Art Briefs – The Provincetown Independent
Antonia Angress at Castle Hill
Antonia Angress’s first book, Sirens & Muses, published this month by Penguin Random House, is more than a classic coming-of-age novel. It focuses on the link between art and politics.
“I’m interested in how images can shape public discourse or shift public consciousness around an issue,” says Angress. “The novel asks: is art an effective form of political discourse?
The answer, she says, is unclear. She will discuss this and other ideas at a talk at the Truro Center for the Arts in Castle Hill on Wednesday, July 20 at 6 p.m. The event is free.
Angress was born in Los Angeles but raised in Costa Rica, where she attended a French international school. Growing up immersed in three cultures and speaking three languages, “I never really felt like I belonged anywhere,” she says.
Several characters in Sirens & Muses grappling with similar challenges: one has a nomadic existence, constantly moving from place to place, and another, from Louisiana, is brought “emotionally and aesthetically” back to her home country when she comes of age in New York.
“My journey has allowed me to change form, to stand outside and to be an observer”, explains the novelist. “And I think that’s a very useful skill for a writer of fiction, to be able to stand out and observe, but also empathize.”
For more information, visit www.castelhill.org. —Emma Madgic
Dale Roberts at the Blue Heron Gallery
Blue Heron Gallery, a mainstay of the Wellfleet gallery scene, is closing after the summer. Its Swan Song Season offers a rich variety of artwork.
Throughout the summer, the gallery devotes much of its main space to encaustic paintings by Dale Roberts. Roberts, who lives near Philadelphia, is interested in surfaces found in natural and urban settings. In Stoic structuresa painting of early spring, he captures the season in pale colors and uses the viscous materiality of encaustic paint to portray the textures of a grassy field in the foreground of the picture.
In other paintings, he relishes the textures found in urban spaces, such as steel bridges and cement embankments. In Blue Bridge, Roberts depicts late afternoon light casting dramatic shadows in a close urban view. The bridge’s triangles and its emphasis on the surface place the painting in abstraction territory, which is not surprising given that he recently taught a class at Castle Hill called “Abstract and Real: Working Together.” . —Abraham Storer
Cuba in Provincetown
Traveling to Cuba isn’t easy, but a quick trip to the Galería Cubana at 357 Commercial St. in Provincetown can provide a glimpse of Cuban life through the lens of some of its artists.
A three-way show starring Dairan Fernandez de la Fuente, Harold López Muñoz and Darwin Estacio Martinez presents a colorful image of the country with both historical and contemporary visions. It will continue until July 18.
Harold López Muñoz paints fashionable young people with luscious strokes, although his strongest painting is Perro perdido (lost dog). Full of swirling, disorienting motion, the painting depicts a lonely dog on a seaside road. It is a symbolic image suggesting a narrative through its images and winding brushstrokes.
Dairan Fernandez de la Fuente evokes the past in his delicate line drawings, large-scale cityscapes and multicolored woodcuts. His works on paper, usually depicting old cars and bulky men in suits, reveal a sophisticated use of line and pattern. In the woodcut Cuba Libre (Free Cuba), Fernandez presents a political monument of a worker. In a country closed to much of the world and still influenced by the revolutionary ideologies of the past, this work functions as compelling social commentary.
The gallery will host a reception for Fernandez and Lopez Muñoz on Friday, July 15 from 6-9 p.m., with an artist talk scheduled for Saturday, July 16 at 11 a.m. —Abraham Storer
Four coins for a planet in peril
Brewster playwright Lee Roscoe, in collaboration with filmmaker Janet Murphy Robertson, calls their theater-film hybrid, titled Four coins for a planet in peril, “a shared vision”.
Using four of Roscoe’s previously written pieces – Water Spirits, The Cage, Reprieve, and The warning — Roscoe and Robertson combine traditional cinema, green screens, sound effects, music, comics and original scripts to form something new.
The plays are linked, all dealing with the effects of climate change and the destruction it causes to the environment, society and human emotions.
four games premieres at the Eastham Public Library on Wednesday, July 20 at 3:30 p.m. The warning, the finale, is a finalist in three categories at the Los Angeles Independent Short Film Awards. —Eve Samaha
John Koch mixing it up
After years as a journalist and arts editor at the boston globe, John Koch dives headfirst into the pursuit of painting. The itch had been there for a long time. As a child, he found himself inspired by his grandfather, an artist.
