Closing One Door and Opening Another
As impresario of Art Market Provincetown, gallerist Debbie Nadolney has fostered a communal space centered on creativity. A celebration marking the end of AMP’s 11th and final season in its current location — and the beginning of a new chapter for Nadolney — will take place at the gallery from 5 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22. Billy Hough and Sue Goldberg of Scream Along with Billy will be rocking out.
AMP came to be in the lyrical way that often happens in Provincetown: an idea is put out there, and the fates respond. In this case, Nadolney — whose background in Boston included painting, music, performance, writing, curation, and selling art — happened upon a space in Provincetown’s West End for AMP’s first incarnation.
“You’d enter, and the vibe was funky, warm and welcoming,” she says of the former Frank Gaspa building at 148 Commercial St. “It spoke to me.” A few years later, another space on the corner of Kiley Court became available, and Nadolney found the new location irresistible. AMP moved to 432 Commercial in 2016.
In addition to curating work by a deep roster of visual and conceptual artists, Nadolney has been responsible for many iconic events in the town’s recent cultural history. A few of the signature moments at AMP included an evening with Billy Hough reading short stories by Michael Cunningham, who in turn read from Hough’s memoirs; memorable appearances by visual and performance artist Penny Arcade, activist and writer Urvashi Vaid, and comedian Kate Clinton; the “Tough Girls and Lucid Dreamers” series, which featured poet Eileen Myles and dozens of other writers and readers over the years; and the premiere of a theater piece about the Irish rebellion of 1916 by Jay Critchley.
While she is closing one door, Nadolney says she will be opening others. “I feel so blessed to have been able to make a contribution and be a part of this incredible and historic arts community,” she says. “I look forward to getting back to making art, and I’m also excited to continue collaborating with and showing artists working in all mediums. But this moment is a celebration of how grateful I am for the rich experience I’ve had these last 11 years and a way to say farewell to this chapter. I suppose I’ve never really thought of it as a business. It felt much more like a labor of love.” —Susan Rand Brown
Donna Mahan Colors Outside the Lines
“If something is broken or not needed, I can give it a new life,” says Donna Mahan. The happy chaos of her North Truro studio — brimming with antique glass, seashells, clamps, fabrics, doorknobs, jewelry, and much more — is her evidence. Mahan’s show “Metamorphosis” is on view at the Truro Council on Aging (7 Standish Way) through the end of October.
Mahan, who spent the early decades of her life in Worcester and Boston, moved to the Outer Cape about 25 years ago. She’s been a full-time artist ever since and says that she frequently returns home to find materials that neighbors have left outside her door.
Everything that Mahan uses in her art is recycled. She’s especially drawn to “found treasures” and is inspired by color, texture, and nature. At the entrance to her COA exhibit hangs a patchwork quilt comprising more than 500 hexagonal panels, which she sewed together between 1975 and 1980. It includes fabric that belonged to her mother and brother. She sees it as a project that “re-introduces the idea that everything builds on everything.”
In the center of her studio sits a recently commissioned lamp made of maritime trinkets and figurines welded together. Panels of stained and broken glass, also connected by metal, hang from the ceiling. The eclectic array may seem unrelated, but Mahan has no trouble connecting the dots. “Glass and found treasure work is like a quilt in a different medium,” she says.
The walls of her studio also display her wife’s photographs. Mahan says that when she is working on a new piece, her wife often notices things that she hasn’t picked up on herself. This helps in adjusting and finalizing her work. “It’s a great partnership,” she says.
Mahan is also a jeweler and has begun making tote bags using rust dyeing techniques. She describes her work as “organic” and notes her propensity for irregular edges: “I don’t like to stay inside the lines.” —Sophie Mann-Shafir
A Picture-Perfect Celebration of Cape Cod
“The Eastham Painters Guild has been an artist organization for 42 years,” says Willow Shire, whose work — along with that of more than 20 of her fellow guild artists — is currently on view at the Eastham Public Library. “Cape Cod: Picture Perfect” highlights artists who live and work on the Cape, and the works in the show are a celebration of its landscapes and wild beauty.
Nearly every artist in the show references the light that makes the Cape so special for artists. The guild includes a number of classic plein air painters, including Paula Hult and Mike Novik, as well as artists inspired by the sights and scenes of life by the sea. Highlights include Doris Greenleaf’s beach crowds and village streets captured by Tom Stener.
The annual exhibition at the Eastham Library is always a homecoming for the Painters Guild: the library was the original location for many of the guild’s exhibits in the 1980s and ’90s. Founded in 1980, the guild is now headquartered at the 1869 Schoolhouse Museum, located across from the National Seashore Salt Pond Visitors Center on Route 6 in Eastham.
The show is on view through October, with a public reception on Saturday, Oct. 22. The reception is an opportunity to meet the artists and see a painting demonstration, as the guild is always searching for new ways to interact with the community. For more information visit easthampaintersguild.com. —Kirsten Andersen
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article, published in print on Oct. 20, incorrectly stated that the president of the Eastham Painters Guild was Willow Shire. The president is in fact Jody Shyllberg.