While many Cape Ann artists continue to make art celebrating local landmarks because they’re known commodities, the variety of work and styles coming out of the region is expanding — a fact exemplified by the Newburyport Art Association’s 15th Annual Regional Juried Show. “The Regional is a pretty fantastic show,” said Leonard G. Joiner. “It’s especially good because many of the artists in it don’t show their work all the time.”
While Joiner’s graphite drawings, “Old Gloucester Harbor Dock” and “Drawing Cormorant” follow his long-established New England-centered themes of farming, marine and animal-based work grounded in its rocks, tree and wood textures, he’s been trying to build a reputation for his more abstract works as well.
He’s been drawing since age 8, initially copying magazine images of presidents, but by 12 or so he got into seashores and at 68 is still into drawing them. “My grandparents lived in Beverly so I spent a lot of time in Beverly Harbor and on boats,” Joiner said. Many have criticized him — starting with his teachers at college — for not expanding into paints. “I tried watercolors. I tried oils. I tried them all,” he said.
He likes working with graphite because it allows him to get closer to his subject. “I can manipulate it better,” Joiner said. “Sometimes I spend 100 hours on a drawing.”
Brian Allen, director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Andover Academy, juried the 2012 NAA Regional Show. There are 154 artists in the show, which saw a 40 percent increase in the number of submissions it received in 2011. Out of 513 entries, 219 were accepted into the show.
Some early favorites include Robin Thornhill’s pastel “Glorious Sunset,” Ann Jones’ watercolor “Early Risers” portrait of farmland sheep and Patty deGrandpre “Flower Power Family of 4” monoprints, which have a warm, earthy, pop art feel to them. In the fine crafts category, Joan Goodnough’s “Circular State” is visually pleasingly in its complexity as is the labor-intensive ceramic “Sea Blossom” sculpture made by Maine College of Art graduate Lisa Victoria, who currently works out of Red Cloud Studios of Merrimac, Mass.