Sea History 067 - Autumn 1993

Page 25

MARINE ART NEWS Exhibitions Present a Contrast of Styles and Approaches Two trips early in the summer provided opportunities to view two marine art exhibitions quite different in content. It was a stimulating contrast. One was close to home in Mystic, Connecticut, the other in distant Sydney, Australia. Mystic Maritime Gallery's "Modem Marine Masters" was another top drawer exhibition of outstanding American marine artists, the sort of event we have come to expect from Gallery director Russell Jinishian. The gallery appeared as a grand emporium, brimming with product. Watercolors and oils large and small hung in clusters about the walls, here and there interspersed with some startling sculpture and displays of finely detailed scrimshaw. There were too many excellent examples in the best tradition to detail here. But two oils worth immediate mention are Don Demers 's "A Racing Wind, Gloriana and Quickstep, 1891 ," (24" x 30") and John Stobart's "Louisville, Water Street in 1870." "Gloriana and Quickstep," which was featured prominently in the exhibit and graced the cover of the catalog, deserved the special attention. The scene was similar to Demers' 1991 work, "Navajo and Valkyrie!/," but the colors are wanner, the texture of sea more true and the play of light on the great spreads of canvas is an irresistible draw for the eye. Stobart's " Loui svi lle" is a much smaller, more delicate piece, just 12" x 16", that has extraordinary luminosity. Early morning light streams over the horizon and across the waterfront to reflect brightly off the starboard side of a river packet. Deft brushwork and layering allow the light to infuse and penetrate the scene. To imagine the exhibit at the Australian National Maritime Museum, we have to leave the idea of traditional marine art behind for a moment. Rather than calling on marine artists to depict the ir special subject, the P&O Art A wards , with its high purse, attracted a broad category of artists to paint marine subjects, spec ifically the ports and waterfronts of Australia. The results , displayed in the museum 's modern and spacious Mazda Gallery, were impressive: mixed media pieces and paintings on large canvases, often abstract, with unusual and dramatic perspectives. They might not make a traditionalist happy , but, to this viewer, they represent a fresh and appealing use of familiar im-

agery. The winner of the $15,000 opencategory prize was David Bowers with "Dockside," a 31" x 42", three-dimensional work in paint on heavy plywood depicting a port scene of bulk coal loading. Bower screwed together shaped layers of plywood as a base for his bold brushstroke sketch of waterfront activity. The winner in the prints and drawings category was Peter Yeomans, with "Pilot Boarding" (32" x 23"), which shows a nighttime boarding scene from a pilot boat deck. -


Exhibitions • 26 September-8 November, The Fourteenth Annual Mystic International brings together paintings , drawings , sculpture and scrimshaw by leading artists from all over the world . Judges for this event are Stephen Doherty, Editor-

in-Chief of American Artist Ma gazine, and George Plimpton, founding editor of Paris Review. Mystic Maritime Gallery, Mystic CT 06355-6001 ; 203 572-8524. • 1 October-6 November, Seascape and Landscape Paintings by Howard A. Curtis (American, 1906-1989). Quester Gallery, On The Green, Stonington CT 06378; 203 535-3860. • 5 October-March, 1993, Ironclads and Paddlers, an exhibition of watercolors by Ian Marshall that were used by the artist to illustrate his new book of the same title. The Navy Museum, Washington Navy Yard, 901 M Street Southeast, Washington DC 20374; 202 433-4882. • 20 November-31 December, Four Distinguished Artists features a collection of 60 new pieces from artists Mark Myers, Marek Sarba, David Thimgan, and Kent U llberg. Mystic Maritime Gallery , Mystic CT 06355-6001 ; 203 572-8524.

David Bowers's "Dockside," aC1yliconply(3J"x42" ), winner in the open category of the 1993 P&O Art Awards at th e Australian National Maritime Museum. Bottom left, "Pilot Boarding" , charcoal and conte drawing (32 " x 23" ), winner in th e prints and drawings category.


Donald Demers' soil "A Racing Wind, Gloriana and Quickstep, 1891" (24 " by 30" ), was featured at My sti c Maritime Gallery's "Modern Marin e Masters" exhibit this past summer.