Sunday, June 10, 2012

Art in Wellfleet (Part 1)

In 1933 Edward Hopper painted the Bluff Cottages, built by Lorenzo Dow Baker, west of the Chequessett Inn for “overflow” guests. Hopper lived in nearby Truro. The Outer Cape has long attracted artists, inspired by the quality of the light.

In the 1960s, Edwin Dickinson and Xavier Gonzales opened Tag Carousel on Route 6. (When I was a child, my parents rented a cottage, off Cove Road, from Dickinson.)

Wellfleet’s Cherry Stone was one of the first galleries in the country to show work by Jack Tworkov and Robert Motherwell, who died in P-town in 1991. Wellfleetians Peter Watts and Helen Miranda Wilson showed at the original Cherry Stone, on Railroad Avenue, in the Sixties and Seventies. This legendary gallery, founded by Sally Nerber and Lizzie Upham, is now located on Commercial. Cherry Stone has had an online presence since 2006 as CherryStoneGallery&FineArt, thanks to the efforts of curator Brenda Correia.

Audrey Parent, owner of Left Bank Gallery, writes on her Web site: “The artists’ use of light and the way they use their materials are critical, but we are looking for more than a faithful rendering of an object. Art should send you on a journey, make you think, evaluate and respond, even if that response is subconscious. The artists we chose to represent have something to say. That’s why they do what they do.”

Today many established artists like Watts and Wilson use agents and galleries, based in New York or show their work in Provincetown. Wellfleet still has over a dozen art galleries and a new generation of artists, living from their art. The galleries hold openings on Saturday nights, in summer.