The Power to Transport–The American by Russ Kramer
n mid-April as I write this, no one is allowed to visit a museum and have their emotions stirred by standing before a beautiful work of art. Just a week after the busy opening reception of the American Society of Marine Artists’ 18th National Exhibition at the Jamestown Settlement Museum in Williamsburg, Virginia, the lights were shut off and the doors locked due to the COVID19 pandemic. There, in an extraordinary space customized to enhance the visitor experience, sit 111 works of exceptional contemporary marine art, now in the dark, waiting patiently to be illuminated and admired once again. Hopefully, by the time you read this, the show is open and the five-museum, twenty-month run of the national exhibition will have resumed. It is an impressive collection: paintings in every medium, sculptures, drawings, and scrimshaw by the ASMA’s top artists, juried by the Society’s Fellows and culled from over 400 entries. This is only the 18th time in the Society’s forty-plus-year history that we have presented our best new works for national exhibition, and, in my opinion, it is by far the strongest. ASMA president Lisa Egeli writes, “All our artists draw inspiration from a wide range of locations and experiences that include waters, both navigable and discrete,
and activities, both carefully researched from history and observed directly from life. The founders of the American Society of Marine Artists were mostly painters of tall ships and other vessels that ply the high seas. While depicting scenes from maritime history is still at the core of our mission, today’s members also capture life under the sea, along the shorelines, and even in ponds, streams, and boathouses.” There is truly something for everyone to enjoy. The 18th National Exhibition was scheduled to close in Jamestown in late April before traveling at the end of May to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michael’s, Maryland, where it was to stay through Labor Day. From there it would go to the GulfQuest Maritime Museum in Mobile, the Burroughs-Chapin Museum of Art in Myrtle Beach, and finally to the Minnesota Marine Art Museum in Winona in summer 2021. As this unprecedented situation unfolds, please check for updates or revisions to the schedule on the ASMA website. Perhaps in a post-pandemic world we will be more aware of the value of simple pleasures in our own lives, and the restorative nature of art to revive and inspire us. On behalf of the ASMA and its 500 artist members, I invite you to explore and enjoy our personal experiences and visions,
presented for you through the works of the 18th National Exhibition. A small sampling of the artworks is presented here, along with commentary from the Society’s Fellows, who selected these and dozens of others to represent the best of the American Society of Marine Artists.
Nightwatch by Darrell Davis, bronze, 19 x 5 x 6.25 inches
all images courtesy of the artists and asma
“This sculpture is beautifully designed. He takes our eye from a simple understated base along an elegant sweeping arc to the engaging and dramatic posture of the head, beak and crest. The transformation of the piece from hard geometry to meticulous detail is what engages me the most.”—Len Tantillo
Buckeye Battlewagon by Richard Allison, oil, 18 x 24 inches 38
“It is unusual to have a such a subject as the 1820 USS Ohio painted with both accuracy and convincing presentation, and it is commendable that Richard Allison took on a subject that is little known in American naval history. Beautiful and engaging values, composition and dynamic action.” —Charles Raskob Robinson SEA HISTORY 171, SUMMER 2020
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