About the Exhibition
Each year PAAM mounts upwards of 6 members’ open and juried exhibitions in which participants display their work alongside some of America’s most noteworthy artists.
Members’ Exhibitions at PAAM represent the work of contemporary artist-members of the Provincetown Art Association and Museum. Many of these artists live on Cape Cod either full-time or for part of the year. While the work varies greatly in media and approach, each artist-member joins a long roster of distinguished artists who have studied, taught, and exhibited at PAAM over the past 100 years. There is no submission fee for members’ exhibitions, but membership must be up to date.
Jurying an art show is very different from organizing an exhibit around an artist or theme. In a juried show, the curator has no idea of what works will be waiting. The task involves taking a group of disparate pieces and making a cohesive whole. It speaks to the vibrancy of the art scene in Provincetown and the Cape, and to the strength of PAAM as a hub for the arts, that I found such a treasury of submissions.
To begin the process, I surveyed the individual pieces many times, flying overhead, seeing what the catch is, looking and listening, searching for commonalities, similar languages in mediums and messages. Certain artworks stood out or spoke loudly, and I pulled these pieces and began to create groupings. Some stories came together quickly, roughly sketched, generally cohesive but missing an element.
There is a murky period, for a few hours, where nothing makes sense. The artworks are moved around, to the right side of another work, to the left; it is a big soup. When I get stuck, I take a break, take a walk, and then come back and start to shape and design again.
Then, there is a turning point, a transformation when all the pieces start to fall into place. In this show, a grouping of works that had a certain magical quality came together quickly; they all had a touch of craft and of mystery. Another group of photographs had an eerie and solitary tone, they joined together nicely. Sometimes the scale matches up- a wooden boat, an abstract sea, and a painting of houses; all of equal scale with a shared blue tone, then an unexpected element is added- two abstract paintings that stand in for wood and fog; the visual poem is complete. Another grouping came together like a stage set, with a large scale figural painting, hot colors, paired with a cubist sculpture of a chair and table; this story speaks of the high drama of human emotion. And so on.
Then I refine, introduce new pieces that make the stories more interesting or that somehow make sense together. Many artworks are strong, but don’t fit neatly, and sadly I pull them out.
The members show is not a complete picture, but a reflection of a few facets of what is going on in the arts on Cape Cod.
Many thanks to Chris McCarthy for the invitation and opportunity to curate this exhibit. It is a pleasure to discover new artists and work with a such a vibrant museum. I would also like to thank Jane Paradise and Richard Lacasse who helped pull things together and Jim Zimmerman for the excellent job of hanging the art- a fun team to work with! And thank you to all of the artists who participated for inspiring all of us with your creative vision.
About the Juror
Sarah Johnson is the Director and Curator of the Cahoon Museum of American Art. She has worked for more than twenty years in the museum field as an art historian, curator, and historic preservationist. She holds a PhD in Art History from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.
Prior to the Cahoon Museum, Johnson served as curator at Orange Regional Medical Center in New York and developed and managed the Greater Hudson Valley Health System’s art program, which included the acquisition of a permanent art collection, organizing a contemporary art exhibit series, and designing arts in healthcare projects. Previous to this, Johnson was curator at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art in New York. Johnson has also previously worked in curatorial departments at the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art and has taught art history at the School of Visual Arts and Hunter College in New York.
Astrid, Ramon Alcolea, Hiram Ball, Midge Battelle, Eric Beck, Heather Blume, Jane Cooper Brayton, Naya Bricher, Chip Brock, Margaret Burdick, John Cira, Vincent Crotty, Joseph Diggs, Barbara Ford Doyle, Lee Ann Fanning, Carol Fitzsimons, Alice Galick, Robert Glisson, Michael Guy, Christian Hall, William Hamlin, Robert Henry, Charlie Horey, Olga Kahn, Paul Kelly, Chet Kempczynski, Deborah Kerr, Jane Kogan, Leslie Kramer, Andreas Kuehn, Lorraine Kujawa, Alex Leaver, Keith MacLelland, Chuck McNally, Diane Messinger, Wayne Miller, Robert Morgan, Rosalie Nadeau, Erica Nazzaro, Christine Niles, Karen Ojala, Jane Paradise, Richard Pepitone, Pamela Redick, John Redick, Sarah Riley, Hugo Rizzoli, Sian Robertson, Joan Rogers, Nancy Rubens, Julia Salinger, Lew Schwartz, Mariellen Serena, Laura Shabott, Alexandra Smith, Marilyn Syme, Lenore Tenenblatt, James C. Varnum, Mitch Villani, Adam Bruce Wentworth, James Wolf, Mike Wright, and Laurence Young.
Drop-Off Day for this exhibition is Tuesday, February 14 from 12-4pm. There is no theme or size restriction, but works must be dry and ready to hang upon arrival. The juror will select works based solely on her vision for the exhibition, results will be posted here and via e-blast by the afternoon of Thursday, February 16. Membership must be valid through April, 2017 to qualify for submission, anyone is welcome to renew or join when dropping off work. Early drop-offs are welcome the weekend prior to Drop-Off Day during Museum hours: Thursday-Sunday, 12-5pm, and work may also be mailed (please include a completed Artwork Receipt and credit card information or a check for return shipping).