“I loved being in his studio,” Koch recalls. Although he has dedicated his career to journalism, Koch says, “I knew I would when I retired. Art chose me.
He has made up for lost time and has been painting now for over a decade. On a recent visit to his Truro studio, canvases ranging from landscapes to collaged abstractions filled the space where he was putting the finishing touches to work for an exhibition that opened at the Provincetown Commons on July 12 and ran through to July 24 with a reception on Friday, July 15 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
There is an insatiable curiosity for Koch’s work. In a small landscape, he paints the woods outside his studio. The grid structure of intersecting trees and shadows finds an echo in other paintings, distilled in an abstract language.
He is fearless with materials, scraping paint off the surfaces of some works, using knives, brushes, plastic forks and discarded doormats to make marks. He moves freely between subjects, from oil paintings of nude models to memory-laden multimedia collages. He may have gotten off to a late start, but there’s no stopping him now. —Abraham Storer
John Rae at Farm Projects in Wellfleet
At Wellfleet’s Farm Projects, works by artist John Rae are on display until July 25. Rae, 61, lives in New Jersey but has summered in Wellfleet and Provincetown her entire life.
The exhibition is called “Abandoned Landscape”.
Farm Projects curator and designer Susie Nielsen points to an artwork: a green sheet of metal with the word “trees” screen-printed along its length. It is framed in marbled light brown wood.
Nielsen says Rae takes a form of disintegration and then “does something really finished on it – like repetitive motions.”
For Trees, Rae found the metal, already green. The timber frame came from a grove of dead cedars, originally planted by people employed by the Works Progress Administration after World War II.
The works on display at the gallery, at 355 Main St. in Wellfleet, range from tables encrusted with small red lights, to scraps of metal, to paper stained with muddy stream water. Fine line work and deliberate sculpting balance the disorder of their respective found origins. — Eve Samaha
A meeting with Mary
The Provincetown Public Art Foundation recently commissioned sculptor Penelope Jencks of Wellfleet to create a life-size bronze sculpture of writer and labor activist Mary Heaton Vorse, author of the Provincetown memoir The weather and the city.
In an ongoing effort to fund the project, Gene Tartaglia, curator of exhibitions at the Mary Heaton Vorse House, and gallerist Berta Walker curated an exhibition titled “Mary’s Friends: An Artist’s Reunion”.
Opening Thursday, July 14 at the Mary Heaton Vorse House, 466 Commercial St., from 5-7 p.m. and running through August 7, the exhibit will feature sculptures by Jencks as well as works by Provincetown artists who knew Vorse from her 1907 arrival in town until her death in 1966.
Cards make Siân Robertson’s heart beat faster
Siân Robertson works in cards.
“I like to say a good card makes my heart race and my hand reaches for my X-acto
knife,” says Robertson, whose solo exhibition, “Wanderlust,” is on view at Gallery 444 in Provincetown (444 Commercial St.) through July 19 with an opening reception on Friday, July 15 from 6-9 p.m. h (The artist, who lives in Truro, is also the Independentoffice assistant.)
The exhibition includes wall-mounted and free-standing works. Robertson depicts complex geometry in her work: she creates three-dimensional objects from two-dimensional maps that are, themselves, a reflection of a three-dimensional world.
With so many maps in the world, which one to rely on? “When I’m selecting cards to use in my work, I’m driven almost entirely by the aesthetics of the colors and shapes they contain,” she says.
But there are aesthetic dimensions beyond what is printed on the card. Robertson mainly works with used maps. “The paper is worn at the folds, yellowed at the edges; towns are circled, routes are highlighted,” she says. “Coffee spills, phone numbers, and directional notes all testify to its former life as a functional object in someone else’s hands.”
In Robertson’s hands, the maps take on a beauty that, whatever their starting point, is entirely due to his vision. In Mangrove and swamp, a map takes on irregularly scalloped edges, sometimes curving on itself, sometimes advancing into a dark abyss. The map is thus imbued with the feeling of terrain. The work does not tell us about the coordinates of the earth but about its texture – the way the earth is jagged and rough. —Paul Sullivan