cape Cod artists go beyond the landscape for inspiration. They are inspired by people in their insightful portraits; by the dynamic activity of figures; by the calm of a still life; and by the fascination of an interior view, whether home, public place, or their imagination. Deborah Forman interviewed forty-five artists, representing a spectrum of mediums and styles, who shared with her their inspirations and approaches, their personal lives, and their art. There are many intriguing stories. Their connections to art history and its various movements are explored. In this lavishly illustrated volume, the work of painters, sculptors, photographers, and printmakers is presented. Along with the images, fascinating written portraits of the artists give insight into their creative talents and an understanding of their motivations. A picture develops of the importance of art in our society, not only for the artist, but for all of us.
Included in this exhibition are Amy Arbus, Heather Blume, Varujan Boghosian, Romolo Del Deo, Amy Heller, Robert Henry, Sarah Holl, Penelope Jencks, Ellen LeBow, Mel Leipzig, Danielle Mailer, Richard Neal, Jim Peters, Blair Resika, Selina Trieff, Patrick Webb, Murray Zimiles.
Treasures from the Cahoon Museum of American Art
June 19 - September 7
Reception: Thursday, July 10, 5:30 - 7pm
Gallery Talk by Cindy Nickerson: Thursday, July 17, 2 pm
Over the summer, one Cape Cod art museum will devote one of its galleries to showing artwork from the permanent collection of another. “Treasures from the Cahoon Museum of American Art” opens Thursday, June 19, and continue through Sunday, September 7.
This winter, the Cahoon Museum of American Art established temporary quarters at 9 North St. in Mashpee Commons during the restoration of its 1775 Georgian Colonial building in Cotuit. Given that its wall space will be much reduced for an indefinite period of time, the Cape Cod Museum of Art proposed this exhibition of works from the Cahoon’s permanent collection. Twenty pieces will be on view in the Polhemus Savery DaSilva Gallery, including many superb examples of the paintings of Ralph and Martha Cahoon, the celebrated folk artists who lived and worked in the old Colonial home for many years. Several works from Cahoon Museum’s choice collection of 19th- and early 20th-century American art will also be part of the mix.
The hope is that both museums will benefit from this collaborative effort. The Cahoon’s charming and beautiful works will be a treat for Cape Cod Museum of Art visitors. At the same time, the exhibition is sure to win many new admirers for the Cahoon Museum.
Image: Ralph Cahoon, "Oriental Scene".
John Babineau: Elements of Passion - A soccer fan watches the World Cup
June 12 - August 10
Reception: June 12, 5:30 - 7 pm
Gallery Talk: June 19, 2 pm
Back in the summer of 1998, John Babineau combined his expertise in photography with his enthusiasm for soccer. As he holed up in a darkened room to watch the World Cup tournament on television, he shot images of the matches much as if he’d been a sports photographer at the actual stadiums. “Elements of Passion: A soccer fan Watches the World Cup” – a representative sample of his efforts – will run from Thursday, June 12, through Sunday, July 17, in the Ocean Edge Gallery.
Babineau, who now lives in South Yarmouth, used black-and-white film for the project but later applied monotone color filtration in a traditional darkroom to enhance the content and distinguish thematic groupings. He made no effort to disguise the intermediary of the TV screen: Each shot appears in the familiar format of a rectangle with rounded corners and is somewhat “soft,” with subtle lines running across it horizontally. For Babineau, this “impressionistic” effect was the perfect way to record the on-field action – and the accompanying agonies and ecstasies – of a sport that’s full of gritty poetry.
Babineau is represented by Miller White Fine Arts, Dennis, MA.
Illuminating Our Permanent Collection: Modernism and the Cape Cod Landscape
June 26 - August 10
Gallery Talk with Cindy Nickerson: Thursday, June 26, 2 pm
Reception: Thursday, July 10, 5:30 - 7 pm
Many artists who worked on Cape Cod during the first seven decades of the 20th century were fascinated by such modernist trends as Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism. Yet, at the same time, some were moved to respond artistically to the Cape’s environment. “Illuminating Our Permanent Collection: Modernism and the Cape Cod Landscape” will explore the ways in which some of the Cape’s most important artists exploited the region’s charms while pushing the artistic envelope.
“Modernism and the Cape Cod Landscape” is an “Illuminating Our Permanent Collection” exhibition, the first in a series of periodic shows inspired by areas of strength or distinction within the Cape Cod Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Sparking the theme for the show – and forming the core of the exhibition – are some 10 works culled from the collection, including paintings by Blanche Lazzell, Agnes Weinrich, George Grosz, Lawrence Kupferman, Vernon Smith, and Kenneth Stubbs. Additional works borrowed from private collections and galleries will help put the museum works in context: We grow in our appreciation for these familiar pieces by understanding the scope of the larger art historical framework. What other artists were working in a similar fashion? Defining “landscape” in the broad sense of the word (meaning anything conveying a sense of the place), what aspects of the Cape landscape inspired the Modernists? Did they – in their nontraditional approaches – sacrifice something of the Cape’s special look and feeling? If so, what did they gain?
Cubism – the avant-garde art movement pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque – was highly influential among American artists during the early part of the 1900s; and, on the Cape, it manifested itself through many different approaches. One of the standouts of “Modernism and the Cape Cod Landscape” is “Pilgrim Point,” a major canvas by Karl Knaths. It succeeds in capturing the rarified light of Provincetown while remaining primarily abstract. Two paintings reflect Spanish American artist Xavier Gonzalez’s predilection for interpreting sailboats along cubistic lines. Cubism also informs two paintings by Vernon Smith, who came to Provincetown to study with Charles W. Hawthorne, then settled in Orleans. His “Fishing Port” and “Beach at Nauset” are realistic to a point, but with a certain kaleidoscope-like fragmentation. “Webster House,” a painting by E. Ambrose Webster – the founder of one of the earliest summer schools in Provincetown – falls into the subcategory of Synthetic Cubism, where shapes are geometrically simple and flattened. His wife – a bit improbably – poses nude in front of their home, along with a grand potted plant. The two second-floor windows of the house seem to steal a peek – their curtains like partially lowered eyelids.
Other styles are represented as well. George Grosz, the German artist especially famous for his biting social caricature, gave a surrealistic air to “Driftwood,” a 1940 oil on canvas of the Provincetown dunes. Provincetown artist Oliver Newberry Chaffee explored multiple early 20th-century styles – one of the earliest being a bold form of Impressionism. His “Provincetown Garden” is alive with bold, vivid painterly strokes, with one large blue and purple shadow becoming almost a form unto itself.
Images; top: Oliver Newberry Chaffee, "Provincetown Garden"; bottom: Xavier Gonzalez, "Inland Sea"
William R. Davis: Personal Reflections: A Retrospective Collection
July 3 - August 3
Gallery Talk: Thursday, July 10, 2 pm
Reception: Thursday, July 10, 5:30 - 7 pm
William R. Davis is one Cape Cod’s best-known artists, recognized nationally as well as locally for his beautiful luminist maritime scenes. “Personal Reflections: A Retrospective Collection by William R. Davis,” an exhibition of representative paintings produced during the past 35 years of his distinguished career, will run from Thursday, July 3, through Sunday, Aug. 3, at the Cape Cod Museum of Art.
Davis – who now resides in Harwich – grew up in Hyannis Port in the 1950s and ’60s and began taking sailing lessons at age 10. As a student at Barnstable High School he spent as much time as possible in the art rooms, but went to work for his father’s heating and air conditioning company not long after graduation. In his late 20’s, however, he began painting in oils at night, teaching himself to work in the manner of such 19th-century luminist painters as Martin Johnson Heade, Antonio Jacobsen and Fitz Hugh Lane. He quickly found buyers for his work and by 1982 – the year he turned 30 – was painting full time. In 1987, Davis became the first artist honored with a one-person show at the prestigious Mystic Maritime Gallery in Mystic, Conn. All 20 works in that show sold at the opening reception.
Davis went on to earn many other honors, including inclusion in innumerable one-person and group exhibitions. He’s a Fellow Member in the American Society of Marine Artists. The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod selected him as its official Pops by the Sea artist in 2012. When American Artist Magazine ran an in-depth article about his work in its April 2001 issue, one of his paintings was also reproduced on the magazine’s cover.
Although best-known for his marine scenes, Davis has also mastered other subjects, including landscapes, particularly of the White Mountains, Yosemite and Tuscany; floral arrangements in Nantucket baskets; and trompe l’oeil still lifes.
Partially influenced by his friendship with noted artists Joseph McGurl and Donald Demers, Davis has shifted to painting more plein air landscapes on location in recent years. This has given him the opportunity to carefully observe such atmospheric conditions as sunrises, sunsets and other changes in light; the effects of the wind; and the movement of the waves. He’s especially thrilled whenever he finds a view that seems to transcend time – a scene that looks much the same today as it did in the 1800s.
School to Careers Art Internship Exhibition
June 28 - July 13
An exhibition of student and their artist mentor artworks from the 17th annual “ArtWorks” School to Careers Partnership Program feauture art by juniors and seniors from Cape and Islands high schools during eight-week internships.
The “ArtWorks” program for the 2013-2014 school year – a partnership between the Cape and Islands Workforce Investment Board and Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich – paired a total of 40 students (20 in the fall and 20 in the winter) with successful working artists. Mentors were selected according to the students’ areas of interest, with disciplines including painting, photography, illustration, ceramics and graphic design.
Started in 1997, “ArtWorks” gives students who are considering a career in the arts a real-life work experience as an enhancement to their academic studies. They work with their mentors to complete a body of work for their portfolios and gain valuable insight into the real lives and routines of professional artists.
The show first opened at Heritage in late May and will be on view at Wellfleet Preservation Hall from June 7 through 22. Following its stop at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, some works in the exhibition will travel on to the Massachusetts State House in Boston for display from July 17 through Aug. 17.
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
Friday, June 20, 7 pm: Film & Panel Discussion on contemporary art & artists
“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"
James Gahagan: Spirit of Color
May 22 - June 29
Gallery Talk: June 11, 2 pm; with Patricia de Gogorza Gahagan and Tina Dickey
Reception: June 12, 5:30 - 7 pm
As an important member of what has been called the “second generation” of Abstract Expressionists, James Gahagan (1927-1999) is remembered for his bold yet intelligent use of color. “Spirit of Color: Paintings by James Gahagan” features some two dozen dazzling works in oil, acrylics and tempera.
Even as a high school student in his native Brooklyn, Gahagan once hotly defended his use of “invented” colors in a landscape painting to his art teacher. Following military service in World War II, he elected to study with Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann, the renowned teacher and colorist, in New York. He went on to become associate director at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Art, a position he held from 1952 to 1958. He also served as Hofmann’s chief assistant on two major mural projects in New York.
A moving force among his contemporaries in the 1950s, Gahagan counted such important abstractionists as William Freed, Lillian Orlowsky, Robert de Niro Sr., Sidney Gordin, Myrna Harrison, Myron Stout, Jan Muller and Joseph Stefanelli among his friends and colleagues. Following in Hofmann’s footsteps, he became a dedicated educator, holding teaching positions at Pratt Institute and Columbia University in New York; University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Ind.; and Goddard College in Plainfield and the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson, both in Vermont. He also started a summer art school on his property in East Calais, Vt., perhaps inspired by the success of Hawthorne’s summer school in Provincetown. Gahagan exhibited his work at the H.C.E., Tirca Karlis and Sun galleries in Provincetown and was a founding member of James Gallery in New York City.
