Copley Society of Art
158 Newbury Street
Through August 22
Tucked in the back of the Copley Society is the “Red Room Gallery,” a cozy nook currently dedicated to Nancy Colella’s tribute to summertime. It’s a quiet room, with soft-spoken oil paintings, a collection of seaside scenes where things could happen — where things certainly will happen — but where things aren’t happening at this very moment. Colella
harnesses that anticipation in sunny, intimate oil painted vignettes.
“Beach Peeks” takes a tired theme and makes it fresh again, replacing expansive, sweeping beach scenes with suggestions of oceanfront. Colella lets us glimpse at the water from in between cottages; she teases us when she purposefully paints the water just out
of our view on the other side of a row of sun-drenched houses. She lets us in on the joke when she paints from the sand and looks up into the waving blades of a coastal New England yard. We are acutely aware of both the presence and
the absence of the sea. Its presence is felt in the sway of the grass, in the hue of the sky, in the bridges that traverse inner tidal pools. But the sea jolts to life in its own absence — just out of the scope of our immediate view it adopts an infinite and indelible role.