You’d have to travel pretty darn far to find an art exhibit of the caliber now on display at the Marion Art Center. There are 99, yes, 99 pieces of visual art in this Members Show, including one located in the window of the historic Marion General Store. Don’t worry that your brain will be on visual overload, but you may find yourself wonder-struck.
It cannot be overstated that the scope of excellence demonstrated by these artists, their masterful use of technique, style, materials and skill, is thrilling to behold. Again, you would have to take a day trip out of the area to match this show in any way.
Given that we are on the coast, there are, of course, classic waterfront and ocean scenes, boats at rest or under sail, marshlands, fish, waves, water and sun. But these pieces have been executed by masters of water and oil paints and even metal, as witnessed in the piece titled Funky Fish by Jill Law (acrylic, metal leaf and resin.) This work shimmers as if we are viewing the fish in a pool with a luminous quality that catches the eye.
In the classics category, if one dares to classify such glorious pieces, are those by Robert Duff, one titled Brilliant, the other Charles W. Morgan Coming Home. Duff is a master of all things nautical, a highly respected painter here in our patch and far yonder parts as well. His website notes that he studied the Hudson River School technique and has been titled as a “modern day luminist” with a 19th century sensitivity.
Jane Egan’s Old Fishing Boats and Salva, Mary Cosme’s Brandt Island, Jaye Degnan Tirimacco’s Vineyard Sound and Eastham, Peter Stone’s Rising Tide and Distant Fog, Sarah Brown’s The Reef and Following Wave – each with its unique and unmistakable eloquence delights the eye and spirit of the viewer.
Brown’s works demonstrate that the impossible job of working with pastels is, in fact, possible. And speaking of pastels in the second-floor gallery, look for Bunny Mogilnicki’s Making Waves and Silver Shore, and while back on the first floor as you make your second pass through this gem of an art gallery, look for Nicole St. Pierre Untitled pastel and Charlene Mackiewicz’s Broadmarsh Sunset and Pocksha Pond Cove.
Former art teacher and longtime MAC member Alice Shire has two offerings on the gallery wall. Giverny #3 and What Used to Be are two must-see pieces of watercolor talent and technique which, along with Helen Johnson’s watercolor simply titled Stuff and The River (watercolor and ink) display years of honing and overcoming the difficulties of working with the fluidity of watercolor paints. And look for Janet Smith-Flaherty’s watercolor offerings, Clouds, Sea, Beach and Sailboat, Sea, Beach. These artists, along with the others working in watercolors, have tamed water for art’s sake.
In the arena of materials that many believe are a bit difficult to use is oil pastel, but in the hands of Susan Gilmore, have produced colorfully bold, landscape scenes. Likely some of the most colorful pieces in the show, the vibrance draws the viewer’s eye towards the colors for closer inspection of Gilmore’s pieces titled My Backyard and Nobska Light.
We would like to give you a narrative on all 99 works of art. What we have shared is simply intended to whet your appetite to go and see this show before it closes on Friday, September 16. And make sure to pause a moment or two at Deborah Macy’s The Bronze Fairy (oil and gold leaf on board) whose frame adds to the tone of the painting.
Here are the rest of the artists whose works we marveled over: Judy Carver (watercolor), Judith Klein (acrylic and charcoal on canvas), Peggy Call-Conley (watercolor), Ashley Briggs (acrylic on canvas), Mary Jane McCoy (acrylic), Michael Peitragalla (marble wood), Butch McCarthy (acrylic), John Wiliszowski (giclee of digital image), June Strunk (watercolor), Patricia Gray (acrylic), Kate Butler (watercolor), Marianne deVaux (monotype), Meg Hartley (acrylic), Sarah Calder (digital painting on canvas), David Maloney (acrylic on board), Carol Bliven (oil), Sharlie Sudduth (oil and watercolor), Nini Evans (acrylic), Abigail Brice, (acrylic and oil), Patricia White (ink and watercolor), Peggy Call-Conley (watercolor), Barbara Healy (oil and watercolor), Anne Higgins (acrylic), Jessica Harris (mixed media), Christy Gunnels (oil on panel), Lynette Torres (mixed media), Heide Hallemier (transparent watercolor), Nat Simkins (water and graphite), Adrian Tio ( monoprint), Heather Long-Roise (acrylic), Diana Parsons (watercolor and acrylic), Anne T. Converse (photography), Alanna Nelson (wool, cotton and plastic bags), John Magnan (wood), Michelle Lapointe (acrylic and stained glass), Peggy Totten (pastel), Elwin Williamson (color photography), Janet Cromer (watercolor), Donna Gagnon (acrylic), Thomas Geagan (watercolor), Emma Rose Zhou (acrylic and paint markers on wood), Noelle Keach (acrylic), and John Kurgen (acrylic.)
Opening on September 23 through October 28 with a reception and presentation will be a private collection exhibit of works owned by Betty Parsons. Parsons was an artist, dealer and collector of the avant-garde and an early abstract artist whose influence is still apparent today. The presentation will be given by Rachel Vorsanger, the Collection and Research manager of the Betty Parsons and William P. Rayner Foundation. To learn more about Parsons, visit bettyparsons.org. For more MAC shows and events, visit marionartcenter.org.
Marion Art Center
By Marilou Newell