While his paintings sometimes convey a sense of landscape, Gahagan’s work is almost always nonrepresentational while evincing a keen sensitivity to color relationships and spatial dynamics. Through many phases of his artistic development he viewed aesthetic considerations – as expressed through such formal considerations as composition and balance – all-important in his work. Eventually, however, he concluded that – for himself – he needed to take a broader point of view. “I had to find some way in the work to make other comments on my life experience, small as they might be,” he said in a 1991 interview. So his 1999 oil “Summer Arrival” – painted in the last year of his life – is suggestive, but merely suggestive, of sunshine, green grass, bright blue sky and a profusion of flowers.
Bill Liebeskind: We Make Art: 1,001 Artist Portraits
April 24 - June 14
Gallery Talk: Thursday, June 12, 4 pm
Reception: June 12, 5:30 - 7 pm
New York artist Bill Liebeskind has spent two years fashioning 1,001heads of artists from modeling clay. He’ll display this fun and funky collection on a series of shelves running around walls of the museum’s Polhemus Savery DaSilva Gallery. The heads – each about 2½ inches high – represent both historical and contemporary artists. All will be labeled. “It’s everyone you know and a few hundred you’ve never heard of before,” the artist says. He suspects that – apart from a few highly recognizable artists like Picasso and Dali – most people don’t really know what even famous artists look like. “We Make Art” should have visitors saying, “‘That’s how El Greco looked’ or ‘That’s how de Kooning looked,’” he says. Liebeskind shows his work at Gallery Ehva in Provincetown.
Prior to his artist series, Liebeskind made 101 small clay heads for another project, titled “Men of Color,” in 2009. “They’re fun to make, and they look cool,” he says. “I thought I’d make a few artists; and then I thought I’d make a few more. It became a pretty involved project and made me think.” With all the heads installed in one gallery, “This is a huge collection of ideas represented in one room,” Liebeskind says.
Perhaps sculpting artists’ heads wasn’t a totally unexpected fascination for Liebeskind: He has frequently incorporated images of famous paintings by the likes of Jacques-Louis David, Diego Velázquez and Édouard Manet in his work. Often, though, he’s been inspired by current events, particularly those which have made a collective impact upon society, such as the destruction of the World Trade Center and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Liebeskind attempts to make sense of the chaos in the world by using such powerful imagery in his work. He also makes comic books.
Liebeskind showed his work at East Village art galleries until the demise of the East Village art scene. Then he went underground, spending many years unrepresented by a commercial gallery. In 2009 he started the Gift Project, a forum for sharing art in a noncommercial way. He sent artworks to people all over the world for them to enjoy for two months, then pass on to others – with the understanding that the works should continue changing hands every two months indefinitely into the future. Liebeskind has since involved other artists in the Gift Project and views it as a “museum without walls.” He currently shows his work at Gallery Ehva in Provincetown.
Liebeskind, who teaches at a public school in East Harlem, has been coming to Wellfleet every summer for the past 35 years. “I’ve lived in the same house each August for the part 20 years – a beautiful cottage in the National Seashore in Wellfleet” he says. “I definitely think of myself as a summer resident, but I don’t technically own a home here. People in Wellfleet know me and I know them – I definitely feel like I’m part of the Wellfleet community.”
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
ALL ABOUT sEVEn: A Multi-media Exhibit by 49 Cape Women Artists
Curated by Shawn Nelson Dahlstrom
February 14 - March 30
Visit the All About sEVEn website at www.allaboutseven.org
Gallery Talks: Thursday, March 13, 2 pm (Kate Sidwell, Joyce Zavorskas, Cis Rossey)
Thursday, March 20, 2 pm
Thursday, March 27, 2 pm
Special Gallery Talk by Marie Canaves; Friday, March 28, 10:15 am in the auditorium
Artist Marie Canaves will give a PowerPoint presentation on the process of creating her piece, "Interchangeable Parts of a Perfect Fit," using the format of a puzzle for showing the complex character of human relations.
Reception: March 1, 2014, 3 - 5 pm
March 8: Music to celebrate International Women's Day, 3 - 5 pm
March 15: Poetry, 3 - 5 pm
March 22: Theater, 3 - 5 pm
March 29: Dancing & Drumming, 3 - 5 pm
Click here for details on these events
Many people consider seven a lucky – or even magical – number. There are seven days in the week, seven continents, seven notes in the musical scale and seven colors in the rainbow. Now, the Cape Cod Museum of Art’s exhibition “All About sEVEn” will explore seven themes related to the number seven, each as interpreted by seven female artists – for a grand total of 49 participants. The show will go on view Friday, Feb. 14, and continue through Sunday, March 30, with a variety of special programming along the way.
“All About sEVEn” is the brainchild of East Dennis artist Shawn Dahlstrom, who also organized and curated the exhibition and arranged for related programming. Participants include such well-known Cape artists as Teresa Baksa, Jane Lincoln, Mary Moquin, Kate Nelson, Carol Odell, Suzanne Packer, Joyce Utting Schutter, Jan Collins Selman, Kathleen Sidwell, Gretchen Romey-Tanzer, Vicky Tomayko and Joyce Zavorskas (though many of the lesser known talents will prove a revelation). A variety of mediums are represented throughout the exhibition as well as within each theme. These include painting, encaustic, fiber, glass, printmaking, photography, sculpture and assemblage.
Each group of seven artists chose its own theme, with most eschewing the more obvious options. The themes they elected to pursue are as follows:
1. Spectrum. The women who chose the seven colors of the visible spectrum as their theme reported that it was “effortless” for each of them to select one color for emphasis in her work. Weaver Gretchen Tanzer simply went with her favorite color in “Yellow Goddess.” The strongly vertical piece incorporates seven evenly spaced blocks of red, seemingly floating and ascending – or, possibly, descending – against a field of intensely sunny yellow. Glassblower Yukimi Matsumoto actually created seven remarkably lustrous vases, always using blue in combination with other colors. Given the “EVE” in “sEVEn,” it’s probably not coincidence that most of her vessels resemble softly curving female forms.
2. Elements. The number of elements can vary widely – from the classic four up to 118 on the most recent version of the Periodic Table. But for the purposes of this exhibition, this group reflected on the properties of water, air, fire, earth, wood, metal and electricity. In each artwork, one of the elements dominates while others often play a supporting role. Carole Ann Danner’s encaustic painting “Provincetown Cloud” gives a strong sense of the sky towering over strips of dunes and sea. Bright blue air and frosting-like clouds alternate like the layers of some atmospheric cake.
3. Pleiades. Also known as “The Seven Sisters” in myth and astronomy, this luminous blue star cluster is visible in the constellation Taurus. Perhaps influenced by Pleiades being a showpiece of the winter sky, painter Teresa Baksa envisioned a star as a twirling skater in “Becoming a Star.” The figure shimmers in frosty white light against a sapphire sky. Printmaker Kathleen Sidwell’s idea for the joyful abstraction “Night Dancers” came to her in a dream. Sayuri Kingsbury made seven discs of swirling blue glass that – suspended in the air – do a slow-moving dance of their own.
4. Seven Deadly Sins …? This group’s especially thoughtful statement reads, in part: “We commit them regularly and recklessly. Committing them is part of who we are. We know that here lies guilty pleasure and instant gratification. We convince ourselves it’s merely a matter of degree.” The interpretation of lust fell to Dale Michaels Wade. Her trompe l’oeil painting shows a guitar with a body that is, simultaneously, the torso of a woman – and of her arms and hands, trying to cover her nakedness. A heart hangs in the instrument’s sound hole. The work is an affecting statement of such conflicting states as desire, pleasure, vulnerability and guilt.
5. Intentions. More fully, this category is “The Seven Faces of Intentions,” as enumerated by self-help author and motivational speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer. One of them is “Beauty.” For this, photographer Mary Doering created a mixed-media work centering on the image of a woman, her hands coming together in the respectful Namaste salutation used by Hindus and Buddhists. “When we celebrate the joy, grace and truth in every human being we will see only beauty,” she wrote. Suzanne Packer interpreted “Receptivity” with an abstract oil painting, its flower-bright colors seemingly migrating from one area of the canvas to another in an easy, fluid manner.
6. Seven Generations. In accordance with Native American philosophy, ecological decisions are to be made in light of their impact on the seventh generation yet to come. Landscape designer Shannon Goheen – who also weaves tapestries from plant materials – used eelgrass to mimic a strand of DNA. “All life on earth shares some identical DNA,” she wrote. “Remove one strand and the pattern is irreparably altered.” With “Animystic,” a mixed-media totem more than seven feet tall, Deb Mell found a new way to tell the story of her own family’s past generations.
7. Formal 7. In a united show of artistic liberty, these seven women chose to focus on the formal elements of their artworks (such as line, shape, form, tone, texture, color and composition). “In choosing a formal emphasis – whereby we include seven elements in each one of our pieces – we could also choose our own subject, each speaking with our truest voice without impediment,” they offer in a joint statement. Nathalie Ferrier calls her conceptual piece, “Inspect the forest for hands and needles,” a self-portrait. A row of seven gargantuan needles formed from self-hardening clay symbolize her heights from birth through varying stages of life. “Needles have always been my main tool,” she says. For her mobile “Dalle de Verre (Spectrum in Balance),” Iren Handschuh used glass fragments representing the seven colors of the spectrum.
Above image: Carol Odell, Pleiades
Sunday, March 16, 12:30 - 4:30 pm
Falmouth printmaker Alice Nicholson Galick will teach the workshop “Styrofoam Reduction Three-Color Block Printing” from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 16, at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. All materials will be provided.
Galick, who began making prints in the late 1960s, specializes in monotypes but is skilled at many types of printmaking. She has taught art for some 30 years and exhibited in galleries, museums and juried shows throughout New England. She is represented in the group exhibition “All About sEVEn,” running from Feb. 14 through March 30 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art.
The block printing workshop is free with the price of admission to the museum. However, the instructor will collect a $5 materials fee on the day of the class. Space is limited to 15 participants. Reservations are recommended and made be made by calling 508-385-4477, ext. 16.
The ALL ABOUT sEVEn topics, artists, media and towns are:
Seven Generations (from Native American lore):
Deb Mell SCULPTURE, MIXED, CONCEPT Truro
Sarah Holl PAINTING Hyannis
Zehra Khan SCULPTURE MIXED, CONCEPT, PAINTING Provincetown
Shannon Goheen FIBER Dennis
Marilyn J. Rowland VIDEO Falmouth
Andrea Moore MIXED, PRINTMAKING Falmouth
Jeanmarie O’Clair CLAY Yarmouth
Lauren Wolk MIXED MEDIA Centerville
Jan Collins Selman PAINTING Falmouth
Cecelia Rossey PRINTMAKING Wellfleet
Sue Pellow FIBER Eastham
Chris Andresen GLASS Provincetown
Carole Ann Danner ENCAUSTIC Hyannis
Lois Grebe ENAMEL Yarmouth
Formal 7 :
Marie Canaves PAINTING Brewster
Joyce Utting Schutter SCULPTURE Sandwich
Vicky Tomayko PRINTMAKING Truro
Iren Handschuh GLASS Wellfleet
Elena Tobin FIBER Centerville
Nathalie Ferrier CONCEPTUAL Truro
Claudia Smith-Jacobs PAINTING/COLLAGE Falmouth
Seven Deadly Sins . . .?
