The Art Complex Museum is a hidden gem tucked away off the winding streets of Duxbury, Massachusetts. Its striking, wave-like structure is nestled in a cornucopia of green that is impressive to all those who stumble upon it. The Art Complex houses the impressive collection of the Carl A. Weyerhaeuser family that includes paintings, sculptures, prints and furniture. Along with displaying this collection, they also prioritize contemporary art exhibits. Two of these impressive exhibits are on display now; “Aaron Norfolk: Audio-Visio” and “TAG: Contemporary Painters,” in which the artists were paired with the writings of local poets.
Aaron Norfolk’s “Audio-Visio” exhibit focuses on the human form as well as his visual representation of sound. Inspired by the music surrounding him while he works, three of the pieces in this exhibit, “Nightsong,” “Echo” and “Empress I,” are dedicated to his interpretation of sound. The remainder of the exhibit focuses on the human form through a unique technique. At a recent artist talk at the museum, Norfolk spoke of the emphasis on the human form in art school. Hours were spent perfecting his technique and he often finds himself noting the shapes that make up the faces of people he encounters throughout the day.
Norfolk’s “Untitled Series” was a two-year project after Covid that truly displays his affinity for faces. Thirty-two faces, all in different colors and slightly different styles, hang in a grid in the Phoenix Gallery. Each piece’s individuality creates a character. Norfolk had no muse for this series, really giving the viewer a blank canvas of interpretation. Another stand out piece in this exhibit is “Bathers.” Inspired by the classic bathing scene, this piece’s striking colors and painting technique offers a modern twist to this familiar scene. Norfolk’s special use of lines and shapes gives these bodies a geometric, yet extremely dimensional look that almost gives you a look under the skin of these characters. These paintings fill the beautiful space of the Phoenix Gallery perfectly and make for a truly pleasant visit.
The next contemporary exhibit on display is the “TAG” exhibit. The concept for this project was a massive game of tag. The museum’s contemporary curator, Craig Bloodgood, chose the starting artist, Carol O’Malia, who then chose the next artist, Kevin Kearns. The process continued and Tula Telfair, Peter Waite, Chil Mott, Gina Volpe and Angela Godoy were all tagged to participate.
From dead bugs to bed sheets, to burning sheds, arctic scenes, and everything in between, this exhibit explores a wide range of subject matter that surely has something for everyone. And if this concept wasn’t already exciting enough, the Art Complex collaborated with the Duxbury Free Library and the Poetry Circle to pair artists with a poet from the group. Each poet chose a piece that spoke to them and wrote a poem to be displayed alongside the piece in the gallery. This project was very exciting for the artists who loved seeing how their work was interpreted and put into words. This exhibit brought so many members of the community together and turned out beautifully. It is creative, innovating and worth a visit.
The Art Complex is free to all those who visit. They are open Wednesday through Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. and well worth your time, so check out these exhibits before they’re gone. Aaron Norfolk’s “Audio-Visio” exhibit will be on display until August 13 and the “TAG” exhibit until August 27. While you’re there, make sure to explore their Wanda Gág print exhibit from their permanent collection, also lasting through August 27, as well as their Founders Room to learn about the history of the museum.
(“Aaron Norfolk: Audio-Visio” remains on view through August 13 while “TAG: Contemporary Painters” and “Wanda Gág: Artist, Author and Illustrator” continue through August 27 at the Art Complex Museum, 189 Alden St., Duxbury, Massachusetts. For more information, call (781) 934-6634 or visit artcomplexmuseum.org.)