by Lisa Cavanaugh
From Sandwich to Provincetown, Cape Cod is an ideal place to find artistry and inspiration. Long a favorite locale for painters and photographers, Cape Cod has the light, the vistas, and the welcoming environment for creative individuals. This art-friendly atmosphere is reflected in the many dozens of galleries.
This Art Gallery trail might introduce you to some new and innovative galleries or reconnect you with venerable institutions that have been representing area artists for decades.
David McDermott and his wife Yukimi Matsumoto first opened their backyard glass-blowing studio in 2002, merging McDermott’s skills in traditional Scottish glassblowing and Matsumoto’s impeccable design aesthetic to create exquisite one-of-a-kind pieces of art, which are on display and available to buy at the gallery in the front of the property at 272 Cotuit Road. The gallery is open every day except Monday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
With two additional glass artists, Isabel Green and Peter Waechter, now part of the team, the studio itself is also open Wednesdays through Fridays for the public to view their precise and fascinating glass-blowing techniques. “I’ve had the studio for 18 years,” says McDermott. “And I still love what I do. It is a pretty cool process, so to see people experience viewing it for the first time is really exciting for me as well.”
Founded and directed by Susan Reid Danton, this gallery is located just off Route 6 in Dennis. “Miller White Fine Arts is a destination gem in the heart of Cape Cod,” says Danton. “We offer an outstanding array of contemporary abstract and figurative artworks by artists of local, national, and international renown in an impeccable exhibition space.”
The gallery, which is open year-round by appointment and regularly May through October, got its name from Danton’s great aunt, Dorothy Canning Miller, who was the first curator of the collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and Danton’s mother Edith Canning White.
Committed to both artists and collectors, Miller White is proud to present compelling exhibitions throughout the season. Upcoming shows include “New Works from the Roster,” which kicks off May 1st and is Miller White’s inaugural show of 2020. The show will feature a collection of new works in the abstract, figurative and landscape traditions from the studios of Miller White’s exclusive roster and, opening June 5th, “William Allen, Artist Emeritus: A Gifted Man Lays Down His Brush,” a retrospective exhibition of large paintings by William Allen of Brockton, Boston and Falmouth, including his final masterpieces.
If you are looking for evocative representations of the sea and coastal-inspired landscapes, dip down to Route 28 in Harwich Port to visit the Nines Art Gallery. This independent artist-owned studio and gallery features large original oil paintings of glass water and serene abstracts landscapes by Lauren DiFerdinando and limited edition off-shore ocean photography by Luther Bates.
The now husband-and-wife team first collaborated when DiFerdinando commissioned Bates, a woodworker and commercial fisherman, to create custom frames for her paintings to hang in a previous gallery. Once DiFerdinando went out on Bates’ fishing boat, they developed the idea to capture ocean images for her to paint, which in turn led to Bates’ own emergence as a fine art photographer, and the launch of the Nines.
On display this spring will be new “At-Sea” photographs from Bates, as well as additions to DiFerdinando’s “Water” and “Glass” series of paintings. DiFerdinando will also be presenting some extra large scale paintings in the summer.
The internationally acclaimed Addison Art Gallery has been bringing artists, art lovers, and collectors together for over two decades. Known for presenting emerging as well as master artists from the United States and abroad, the Addison Art Gallery is housed in a classic half-Cape finished with boards and beams originally found in Boston’s Faneuil Hall.
This year presents an intriguing season of shows, the publication of Paul Schulenburg’s impressive book, and an array of celebrations. Events and new works available at addisonart.com.
Highly regarded for both personal service and community support, the Addison Art Gallery is praised for discovering and sharing information about Edward Hopper’s time on Cape Cod and for representing contemporary artists following in his footsteps. Addison is also the creator of the special exhibitions including “Before the Masterpieces,” “Cape Lore,” “Outermost Inspirations,” and “In Thoreau’s Views.”
When architectural designer and steel sculptor Steve Swain first came upon Wellfleet harbor’s last intact oyster shack, he knew he had a gem on his hands. The structure on Commercial Street was from the early 1900s and assembled from wooden pieces that had washed ashore from nearby Billingsgate Island.
The timing was just right as Swain had just completed a renovation of the old Spit and Chatter Club oyster shack, which was housed within the neighboring restaurant the Pearl, so he knew what he had to do. Using his skills, he restored the building, and once finished, he decided to launch his own venture, the Frying Pan Gallery in 2008. Swain, who had been showing his art in other locations, was excited not only to open his own gallery business, but also was thrilled to be able to preserve a piece of the town’s history.
The Frying Pan Gallery is home to Swain’s own steel sculptures of sailfish, stripers, tuna, bait-fish, and others creatures of the sea and shore, and it also features hip and contemporary paintings, pottery, woodwork, etchings, jewelry, and furniture by a variety of Cape Cod artists and artisans. Last year, Swain opened a second, year-round location in Orleans, on Route 6A, where the gallery shares a space with Vec Surfboards.
“I love what I’m doing,” says Marla Rice, owner of Rice Polak Gallery in Provincetown. “I opened my present location in 1992, and I am more passionate than ever about the work we are doing there.” Rice originally had a partner, Richard Polak who retired from the business ten years ago, and she has been the sole proprietor ever since.
Fortunate to enjoy an unusually large footprint for the often-cramped town at the end of Cape Cod, Rice Polak Gallery utilizes two separate floors to showcase a diverse collection of talent and mediums. “With such a large space, I am able to have installation pieces and sculpture on display,” says Rice.
Featuring mostly mid-career or emerging artists from around the country (with the occasional international work), Rice says her criteria for choosing who to exhibit is not hindered by a specific theme or medium. “I look for excellence and that the artist’s work doesn’t compete with someone else we are showing at the time.”
The gallery opens the first Saturday in May each year, with a group show where each of her represented artists has a whole wall for their work. From July until Labor Day, Rice switches to two-week-long feature shows of just four artists, which also include opening receptions and gallery talks. Some of the artists who will be highlighted in feature shows this year are Nick Patten, Julie Levesque, Robin Winfield, Jennifer Goldfinger, Michelle Harvey, Joshua Meyer, Sean Thomas, and Victor Mirabelli.
Established in 1989, the Gallery at Four India Street is one of Nantucket’s oldest galleries. Owner and director Kathleen Knight says that The Gallery at Four India represents sixty-five artists from across the United States and Europe. “We are a collection of fine contemporary art glass, traditional and abstract paintings, bronze and wood sculptures, photography and sailor valentines,” says Knight.
Locally owned and operated, the gallery is open year-round and their 2020 calendar will include a show on “Abstract Expressions” featuring artists Judith Brust, Joanna Kane, and Fara Thomas, an exhibit of a fine contemporary art glass by twenty-nine renowned artists, and an exhibition of photography by Sanschez Saunders.
The Gallery at Four India also offers fine art installations, resale of private and corporate art collections, art rentals for private or public spaces, workshops for emerging artists, and constructive one-on-one critiques for artists.