Dale Wade TROMPE L’OILE Eastham
Anne Garton PAINTING Eastham
Beth Minear FIBER Orleans
Donna Mahan GLASS Truro
Kate Nelson PAINTING Brewster
Alice Nicholson Galick PRINTMAKING Falmouth
Maryalice Johnston MIXED MEDIA Provincetown
Carol Odell ENCAUSTIC Chatham
Susan A. Clark FIBER Eastham
Robin Grebe SCULPTURE Chatham
Teresa Baksa PAINTING Dennis
Kate Sidwell PRINTMAKING Brewster
Sayuri Kingsbury GLASS Barnstable
Tessa D’Agostino FOUND MATERIALS ASSEMBLAGE Pocasset
Mary Moquin ENCAUSTIC Sandwich
Katie Hickey FIBER Wellfleet
Joyce Zavorskas PRINTMAKING Orleans
Rosa Pimenta CISELAGE Yarmouth
Suzanne Packer PAINTING Yarmouth
Mary Doering MIXED MEDIA/PHOTOGRAPHY Orleans
Isabel Green GLASS Falmouth
Jane Lincoln PAINTING Falmouth
Gretchen Romey-Tanzer FIBER Orleans
Ellen Lebow DRAWING Wellfleet
Sara Ringler MIXED Sandwich
Tina Holl SCULPTURE Dennis
Mike Wright, SCULPTURE Provincetown
Yukimi Matsumoto GLASS Sandwich
The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod
Bourne Cultural Council
Mashpee Cultural Council
Sandwich Cultural Council
Harwich Cultural Council
Brewster Cultural Council
Chatham Cultural Council
Dennis Cultural Council
Mid-Cape Cultural Council
Mikhail Zakin: An Exploration of Form
Curated by Joyce Halpert
January 23 - March 5, 2014
New Jersey potter Mikhail Zakin taught ceramics at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill from its inception in the early 1970s until 12 days before she died on Sept. 9, 2012. Ninety-two years old at the time, she was anticipating the prospect having a retrospective of her salt-glazed pottery at the Cape Cod Museum of Art this winter. While she didn’t live to see it, the show – on view from Thursday, Jan. 23, through Sunday, March 9 – will go on as scheduled, serving as a testament to the creativity of an exceptionally vibrant woman.
“Mikhail Zakin: Salt-Glazed Pottery” has been guest-curated by Joyce Halpert of East Dennis, who knew Zakin for just shy of 40 years, both as a student and associate. Halpert has gathered more than 30 pieces from four or five private collections, including her own. These will range from the late 1960s through vey recent years.
For most of her years as a potter, Zakin generally worked with stoneware and explored salt glazing – a process that actually doesn’t involve glazes. The clay is fired in a very hot kiln until it passes the stage where it glows cherry red and becomes white-hot. At that point, the potter shuts down all of the burners, closes all the ports and flows common, or rock, salt into the kiln. The salt vaporizes under the intense heat and pressure, but not before producing a satiny, translucent and slightly orange-peel-like texture on the stoneware. It’s a difficult process and – because of the amount of fuel required – very expensive. The results are also unpredictable. But Zakin loved salt glazing. “Her work is very sculptural and architectural; it’s very organic,” Halpert says. “She wanted the glaze to enhance the body of the clay, not to cover it. She wanted the pot to reveal itself to the viewer."
Originally named Miriam Attkins, Zakin was born into a prominent Russian Jewish immigrant family in Massachusetts. Her mother died while she was still quite young, so she went to live with an uncle who encouraged her to explore stone sculpting and silversmithing. After leaving home at age 17, she tried to sell her sculpture and jewelry. Having little success, she changed her first name to Mikhail (pronounced Michael), hoping to attract more serious interest with a man’s name. Her last name changed when she married Gabriel Zakin, who worked in medical advertising. They had three children.
Zakin studied sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Art Students League in New York. At the time, she liked working with stone and metals. But she turned her attention to clay after meeting master potter Karen Karnes in 1954. Zakin worked with her for three years at Stony Point, N.Y., initially concentrating on throwing functional forms on the wheel. With her husband’s help, Zakin built her first kiln in the mid 1950s. Then, in 1969, she and Karnes built one of the first private salt kilns in the country at Stony Point, and she joined the vanguard of a revival of interest in salt glazing in this country. Initially she created hand-built tied box forms inspired by photos of her parents immigrating with tied bundles. Later, these evolved into larval, biomorphic and anthropomorphic forms.
Teaching was a huge part of Zakin’s life. As one of its original teachers, Zakin had considerable input into the development of Truro Center for the Arts. She took her students on expeditions seeking natural clays at Cape beaches and, one summer, guided them in constructing a primitive wood-fired kiln behind the school. Castle Hill’s founder, Joyce Johnson, has called her the center’s “Pied Piper of clay."
In 1974, Zakin co-founded the Art School at Old Church in Demarest, N.J. With the help of many others in the community, she restored a historic 19th-century building – a former Baptist church fallen into disrepair – turning it into a nonprofit art school and gallery that continues to thrive. Zakin served as president and taught there every single semester until she died, according to Halpert. For 37 years she also ran an annual art show to raise funds for the school.
From 1976 to 1990, Zakin was on the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College, where she chaired the Visual Arts Department for a number of years and taught ceramics as a studio course with a historical component. She also organized and participated in many workshops and seminars throughout the world, including Canada, Scotland, England, Holland, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Turkey, Japan, Korea and China. Through her “Travel with a Focus” program – sponsored jointly by the Art School at Old Church and Sarah Lawrence College – she made multiple trips abroad with her students, introducing them to the cultures of various countries. The first such trip – “The History of English Pottery from Pre-Roman Times to the Space Age” – was to Cornwall, England.
“I loved the teaching, and came to feel it was easily as important, challenging and fulfilling as working in clay,” Zakin once wrote. “The students who came into my life enriched and renewed me with their growth and blossoming, as they found their own infinitely unique voices in the material we each loved.”
Halpert counts herself among the many students whose lives Zakin touched. “Every time you turned a corner, you saw another facet of this woman,” she says.
Salvatore Del Deo: Faces & Figures 1969 - 2012
February 6 - March 9
Reception: February 6, 5:30 - 7 pm
Gallery Talk by the artist: Thursday, February 27, 2 pm
This spring marks the completion of artist Salvatore Del Deo’s sixth decade as a year-round Provincetown resident. For all this time he’s masterfully painted virtually every aspect of his environs at the Cape’s end, including dunes, wharves, fish and lighthouses. But his portraits and figurative works are especially compelling.
The strength of Provincetown’s people certainly shines through in “Salvatore Del Deo: Faces and Figures 1967-2012.” The show features some 20 works – most of them oils on canvas – selected by the museum’s curator, Michael A. Giaquinto.
Early in his career, Del Deo assimilated the teachings of Charles W. Hawthorne (as passed down through Hawthorne protégé Henry Hensche). Del Deo’s 1989 “Self-Portrait” is a wonderful manifestation of Hawthorne’s admonition to build a painting by placing one carefully observed “color spot” next to another. Featuring the artist wearing a big hat and a jacket with an upturned collar, the painting shows an intensity of sunlight illuminating just one half of his intelligent, rugged, self-assured face. The same casual mien is evident in the 2012 seated portrait “John Browne.” The subject, a Provincetown fisherman wearing a green jacket and cap, looks like he might have just happened by Del Deo’s studio (though he may well have been invited to sit). He’s painted with great dignity, with a powerful effect achieved through broad color planes and strong shadows. Del Deo’s portraits inevitably demonstrate his ability to be utterly true to life while offering penetrating insights concerning his subjects’ personalities and delighting us with his facility for handling paint.
One of the highlights of the museum’s exhibition is “The Shuckers,” a six-foot-wide painting done in homage to the Patricia Marie, a 50-foot fishing vessel that went down off Provincetown in 1976. Captain Billy King and all six members of his crew were lost. Del Deo began the painting in 1976, working on it off and on until its completion in 2001, the 25th anniversary of the sinking. His models were all local fishermen, including King’s son and grandson. Their faces reflect a profound sense of loss as they read a newspaper account of the disaster.
Born in Providence, R.I., in 1928, Del Deo received scholarships to attend Saturday and summer classes at Rhode Island School of Design while he was still in high school. He began his formal training at the Vesper George School of Art in Boston in 1945, enrolling in a three-year program. When Hensche gave a portrait painting demonstration at the school, Del Deo was impressed, so much so that he went to study at Hensche’s Cape School of Art in Provincetown the following summer. He also continued his training at the Art Students League of New York, where he studied with Edwin Dickinson and John McPherson.
Following military service, Del Deo spent a winter painting in the Southwest and Mexico. On his travels, he met – and received considerable encouragement from – prominent Mexican artist Diego Rivera. In fall 1953, he met and married the poet Josephine Breen. Then, in spring 1954, following an extensive tour of Italy and France, the newlyweds made their home in Provincetown, where they put down deep and abiding roots. Del Deo formed close friendships with such distinguished artists as Ross Moffett, Karl Knaths and Dickinson. Sal’s Place – the Italian restaurant he started in 1963 – is still in business (though in other hands).
In addition, Del Deo has repeatedly played a major leadership role in the town’s art community. He’s served on the boards of the Fine Arts Work Center and Provincetown Heritage Museum and was a founding member of both institutions. He chaired the Provincetown Art Commission from 1974 to 1983; was a member of the jury for the national design competition for the Provincetown Playhouse in 1978; and taught painting and drawing at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill from 1986 to 1993. He’s had an especially long involvement with Provincetown Art Association and Museum, serving in the capacities of trustee and vice president; conducting children’s art classes for six years, beginning in 1965; and teaching adult classes in the early 1990s.
Del Deo has had regular opportunities to exhibit his work, including New York City shows at the Roko Gallery, the Landmark Gallery, the 47 Bond Street Gallery and Helio Gallery (which gave him a comprehensive one-person show in 1990). Provincetown Art Association and Museum honored him with a 40-year retrospective in 1993. Since 1992, he’s been represented by Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown. Del Deo is also represented in the collections of a number of noteworthy institutions, including the Houghton Libraryat Harvard University; Smith College of Art in Northampton; Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown; and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Image: "The Shuckers"
Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes
Salley Mavor Nursery Rhymes as Fabric Art
November 9 – February 16, 2014
Gallery Talk: Saturday, January 4, 2 pm
A Woods Hole artist and owner of Wee Folk Studio and author of a dozen books, Mavor studied at the Rhode Island School of Design. Salley creates 3-dimensional mixed-media scenes or fabric relief collages. Salley’s “Fabric Relief” pictures are decorative embroideries, full of patterns from nature. She tells stories in miniature with figured and found objects, all sewed together by hand with a needle and thread. Salley has been developing this art form for the past thirty years and illustrating children’s books for twenty years. Her work is accessible to all ages, not just children.
The artwork for “Pocketful of Posies” was made from a variety of materials, all sewn together with different stitching techniques on naturally dyed wool felt. I used materials such as acorn caps, stones, driftwood and objects that I found outside. Other things I found inside, such as buttons, beads and wire. Everything was stitched together by hand, with an occasional drop of glue to hold down something that couldn’t be sewn. I made all of the parts, including people, animals, trees, and houses, separately and then sewed them to the wool felt backgrounds, to build a new scene for every illustration. Each piece was then photographed and printed onto the pages of the book. The collection was made over a three year period, but every individual illustration is dated 2010, the date of the book’s publication.
Salley Mavor learned to sew as a child and has been playing with a needle and thread ever since. Her artist mother believed that learning to make things by hand was an important life skill. At home, there were always art supplies close at hand and a sense that time was available for creative expression. Drawing with crayons was never enough for Salley. She remembers feeling that her work was not finished until something was glued, stapled, or sewn to it. At the Rhode Island School of Design, she rediscovered her childhood passion for sewing and was encouraged to communicate in her own unique way. “Pocketful of Posies” won the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award and the Society of Children’s Book Writers andIllustrator’s Golden Kite Award. Ms. Mavor lives with her family in a house full of treasures in her hometown of Falmouth, Massachusetts.
