Art Complex Museum

Exhibitions - 2018

Duxbury Art Association Annual Winter Juried Show and Founders Exhibition

February 4 – April 22


Charles H. Woodbury, Sunken Ledges, c.1910, Oil on canvas.

Founded in 1917, the Duxbury Art Association (DAA) is one of the oldest arts organizations in the country. They have held their Annual Winter Juried Show at The Art Complex Museum for more than forty years. This popular exhibition encompasses artwork by artists from all over New England but predominantly from the Metropolitan Boston, South Shore and Cape Cod areas.

Artists enter work in all mediums and a panel of working artists and art educators select less than one hundred pieces for exhibition. Cash awards are given in each category for First Place and for “Best in Show.” Ribbons are awarded for Second and Third Places as well as Honorable Mention. Volunteers orchestrate the process of bringing the show to the public under the direction of the DAA and museum staff.

The DAA has attracted and nurtured some of America’s greatest artists including founders, Charles Bittenger, John Singer Sargent, and Frank Benson. As part of this year’s exhibition we will be exhibiting works by some of those early members, both from our collection and pieces on loan.


Highlights from the Permanent Collection including:
New Acquisitions - Women’s Work

February 4 – April 22


Vivian Berman, United States, 1928-2016, Poseidon’s Pocket, 1968, collagraph, ink on paper

At roughly thirteen by twenty-two feet, Rotations is spatially modest. Nonetheless, what the gallery lacks in volume it makes up in scope. Dedicated to the Art Complex Musuem’s Permanent Collection, its identity, its history and its mission, Rotations exhibits, throughout the year, a wide-ranging and ever-shifting selection of objects from the museum’s eclectic holdings.

In order to accommodate the growing number of objects the Weyerhaeuser family collected, they were “rotated” in and out of rooms of the family home. With four main areas: American Painting, Asian Art, Works on Paper (including American and European prints) and Shaker Furniture and Crafts, the family collection formed the foundation from which the museum collection is based and from which it has grown. A myriad of other art forms, artifacts and contemporary acquisitions ensure the viewer has had a varied experience from many cultures and time periods as the "rotating" tradition is maintained.

At once compendious and investigative, Rotations provides a survey of the museum’s permanent collection while also exploring themes and subjects through individual works and their likely and unlikely interrelationships.

At various intervals beginning Februrary 4th, 2018 and continuing throughout the year, Rotations will be highlighting a selection of work by historical and contemporary women artists, including work by Kathe Kollwitz, Mary Cassatt and Marguerite Zorach, as well as select 2017 museum acquisitions by women artists, including Prilla Smith Brackett, Vivian Berman, Nora Valdez and Jennifer Maestre.

Beginning in March of 2018 and over the course of the year, artwork by Otagaki Rengestsu will also be exhibited. Otagaki Rengetsu (1791-1875) was a Japanese artist that defied artistic and cultural hierarchies and whose achievements have had lasting impact. She was an acclaimed patron saint of the arts and a celebrity of Kyoto’s cultural life. Against odds, Rengetsu was able to transcended tragedy and overcome adversity. Please join us in admiring her work, and her perseverance.

Few artists of either gender set out to be prominent, but by weakening barriers, prominence was attained by women pioneers. A selection of 2017 museum acquisitions may offer some well-deserved inroads to the contemporary art world as the museum strives to support women in art by placing their worthy accomplishments in the permanent collection. The collagraph, a printmaking technique wherein textural materials are added to the printing plate, was a mode in which Vivian Berman was highly innovative. Berman challenged its limitations, producing an unusual sense of space as well as intriguing textures.

Irena Roman
Second Wind: Journeys of Re-Invention

February 25 – May 13
Reception – February 25, 1:30-3:30pm


Irena Roman, Harvey, 2016, transparent watercolor

With Second Wind, Irena Roman challenges stereotypical views of aging by focusing on the vitality and creativity of individuals who have found a new vocation; their active and passionate engagement with creative pursuits developed after the age of sixty-five.

For the past few years Irena has in her painting practice concentrated on transparent watercolor stilllife paintings that feature vintage glass objects. She says, “My inception of Second Wind came about while working on that series. I realized the once-cherished objects I’d been focusing on were metaphors for aging, imparting a small slice of a much larger theme. Deciding to act on my yearning to switch gears concerning subject matter, I called on my story-telling roots as an illustrator. It seemed the logical expansion was to create narrative, figurative portraits that exemplify the grace and wisdom of those who possess a wealth of knowledge that can be obtained only through a lifetime of experience.”

