No Boring Art: The 2016 Summer Members' Show

The thirty-four artists whose works are highlighted in the 2016 Summer Members' Show all embrace the promise of John Baldessari's 1972 piece, "I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art" (blog cover photo, more info here, photo source here). Baldessari promised that he would never make any more boring art again, a promise that was surely fulfilled by himself but is also constantly by the 300+ Artist Members that belong to the Copley Society of Art. The artists featured in the Summer Members' Show tackled the show's maritime theme, Ship to Shore, flawlessley with a stimulated flare. With their use of vibrant colors and engaging compositions, the artists transformed the gallery into an inspired environment. The Curator of American Art at the Peabody Essex Museum, Austen Bailly, carefully handpicked each piece. As a result of Bailly's expertise, a cohesive summertime vibe fills the Upper Gallery, exemplified by a number of still life pieces, seascapes and landscapes.

With all the attractive work ranging in size, it is easy to get lost in Doug Adams' "War Final Casualty." Adams' massive digital photograph features an enervated vessel washed upon shore, as the tide is transitioning in the background. The rusty, timeworn vessel's bow is the main focus of the photograph, compositionally taking the viewer's eye diagonally across the page. This causes the vessel to appear lifelike as if it was right in front of your eyes. The red-orange coating of ruse intensifies the overall coloring of the bow, juxtaposed by the pale sand in the foreground and the almost transparent weightless ocean. This work is bold, for negative space is barely existent in the dramatic "War's Final Casualty."

Doug Adams, War's Final Casualty, digital photograph, 30 x 45 inches

Differing in size but similar in energy, Nancy Colella's "Summer Camp" is nothing but exciting to look at. Colella's geometric oil painting explores a number of intertwining beach chairs, creating a wonderful color interaction. Primary colors fill Colella's painting. While dominated mostly by blues, tailored geometric yellows and reds are used sparingly towards the left of the painting. This creates a push and pull between the primaries - the vibrancy of the red and yellow pushes itself forward and in return the blues are pulled back. Colella does a great job keeping her large, loose brushwork contained within each different shape, keeping her paint body consistent across the canvas. The interaction of color and shape within "Summer Camp" keeps the eye restless and the brain sensing.

Nancy Colella, Summer Camp, oil on canvas, 16 x 11 inches

Not all the pieces exhibited in the Summer Members' Show are colorful products - black and white is just as provocative as color. Bobby Baker's "Beginning to End" is a prime example of a black and white photograph that embodies Baldessari's 'No boring Art' philosophy. Baker uses a dramatic shadow from a falling wooden fence to capture the picturesque failed protection of dunes from the everyday life of a sandy beach. The fence with its shadow forms an irregular shape that dominates the entire composition. The clarity of the texture of the sand in the foreground demonstrates the strength of the sunlight. As a result, the contrast of Dark and light is enhanced throughout the dune landscape.

Bobby Baker, Beginning to End, photography, 23 x 29 inches

The 2016 Summer Members' Show is quite an exciting exhibition. Doug Adams, Nancy Colella and Bobby Baker are only three artists featured in this juried show whose engaging work demands a closer look. come in to Co|So soon to check out the work of all artists, for the show us on display until August 19th!

Erin Shea