In part, this exhibition — Deep in the Quiet Wood — honors the two-hundredth anniversary of Henry David Thoreau’s birth (b.1817) who in his book Walden or, Life in the Woods wrote “We need the tonic of wildness. At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
To this point, the exhibition focuses on a place we call ‘the wood’ — where we amble among growing trees, marvel at their majesty, walk paths strewn with their fallen leaves, touch their bark and examine the clinging lichen, enjoy the comfort of their shade, seek solitude.
The works in this show are a tribute to these features — beauty, majesty, mystery. Artists living and working on Cape Ann include Gabrielle Barzaghi, Adin Murray, Esther Pullman and George Wingate; included also is British artist Michael Porter who in 2004 was artist-in-residence in Gloucester and whose work is in the permanent collection of the Cape Ann Museum.
On the flat file, you will find a copy Barbara Bosworth’s beautiful book trees as our national champions. The introduction by Roger Conover begins with words appropriate to the exhibition: Philosophers, artists, and scientists have been asking why we are drawn to trees since before the time of Plato. …. In their stillness, trees are the most elusive of beings. In their silence, trees have given voice to poets from Homer to Heaney. And in their patience, trees do not wait to be understood. They may live for thousands of years, but they die mysterious.
Artists in the exhibition:
Gabrielle Barzaghi graduated from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston where she received the Alumni Traveling Scholarship Award. She taught drawing at the New England School of Art & Design, Boston before devoting herself full-time to her studio work. She lives at the edge of Gloucester’s Dogtown — a source of inspiration and mystery. Barzaghi’s work has been shown at the MFA, Boston; the Currier Museum; the Fuller Museum; and is in the permanent collection of the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln MA; and the Cape Ann Museum where it is currently on display. Her work is held in corporate and private collections.
Adin Murray holds a BA in Art/Biology from Tulane University and received an MFA in painting at Savanah College of Art & Design. He lives and works in West Gloucester, maintaining a studio surrounded by fields and woods. His paintings and drawings are close observations of the natural landscape of Cape Ann — the marsh grass and river inlets, quarries ringed by trees, cloud studies, the luminous sky, the ocean’s shimmer. His work is in private and corporate collections, in the US and abroad.
Michael Porter (UK) maintains a studio in the west of England, near Penzance, Cornwall. His work has been regularly exhibited in museums and contemporary galleries in London, Europe and the US; he is the recipient of numerous major awards, including The National Gallery, London, Artist-in-Residence, The Lorne Award London University, The Odin Award RWA, Honorary Doctorate from Derby University UK and Honorary Fellow of University College, Falmouth UK. In 2004 he was Artist-in-Residence in Gloucester MA; and in 2014 Artist-in-Residence at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, Connecticut. His work is in major museums around the world, including, in the US, the Yale Center for British Art and the Cape Ann Museum.
Esther Pullman earned an MFA in graphic design at Yale University, and later studied photography at The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She lives and works in Cambridge MA and summers in a cottage she restored in Annisquam. She combined her professional background with her love of gardens and embarked on a 10-year project titled Green | House | Divided, panoramic photographs of greenhouses found in the United States and Europe. This series has been widely exhibited and reviewed in the New York Times. Her work is held in public and private collections, among them the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Fidelity Investment Bank, Wellington Bank US and International, Danforth Museum, and Smith College.
George Wingate studied architecture at Syracuse University and painting at The New School (NYC) and The Arts Students League (NYC). He lives In Wenham where he maintains an extensive garden where paths meander outward to the edge of conservation land. His paintings were the subject of a solo show at the White-Ellery House, Cape Ann Museum in 2015; and his work has been exhibited widely. Artist Deborah Barlow muses: “Wingate’s work has a staggering range. He was trained in traditional painting but is also a postmodernist, a minimalist, a sculptor, a poet and an all over evocator. George creates a visual stream of consciousness experience, a neural network of ideas and connections. ….he is one of those “who require everything to remind them of something else.”