“Ultimately, what I’m most interested in is uncovering the intangible, ethereal nature of whatever I’m painting. In all my work, I aim to create imagery that transcends ‘the subject’ so that ‘it’ becomes a vehicle for symbolism and conveys a sense of timelessness. This pursuit is a moving target and a life-long quest. I strive to preserve the fleeting illusion of presence, to maintain that exact moment of light when its alchemy transforms the familiar to the extraordinary. I find that it’s within this space we are invited to take pause.”

Irena Roman is from Scituate, Massachusetts. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Boston and an Masters of Fine Arts from Syracuse University. She is a signature member of The American Watercolor Society, The Transparent Watercolor Society of America and The New England Watercolor Society. Her many awards include The American Watercolor Society’s High Winds Medal of Honor as well as two Gold medals from The New England Watercolor Society. In addition to being a painter and illustrator, Irena is a professor at Massachusetts College of Art and Design with over twenty years of teaching experience.

Monotype Guild of New England - Fifth National Monotype/Monoprint Juried Exhibition

May 6 – September 2
Reception – May 20, 1:30-3:30pm


Joan Hausrath, Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Sticks and Stones B9, 2016, Monoprint

Dedicated to the art of the unique print, the Monotype Guild of New England (MGNE) is a national, nonprofit organization of more than 250 artists that fosters understanding and appreciation of monotypes and monoprints. MGNE sponsors exhibitions, workshops, and other special programs for its members and the public. This exhibition will showcase more than seventy-five works of art by contemporary printmakers and artists throughout the country, revealing the diverse range of traditional and innovative techniques used to create one-of-a-kind prints. Founded in 1985 by a small group of New England artists, the Guild has assembled over one hundred exhibitions and has expanded its membership to include artists from across the United States.

This exhibition will be juried by Judith K. Brodsky, board chair, New York Foundation for the Arts. Judith is Distinguished Professor Emerita, Department of Visual Arts, Rutgers University; founder, Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper renamed the Brodsky Center in her honor; founder, Rutgers Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities and The Feminist Art Project, a national program to promote recognition of women artists. A printmaker/artist, Brodsky’s work is in many permanent collections including The Art Complex Museum, Harvard Art Museums, Library of Congress, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, and Stadtsmuseum, Berlin.

Highlights from the Permanent Collection including:
Rengetsu, Buddhist Nun and Artist

May 6 – September 2


Otagaki Rengetsu, Japan, 1791-1875, Hanaire (Flower Container), glazed stoneware with poem brushed in black

Over the course of the year, art by Otagaki Rengetsu will be on exhibit. Rengetsu (1791- 1875) was a Japanese potter, painter and poet who defied artistic and cultural hierarchies and whose achievements have had lasting impact. She was an acclaimed patron saint of the arts and a celebrity of Kyoto’s cultural life. Against odds, Rengetsu was able to transcend tragedy and overcome adversity. Please join us in admiring her work, and her perseverance.

Karie O’Donnell: Every Bird has a Story

May 20 – August 12
Reception – May 20, 1:30-3:30pm


Karie O’Donnell, Green Harbor Sentry with Study, 2017, Oil on board, graphite on paper

“As an artist whose representational style of work focuses primarily on birds, I am sensitive to the story behind every bird, whether it is abundant, threatened or extinct. Every Bird has a Story will include works in both graphite studies and oil paintings with the goal of bringing awareness to the plight of many bird species and their ecosystems.

My drawings enable me to begin each of my paintings with resolved anatomy, tonal values and depth perception. The oils are then created at a larger scale.

Drawing and painting birds is my passion. I adore every part of the journey – photographing, sketching and studying them. I relish capturing a bird’s feathery details otherwise unnoticed in passing with my drawings and then using color to create his vibrant environment with my oils.

