Summer events to be held in Eastham, Truro and Orleans
Fifty years after his death, Edward Hopper (1882-1967) is considered one of America’s greatest Realist painters. During many summers and stays on Cape Cod, Hopper captured the subtleties of the peninsula on canvas in a way that endures. Today, the purity of his work attracts artists and collectors from around the globe, and many artists—especially on Cape Cod—strive to emulate the master in their own way.
To celebrate Hopper and his work, Helen Addison of the Addison Art Gallery in Orleans has organized “After Hopper,” a series of programs and exhibits to be held this summer in Orleans, Eastham and Truro. “The series honors the legacy of Edward Hopper,” Addison says, “by celebrating contemporary artists inspired by his work and the places he painted—with an emphasis on Cape Cod.”
The festivities begin in June, when the Eastham Public Library hosts an exhibit of works inspired by Hopper. The exhibit runs from June 1 to 30, and all of the featured work is created by local artists and available for purchase through the Addison Art Gallery. A highlight of the exhibition takes place Saturday, June 17, when a group of painters will spread out on the grounds of the newly rebuilt library and at other Eastham locations to demonstrate en plein air painting. Visitors can observe and chat with accomplished as well as emerging artists, from 9 a.m. to noon. Later, works completed that very day will be added to the exhibit, and a reception will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m.
From August 1-31, art lovers will have the opportunity to enjoy more original artwork at another Hopper-themed exhibit at the Highland House Museum in North Truro. An opening reception will be held Wednesday, August 9.
Coinciding with the show, many of the participating artists will give painting demonstrations on the grounds surrounding the museum from Monday to Friday, August 7-11. The schedule is as follows: on August 7, Susan Overstreet, beginning at 3 p.m.; on August 8, Catherine Skowron (8 a.m.) and Marc Kundmann (3 p.m.); on August 10, Steve Kennedy (8 a.m.), Linda Beach (11 a.m.), and Fay Shutzer (4 p.m.); and on August 11, Maryalice Eizenberg (9 a.m.) and Amy Sanders (2:30 p.m.). The painters will select locations to set up near the museum, based on each day’s conditions.
In her work, Susan Overstreet gives a nod to Impressionism with strong brush strokes and vivid color. She enjoys painting outdoors. “There is a great joy in being outdoors, in all sorts of weather, trying to capture nature,” says Overstreet, a resident of Brewster whose work is exhibited at Addison Art Gallery. “You must focus on what you want to say and exactly what perspective you want to take, as there is always so much subject matter around you. On Cape Cod, the scenes can be so breathtakingly beautiful, it is intimidating and overwhelming. This is a challenge, but also exhilarating . . . There is nothing like finding the bright colors and placing them to canvas. You must be outdoors to see, experience and record that light and color.”
Overstreet says she also enjoys demonstrating her craft. “I learn much about my own process in preparation for a demonstration,” she says, “for it enables me to analyze each step I take to complete a painting. By demonstrating and watching others demonstrate, I have discovered my process is more intuitive than methodical. Rather than a linear path, I take a holistic approach, enjoying a push-pull orchestration of color, composition and brushwork.”
Eastham’s Paul Schulenburg, an award-winning Copley Society artist, shared how Hopper’s artwork has influenced his own. “I often return to the light, shadow and subject matter that is reminiscent of Hopper’s work,” he says. “These paintings are less about flourishes of fancy brushwork and more about a quiet illumination of space . . . During our ‘After Hopper’ tribute I am especially embracing the look and feeling of his paintings. Without trying to recreate the same scenes, I am conscious of celebrating some of the subject matter, the light, and the pensive, mysterious, contemplative emotions of his work.”
Another artist who will demonstrate is Maryalice Eizenberg of Chatham. She says working outdoors presents unique challenges, but it’s enjoyable and it can be inspiring. “The rapidly changing light makes plein air painting challenging,” says Eizenberg. “Decisions must be made and executed more quickly than in the studio. It is a more immediate process but one that is very rewarding.” Over the years, Eizenberg has participated in painting demonstrations, and she enjoys it. “I love to paint,” she says, “and like to think that I am an effective communicator. Much of what I know was learned from others, and I consider it an honor to pay it forward. My process does not change whether I am in front of an audience or not. Answering questions or explaining the process does not alter my intentions for the painting. The completion may just take a little longer.”
A few more events add to all the “After Hopper” fun. On the morning of Wednesday, August 9, several painters will set up their easels around Truro to capture the scenic shores and historic sites of the town where Hopper lived and painted. The precise locations will be determined that morning. Observers are encouraged to chat with the artists, and perhaps circle back later in the morning to view their progress. Should they be captivated by a certain piece, art lovers could reserve a painting while it’s being painted. The Addison Art Gallery would handle the sale and ensure the finished piece is delivered to the collector.
For the “After Hopper” series finale, a reception will be held Saturday, August 12, from 5-7 p.m., at Addison Art Gallery, 43 South Orleans Road, Orleans. Attendees can savor a glass of wine, rub shoulders with local artists, and browse the creations in the gallery’s new Hopper-inspired exhibit. The show runs from Friday, August 11, to Friday, September 15.
What is it about Hopper and his paintings that have inspired so many? Addison offers a response. “In my 20 years of running a gallery on Cape Cod, I have met many artists who credit Hopper as an influence while creating in their own distinct styles,” Addison says. “Perhaps because of who he was, a man with minimal social interaction who chose his friends carefully and kept his distance from the vibrant arts community we have long treasured here, Hopper’s deep ties to Cape Cod are not as widely acknowledged as they deserve to be . . . What motivated me to launch ‘After Hopper’ are the gifts that he handed down to the artists of today.”
For more information about “After Hopper” events and exhibitions, call the Addison Art Gallery at 508- 255-6200, or visit addisonart.com.