By Rhiannon Leigh
As a Cape Cod native and artist, I understand using the child-like sense of home, vibrant sunsets and colors of the coast and the overall relationship with nature to evoke one’s passion. “Formal Aspects,” an exhibition in which six artists use their memories of time spent on the Cape to create vastly different portrayals of their experiences with the unique Cape Cod landscape, is currently on view at the Cape Cod Museum of Art in Dennis.
The show features Erica Adams, Emily Berger, Joanne Freeman, Sarah Hinckley, Joanne Mattera and Mira Schor, who utilize several different mediums and techniques that give the show contrasting qualities ranging from bright, color field paintings that evoke a light hearted emotion to paintings that hold a much darker meaning.
Sarah Hinckley, who curated the show, wrote that she finds her inspiration from her experiences growing up on Cape Cod, “surrounded by color fields of water, march, beach, and sky, AND Rothko…” all of which can be clearly identified in her paintings. This is particularly true in “And The Wind Whispers,” which features bright and subdued tones in three separate blocks within the painting.
What is continuously striking about this exhibit is how differently each artist portrays their Cape experiences. In her artist statement, Joanne Mattera writes that her “Silk Road” series is an “exploration of color and light,” while Mira Schor sees her “The Dreams of All of Us” series as a darker commentary of the socio-economic gap between the wealthy and the homeless in Manhattan, which can also be mirrored by the homeless on Cape Cod and the seasonal residents.
Joanne Freeman has several abstract, geometric paintings in the exhibition. She uses bright blues, teals, pinks and oranges in many of her works, including “Half Moon,” which evoke the images of the beautiful beaches and sunsets, while the geometry of the painting relates to her own personal space and in the surrounding space of these landscapes.
Erica Adams also finds inspiration through her surroundings and experiences growing up to create what she called a “Nature versus Culture” body of work where the differences and similarities of each are prevalent. The titles “Erode/Corrode” and “Aqueous/Viscous” alone display the natural elements of the Cape Cod Seashore.
Emily Berger draws from “the light, color and urban landscapes” that she remembers from her time on the Cape and as well as the places she interacts with every day. Her piece, “E7_22,” features shades of brown and closely resembles the sandy beaches of Cape Cod, creating a rhythmic dynamic between landscape and art.
Through these six artists and their different mediums and styles, “Formal Aspects” encapsulates the beauty of Cape Cod as well as the different interactions between human and nature.
(“Formal Aspects” continues through May 31 at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, 60 Hope Lane, Dennis, Mass.; a panel discussion with the artists will take place on Saturday, May 9 at 2 p.m. For more information, call (508) 385-4477.)