The birds I will represent are from New England, where I currently reside, and Florida where I grew up. Reference material comes from my own personal photographic library and detailed field notes. Among the species in the exhibit are the Heron, Snowy Egret, Osprey, Red-tailed Hawk, Semipalmated Sandpiper, House Sparrow, Canada Goose, Brown Pelican, Purple Gallinule, Moorehen, Cormorant, Eskimo Curlew, Heath Hen, Yellow Legs, Common Merganser, European Starling, Monk Parakeet, Blackcrowned Night Heron, Barred Owl, Screech Owl, Red-winged Blackbird, Laughing Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Chickadee, Eider, Oyster Catcher, Rock Pigeon, Barn Swallow, Tern and the Greater Shearwater.”

Oyster Farm Photographs

August 19 – November 4
Reception – September 16, 1:30-3:30pm


Evvy Eisen, The Three Graces, 2012, gelatin silver photograph

Evvy Eisen

Oyster Farm
Photographs of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company

Evvy Eisen’s oyster farm photographs document an era in California history that has now ended. It records the final year of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, the last operating oyster cannery in the state, and the men and women who worked there.

Oyster harvesting in Drakes Estero dates back to the indigenous Coast Miwok people and continued as dairy ranching was established in the surrounding area. In 1962 the oyster farm was included in the Point Reyes National Seashore and subsequently was operated by lease agreement with the National Park Service.

Controversies erupted when the National Park Service announced that the lease would not be renewed after 2012. Conflicting environmental philosophies and legal issues were debated at local, state, and national levels. Opposing positions bitterly divided the small, rural community in which the farm was located. Eisen decided to photograph the immigrant workers whose jobs and homes were threatened in order to put a human face on what had become abstract and theoretical. She spent a year photographing at the farm and printing the black and white gelatin silver prints that comprise the series.

When the United States Supreme Court denied a hearing of the case, Drakes Bay Oyster Company was ordered to close its facility and remove all oysters from the Estero. She then returned to photograph the deserted farm and demolition of all structures at the site.

Eisen was born and educated in New York City and lives and work as a teacher and photographer in the San Francisco Bay area. She specializes in environmental portraits, often photographing people involved in socially relevant issues. Her work is in the collections of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the de Saisset Museum in Santa Clara, and the Mémorial de la Shoah and the Maison de la RATP in Paris.


Jim Hooper, Bill Bennett, Skip Bennett, Joseph Pierce, (Island Creek Oyster Company), 2016, photograph

Jim Hooper
Oyster Farmers: Portraits of a Sustainable Waterfront

Oyster farming is relatively new to Duxbury Bay. It began when Skip Bennett planted his first oysters in 1995 after three years growing quahogs. He was told by many he was moving from growing something bad to something even worse. After years of trial and error, Skip was joined by Christian Horne, an oyster farmer from Maine, and shortly thereafter by Don Merry, the owner of a local fish market. Selling to restaurants from the back of a pick-up truck at first, today, Island Creek Oysters has grown into one of the largest oyster companies in the United States and is joined on the windy mudflats of Duxbury Bay by dozens of other farmers growing uniquely briny oysters and selling them all over the world.

In the spring of 2016 Jim Hooper set out to photograph the men and women of Massachusetts who farm oysters in the coastal towns of Boston’s South Shore and Cape Cod. He made portraits of these subjects in a series of pop-up studios from Duxbury to Hyannis, and from Barnstable to Wellfleet.

His first studio was on the top floor of the Duxbury Maritime School where he photographed the farmers as they came off the water in their work clothes in front of a simple draped cloth backdrop. As was the case when Hooper photographed the fishermen of Gloucester in 2014 and his Providence Portrait Project in 2012, he was looking to create what he calls the “authentic portrait.” His portraits allow the viewer to focus entirely on the person, without the water, the boats, or equipment with which they spend their long days. In doing so, he has given us a deep look into oyster farming in Duxbury through the faces of the farmers. Hooper is a Dedham based photographer who specializes in portraiture and community portrait projects.

New England Watercolor Society Biennial North American Open

September 16 – January 13, 2019
Reception – September 16, 1:30-3:30pm


Evelyn Dunphy, A Cuddle of Sandollars, 2014, watercolor

The premiere exhibition of the New England Watercolor Society was held in 1885, under the original name Boston Watercolor Society. The show featured forty-four paintings by thirteen artists including F. Childe Hassam, Thomas Allen, and Charles Henry Sandham.