Robert Burkert: Paintings, Prints & Drawings
November 9, 2013 – January 19, 2014
Robert was born in Racine, Wisconsin, in 1930. He graduated from UW-Madison with senior honors and later went on to receive his Master’s degree. He taught at UW-Milwaukee, where he became professor and head of the Graphics department. Traveling extensively, these trips became inspirational ventures and let Robert to experimentation with new media, technique, and of executing monoprints by placing multiple images from different plates on a single piece of paper. This exhibition will show his extensive range of media. Screen prints, drawings and paintings, Robert demonstrates his ability of all media and expressing his interest in observing and capturing accurately the movement of water as a theme in some of his work.
Image: Nauset Inlet
Sol Hartman/Carol Hartman: Faces and Forms
September 28 - December 15
Reception: September 27, 5:30 - 7 pm
Sol and Carol Hartman are husband and wife artists who live in Boston and East Dennis. Carol has a Graduate Certificate in Publishing and Communications from Harvard Extension; Sol has a B.A. from Colby College and MBA from Columbia University.
Carol states: “Making sculpture, which started out as a distraction and respite from teaching, has evolved over time to become a full time vocation and passion. After first experimenting with other sculptural media-direct metal sculpture, was modeling, bronze casting, and fiber -- I was introduced to and captivated by the art of stone carving”.
Sol states: “I take photographs of people that I find interesting and whose faces are an expression of emotion. I then crop the faces to extenuate that emotion. Unlike a photograph where each part of the face has equal weight, my paintings emphasize those parts that I find most interesting. Light and color are part of my tool kit to solicit an emotional response. Light and shadow unite all the area. At times, my faces appear more of an abstraction than figurative when looked up close”.
Image: Boston Marathon Policeman by Sol Hartman
Celebrating Color: Signature Pastel Painters of Cape Cod
November 1 – December 15
Reception: November 1, 5:30 – 7pm
Demonstration: Sunday, Nov. 10, 2 pm by Michelle Poirier-Mozzone
Demonstration: Sunday, Dec 8, 2 pm by Betsy Payne Cook
Gallery Talk: Thursday, Nov 14, 2 pm by Michael Giaquinto, Exhibitions Curator
A juried exhibition by the Signature Pastel Painter of Cape Cod’s Art Committee. There will also be a “Curator’s Choice” award; selected from the exhibition.
The Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod is a nonprofit corporation sustained by membership contributions, gifts and grants. Founded by Cape Cod pastel artist Sarah Fielding-Gunn and a handful of other local pastelists in 1995, the Pastel Painters Society of Cape Cod's goal was to establish viable exhibition venues for the medium while fostering the public education and appreciation of pastels.
In just over a decade, PPSCC has grown to more than 200 members in 30 states and U.S. territories.
Their mission continues today: to create a community of pastel artists, to set standards of excellence through education and to encourage and nurture artists in their professional growth. Further, they strive to educate the public and gallery owners of the permanence, versatility and value of the medium and to offer opportunities for our members to participate in juried shows and exhibitions devoted to pastels, and hope to establish pastel as a separate category in art exhibitions.
Pastel artists of all levels are welcomed and encouraged to become members. All members are encouraged to participate fully whether attending demonstrations and workshops or volunteering to help in any capacity.
PPSCC is a member of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS).
Image: Susan Hollis , Evening Jewel #3
The Process of the Print: George Lockwood (1929-1969)
August 29 - November 3
Reception: Sunday, September 8, 2 - 4 pm
The recent emergence of George Lockwood’s work is valued not only for the aesthetics and technical skill exhibited in his prints but for the documentary insight of a master printer his writings provide. During his short life, Lockwood made a lasting impression as an innovative printmaker, illustrator, and education. The impressive relief blocks exemplify his skilled hand while his teaching folders notated a unique process.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, and educated a Cooper Union and Yale, he assisted Josef Albers as a student and was influenced by Albers’ genius for teaching. Lockwood taught at Smith and Amherst Colleges, Massachusetts College of Art, and Rhode Island School of Design. During his last decade, he opened “Impressions Workshop” on Stanhope Street in Boston, collaborating with contemporary poets and printmakers, Ferlinghetti, Calvin Burnett, and Barbara Swan, to name a few. Michael Mazur, a friend from Northampton and Leonard Baskin’s circle and whom Lockwood assisted, commented after producing a portfolio of lithographs at his studio:
“George spent endless amounts of time producing a print, he was superb, an enormously inventive printmaker doing things no one else could do…To every project he brought some small stupendous thinking.”
This exhibition highlights the stages involved in developing a hand-pulled print from concept to completion. On display, through the generous loan of his wife, Margaret N. Lockwood, are the original wood blocks; painted sketches; printed proofs; relief, etching and lithographic prints and various matrixes.
- Guest Curator: Cecilia Rossey
Image: Untitled wood engraving
Peter Coes: Peter Coes’ Studio
September 14 - November 3, 2013
Reception: September 27, 5:30 - 7 pm
Almost every day in his studio/gallery on Route 6A in Cummaquid, artist Peter Coes succeeds in making the ordinary extraordinary in his paintings and sculptures of Cape Cod architecture, girls on the cusp of womanhood, cats, boats and ocean waves. Peter Coes is a Copley Society of Boston Master Artist. With the opening of “Peter Coes’ Studio” on Sept. 12, the same magic will come to the intimate Polhemus Savery DaSilva Gallery at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. This one-person show – this year’s Arthur J. McMurtry Memorial Exhibition – will continue through Nov. 3.
Image: She Wandered Through Her Memories
John Dowd: From Every Angle
September 28 - October 27
Reception: September 27, 5:30 - 7 pm
Since he has a degree in architecture, perhaps it’s not surprising that Provincetown artist John Dowd is best-known for landscapes featuring structural elements. But the depth of moods he achieves is something quite exceptional. This is very evident in “From Every Angle: The Paintings of John Dowd,” a major exhibition of his work running from Sept. 26 through Oct. 27 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. Guest curator Stephen Borkowski, Chair of the Provincetown Art Commission, has selected some two dozen paintings representative of Dowd’s production over the years. In general, the show will divide into four themes – landscapes, nocturnes, industrial scenes and tonalist works. Strong diagonals, a keen sense of time of day and atmosphere, and a Hopperesque sense of isolation are the common denominators in his work. Dowd virtually never includes people in his scenes.
Image: House on a Bluff
The Influence of Color: Abstract Paintings by Edward Skoler
August 29 - September 22
Reception: Sunday, September 8, 2 - 4 pm
After studying chemistry in college, Edward Skoler became a manufacturer specializing in poster paints and sign enamels. Wanting to learn more about the creative properties of these art materials, he enrolled in a painting class, discovering he had a natural affinity for color and form. So, following his long business career, Ed rekindled his earlier interest in painting by attending workshops and classes at various Cape art organizations. He was especially influenced by abstract expressionist Sam Feinstein, with whom he studied in Dennis for 15 years. Skoler, now in his eighties, continues painting in his studio at the Old Schoolhouse in Barnstable Village. “It is always color that leads me through the creative process,” he says.
Image: Head of the Sea Caves
Stillness of Remembering: Paintings by Sarah Hinckley
July 17 - September 8
“Stillness of Remembering: Paintings by Sarah Hinckley,” is an exhibition of 17 abstract oil paintings inspired by the beauty of the Cape.
Sarah Hinckley is a 13th generation Cape Codder who grew up experiencing the land, sea and sky of the Cape – all of it awash in the region’s rarefied light. Although she now lives in New York, elements of the beaches and landscapes of her childhood find their way onto her minimalist canvases. Most of her works are broken into three or four horizontal bands, each muted and essentially monochromatic in nature. One band might suggest waves breaking on the sand, another band a puffy cumulus cloud. The mood is peaceful, even meditative.
It’s also relevant that Hinckley listens to music while she works and often titles her pieces after phrases from rock and pop tunes by the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Melissa Etheridge and Jimi Hendrix.
She received her BFA at Tufts University, completed her diploma at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and received her MFA at Columbia University. Her work has appeared in solo, two-person and group exhibitions at DM Contemporary, Tria Gallery and Sears Peyton Gallery in New York; Two Graces Gallery in Taos, N.M.; Emily Amy Gallery in Atlanta; and Jancar Gallery in Los Angeles. Hinckley is represented in numerous corporate and private collections, including the Bellagio in Las Vegas; Charles Schwab in New York; and Gallery Koyanagi in Tokyo, Japan.
Standing Tall: Lighthouses in Cape and Islands Art
July 25 - September 8
Reception: Friday, July 26. 5:30 - 7 pm
With more than 30 lighthouses rimming Cape Cod. Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard like sentinels, it's small wonder they've made appearances in many artworks. Some would say far too many - and the phrase "paintings of lighthouses" is sometimes used to dismiss cliched paintings of Cape Cod in general.
But the time has come to reconsider these fascinating structures as a valid artistic motif - to recognize that, like any other subject, a lighthouse can carry authority and genuine emotional impact in the hands of the right artist. That's the mission - in part - of this exhibition. The show will also give a sense of the importance of lighthouses from a historical point of view.
Guest curated by Cindy Nickerson, recent Interim Executive Director at the museum, the show will feature 40 works by artists of the past and, especially, the present. Seven works come directly from the museum's own collection, which - in and of itself - says something about the popularity of the lighthouse motif in these parts. One of the them is a toungue-in-cheek aquatint etching by Red Grooms. This cartoonish scene imagines Grooms watching Edward Hopper painting a lighthouse on sit. Clearly, Grooms was poking fun at how Hopper's masterful lighthouse paintings sparked proliferation of more routine images. Yet, his title, "To the Lighthouse" (think "Ode to the West Wind" or "Ode to a Nightingale"), isn't without respect.
Before Hopper, most artists weren't all that interested in what they viewed as utilitarian structures. Calvin Hammond, a 19th-century house painter with a fair degree of artistic talent, and early 20th-century illustrator Harold Brett both painted straightforward interpretations of the Twin Lighthouses in Chatham - though the former gave us a close-up and the latter's perspective is from the beach below the cliff.
While some contemporary artists approach the subject with trepidation, others freely admit to being fascinated by lighthouses and paint them without apology – though the best try to find some fresh treatment that ensures their originality. A painting of Stage Harbor Light by Jim Holland gives a broad view of the scene under a big sky, helping to convey the structure’s isolation in the landscape. When Martha’s Vineyard artist Jeanne Staples decided to paint Nobska Light in Woods Hole, she chose a canvas 50 inches wide. “It requires that level of size to begin to give a sense of its presence and persona,” she says.
“Everyone loves lighthouses, and I do too,” says Cummaquid artist Peter Coes. “I was a boatman for a long time, and lighthouses have a very comforting feel to them when you’re coming into the harbor at night.” His painting “Back from the Edge” is about 20 percent history to 80 percent fantasy. In 1996, when Truro’s Highland Light was only a hundred feet away from the edge of an eroded cliff, it was moved about 450 feet “back from the edge” on rollers. Coes, who watched much of the process, relocated the scene to a tabletop, as if the lighthouse were a toy.
Centerville artist Sam Barber says his sun-drenched canvas “Nantucket Treasure” is his favorite painting – perhaps indicating somewhat equal appreciation for Brant Point Light and the three bathing beauties standing in front of it. A William R. Davis painting of the same lighthouse shows a solitary figure rowing past Brant Point in the stillness of early morning. A timeless piece, painted in the Harwich artist’s typical luminist style, it could be set in the 19th century just as well as today.
