CCMOA’s Summer of Storytelling
by Brian Goslow
If you grew up in New England in the 1950s and ‘60s, one of summer’s most memorable experiences was a journey to Storyland Cape Cod, a magical village that stirred many a child’s imagination. This summer, a modern version will arise at the Cape Cod Museum of Art, thanks to Susan Danton, owner and director of Miller White Fine Arts on Route 134 in South Dennis, Mass., who has playfully crafted “At the Crossroads: Six Narratives at the Intersection of Identity and Community,” an exhibition featuring a half-dozen unique artistic experiences.
The show is part of CCMOA’s “A Summer of Storytelling,” also featuring “William Hemmerdinger: The Duxbury Merchant.” Danton has assembled a group of artists who through their work tell stories relevant to issues going on in our world today: the need for family and friends, community, recognizing how misconceptions create societal divide; the need to appreciate and preserve our environment and how we all need time for transcendental experiences to relieve the stress of our lives.
“The Village” features a portion of the 781 portraits Jon Goldman set out to paint of residents of Wood’s Hole as of the 2010 United States Census. “Currently in its third year and painting #195, I am slowly making my way through to my target,” he said. “‘The Village Portrait Project’ is a life work. It has and will continue to take years to make. It has introduced me to a community, and as the archive of the works continues, the portraits become my community.”
Danton looks forward to watching visitors getting “face to face” with “The Village,” identifying people they recognize, sharing their own personal stories of them in their lives. Not knowing them won’t diminish the experience, she said. “What you’re looking at is any scene that you might face in a crowded train station or a concert or a wedding where you don’t know everybody but you’re in the midst of people … people of different races, economic status, education.”
Mainly built of photo clippings, gloss gel medium and wood, to fully appreciate the works in “Jill Hedrick: The Family,” you’ll have to bring your focus and imagination, as the clippings have been cut down into minimal strips, then composed into pieces that initially make you think you’re looking at a bar code.
“My work has been able to grab people’s attention just from curiosity,” said Hyannis-resident Hedrick, a professor at the Montserrat College of Art. “I watch people and they immediately take a closer look to identify what is really going on. I’ve heard people say, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this’ or ‘What is the material?’ I know that people are impressed by the repetitiveness and color of the pieces. Whether they truly understand it, I’m not sure.”