End-of-season group shows can be an undemanding way for galleries to take a breather after a busy stretch of solo exhibitions and heavy visitor traffic. But for artist and curator Megan Hinton, a new show at Farm Projects in Wellfleet is just as much a kind of self-portrait as it is a showcase for the other artists whose work she has included in it.
“Together With” includes work by a dozen artists working in a wide range of scale and media, from Jon Verney’s palm-sized, enigmatic, overpainted family snapshots to the riotously colored botanical fantasia by Antonia DaSilva that occupies an entire wall of the gallery. Lyne Lapointe’s multimedia assemblage uses seemingly innocuous teddy bear and sunflower motifs to make a statement on the atrocities of the war in Ukraine and the resilience of the fighters defending their homeland. And Iren Handschuh’s wall sculptures delicately modulate the natural and the industrial via combinations of vibrantly colored cut glass and smoothly soldered copper supports.
“These are all artists whose work I really admire, and I chose them not only for their formal and technical skill but also the ways each of them uses different materials — ceramics, glass, photography, painting — to express various concepts, whether it’s something political or edgy or just exploring sheer beauty,” says Hinton. “They’re not just local artists who show here — they come from all over. But there does seem to be lot of myself in the show. I guess that’s what happens when you curate something like this. It can’t help but be personal on some level.”
While the works in the show relate to each other in ways both formal and conceptual, Hinton says they all reflect aspects of her own interests and art practice. Like most of the artists in the show, Hinton often emphasizes the material qualities of the media she uses in her work: an interior study she painted on a scrap of wood from a house renovation project she’s working on incorporates the wood’s texture and existing paint traces as a sort of pentimento or underpainting. It echoes the way Mike Wright uses found wood (reclaimed from the shuttered Moda Fina clothing store in Provincetown) to create the multifaceted sculptural still life that visitors encounter when they first enter the gallery. And Hinton’s interest in collage resonates with works by Julia Salinger and Traci Harmon-Hay that incorporate disparate materials and media including watercolor, silk, cardboard, plastic, and string.
“I choose work because I like it,” says Hinton of her curatorial process. “But then I ask myself why I like it. That’s when it becomes even more interesting to me.”
Hinton, who also teaches at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum, sees parallels between her teaching practice and the process of curating a show by her fellow artists. “When I’m teaching, I often assign things to my students that I’m interested in thinking more about myself,” she says. “So, we wind up co-learning from each other. And I learned a lot from the artists in this show.”
The intimate scale and idiosyncratic layout of the Farm Projects gallery, down a curving path off Wellfleet’s Main Street, also contribute to the conversational nature of “Together With.”
“I spent a lot of time on studio visits and picking particular works to include in the show, and thinking about the ways they connected,” says Hinton. “But once we started actually installing it in this space, I started seeing everything in a new way. The meaning of the works begins to change. Even I was surprised.”
“Megan won’t say it, but I will: this show is the highlight of her career,” says Farm Projects director Susie Nielson. Hinton pauses a moment before she responds, laughing: “Well, it’s a highlight! I’m really proud of it.”
The event: Group show by 12 artists, curated by Megan Hinton
The time: Through Nov. 14; discussion with Hinton and the artists at noon on Sunday, Oct. 16
The place: Farm Projects, 355 Main St., Wellfleet
The cost: Free