Falmouth Art Center 50th Anniversary Fall Juried Exhibition


Gallery wall showing Juror’s Choice, “Mourning After,” by Claudia Smith Jacobs, “Cuba Libre,” by Doreen Sykes, “The Model,” by Adele Huestis, and “The Model,” “Acquinnah,” by Linda Collins. 

The Falmouth Art Center’s 50th Anniversary Fall Juried Exhibition celebrates the center’s vibrant history with a colorful array of beautifully rendered Cape Cod scenes, sunlit interiors, whimsical sculptures, and people in intriguing poses. The show runs through September 26 the Falmouth Art Center, 137 Gifford Street.

Juror Bao Lede, artist and owner of the Tao Water Art Gallery in West Barnstable, served as juror. His Juror’s Choice, “Mourning After,” an acrylic by Claudia Smith Jacobs, is striking, not only for its large size and stark colors, but also for the story it implies. A bedraggled woman, her multi-hued blonde hair in disarray, stares miserably into space. Her face and hair are detailed; her t-shirt and arms look unfinished by comparison, yet they draw the viewer down to her wrists, lightly crossed, and one realizes the silver bands encircling her wrists are not bracelets, but handcuffs.


It’s a powerful work, made all the more interesting by David F. Kelley’s pastel, “Paris 1927) on the adjacent wall. Another woman, elegantly attired but also in muted tones, hands similarly brought together in her lap, seems to look on, perhaps in sympathy.

A cheerier mood is expressed Molly Johnston’s photo, “Happy Groom,” in which the groom grins toward the camera, while the bride looks down, smiling contentedly. Again, the colors are muted; the photo is almost black-and-white, with the exception of the skin tones of the blissful couple.

Another photo, “Cuba Libre,” by Doreen Sykes, shows two young Cuban boys, each dancing determinedly, moving in opposite directions to his own music, heading off the page. It’s a dramatic black-and-white image, and Bao awarded it a blue ribbon for Best Photo.

Evan Charney’s “Library Time,” a small color woodcut, is of a girl in a comfy chair, her position appropriately awkward, reading from a tablet, her cat nestled nearby. It’s an endearing, cozy scene.

“The Model,” a black-and-white waxed crayon drawing by Adele Huestis, is simple but compelling. Art students gather ‘round to draw what looks like a somewhat eccentric woman with an expressive face and a big floppy had adored with flowers or fruit. It is not clear where she stops and the students begin, but her diagonal pose, leaning away from the students, sets her apart.

Best Pastel was awarded to Betty Jameson for “Tell Me About Your Childhood,” a large close-up of a man’s head and shoulders. He looks intensely at the viewer, his hand held against his face in a pensive pose. Jameson uses her medium well to suggest his face, beard, plaid shirt, and his concentrated focus on the viewer.

Lisa Jo Rudy’s photograph, “Mt. Desert,” offers a transition from people-centered works to landscapes and seascapes. Her spectacular vista of sea and cliff almost overpowers the people in the distance, but it is through them that we experience the grandeur of the natural features.

There are a number of lovely seascapes, including Bao’s own “Sunset in My Memory I”: spare, cream-colored sunlit dunes overlooking the sea. Gary Boehk’s oil painting, “Buzzard’s Bay in Grey,” to which Bao awarded an Honorable Mention, echoes Bao’s creamy dunes, but the gray skies and water reflect a different mood. Buttery dunes reappear in Linda Collins’ large oil, “Acquinnah,” the water surrounded by an almost abstract array of dunes. James Musto’s mixed-media piece offers another view of the sand—using actual sand, pebbles, and netting to recreate small, flowing rivulets on the beach.

Landscapes are well-represented too. “Shadows in the Forest,” a serigraph by Shirley Hershey, is a delicately colored view of the woods in winter, the shadows of the trees falling across the snow. “Just Around the Corner,” a small pastel by Abby Ribbans, is a nicely sunlit patch of woods; there is snow on the ground, but the stream is thawing. Judith Richardson’s “Last Light,” another small pastel, presents a vivid sunset. Betsy Payne Cook’s “Autumn Delight” is yet another small pastel with something to say. The red and orange shrubs in the foreground give way to marshes and woods, as the eye follows a gently curving pathway to the sea.

Two oil paintings, both awarded Honorable Mentions, bring the outdoors inside. “July Afternoon” by Valerie Belcher shows a cluttered room brilliantly lit by the summer sun, and “Outside Light Inside” by Margaret Fair Nowak shows a plain living room given new life by the light from outside.


Playful sculpture and fiber pieces include “Vorple Bunny,” by Leslie Lichtenstein, a roly-poly bunny with a small bird perched behind its ears; “Animal Stack,” by Sandra Whelan, a quintet of ceramic jungle and farm animals, each on each other’s backs; and “Underwater Garden,” by Susan Beardsley, which was awarded Best Sculpture. It is a striking array of colorful knitted and crocheted exotic underwater plants and corals.


“Tonka’s Dream,” a splendid art quilt by Carmen Goldstein, is rich in color and imagery;  a single buffalo stands on the plain, mountains and magnificent sunset in the distance, but the intricate patterns of color and shape within the buffalo reveal the dream.

There is much to see and savor in this elegant and imaginative exhibition.


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