Amy Sanders’ love affair with Truro’s Highland Light goes back to her childhood. “When I was young, I used to lie in bed and watch the flash of light pass across my ceiling,” she says, “and now my father is president of the Highland Lighthouse Association.” One morning when they went there a glorious sunrise greeted them. Sanders’s pastel “Highland Light Sunrise” captures the streaming rays of light in a way no photograph could.
Being such an iconic part of Cape and Island coastal scenes, the lighthouse has also been effectively abstracted by a number of the region’s artist, such as Provincetown’s Paul Resika. In his “Tower, Moon and Buoy,” the simplest cylindrical form conveys the lighthouse with almost mystical power. In Joan Cobb Marsh’s “Sky and Lighthouse,” a tumultuous sky fills almost the entire picture plane, while the lighthouse exists as only a small upright form on the distant horizon. Even so, it exerts an undeniable presence.
Other artists represented in “Standing Tall” include Vernon Coleman, a Barnstable art teacher in the 1940s and ’50s; primitive painter Ralph Cahoon, renowned for his mermaids; and such contemporary talents as Karol B. Wyckoff, David Kooharian, Thomas A. D. Watson, Barbara Wylan and folk artist Janet Munro.
Image: Brandt Point Light by Kimberly duCharme
The Art of Anthony Quinn
June 13 - August 25
Opening Reception: Friday, June 14, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Although he appeared in more than 70 films over the course of his long career, Mexican-American actor Anthony Quinn (1915-2001) is linked most indelibly with the exuberant title character in 1964’s “Zorba the Greek.” But the two Academy Awards he won were for his supporting parts in “Viva Zapata!” (1952) and “Lust for Life” (1956). In the latter he played Paul Gauguin, the passionate, audacious French post-Impressionist.
That role was a natural for Quinn (who claimed Gauguin’s ghost spoke to him during the filming), for he himself was an accomplished artist who boldly expressed his own zest for life in his prolific creation of sculptures and paintings. He responded most fervently to early twentieth-century modernism, particularly Picasso’s paintings of the 1920s and ’30s, sculptor Henry Moore’s reclining figures and the flowing lines of Henri Matisse. He was also a collector, perpetually seeking out works by major artists; native art of faraway lands; decorative eggs; African masks; and books. As an artist he was something of a chameleon, absorbing virtually everything, yet expressing it with a vitality all his own.
He studied briefly with Frank Lloyd Wright, but was mostly self-taught. He assimilated the visual vocabulary of modernism from books; at museums in New York, Mexico City, Paris and London; and – whenever he was filming on location – at contemporary galleries all over the world. His lengthy stays in Africa and the Middle East and his Mexican ancestry also influenced his work. Such was his curiosity that he frequently made several versions of the same sculpture in different materials – marble, onyx, travertine, bronze and steel, among others – just to see the varying effects. He carved many bas-relief abstractions from wood, painting them for a playful look.
A number of Quinn’s pieces reveal some preoccupation with the female form. “Aphrodite,” a graceful reclining nude sculpture, channels Henry Moore. “Queen of Hearts,” a painted wood assemblage, seems a tongue-in-cheek nod to synthetic cubism and playing cards. The expressionistic painting “Soldadera” pays tribute to the women soldiers who fought alongside men in the Mexican Revolution.
Over time, Quinn also enjoyed recording the changes in his own compelling face. A 1984 oil self-portrait projects his legendary intensity. Quinn titled it “Zorba” – so closely did he identify with his most famous screen persona.
Exhibitions Curator Michael Giaquinto had the enviable task of selecting some 40 works for this show from the vast collection at the artist’s Bristol, R.I., estate, where Quinn spent the last seven years of his life – and where Katherine Quinn, his wife and studio assistant, still lives. We’re very grateful to Mrs. Quinn and the Anthony Quinn Foundation for their generosity in making this exhibition possible.
Image: "Zorba-Self Portrait"
Works from the Vortex: Glass Sculpture by Fritz Lauenstein
May 25-July 14
Reception: Sunday, June 2, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Gallery Talk: Thursday, June 6, 2 pm
Glassblower Fritz Lauenstein owns and operates Fritz Glass on Upper Country Road in Dennisport. There he makes and sells platters, bowls, vases, paperweights, marbles and other functional objects using brilliant, often swirling colors. When time allows, however, he relishes using glass – sometimes in combination with other materials – to fashion one-of-a-kind sculptures that are more personal in nature.
Lauenstein began learning the fundamentals of glass blowing as a student at Gould Academy in Bethel, Maine. He continued his studies at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., and Massachusetts College of Art in Boston. After moving to the Cape in 1984, he spent several years working at various fishing jobs and as an assistant at Chatham Glass. He and his wife, June Raymond, opened Fritz Glass in 1991. In addition to Lauenstein’s glassblowing studio they run a retail shop and also wholesale their products to more than 120 galleries and gift shops across the country, including the Art Institute of Chicago, which has featured Lauenstein’s “rainbow heart pendant” in its catalog the last five years. Lauenstein enjoys his work, but doesn’t view his decorative piece as outlets for creative expression. “This has allowed me to stay on the Cape and make a living,” he says matter-of-factly.
For him there’s no mental connection between the production work he makes for Fritz Glass and his conceptual sculptures, which relate to things he thinks a lot about in his daily life. “I go through my life and have experiences in my life … and objects come into my head,” he says. A piece titled “Twenty Years of No” comprises three sealed shadow boxes containing shelves displaying nonfunctional crack pipes. (This relates to Lauenstein receiving requests he can’t or won’t fill. Some people have even assumed he can make scientific laboratory equipment or fix broken windows.) “Nothing Special” features a piece of taxidermy – a coyote – surrounded by glass hoops. While the conceptual pieces are evocative – suggestive of stories – Lauenstein refrains from elaborating, hoping viewers will arrive at their own conclusions.
Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence,Transcendence, in Contemporary Encaustic
May 18 - June 23
Artists Reception: Sunday, June 2, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Discussion featuring five exhibiting artists: Wednesday, May 29, 2 pm. Artists: Joanne Mattera, Cherie Mittenthal, Mitisa Galazzi, Laura Moriarity, Jane Allen Modine
Gallery Talk by Curator Michael Giaquinto: Wednesday, June 19
This exhibition is being held in conjunction with the annual International Encaustic Conference, co-produced by founder/director Joanne Mattera and Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill and its director, Cherie Mittenthal, and held in Provincetown May 31 - June 2. The show will feature works in encaustic by 31 artists from around the country.
The amazing luminosity possible in encaustic painting is the unifying theme of the exhibition “Swept Away: Translucence, Transparence, Transcendence in Contemporary Encaustic" on view from May 16 through June 23 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. Juried by Exhibitions Curator Michael Giaquinto, the show will feature approximately 50 paintings, sculptures and prints by 31 of the foremost artists working in encaustic from around the country. Encaustic painting – the use of finely ground pigments suspended in heated beeswax – dates back to ancient times, notably to the Fayum mummy portraits created during the Coptic period in Egypt (100-300 AD). It fell into disuse as less technically demanding paints – such as tempera, oil and acrylics – were invented. However, a revival of interest in the medium began when American artist Jasper Johns adopted it for use in his iconic paintings of flags, targets and maps in the mid-twentieth century. The popularity of encaustic has grown tremendously over the past two decades, with artists attracted to the medium’s texture; malleability; quick drying time; brilliant, durable colors; and even its aroma. Its adhesive qualities make it an excellent collage medium. It can also be carved, sculpted and molded. But probably its most compelling quality is the luminous effect of light penetrating the translucent layers of wax, illuminating the artwork as if from within.
“Swept Away” is one of only a small number of museum exhibitions anywhere that has focused specifically on encaustics, according to Mattera, the author of “The Art of Encaustic Painting” (Watson-Guptill Publications, 2001). As far as she’s been able to determine, it’s likely the very first devoted to any noteworthy aspect of the medium – the selected theme being its “extravagant quality of light,” in her words. Illuminated primarily by a large skylight, the museum’s conjoined Bank of America and Robert Douglas Hunter galleries promise to make a most favorable setting for this exhibition.
While encaustic can be used to paint representationally, artists are more apt to turn to it for less conventional effects. With “Pansy Riot,” Chicago artist Lynn Basa used a heat gun to form blossom-like bursts of sapphire and amethyst, which appear to float upward and forward, as if winning their liberation from conformity. Sara Mast of Montana has turned to encaustic in hopes of discovering “a visual language and image-worthy mapping process that explores humanity’s connection to the cosmos.” There’s a striking similarity between her “Signal Cell” and “Between Stars,” though the former loosely suggests molecular diagrams and the latter, constellations. The subtle markings on Santa Fe artist Paula Roland’s golden-toned monotypes “Palm” and “Field” seem to evoke dappled memories of fronds and grain. Here there’s no mistaking the potential glow of encaustics, because the semi-translucent pieces are lit from behind with fluorescent illumination.
Karen Freedman of Philadelphia uses complex geometric elements to create symmetrical patterns resembling views through a kaleidoscope. By interspersing segments of opaque and translucent encaustic paint throughout her composition, she intensifies the impression of holding a kaleidoscope up towards the light. Her “Ruche 0352.55” visually pops with color. There are elements of kaleidoscope patterns in “Peltae” by Anne Cavanaugh as well – though, in overall impression, the piece more closely resembles a quilt (perhaps a quilt viewed through a sheet of ice).Cavanaugh, who has a studio in Orange, Mass., uses actual plant materials (in this case dried gingko leaves, inkberry leaves and berries, pine needles, and flower petals) to create patterns reminiscent of botanical motifs in textiles, wallpaper and tiles.
A number of other works also demonstrate the wealth of effects that may be achieved by sealing collage elements under – or even embedding them between – layers of wax. With works like “Eugene,” New Jersey artist Marybeth Rothman works with digitally altered “orphaned photo booth photographs” of strangers, using layers of encaustic paint to create visual depth and inventing biographies for these “lost and forgotten souls,” as she deems them. “Rouge” is from Nancy Natale’s recent “Running Stitch Series.” The Massachusetts artist cuts up old books, records, metal and her own gestural drawings, fastening these bits and pieces to a panel with rows and rows of tacks (in semblance of a “running stitch”). An encaustic overlay unifies her target-like composition of concentric circle and adds a somewhat sculptural dimension.
Encaustic’s sculptural possibilities emerge more fully in the wall construction “Pulse (4)” by San Francisco artist Howard Hersh. There, sunny chunks of encaustic on panel resemble a distorted plus sign. “Waggle Dance,” a lacy pattern of freestyle loops, is a playful installation of thread, paper and wax by Milisa Galazzi, a Providence, R.I., artist who summers on Cape Cod.
Meanwhile, “Color Up,” an installation of 16 monoprints by Palm Springs artist David A. Clark, highlights the potential for achieving fascinating effects with wax in printmaking. Each print features a different treatment of Clark’s pet motif – an upward pointing arrow. And that’s just the direction encaustic is likely to go from here.
Images: top: Nancy Natale, "Rouge"; bottom: Marybeth Rothman, "Eugene"
Adventures Into Color and Space: Mixed Media Works by Deborah Forman
March 21-May 19
Reception: April 5, 5:30 - 7 pm
Gallery Talk: Thursday, May 2, 2 pm
While Deborah Forman’s reputation rests primarily on her achievements as a journalist and author, she is also a talented artist. Forman’s collages and mixed-media works are vibrant explorations of color and form. The artist says she is “struck deeply by the passion of reds, the calming sensations of shades of blue, the buoyancy of yellows.” Adding found objects – scraps from printed media, theater tickets, labels, old maps, textured papers and anything else that strikes her fancy – gives her work a diversity of moods and, often, enigmatic meanings.
