The exhibit, Natural Attraction took place at the Brickbottom Gallery March 5 - April 4, 2020. I proposed the idea to Debra Olin, Gallery Director in September 2018. The idea was introduce artists I knew from Cape Cod to my community at Brickbottom in Somerville. I chose five artists whose inspiration came from the natural world, but were not landscapes in the traditional sense. Four live on Cape Cod and one lives in Boston, but is deeply involved in the woods surrounding the city.
My Proposal - now updated for use as the gallery's press release
I have long been interested in how our imagination and memories interact with the natural world. For this exhibit, I have chosen 5 artists who celebrate the diversity of this world through thoughtful observation and interpretation. Each artist’s work is a commentary, as well, on how we see.
Four of the artists live on Cape Cod and their studio practice is influenced by their location. Robert Shreefter lives in Wellfleet. He is primarily a print-maker, whose techniques include both silkscreen and drypoint/monotype. His sensitive multilayered images often include bits of poetry and reflect his earlier work as an English teacher. Nature for Shreefter becomes a metaphor for representing his relationships to words and narrative meaning. Truro painter Nancy Berlin’s colorful series is called ‘Flying by: A birder’s notes”. A neophyte bird watcher, she sees glimpses of colors and forms at the periphery of her visual field and is left with a fragmented memory. On top of historical birding guides, Berlin has overlaid abstract composites of color and form, almost obliterating, yet hinting at, the presence the bird itself. Sculptor, Susan Lyman, lives and works in Provincetown. She writes, “Ever since I moved to Provincetown in 1981, trees and woods – and the greater botanical world - have given me source, material, inspiration, and solace. I scavenge my materials at the beach, in the woods, and at local tree dumps”. In her animated beautifully rendered sculpture, she laminates, carves and constructs these materials into hybrid relationships with botanical forms that mimic the sensuality and imperfections of the human body.
Terry Gips, and Prilla Smith Brackett observe nature up close. Terry Gips, who lives in Mashpee, uses cameras and scanners to record and remember what she finds: plant specimens including details of roots, blossoms, and leaves; samples of rocks and minerals; views of water, ice, and soil. These images are enlarged and can become portraits of a particular specimen or used as a starting point for a work that becomes highly abstracted. Although Prilla Smith Brackett lives in the city of Boston, she has profound connections to the woodlands surrounding the urban nexus. In her complex layered prints, she transforms botanical images with lithography, chine-collé, stencil, and hand painting. The series “The Mind’s Garden” and “What to Do?” are about not knowing and are connected to recent upheavals in her life. These images come from a deeply personal space
These five artists are professionally active and have exhibited widely, but they are new to the Brickbottom Gallery.