There are times that our lives demand new experiences and nowhere else is this more the case than when it comes to viewing art — that is, unless the experience of not knowing what comes next in your everyday life has worn you down. Which is, of course, where many of us find ourselves in the summer of 2019, grasping for something that feels familiar and comfortable.
Thankfully, “Re\Vision,” the Summer Members Show at the Copley Society of Art, brings us back to places, feelings and sensations that are only a short walk or drive away — the beach, an artist’s studio, a fresh painting, abandoned buildings still holding the smallest suggestion of a rebirth being possible.
Erin R. Corrales-Diaz, assistant curator of American art at the Worcester Art Museum, was the show’s judge and curator. “Having had the honor to jury other art exhibitions in the past, I knew I wanted to start by simply taking in all 247 submissions before even considering the selection process,” she explained. “You need to spend time with each submission, as some require really looking into the details, and others that might catch the eye initially lack depth.”
“I didn’t jury with a specific theme in mind, at first. Initially, I paid attention to technical skill, unconventional perspectives and work that rewarded close looking or extended viewing. Eventually, a ‘sense of place’ came into focus, a ‘Re\Vision,’ if you will.”
My own personal favorites included Frank Bartucca’s “End of Show, Upton, Massachusetts 2018,” a digital photograph of a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey train, partially hidden by brush and resigned to history when the long running circus, a memorable part of many of our lives, closed shop in 2017. It’s a reminder of things slowly being lost to time.
Del-Bourree Bach’s acrylic on panel “A Blast from the Past” painting of the Thunderbolt roller coaster that used to thrill so many at Coney Island, New York, holds the same societal echoes. Operating from 1925 to 1982, the memories it held fueled the imagination until it was demolished in 2000.
Jim Connelly’s oil on canvas “Baseball Lifecycle” shows the various stages of the horsehide sphere’s life, each section reigniting various memories, from buying your first fresh ball at a local athletic goods store to seeing ripped seams from a hard hit and the unveiling of the tightly strung wool hidden inside that almost all kids excitingly unraveled at one time in their lives. It could be taken as a metaphor for life.
Two still life paintings held a special freshness for me. Debra Keirce’s acrylic “Milk and Cookies” painting integrates vases, a silk tablecloth and freshly picked pussy willows in front of the backdrop of a wallpaper print of yellow leaves. It seems that some of us are paying attention to the smaller things and details of late. Elaine Gardner’s oil “Oriental Pitcher with Lanterns” painting utilizes newer bowls, pitchers and yellow apples, perhaps more mass produced than items normally pulled into such painted settings, but holding the feeling of home just the same.
As a huge fan of cities and towns that have held onto their old unique features, I love Matt McCosco’s “North Square Boston” watercolor painting that captures a vibrant neighborhood intersection highlighted by a corner restaurant and copper window facades holding seemingly endless views onto the street. It’s a reminder of how complex each life experience is when we take the time to stop and appreciate it — and how many different strokes and hours of work go into a single painting.