While studying at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Museum School of Art during her first few years of marriage, Forman took numerous life classes and became totally absorbed by the body’s lines and shapes, which led to her interest in abstraction. From reading art history books and looking at works in museums and galleries, she found influences in the works of Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella and Kurt Schwitters as well as Matisse, Picasso and Braque. In the 1970s, the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition “The Cubist Epoch” sparked her desire to create mixed media work, which is where she has found the freedom to be most expressive, even venturing into representational images.
“I am always interested in keeping my compositions alive, as Hans Hofmann taught, with a rhythmic play of form and color, which activates the work and incites new ideas and sensations,” she says.
Forman, who holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University in Philadelphia, is well-known on Cape Cod from her years as features editor for the Cape Cod Times and editor in chief of Cape Cod VIEW magazine. She wrote the script, did the interviews and worked on the filming for “Art in Its Soul,” a documentary on the history of the Provincetown art colony (co-produced by the Cape Cod Museum of Art and WGBH Channel 2 in Boston). Her book “Perspectives on the Provincetown Art Colony” was published by Schiffer Publishing in 2011. She is presently working on a series of books on Cape Cod artists, with “Contemporary Cape Cod Artists: Images of Land and Sea” due to be published this spring.
Throughout her career Forman has interviewed a great many painters, sculptors and photographers – encounters she credits with enriching her work as an artist.
She has shown in galleries on the Cape and in New York and Philadelphia and was represented in a group show at the Sakai City Museum in Osaka, Japan, in 1998. She is presently exhibiting at Harvest Gallery in Dennis.
Image: War and Peace
Paintings by Lance Walker
March 21-May 19
Reception: March 22, 5:30 - 7 pm
Lance Walker painting demonstration: 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday, May 5
Although primarily self-taught, Cape artist Lance Walker paints landscapes, marine scenes and other subjects with a polished realism that is truly impressive. “Paintings by Lance Walker” will feature more than 30 pieces – many of them the landscapes and marine scenes for which the artist is best known. Walker often meets with small groups of artists to paint the scenery of Cape Cod and other parts of New England. In January 2012, he traveled to Arizona to paint Tucson, Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Most recently he took an expedition to the Hudson River to paint scenes associated with 19th-century artists of the Hudson River School.
Walker started painting in the late 1980s after years of developing his drawing skills and working in architectural and technical drafting, which helped develop his eye for detail. He began to seriously pursue a career as an artist after moving to Cape Cod in 2000. Today he is a member of the American Society of Marine Artists; has his own gallery, Lance Walker Fine Art in Dennis; has participated in group shows at the Cape Cod Museum of Art and the Cahoon Museum of American Art; and has snared his share of interesting commissions. He produced a commemorative painting for the 2008 Figawi race. In 2010, the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s father-in-law, Judge Edmund Reggie, hired him paint a portrait of the senator’s boat, the Mya, as a gift for the senator and Vicki Reggie Kennedy. In late 2011, Walker won a commission to paint a mural for the new Osterville Village Library.
Priceless: Works That Artists Wouldn't Sell
March 28 - May 12
Reception: April 5, 5:30 - 7 pm
Gallery Talk by Cindy Nickerson: Thursday, April 11, 2 pm
The “starving” artist is a picturesque stereotype, but most artists would just as soon make money by selling their work – and lots of it. So, the question arises: Why do many artists keep a piece or two (or more) of quite saleable art for themselves? “Priceless: Works That Artists Wouldn’t Sell" is a group exhibition shedding light on that question.
Forty Cape artists are participating in the exhibition, with each of them having written something explaining why they consider the piece they’re showing “priceless.”
Some of the works are, indeed, among the artists’ best – pieces that probably make them say – along with Katherine Ann Hartley: “Wow! Did I paint that?” Hartley, who recently relocated from Orleans to New Mexico, is showing “Plums with Winter Berries,” a horizontal still life arrangement with crockery, plums, grapes and foliage, all painted with a high degree of verisimilitude. Her use of browns, burgundies and greens creates a striking color harmony.
However, a number of the works date from early in the artists’ careers – or even their student days – before they were really selling much of anything. Often these pieces have a place in the artists’ hearts and homes because they represent a breakthrough in proficiency. Harwich Port sculptor Heather Blume has kept “At the Market” since graduate school. Adapted from a painting by Renaissance artist Andrea Del Sarto, it was her first serious attempt at creating a multi-figure bas relief with perspective. Every spring she still hangs it outside by the front entrance to her studio.
Some artworks are precious to their creators because the subject is a beloved person, place, thing or special memory. Anne Boucher of Cotuit never had any intention of selling “Erin and Bird,” where a small brown bird perches at the base of her daughter’s throat like some soft, feathery brooch. Her beautifully rendered watercolor recalls the time when the artist and her daughter successfully nurtured a newly hatched bird – deposited at the back door by their cat – until it was ready to fend for itself.
Similarly, over a two-year period, Aleta Steward of Brewster painted “Jungle Dream” in her spare time, strictly for herself. Incorporating jewellike colors and a liberal use of gold and silver leaf, this splendid painting of a peacock was inspired by her love for the art deco style, her interest in the works of Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, a perfume ad and the blooms of her own passionflower.
William Muller, a Cotuit artist specializing in historical maritime subjects, has held onto his painting of the Hudson River steamboat Alexander Hamilton because, at age 19, he served as quartermaster-pilot on the classic sidewheeler. Also, in 1971, he watched its final, highly publicized trip. His canvas “The Last Landing” was originally destined for a New York gallery show. But “I realized, at the last moment, that this painting really belonged on our own home wall,” Muller says.
In the case of other works, the artists would have been pleased enough to sell them – once upon a time. But somehow the pieces didn’t sell – as fine as they were – and ended up on the artists’ walls, eventually becoming an integral part of their homes. At Jo Ann Ritter’s house in Brewster, “First Snow,” a scene of a brook zigzagging across a glistening field of snow, is the first thing visitors see when they enter the foyer. It reminds Ritter of many pleasant stays at her daughter’s former ranch in Colorado – and often makes guests eager to see more of her work.
Hillary Osborn of Falmouth is also showing a snow painting – “Snow on the Pamet River.” “I hardly ever hold onto a painting I have done,” she says. “The joy is in sharing your work with the world.” In this case, though, the work recalls a chilly, windy day some 10 years ago when she sat in her warm car painting in Truro. The movement of the clouds created abrupt shifts in light and dark across the white landscape, and she struggled with how to capture the ever-changing scene. “This is a painting I haven’t been able to let go of,” she say, “perhaps because it reminds me of why I paint.”
Frank Chike Anigbo: Skid Row: Paintings of Life on the Streets
February 7 - April 7, 2013
Reception: Friday, February 15, 5:30 - 7 pm
Gallery Talk: Thursday, February 14, 2 pm
Frank Chike Anigbo chooses to paint – and paint beautifully – people mostly forgotten and ignored by the rest of society, people whose circumstances hold little beauty at all.
Currently a resident of Barnstable village, Anigbo was born in Nigeria, the fourth of six children of refugees from Biafra. He began to draw as soon as he could hold a pencil, but didn’t discover painting until he came to America to study computer science at age 17. He found the illustrations in a book on Impressionist painting “magical.” At night, after attending classes and working a job, he taught himself to paint by looking at books about such artists as Monet, Degas, Pissarro and van Gogh. “Painting was me, nothing else would do,” he says. Still, he began to feel that spending his life painting pretty landscapes and floral arrangements would be rather pointless.
A trip to Spain in 1999 transformed Anigbo’s artistic vision. Upon seeing paintings by Velázquez at the Prado in Madrid, he was awed by the depth of expression in the faces. Velázquez, Goya and Rembrandt became his new heroes. He also pondered an indelible memory from the time when he’d been a boarding school student in Nigeria: A homeless man had died after living in a concrete gatehouse for two weeks, and it was four days before someone finally removed his gaunt body. When Anigbo returned to America, he destroyed all of his unsold impressionistic canvases. “I began teaching myself how to paint abandonment, loneliness – images and emotions that have haunted me all my life,” he says.
Most of the paintings in the museum’s exhibition represent individuals the artist met while spending time in Skid Row, a small section of downtown Los Angeles with one of the country’s largest stable populations of homeless persons. Stories accompany many of the canvases, sensitively written by Anigbo with respect for his subjects’ humanity, but also full of perceptive, unflinchingly truthful details about their lives. Viewers will meet James, the young Jamaican who came to America because he wanted to own a car; Stephanie, the heroin addict yearning to see her children in Chicago; and “Shaky,” the man who shook every morning until he got his first drink. They’ll also encounter the “home” of Sherri, who took pride in sweeping her portion of the sidewalk every day.
“My work explores the value of life, especially the life of isolated individuals on the margins of society – often the chronically homeless and mentally ill, people whose social contribution and impact is negligible by our accepted definitions of value,” Anigbo writes in his artist’s statement. “With writing and paintings that speak of the universal parallels of life, I aim to challenge the way we perceive worth and allocate value – at the same time staying true to the conditions of the subjects whose lives I document.”
Patrick Blackwell and Friends: 12 Years of Drawing Together
Jan 19 - March 17, 2013
Reception: Friday, February 15, 5:30 - 7 pm
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2-3 pm: Barbara Adams and Leonard Sussman
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2-3 pm: Patrick Blackwell, Richard Perry and Phil Airoldi
Thursday, Feb 21, 2-3 pm: Ken Fishman and Richard Perry/Patrick Blackwell
The human figure is one of the most enduring themes in art – and one of the most difficult to master. Approaching the study of the figure as a lifelong endeavor, one group of Cape artists have met together for years to draw from life.
The drawing group grew out of open figure drawing sessions held at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum: One artist there asked a few others to join him for life drawing sessions at the studio he was renting in Wellfleet. Many friendships developed from this small, intimate group. After Patrick Blackwell built a new home in Eastham that included a large studio, he invited his artist friends to join him there to continue their pursuit of figure drawing on a weekly basis. Each of them contributes toward the cost of hiring models, and they also have an anonymous patron who helps fund the sessions.
For many years the group met on Tuesday afternoons, but recently changed to Mondays to accommodate the schedules of more artists and models. During each three-hour session, the model strikes a variety of poses, beginning with about five that last two minutes each. This allows the artists to loosen up with gesture drawings. The additional time is used for fifteen-, thirty- or sixty-minute poses. “The models are very important to our work and are exceptional collaborators in this challenging and mysterious art,” Blackwell says.
The group is always changing, with artists coming and going. About five artists show up each week on the average, but there have been as many as 14. Sometimes they are joined by a few art students from Nauset Regional High School. This exhibition represents nine artists who have been attending the sessions for a long time and are currently regular participants. In addition to Blackwell, they are: Barbara Bemis Adams, Phil Airoldi, Kenneth Fishman, Robert Oberding, Richard O. Perry, Andrea Petitto, Len Sussman and Richard Swanson.
Petitto joined the group after moving to Harwich. “Having newly moved to the area in 2008, I was happy to find Pat Blackwell’s group of artists who meet weekly to draw the human figure from life,” she says. “It is not only an essential part of an artist’s practice, but an important opportunity to engage with others in the art community and share the experience of creating.”
All of the more than 50 drawings in “Patrick Blackwell and Friends” were executed from life in the studio at Blackwell’s home. Generally working in such typical drawing mediums as pencil, charcoal, pen and ink, and Conté crayon, the artists have rendered the female nude in an endless variety of poses. This alone suggests why the figure so enthralls artists: Even the same model can create endless poses in standing, seated and reclining positions – and there are endless body types.
