This year’s Juried Abstract Show at the Falmouth Art Center is powerful, rich and varied. The juror who chose the pieces, Suzanne Packer of Bass River, picked 51 pieces out of more than 100 that were submitted. The exhibit is divided into many expertly chosen groups.
As you enter you are greeted by Tom Morton’s “Arc and Rectangles,” a colorful, layered and painterly work. Just below is a tiny computer-generated image by Joe Futrelle titled “Arrow Quad 3 – wqm.” This has small arrows, some so tiny they could not be done by hand, so it brings the materials used for generating artwork to the present. Abstract has always cut a new edge, so this is especially rewarding to see.
Next is a grouping of more traditional painterly abstracts. Dick McGarr received honorable mention for “Breaking Through,” a dense, textured and mysterious work. Diana Lee is in this grouping with “Summer Palette,” an oil displaying juicy paint application at its best.
A stained glass work, “Celtic Blue Sea,” by Paul Hughes is placed against the windows, where it is reflective of Falmouth.
The next group of works has James Musto’s “Energy and Hope” receiving Best Energy for the show. There are spikes of light moving upward out of darkness. My favorite entry in the show is next: “Boat Hull Image #4” by Barry Beder. The drips and blending colors are reminiscent of Helen Frankenthaler’s stained canvases but the medium is a photo printed on canvas, which is innovative. And even more creative is the subject: this found abstraction on the hull of a boat. It proves we can see abstraction everywhere.
Another section of the show holds together with both color and design. Marcia Goodwin received an honorable mention for “Page from the Akashic,” a mixed media with soft, swirling colors which bring to mind leaves swirling in smoke. Best in Show was awarded to David Kelley’s pastel “Shadow Dance.” The blue and blue-violet ground with linear accents relates nicely to Susan Elizabeth Clark’s adjacent cut, painted papers of the same hues. This work has strips of paper woven together in a vertical and horizontal pattern—another inventive method to seek abstraction. And next to this is a weaving by Liz Henry, “Continuity,” of similar colored threads.
An interesting award is Best Soft Edge for Margaret Fair Nowak’s “Mocambique Current,” an acrylic which is collage-like in soft colors, with enticing mark-making. An honorable mention goes to EC Davies for “Happy Days,” a small, cheerful, free and bold work with soft blue accents for relief.
The large, predominantly black painting “Bad Moon Rising” by Karen Scata-Bos received Best Hard Edge. Two more honorable mentions: Ruthie Kane’s “Red Journey,” a square dimension with flat versus textured color contrasting one another and scratch marks forcing direction. Linda Walker’s “Hope Ascending” has light coming out of darkness in soft transitions.
“Out of the Dark” is a digital photo by Ann Worthington that looks more like paint than photography. Phil Richardson’s “Freeway” is another photo that pushes photography into the sphere of pigment.
Another favorite of mine is a mixed media work by Cheryl Okolo Wagner, “Untitled.” This collaged work, made of torn papers from Crate & Barrel and newspaper, exhibits a strong push/pull as taught by Hans Hofmann. It is alive with expressive painted marks.
Sculpture and constructed works add richness and variety to the show. “Blue Moon for Two” by Douglass Gray was awarded Best Contrast. This sculpture is comprised of two rusted steel squares into which circles are cut and a shiny blue sphere is suspended. There are many contrasts: dull to shiny; geometric to organic; orange to blue. Other constructed works are: Lisa Errico’s “Realign,” Marie St. Hilaire’s “Timeless” and Claudia Smith-Jacobs’ “Variations in Pink, Gray, Black and White.” Ms. Smith-Jacobs has a one-person show going on this month upstairs at the center titled “Out of the Box,” which shows her versatility as an artist—constructions, collages, portraits, and landscapes. Her work expresses her past and explores current subjects.
Add to these shows the lobby exhibit of pottery and work by Ed Chesnovitch’s students, and you have a tremendous amount of art to view.
Jane Lincoln is an artist living in Falmouth.