Exhibitions were held annually until 1892, when the Society was reorganized by Thomas Allen, Charles Copeland and Hendricks A. Hallett. Among the twenty-seven charter members were Thomas Allen, F. Childe Hassam, Joseph Lincoln Smith and honorary member, John Singer Sargent.

A few noteworthy exhibits held early in the Society’s history, other than the Annual, include a show in 1920 at Marshall Field & Co., an exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in 1925, and a show that traveled throughout the Midwest in 1926, under the auspices of the American Federation of Arts.

Exhibiting at the MFA, became an annual event starting in 1951. With the exception of 1966, the annual show was held there until 1969, when a policy change at the museum no longer allowed privately organized groups to exhibit. Throughout the 1970s the Annual Members Exhibits were held at The Boston Art Club, The Guild of Boston Artists and the Federal Reserve Bank Gallery in Boston.

In 1980, due to a growing membership and expanding locales for exhibits, the name was changed to the New England Watercolor Society (NEWS). In 1988 members began hosting a national biennial juried competition.

This year’s exhibition is juried by Iain Stewart, a watercolor artist/illustrator and a signature member of both the American and National Watercolor Societies who lives and works in Opelika, Alabama. Stewart says, “I rely on instinct a great deal and my sketchbook when selecting subjects for my paintings. The lion’s share of my work is done in one sitting as my real struggle in painting is to capture the initial vision for any given piece. I am most often motivated by capturing a definitive lighting condition and how it influences shape and value rather than faithfully representing the subject as witnessed. Watercolor is uniquely suited for this task as ‘light’ is reserved from the first brush strokes and must be protected throughout the painting process.”

“The underlying narrative in my work is not based on any theme in particular but quite simply how “place” is inhabited and used daily. I often use remembered atmospheric and lighting conditions in my work and would say that I paint from life and memory simultaneously. My watercolors are not only a translation of what I see, but more importantly, an expression of how I choose to view the world.”

Highlights from the Permanent Collection including:
The Art of Craft – Native American

September 16 – January 13, 2019


Maria Montoya Martinez, United States, (1881-1980), San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico, Tewa Jar, ca. 1940, polished black ware

In 1919, Maria Martinez began experimenting with black-ware pottery. She and her husband, Julian, developed a method of decorating vessels with a vegetable-based preparation that resulted in a velvety, black-on-black finish. Maria hand-built the pots and hand-polished the surface onto which Julian painted the motifs. Tewa Jar will be juxtaposed with other Native American crafts from the Southwest.

ArtSynergies Presents: Fusion

November 10 – February 17, 2019
Reception – November 18, 1:30-3:30pm


Alan Trugman, Convocation, 2017, archival digital print, birch panel, acrylic graphite on paper

Art is a solitary business. In addition to the passion to create, being an artist requires training, experience, and skills of entrepreneurship. Membership in a collaborative group provides benefits through social interaction, information sharing, and the critiquing of each other’s work in a non-competitive atmosphere of mutual encouragement.

Mary Doering, Barbara Ford Doyle and Martine Jore founded ArtSynergies in 2006. The group formed because of an interest in digital art. They met regularly to explore photography and printmaking in relationship to computer techniques and to exhibit their mixed media art. Their first group show was in 2008, and in 2013 they increased membership to seven artists. The newly formed group participated in two educational exhibitions at The Higgins Gallery, Cape Cod Community College: Printmaking Invitational: Alternative Processes (2014), and Alternative Photography and Digital Techniques (2016) presenting gallery talks and demonstrations to college students and the public. In 2015, they mounted a major show at Cotuit Center for the Arts, Exposure: Beneath the Layers.

In a group statement about The Art Complex exhibition they explain, “Today’s digital tools can achieve results that would be nearly impossible to accomplish by conventional artistic techniques. The computer has become an interactive partner for many artists. Art- Synergies explores the potential of alternative imagemaking in combination with photography, painting, printmaking, and three-dimensional work. Overall control of the creative process remains in the artist’s hands - in varying depths of engagement with the computer and classic disciplines.”

Each artist interprets the theme of Fusion with a diverse stylistic approach. Artists in the show include; Lee Connolly Weill, Mary Doering, Barbara Ford Doyle, Martine Jore, Sara David Ringler, Alan Trugman and Joyce Zavorskas.

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