Each year, the Provincetown Art Association and Museum welcomes the Fine Arts Work Center’s visual arts fellows with an introductory exhibition that gives a glimpse into their creative world three months into their seven-month residency.
Curated by PAAM CEO Christine McCarthy, this year’s exhibition includes nine artists: Ellen Akimoto, Austin Ballard, Kevin Brisco Jr., S. Emsaki, Nick Fagan, Elizabeth Flood, Lavaughan Jenkins, Tom Pappas, and Georden West. It runs through March 6.
Georden West’s ethereal installation He Is Quit announces its luminous presence as one steps into the gallery. Under a suspended bank of fluorescent lights, a rectangle of fine white dust seems to come from a dream world. A winding trail of prints left in the dust by insects only reinforces the work’s message about transience.
Elizabeth Flood’s Race Point commands attention. Five connected painted panels stretching 10 feet across offer different views of the Outer Cape’s limitless sky, dunes, and shoreline sprinting towards the horizon. Flood mixes sand into her medium to create textured surfaces that comment on humanity’s intrusion into nature.
The four abstract oils on linen by Tom Pappas feel waxlike and hermetic. Modest in size and slightly off-square, they are superb meditations on archetypal form that feel hard won — surface, space, and shapes wax and wane to arrive at a point that is secluded yet expansive.
Ellen Akimoto’s painting of a decorative vase, rendered with vivid intensity, is satisfyingly grounded in every way. Her two figure paintings are composed digitally before paint is added to the conversation. They shift from beautiful forms to hazy passages that feel vaguely malevolent and unsettling — which, of course, is the point.
Skywriting, four paintings by Kevin Brisco Jr., are two-square-foot panels coated with the same even modulation of sky blue. They are inlaid with a subtle tonal shift, revealing text that can be seen only up close or off to the side. The paintings are part poetry, part cryptogram.
Lavaughan Jenkins’s Please Protect Black Women is a sculpture just over three feet tall. The dense approximation of a kneeling figure is made with a foam armature painted with high gloss black acrylic. Far from submissive, it feels strong, grounded, and holding space for the “quiet countenance of the single Black individual,” Jenkins writes in his statement.
S. Emsaki’s work is a visual and physical accounting of beach trash. The two drawings, made with graphite and squid ink, are a date-specific catalogue of the trash that is strewn across the gallery in a forensic manner. A small flag rising from the floor notes each collection date. Emsaki insists that the physical detritus is the central work, not the drawings, as lovely as they are. But chances are the artistic locus is somewhere in-between: lying in the collecting, accounting, and cataloging.
In My Allergies Are Bugging Me, Nick Fagan uses repurposed moving blankets and handmade doilies to create a satisfying collision of soft textures, rippled and stitched edges, and bright patterns. He uses material rich with past lives and history to touch upon themes of spirituality, disability, language, and private and public personas.
This decorative impulse is also found in Austin Ballard’s Field Fold (Cardinal Over Black and White Melange), which sits on a bright red pedestal anchoring the room. Made of latch-hook canvas and epoxy clay, the three-foot-tall sculpture consists of towering arches and platforms rendered in a camouflage of pink, brown, and fine red mesh. The work explores the intersections of body and architecture in a whimsy of materials, textures, and shapes.
The event: An exhibition of works by the Fine Arts Work Center’s visual arts fellows
The time: Thursday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; through March 6
The place: Provincetown Art Association and Museum, 460 Commercial St.
The cost: $12.50 general admission