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Moby Dick: Inspired Visions

Exhibition Dates

June 14 to August 25, 2019

Gallery Talk and Public Opening Reception

Saturday, June 22

I am on a journey as an artist and educator. I was inspired years ago when I attended an informal lecture by Dr. Robert Wallace at a different art collection referencing Moby Dick. The collection was donated to the New Bedford Whaling Museum by Elizabeth Schultz, author of Unpainted to the Last: Moby Dick and Twentieth Century American Art. Dr. Wallace is the Regents Professor of English at Northern Kentucky University and one of the world’s most renowned Melville scholars.

My collection is not about illustrating Melville’s story but more of a personal response to his writing. The deeper I get into Moby Dick, the more I realize my inspiration comes from Melville as an artist. Like Melville, I experience the artist’s tension between self-expression and vulnerability.

Process: While reading Moby Dick I kept a journal close at hand to write notes of possible ideas. Within my notes I would reference paragraphs and pages to come back to. I often made small sketches that I would study and eventually adjust to my liking. With the use of an overhead projector, I enlarged the images onto black paper or black Tyvek. A white graphite pencil was then used to redraw the projections. On a seven foot long table, I carefully cut out the images with a scalpel. Using natural paste and countless paint brushes the completed cuttings were then meticulously mounted onto stretched white Tyvek or, in some cases, recycled sail-cloth.

Artist Statement:

While always an artist within, I had a life as a teacher for 35 years. When I retired in 2009, I became a full time artist. I was a Special Education teacher for 25 years with the Dennis-Yarmouth Public Schools in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts. In addition to my commitment as an educator, I served the local community on the Board of Directors of The Arc of Cape Cod for 6 years, helping to promote and protects the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Also, I served on the Board of the Cape Cod Therapeutic Riding Clinic for 2 years.

My last 10 years as a teacher were spent at Old Rochester Regional High School in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts. I was able to co-teach Art as an alternative form of assessment for students within high school biology classes. Most recently, I served my local community on the Board of Directors for the Mattapoisett Historical Society for 6 years.

- Peter Michael Martin

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