Sea History 097 - Summer 2001

Page 26


The American Society of Marine Artists Twelfth National Exhibition by Pete Rogers


quarter cenrury ago, with much help and midwifery from NMHS, the American Society of Marine Artists was born and held small exhibitions at the New York Boat Show and the US Capitol. The next year, 1978, marked the "o ffi cial" birth, as indicated by ASMA's incorporation as a non-p ro fit, the firsc Nacional Exhibition and annual meeting, and, not lease, that indispensable keystone of organizational identity, our logo. T hat device, designed by frequent Sea H istory contribu tor Bill M uller, remains unchanged, and many of ASMA's original plankowners remam acnve. ASMA's preceding national juried exhibition first was hung at the Frye Museum in Seaccle, W ashington, and then moved to the C ummer Museum in Jacksonville, Florida, drawing large crowds at both venues. T he current show runs fr om 28 April to 15 July at the Cape Museum of Fine Arts in Dennis, Massachusetts, and from 27 September to 18 N ovember at the First USA Riverfro nt Arts Center, Wilmington, Delaware. A full-color catalogue is available from either institution. At the same time as the seco nd show, a small satellite exhibition will hang at the Downtown G allery of the D elaware Art Museum . The exhibition and catalog are dedicated to the late Carl Evers, one of Ameri ca's greatest marine painters, a Fellow of ASMA and a stalwart member of the Society from che beginning. ASMA now has over 700 members from 46 states, and this regional dispersal has subtly, bur surely, give n greater breadth to the exhibitions and to the look of marine art in general. O ne hundred and fo ur works compose this exhibition including oils, watercolors, pas tels, etchings, drawings, sculpture and scrimshaw. Eighty-one artists are participating in the sh ow.

T he variety and richness of marine art resulting from this new bread th has surprised many members of the public who have come to our recent shows. T he surprise comes because many peo ple thought they knew everyching marine art had to say.

The Problem of Water An example of how limited that outlook can be is the matter of water. It is a standard part of the vocabulary of virtually all marine painters, and yet year after year there is no end to the variety of ways in which artists "solve" the problems of water. For the mos t part, no artist's water looks like any other's. Beyond rhe ships, th e people, the sky and the nuances of composition, the many moods and states of water remain the enduring challenge for marine arn sts. T h is show has an uncomm only large number of paintings dealing primarily with water-seascapes that p resent special challenges fo r the artists, since there is no ship, structure or o ther props on whi ch to hang the pai nting. T he seascapes range from June Carey's brigh t gliscening surf at Monterey Bay to A. M. M urphy's stark minimalist painting of evening light on wet sand and water. N ot one of these many paintings bears the slightest resemblance to any other, and they are a tes tament to the skill and originality of the painters. Mood and Atmosphere Like seascapes, ride marshes, backwaters and harbors are m ore difficult than they appear. T he mood and atmosphere have to be well handled, che work muse be well composed, interestingly lit, and personally felt to avoid predictabili ty. (Cont. on p. 27)

ROBERT LEROY, "Boacing Buddies," wa-

tercolor, 28 x 36 inches. "The "Jay" boat, with a mainsail and jib, is pop ular fo r two-man crews at the Carolina Yacht C lub, W rightsville Beach, No rch Carolina. In chis painting two teenagers are hoisting sail and getting ready to shove off the beach into Banks Ch annel. This painting is not only about the commonly seen activity of setting sail, but of the light coming thro ugh the sails, the reflections on the water, and the effecc of the wind. I have used a loose watercolor technique to suggest the constant morion of the water and the refl ections. The use of ocher and violet helps to minimize the use of blue in a subj ect that can often become - RL too blue in its overall effect. " 24