Upcoming ‘What's Nude’ exhibition draws 43 artists
“What's Nude in Boothbay Harbor?” … the subjects of paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs this weekend at Studio 53 Fine Art by 43 artists from Maine with a few from New Hampshire and Massachusetts. “What's Nude” opens on Friday, Feb. 10 at 11 a.m. with the opening reception that evening from 5-8 p.m. and most of the artists will be there to “talk art.” The show runs through Valentine's Day weekend to Sunday, Feb. 12.
Patricia Royall, executive director of the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce, is curator. This is her third “What's Nude” exhibition. Before taking on her leading role at the Chamber, Royall owned two art galleries – Abracadabra Fine Art in Brunswick was the location for her first “What's Nude” exhibition and The Royall Gallery in Richmond the last – until now.
“Artists love this show,” Royall said. “It's a celebration of the human form — all artists start out with the human figure in life drawing classes.”
Many of the artists in the upcoming Valentine's weekend show still attend or teach life drawing classes.
Tony van Hasselt of East Boothbay said he had work from the life drawing class at the Boothbay Region Art Foundation.
“Mine is a little unusual because it's a male. I love to draw figures,” van Hasselt said. “I placed one on my Facebook page and got quite a response.”
David Estey of Belfast deliberately left a couple nudes he included in his retrospective show at Studio 53 last fall when Royall was planting her seeds for the show.
“I met Patricia years ago when I put on a show of life drawings at The Phoenix Gallery,” Estey said. “She was interested in seeing more of my work so after the show Patricia and her friend came to the studio and we talked about art. It was right before she opened her Royall Gallery in Richmond. I was in the “What's Nude” show there too. Patricia is very talented – and she has a good eye.”
Royall used that eye to hang the show – from beginning to end (OK, 98 percent) Feb. 3 with help from artists John Seitzer and Bob McKay – both members of Studio 53 – who have paintings in “What's Nude.”
Royall recalled the first time she saw McKay's painting, “Envy of the Fleet.” “One day I walked into Bob's studio and there it was on an easel. I loved it. Bob said he was painting it just for the show. There is an element of whimsy. It's a very clever painting representing the working waterfront with a woman as stern man.”
Royall liked the painting so much she used an image of it – as well as sculpture – for her press release in papers last week. One of the papers called Royall to say neither image could be printed. McKay's painting was printed in the Boothbay Register and Wiscasset Newspaper.
“The point of this show is to celebrate the human form. Art is a very personal thing. People perceive things differently,” Royall said. “We have to embrace everyone's ideas and perceptions.”
The artists celebrating the human form in “What's Nude in Boothbay Harbor” are Dick Alden, East Boothbay; Marylou Ashooh Lazos, Derry, New Hampshire; Bill Royall, Southport; Meg Azzoni, New York City; Andre Benoit, Boothbay Harbor; Robert Crink, Edgecomb; Don Dilworth, East Boothbay; Rick Dickinson, Southport; Charles Dufour, Belfast; David Estey, Belfast; Patricia Ferrara Fuchs, Orrs Island; Roberta Goschke, Waldoboro; Stevan Hall, Rockport; Jonathan Alden Hayes, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Laura Freeman, Brunswick; Betsy Headley, Swanville; James Kipfer, Alna; Suzanna Lasker, Jefferson; Bob McKay, Boothbay Harbor; Marni McKitrick, South Burlington, Vermont; Carole Palmer, East Boothbay; Jane Page-Conway, Bowdoinham; Hector Vietra-Santa, Morrill and Mexico (the country); Mary Jane Riley, Brunswick; Patricia Ringston, New Harbor; John Seitzer, Boothbay Harbor; Lynne Seitzer, Boothbay Harbor; John Silverio, Lincolnville; Sally Giddings Smith, East Boothbay; Tony van Hasselt, East Boothbay; Kari Van Tine, Bath; Liz Stoyko, Phippsburg; Allan Walton, East Boothbay; Philippe Villard, Boothbay Harbor and Paris, France; Barbara Vanderbilt, Whitefield; Sandra R. Griffin, Edgecomb; Guy Williams, Pemaquid; Chris Rogers, Hope; Steve Sawyer, Marji Greenhut, Brunswick; Donna Denniston; and work by the late Lane Smith submitted by Studio 53 owner Terry Seaman, and the late Robert Hamilton (whose works have been exhibited at the gallery for two years).
Rogers, of Hope, has submitted work that isn't on canvas, board or paper … he “combines film and audio streams to ignite the creativity of improvising musicians, resulting in music videos with surprising outcomes.” (From Rogers' “Confluence Project” Facebook page)
“When Chris told me what he wanted to do I said it sounded interesting but how was he going to do it during the show?” Royall said. “It'll be a whole new kind of entry. The video begins with a nude woman on a stairway reading a book. Chris introduced the musicians to the video individually and asked each one to create a piece of music for it. Chris takes all of the music pieces and melds them together into one score.”
And, while this isn't a juried show, there will be a People's Choice Award – so don't forget to cast your vote before you leave Studio 53.
As is the case with most shows, works are for sale and there will be a Small Nudes Wall of 3” x 4” to 4” x 6” works, available at $10 each.
Royall says holding “What's Nude in Boothbay Harbor” over Valentine's weekend is also a boon for the community.
“We (Boothbay region) are a destination and have an opportunity to let people around the state know there are things going on here; to change their perception that we just ‘close up.’ We've seen the Boothbay Festival of Lights and Gardens Aglow bring people to the region. We can continue to expose people to all of the wonderful things we have to offer here by holding events during the winter,” Royall said.
Some of the artists dropping off their work for the show at the Chamber office or the gallery told Royall they had never been here before.
“This particular event brings people into town – the artists will be bringing friends and spouses here. A whole new group of people will discover what the Boothbay region has to offer,” said Royall. “This is also a great thing for Studio 53, it's being introduced to artists as a potential exhibition space.”
“I love collaboration. A lot is happening behind the scenes with this show that will benefit the whole region,” she said.
Indeed local restaurants — including The Thistle Inn, Carriage House and Boat House Bistro — will be offering specials or entrees with a nude theme in mind. There will be taste testings all day, including cakes and desserts, by Eventide Epicurean Specialties, and from 3 p.m. on, wine and champagne tasting.
Royall is a bit concerned about having enough of it at the Feb. 10 opening, if the turnout is anything like it was in Brunswick and Richmond — both of those opening receptions were attended by 350-400 people. To that end, she has posted a request on the Chamber's Facebook page for “nude food” and the Chamber is offering two $25 gift certificates for the most creative entries.
Artists who for whatever reasons were not able to participate this year — but were keen on doing so — have asked Royall if there will be another “What's Nude” next year.
Studio 53 owner Terry Seaman says he'd love to see the show become an annual event at the gallery. “I'm thrilled we're doing it and that it will bring people to this community in the winter.”
The imagination, the form, the spirit, of over 40 artists is what's embodied in “What's Nude in Boothbay Harbor” ... on canvas and paper, in clay and stone; watercolor, black and white, oil, charcoal, pen ... and video ... for your perusal, pleasure, and perhaps, purchase ...
Studio 53 is located at 53 Townsend Avenue in Boothbay Harbor. The gallery will be open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday (until 8 for the reception), Feb. 10- Sunday, Feb. 12.