Each artist has his or her own approach. Using a clean, crisp line, Blackwell emphasizes the models’ sinuous contours, from lithe limbs to flowing hair. In one drawing, he also suggests the tattoos decorating the young woman’s arms. At the other end of the stylistic spectrum, Oberding creates a strong sense of volume in his figures through the use of confident shading. Swanson’s pen and ink drawings – enlivened with color – have a kind of quirky humor about them.
In all of these drawings – much more so than in a finished painting – we see the artists in the process of confronting such challenges as working out proportions or conquering some tricky foreshortening. Some of Fishman’s drawings feature multiple linear images, as if he made several attempts to capture the essence of the same pose. There’s a vitality here that more than compensates for the occasional awkwardness. We sense the immediacy of the interaction between the artist, medium and model, all accomplished within fairly brief time constraints.
Image: Jen by Patrick Blackwell
Edward Smith: Avian Dreams
January 10 - March 10, 2013
Reception: Friday, February 15, 5:30 - 7 pm
Gallery Talk by Michael Giaquinto: Wednesday, February 20, 2 pm
Birds of a feather stick together, as everybody knows. But swans, herons, kingfishers, spoonbills, egrets and other Louisiana shorebirds twine together in the most astonishing manner in “Avian Dreams: Paintings by Ed Smith.”
Although born in Naples, Italy, Ed Smith grew up in Yarmouth on Cape Cod. He took a workshop with Provincetown impressionist Henry Hensche while still a student at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School and has also studied with Wellfleet artists Robert Henry and John Grillo. After receiving a BFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MFA from Brooklyn College (City University of New York), Smith taught at Queens College (CUNY) for 12 years. Then, in 1999, he relocated to Baton Rouge to take a position as an associate professor of painting at Louisiana State University.
There in his adopted state he discovered an exotic new world as he explored Louisiana swamps in his kayak. He became enthralled with the lush landscape, inspired by the work of 19th-century ornithologist and artist John James Audubon (who spent time there as well), and keenly aware of the impact industry is having on the region’s abundant bird population. He studied field guides. He studied bird specimens in the ornithology department at LSU. He visited the Audubon State Historic Site in nearby St. Francisville, where Audubon had painted 32 illustrations for his ambitious “Birds of America” project.
Despite Smith’s concern with naturalism, his vision also owes an artistic debt to surrealism and magic realism. His imposingly sized canvases suggest an apocalyptic world, conjuring up such environmental evils as shrinking habitats, oil spills, acid rain and global warming. They’re not without a disquieting beauty. His tangled conglomerations of birds dazzle with detail and have a scintillating sense of decorative design even while presenting darkly humorous avian predicaments. In “Weight of the World,” for instance, an ibis struggles – like some feathered Atlas – under the burden of an enormous ovoid of intertwined birds, piled up against a sky seemingly aglow with smoke and fire.
“I paint large-scale oil paintings and use irony and metaphor in my depiction of birds and wildlife to address my political concerns, and also address the inherent difficulties that occur at the boundaries of the wild and developed world,” Smith has said. “My hope for my paintings is that they are visually appealing, intellectually stimulating and tell a good story.”
Smith is represented by Soren Christensen Gallery in New Orleans and has had several one-person shows there. He has also had solo shows at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and Appleton Museum of Art at the College of Central Florida in Ocala, Fla., among other venues. “Avian Dreams” is his first exhibition on Cape Cod.
Image: "Heavy Load"
See more of Smith's work at www.sorengallery.com
Three distinctive visions of the unfathomable
December 1 – February 3, 2013
Gallery Talk: Wednesday, Dec 12, 2 pm with the 3 artists and Michael Giaquinto, curator
Artists Reception: Friday, Dec 14, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
“We do not associate the ideas of antiquity with the ocean, nor wonder how it looked a thousand years ago, as we do of the land, for it was equally wild and unfathomable always.”
- Henry David Thoreau, Cape Cod
Benton Jones, Kiln-formed glass artist
Kathleen Sidwell, Print Maker
Thomas A.D. Watson, Painter
In Greek mythology, the god Oceanus personified the outer sea encircling the world. “Ocean:Us,” presents three distinct visions of the sea – still mythic in its fearsome power, unfathomable depths and wild beauty. The exhibition showcases the talents of three award-winning contemporary Cape artists who’ve been inspired by the ocean: glass sculptor Benton Jones, printmaker Kathleen Sidwell and oil painter Thomas A.D. Watson. While the artists embrace different mediums, they share a passion for the sea that blends scientific curiosity with a sense of wonder.
Of the three, Truro artist Thomas Watson takes the most straightforward look at the ocean. The son of noted illustrator Aldren Watson and grandson of Ernest Watson (co-founder of Watson-Guptill Publications, the leading publisher of how-to art books), he is known for his representational landscapes of Cape Cod and the Adirondacks. With his ocean paintings, he explores the boundaries between myth and science in works ranging from near miniature watercolors to oversized canvases. Some of his paintings – like the 8-foot wide “Oceanus” – give an expansive view of water and sky that pays tribute to the vastness of the sea itself. Often, however, Watson peers beneath the surface to depict real and fictional denizens of the dim blue depths. His painting “Architeuthis” pictures a giant squid, a creature so elusive it was never photographed alive until 2004 – so that it is, in a sense, almost as mythical as real.
Brewster artist Kathleen Sidwell’s inventive monotypes and mixed media paintings have been informed by a fascination with tides, currents and coastal erosion; her first-hand experience with Hurricane Katrina; and a love for tales concerning the sea. She takes her expressive cues from the ocean’s colors, textures, fluidity and motion. Rather than depicting the sea representationally, her works evoke the visceral experience of being near the water or shore. But Sidwell also expresses environmental concerns in her work. In particular, she is alarmed by the ill effects that trash from modern life is having upon sea life. Her mixed media piece “An Island the Size of Texas” references the floating plastic debris field at the center of the North Pacific Gyre, roughly the size of Texas.
Benton Jones, also of Brewster, often uses his art to comment on environmental issues. A number of the kiln-formed pieces he’s showing – including a four-foot fountain – are made from flotation spheres of clear glass used in climate-change research by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, sometimes for 30 years or more, before being decommissioned. WHOI donated a number of them to Jones; each is 17 inches in diameter and weighs 40 pounds. Jones divides the buoys in half, then slowly heats each hemisphere until fluid, allowing it to drape over, slump through or sag into a stainless-steel or ceramic mold. He carefully monitors its developing shape, aiming to halt the progression at just the right stage for maximum artistic impact. He equates the process to the melting of the polar icecaps, and the flowing vessels do resemble ice that’s melted and refrozen. “Melting Hemispheres” he calls them.
Jones has also fashioned glass sculptures from remnants of the blue glass walls of the old Provincetown Aquarium. With other works, he has achieved glittering results by encapsulating pieces (often strips) of bronze and/or copper sheeting between layers of glass. In conjunction with the exhibition, Jones has installed a gigantic jellyfish that towers over the small fishpond in front of the art museum. Its body is fashioned from two of the glass hemispheres. Its long copper “tentacles” sway and tinkle pleasantly with every breeze.
Enamel Guild (Northeast USA) A Juried Exhibition
November 15 - January 27, 2013
Artists' Reception: Saturday, November 17, 2 - 4 pm
Gallery Talk by Lois Grebe: Thursday, January 10, 2013, 2 pm
The Enamel Guild (Northeast USA) was founded in 1992 for the purposes of promoting “the art of vitreous enamel to both the public at large and to the Guild members and to educate through activities such as exhibitions, workshops, publications, demonstrations, educational programs and symposia through the northeastern regions of the USA.” It is the largest enamel guild in the country with over seventy-five members.
Their 20th anniversary exhibit will be held at the Cape Cod Museum of Art. The exhibition was juried by noted metalworker and enamelist Linda Darty. Currently living and teaching in Certaldo, Italy, Darty is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Enamelist Society, an international organization. Those selected by juror Linda Darty are: Ruth Altman, Michael and Maureen Banner, Sheila Beatty, Susan Billy, Len Brondum, Joanne Conant,
Isabella Corwin, Erica Druin, Leni Fuhrman, Susana Garten, Orietta Geha, Kim Geiser, Lois Grebe, Anne Havel, Dorothea Hosom, June Jasen, Sandra Kravitz, Heidi Kreuziger, Tanya Migdal, Cynthia Miller, Averill Schepps, Toni Strassler, Marilyn Seitlin Tendrich, Elizabeth White-Pultz, Katharine Wood, Sally Wright, Cindy Wright.
There will be 48 objects in the show, an assortment of jewelry, sculptures and wall pieces, both large and small.
Enameling is an ancient art dating back to the third century B.C. With its bright, jewel-like colors, enameling has sometimes served as a substitute for precious stones. Decorative objects are made by fusing powdered glass to a metal surface, most commonly copper or silver. Using smaller kilns than potters, enamelists fire objects repeatedly – up to 40 times – building up surfaces one thin layer at a time.
The most common traditional techniques are represented in the exhibition, though generally with a fresh and contemporary interpretation. With cloisonné, segments of color are separated by slender strips of metal. Former Enamel Guild/North East president Sandra Kravitz used a cloisonné technique on the brooch “Autumn Pond.” Within a flowing, vine-like silver setting, orange and yellow leaves float on a limpid pool while a small fish “swims” beneath the surface. Cloisonné wires define the fish and leaves in this evocative miniature scene. With basse-taille, the artist applies translucent enamel over a low-relief pattern in metal. Isabella Corwin used a basse-taille technique for “Cheirothrix,” a foot-wide enamel wall piece featuring a prehistoric fish, apparently trapped in stone in a fossilized state.
Many pieces in the exhibition are small – fashioned as pendants, pins or earrings of unusual distinction. With its twisting anticlastic curves – and bits of cloisonné wires tracing silver curlicues against a velvety black background – Erica Druin’s “Evolving Through Darkness” pendant merits its romantic title. Earrings by Heidi Kreuziger feature arcs of wire and granules of glass against glowing fields of orange-red enamel. Ruth Altman’s “Chrysalis” and Sheila Beatty’s “Scarab Necklace” are pendants, both deriving their beauty and inspiration from the realm of insects. Abstract enamel designs float in sleek curvilinear settings in two silver brooches by noted Massachusetts silversmiths Michael and Maureen Banner.
Larger pieces can be a challenge in this art form, but the show does boast several wall pieces. Measuring 20 by 16 inches, Altman’s “High Flying Birds” is a seeming mosaic of pieces forming a picture of two birds, large in the sky over a small house. It has a charming stained-glass look. Cynthia Miller took her cue from nature in creating the two sextet of tiles, “Rose Nebula” and “Rain,” both measuring 25 by 32 inches overall. Lois Grebe crafted a 10-inch circle from four segments of metal – two corrugated, one with folds and one made from overlapping disks – then variously enameled them for a unifying pearly, peachy glow.
Image: Autumn Pond by Sandra Kravitz
Cape Cod Potters Juried Show
October 27 - January 6, 2013
Cape Cod Potters, Inc. is a non-profit organization of artists with a common aim: to better understand the medium of clay by the sharing of knowledge. It operates as a charitable organization that educates through the dissemination of knowledge and experience. It seeks to maintain high standards and professional growth within its membership and to generally stimulate the education and appreciation of the making of pottery and its allied arts.
This juried show made up of 56 pieces by twenty-four potters demonstrates the development and fulfillment of an idea in clay from each exhibitor. The artist’s photographs and accompanying written explanation for the body of work show the conception, evolution, and resolution of a single concept in a glaze, form, or technique. During the exhibition there will be films shown in the screening room as well as gallery talks by the artists. Each talk will be an interchange and explanation of their work by two potters.
