The show was called “Small Town – Big Art,” which is a pretty accurate description of the ratio of the scope of the location to the enormous talent that was on display at the Mattapoisett Historical Society Museum from May 16 to May 17.
The museum was packed with people the evening of the exhibit reception, and there were rows of paintings, sculptures, and photographs all squeezed in tightly inside the bustling gallery. Next to the art stood the artists, there to answer questions and give insight into their individual works – each with a story to tell about their inspiration, personal history, and how they came to discover their artistic abilities.
In much of the art, one could recognize and come to appreciate how our local surroundings and history inspired the artist to create a particular piece; take Sylvia “Sovia” Morrell’s vivid and intense depiction of a colossal angry whale overwhelming a whaling vessel, for example.
“I always wanted to paint,” said Morrell. “I didn’t know I had the talent.”
She signs her paintings as Sovia, a nickname given to her by her mother, a painter herself.
“That’s where I get my talent from,” said Morrell. “From her.”
She said her brothers were artists growing up and she felt left out; her creative expression was repressed for many years.
Morrell said she started painting about 15 years ago when she retired and started taking drawing and painting lessons.
A little farther down from Morrell, Donna Junier stood by her paintings of local familiar scenes, including Salty the Seahorse and the Butler Flats Lighthouse.
Junier said has been a painter since childhood, but she put her artistic endeavors on hold – a long hold, about 47 years, while she married and raised a family.
Junier motioned to some animal paintings she did over the winter, including one of a seemingly smiling sea lion and a couple of dogs having a “Play Date,” the title of the painting.
“This was a long winter,” said Junier, who chose lighthearted scenes to paint, which she said kept her spirits up.
The Wanderer’s own Felix Perez, whose photos have graced the cover of the newspaper for years now, had a table set up with groups of people leaning in to look at the local scenes he captured and asking for purchasing information of their favorite photos.
Becky McCann and her daughter, Ashley McCann, who both live in Mattapoisett, showcased their paintings and mixed media pieces side by side in the middle of the gallery.
“I’m influenced by my mother,” said Becky, “and I always wanted to paint but I never really had the time.” Now she finds painting comforting while listening to classical music and painting mostly scenery and landscapes.
“Ashley sees me draw like I saw my mother draw,” said Becky. “So it’s kind of nice. We encourage one another.”
When asked about her depictions of bearded men fashioned out of different pieces of paper, she said casually, “I love men with beards.” She laughed and said, “Yup. I’m still young.”
Thirteen different artists had their work displayed for the brief exhibition at the museum.
For more information about upcoming events at the Mattapoisett Historical Society, visit www.mattapoisetthistoricalsociety.org.
By Jean Perry