Falmouth Art Center: Summer Juried Exhibit

The Falmouth Art Center’s Summer Juried Exhibit (on display through August 1) offers, with a few notable exceptions, a glorious collection of gorgeous summer Cape Cod (and nearby) scenes. There are beguiling marshes, beaches, dunes, boats, buoys, and quaint buildings, colorful birds and flowers, and an assortment of interesting people and objects in the show.

Juror Paul Schulenburg selected several of these quintessential Cape Cod scenes for awards, but also recognized some of the works whose subject matter strayed from the beautiful day theme. Schulenburg, who studied classical painting at Boston University School of Fine Arts, graduating in 1979, is a member of the Copley Society of Art in Boston. He lives and paints primarily in the outer Cape.

Schulenburg has been compared to Edward Hopper for his realistic architectural and interior scenes and solitary figurative work of everyday people. He uses contrasting light and shadow effectively to set mood. His work, “Red and Blue Tile Bath,” ?? on display at the Art Center, is of a woman in a long red robe, arranging her hair after a bath, her back to us. One side of the room is brightly lit, but she looks into the darkness of an adjacent room.

Schulenburg’s choice for Best in Show is “Family” by Douglass Gray, a rust-colored steel sculpture depicting a family in the sparsest possible way, as rising elongated rods ending in small round head shapes. “Beautiful concept distilled down to basic elements; simple elegant design,” Schulenburg comments.

“Outbound” by Jonathan Earle is Juror’s Choice. This oil painting of a Green Line train in Boston emerging from a tunnel, the Citgo sign above, is bathed in warm sunlight with distinctive buildings of Boston behind it. Schulenburg comments that it reflects “good composition and use of atmospheric perspective.”

Other awards were given for “Wood Neck Morning” by Meredith Howard (Best Oil); “Bluest Sky” by Patti Barrett (Best Pastel); “Brenta Canal” by Kathleen Taylor (Best Water Media); “Twilight” by Lynn Carreiro (Best Mixed Media), and “Of Shoes and Ships and Sealing Wax” by Sandra Hadley (Best Graphic). Eight Honorable Mentions were also awarded.

Schulenburg’s choices, and his comments, are illuminating, and I encourage you to visit the show, view the winning works of art, and read why the juror selected those he did. It must have been difficult to make the selections, as every piece in this show is excellent in its own way. Following are some of my thoughts about various works not awarded a prize.

Eileen Casey’s pastel, “In Among the Trumpet Vine,” is one of my favorites. I love the vivid dark colors of the vines and flowers encircling a nest of dark blue mottled eggs, as if they were fine gems on a necklace. Kathy Timmins’s watercolor, “Things Left Behind,” imparts a similar feel, though the colors are lighter and brighter, and the vines and eggs are replaced by pebbles on the sandy beach.

Lois Kaufman’s watercolor, “Back Bay Boston,” uses a beautiful sand, taupe, and brown color scheme, giving the urban buildings a serene and natural look. Another natural-looking building is Erica M. Szuplat’s oil painting, “Morning Salutation.” The white church is set in the distance, behind a graveyard and trees, but the intensity of greens and grays tie the painting together and give a sense of the peace and strength to be found within the church.

“Row Boat 1,” by Anita Hodges-Zand, is easy to miss at first. It is a small dark acrylic painting, a dark green rowboat resting in dark blue water, but it has a certain appeal, and the patience to wait until you take it in. Another small piece is Debbie Watson’s “Laugh,” a fiber mixed-media work with a cartoon-like quality, but the simple body shapes effectively convey two people enjoying each other’s company.

Leslie Lichtenstein’s “Coonamessett Dragon” is an amusing clay sculpture of a goofy dragon with a funny little bird perched on its tail. Kimberly Sheerin’s “Moby” clay vase is a nice companion piece, with its etched whale and intricate design.

Wendy Vogel’s “Buoy in Fog,” an oil painting, is an appealing misty depiction of fog at sea. Christine Weisiger’s “Summer Shine,” an oil painting, is one of several marshland or coastal landscapes. It has a lovely glow of sunshine and warmth to it.

Betsy Payne Cook’s pastel, “Last One In,” has an interesting perspective, looking down through jubilantly flowering trees at what looks to be a child running along a pathway. Another figure painting, “The Photographer,” an oil by Patty Calkins-Martin, offers a nice turnaround, a painting of man photographing the sea.

Thomas Geagan’s watercolor, “Doomed,” shows a seagull about to scarf down a crab. There is humor and a sense of impending action in the scene. Another bird, “Patriotic Kingfisher,” a watercolor by Maurice Bosse, creates a different mood entirely, the bird’s coloring reflecting the American flag, set against a vivid red-orange background.

“Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” a large mixed-media painting by Claudia Smith-Jacobs, was selected by Schulenburg as an honorable mention, but is worth mentioning again. An African American man, with his hands up is framed in the cross-hairs of a gun, the names of African Americans killed by the police in recent high-profile cases are written on the bullseye behind his head. It’s a sobering painting, amid the seascapes and idealized views of Boston, but one that has much to say.

The Falmouth Art Center is at 137 Gifford Street in Falmouth. It is open Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM, Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM, and Sunday from 1 to 4 PM.

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