Artists in the exhibition: Linda Bender, Craig C. Brodt, Sarah R. Caruso, Louis C. Cormier, Nathaniel E. Doane, Hollis Engley, Joe E. Fattori, Shelley M. Fenily, Laurie A. Goldman, Diane B. Heart, Holly J. Heaslip, Lois Hirshberg, Frances K. Johnson, Amy Kandall, Toni Levin, Kimberly Medeiros, Tessa Morgan, Kevin M. Nolan, Traci M. Noone, Linda Riehl, Gail A. Turner, Sue Wadoski, Nate Williams, Paul Wisotzky
In setting up the parameters for the exhibition, members of the Cape Cod Potters wanted to go beyond merely showing their best work: They agreed to challenge themselves to try something new. So when Ellen Shankin, a noted potter living in Floyd, Va., juried the show, she looked first at the strength of their pieces, but also took their written concept statements into consideration. Those same textural comments are incorporated into the exhibition, with each artist explaining the origin, evolution and resolution of a single concept in a glaze, form or technique.
Although she generally works at a potter’s wheel, Holly Heaslip turned to making hand-built pieces in white earthenware in homage to the all-white embossed Wedgewood pieces her family has long used at holiday dinners. Linda Riehl looked to an even earlier form of pottery – the colorful Oribe pieces used for tea ceremonies in 16th-century Japan – in decorating a jar and bowl of contemporary shape.
For Linda Bender, the inspiration for a series of abstract figures sprung from frustrating sessions at the wheel. While pushing the limits in fashioning a traditional vessel, “pot after pot slumped beyond repair,” she wrote. “It was as if the pieces didn’t want to be pots.” She redeemed the distorted forms by carving them to reveal “inner figures” when they were bone dry.
Some of the artists describe the source of their decorative motifs. Diane Heart only had to look out her studio window to see the daisies she then incised on a round porcelain vase. Cape Cod native and fishing enthusiast Nathaniel Doane used sgraffito cutting to depict predator fish converging on a “bait ball” of schooling fish in a feeding frenzy. His “canvas” is a ceramic tile mural made from local clay.
Gallery Talks for Concepts in Clay: All talks begin at 2 pm
November 10: Traci Noone and Gail Turner
November 17: Holly Heaslip and Linda Riehl
November 24: Hollis Engley and Sue Wadoski
December 1: Kim Medeiros and Lois Hirshberg
December 8: Linda Bender and Paul Wisotzky
December 15: Amy Kandall and Nat Doane
Featured Films for this exhibition: (films are free for members of Cape Cod Potters)
2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2:
“Gifts From the Fire: The Ceramic Art of Brother Thomas”
“The Sleeping Pot” (about a two-week firing at the McKeachie-Johnston Anagama Kiln in River Falls, Wisc.)
“Classic Maria Martinez: Native American Pottery Maker of San Ildefonso.”
2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29:
“MC Richards: The Fire Within”
“Phil Rogers: A Passion for Pots.”
Artists in Their Own Right: Works by the CCMA Docents
November 15 – January 13, 2013
Artists Reception: Nov 17, 2-4 pm
Of the museum’s 25 docents, at least a dozen are actively producing some form of art, including oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings; pastels; collages; and works in fabric. Most have some outlet for showing their work on at least an occasional basis, whether through a commercial or community art gallery or at a local guild or art association. Joyce Aaron – considered to be the museum’s first and longest-serving docent – is also one of the best known as an artist. Former docent Richard McGarr – who has had shows of his paintings at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth – is also participating in the exhibition.
Cape Cod Museum of Art docents receive quite extensive training about the collection, with each of them becoming an “expert” on at least one particular artist. They also take frequent field trips and attend gallery talks in a constant effort to increase the range and depth of their understanding of Cape Cod art.
One docent, Gail Burke, commented: “Artists are the best people to talk about what’s going on in the artwork. Rather than just talking about art history, they can help people see like an artist.” It also works the other way: Carefully studying the works of other artists helps them improve their own.
Docents are generally on duty at the museum from 11 a.m. to noon and 2 to 3 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m. Saturdays; and 1 to 2 p.m. Sundays. While happy to give tours of the museum upon request, they generally assume the more relaxed role of “museum guide.” After briefly introducing visitors to the museum and acquainting them with what’s on view in the galleries, they simply make themselves available to answer questions or call attention to points of interest. Some docents also make offsite presentations to interested community groups.
Image: Noon a Purple Glow by Dick McGarr
Milton Wright: A Retrospective
September 15 - November 18
Gallery Talk: Thursday, Sept. 20, 2 pm by Susan Kurtzman
Reception: Sunday, Sept. 23, 2 - 4 pm
A painter of seascapes, landscapes, cityscapes, portraits, and still lifes, as well as a lithographer, Milton Wright’s life work spans more that seven decades. Grandnephew of the famous Wright Brothers, a teacher of more than 20 years, and a contemporary of Picasso and Matisse, Wright was born in Ohio in 1920. While studying for a degree in Fine Arts, his mentor and life-long friend Marston “Bud” Hodgin introduced him to the artistic community in Provincetown, where Wright would become actively involved in the local community. During World War II, he was drafted into the Army Air Corps Training Film Unit in Colorado. While in training, he spent his weekends sketching the abandoned silver mining towns of the area. In 1948 he and his wife, Breene Loughridge, sailed to Paris, France where he studied at the prestigious Academie Julian for two years under the G.I. Bill. He admired the works of Cezanne, Matisse, and Picasso, and many of his earlier paintings reflect their influence. Upon his return to the United States, he would teach art for more than twenty years in New York. It was during this time he would often return to his summer cottage in North Truro to paint.
Born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1920, Wright began taking classes at Dayton Art Institute when he was just 7 years old. In 1942, he graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he began a lifelong friendship with Marston Hodgin, the dean of fine arts. Hodgin, who painted on the Cape every summer, introduced Wright to the Provincetown art community in 1938.
Wright continued to summer on Cape Cod off and on before becoming a regular summer resident in 1955. Following his retirement from teaching in 1977, he and his family moved permanently to their cottage at Great Hollow Beach in North Truro. He was active in the community as a long-standing member of Truro Historical Society and Truro Historical Commission and served on the Save the Highland Lighthouse Committee, which raised money to move the endangered lighthouse back from eroding cliffs.
The artist was also a frequent guest speaker at Truro Central School, where he told students about his famous relatives, pioneering aviators Orville and Wilbur Wright. He always brought along several artifacts, including letters from his Uncle Orville.
Wright exhibited widely over the course of his career. He was honored with many one-person shows and had works included in national exhibitions at the Denver Art Museum; Dayton Art Institute; the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.; the Brooklyn Museum; and the Butler Art Institute in Youngstown, Ohio, among other institutions. He died in 2005.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Alumni Exhibition
Sponsored by The Hess & Helyn Kline Foundation
September 22 - November 25, 2012
Opening Reception: September 21, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Gallery Talk by Michael Giaquinto: Wednesday, October 10, 2 pm
Gallery Talk: November 25, 2 pm, with artists Wendy Brusick, Debra Hope Colligan, Jon Goldman, Lisa Hesselgrave, Judith Barbour Osborne, Sarah Son-Theroux and Jeanne Staples. Refreshments will be served. The talk is free with museum admission.
Twelve regional alumni of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school in the United States, are represented in this exhibition featuring works from the prestigious academy’s notable alumni who currently live in the New England area.
Incorporating one of the country’s oldest museums, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts was founded in 1805. Nearly every major American artist has taught, studied or exhibited there, with graduates including such notables as Thomas Eakins, Mary Cassatt, Edwin Austin Abbey and William Harnett. PAFA (pá-fa) – as faculty, alumni and students affectionately call it – boasts an international reputation as one of the finest schools of figurative art in the world. Students there still undergo the time-honored disciplines of drawing from plaster casts and life drawing from nude models.
The Cape Cod Museum of Art’s “Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts Alumni Exhibition” was curated by Jeffrey Carr, the school’s dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Michael Giaquinto, the exhibitions curator CCMA. The participants include seven artists who live on the Cape or Martha’s Vineyard. The other five reside elsewhere in New England.
The earliest graduate among them is East Falmouth artist Debra Hope Colligan, who graduated in 1979. Her plein-air landscapes and portraits of people and animals have been collected by a number of famous musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Steve Van Zandt, James Taylor and Jackson Browne. The most recent alum is Cape native Dena Haden, who earned her MFA from PAFA in 2008 and now lives in Cambridge. In her mixed-media constructions, she explores the “rhythmic energies” inside the human body, using such materials as wax, pigment, fabric and wood.
In a statement concerning the show, Carr wrote: “This exhibition of alumni of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts demonstrates many of the qualities the Academy is known for: an awareness of fine arts traditions, a respect for craft and a deep sensitivity to the natural world.” But he also noted, “The dozen artists in this exhibition display an extraordinary range of sensitivities, talents and expressive intents.”
Almost all of the Cape and Islands artists are represented by paintings reflecting their responses to the natural beauty around them. A native of Shanghai, Deena Gu Laties of West Falmouth spent four years copying masterpieces of the Song Dynasty (960-1279) in China before coming to the United States to study at PAFA. Her watercolors on silk and rice paper incorporate a blend of Eastern and Western influences, as in her luminous “Sunset.” Seeing “a distinct spirituality in nature,” Sarah Son-Theroux of West Barnstable interprets landscapes – be it clouds floating over The Knob or a flowering dogwood tree – with a poetic simplicity infused with a sense of vibrant motion. At the other end of the spectrum, paintings by Woods Hole artist Jon Goldman have a heightened sense of concrete reality, with trees, rocks and water that seem to shine from within. An intense contrast of light and shadow helps evoke of strong sense of place and time of day in “Crick Hill – Menemsha,” a glowing oil painting by Jeanne Staples of Edgartown. Elizabeth Lockhart Taft of Vineyard Haven always paints on location, favoring expansive scenes of peace and serenity, building up her landscapes one carefully observed color note at a time.
Landscapes are also the domain of Lisa Hess Hesselgrave, a pastel painter from Branford, Conn. Her “Twilight,” “Dusk” and “Foggy Snow” all offer times of day and/or weather conditions where tonal contrasts are soft and muted. Interestingly, all three works are of essentially the same scene under different conditions.
Three of the alumni remain deeply interested in depicting the human figure – though in very different ways. While reflecting her academic training in figurative work, the canvases of Saskia Eubanks of Boston always go a step beyond, exploring moments of transformation in nature or psychological states. The recumbent nude in her “Laocoon” suggests the forms of rocks and hills. Wendy Brusick of Cranston, R.I., uses her command of the paintbrush and pencil to lend crisp reality to a highly personal surrealism – as in “Lady in Waiting,” where a woman’s head appears as a giant sea anemone. In paintings of a human head, a deer skull and a raven, Dianne Corbeau of Dennisport takes a more elemental point of view, seemingly reducing each subject to its essence.
Besides Dena Haden, Judith Barbour Osborne of Old Lyme, Conn., is the only PAFA alum represented by abstract works in the Cape Cod Museum of Art show. With two pieces from her “Closer Alignments” series, she took unfinished monotypes from the past and added gestural markings in graphite and color pencil to bring them to striking completion.
Featured Artists: Dena Haden (2008), Lisa Hess Hesselgrave (1981), Sarah Son-Theroux (1993), Jon Goldman (1982), Jeanne Staples (1982), Wendy Brusick (1989), Debra Hope Colligan (1979), Judith Barbour Osborne (1997), Saskia Eubanks (2003), Diane Corbeau (2002), Deena Gu Laties, Eli