March 1-29, 2017
Opening Reception: March 3, 6-8pm
Dune Shacks of Provincetown, Series 1
On the wild back shore of Provincetown, Massachusetts, writers, artists and families made summer homes in the early 1900’s. Affectionately called the dune shacks, some were originally life-saving huts constructed in the late 1890’s but most were built in the 1920’s and 30’s out of debris and ship wrecked ruins.
A cluster of these original shacks exists today – some restored, some bandaged, some dilapidated – all loved. Each shack is unique with its own personality and its own name.
The photographs I have taken over the past decade evoke the experience of living in a dune shack and being in the dune landscape. Most shacks are occupied for the summer, very few in the winter. But the dunes themselves are always accessible.
The nineteen shacks that remain are in an area called The Dune Shacks of The Peaked Hill Bars Historic District, a part of the Cape Cod National Seashore. The shacks were originally built on public land. This was common in those days in Provincetown when there wasn’t so much of a distinction between public and private lands. You built a house and you lived in it. No one thought anything of it.
Then the National Seashore (a welcome force) came along and swept 18 of the shacks up into a complicated bureaucracy. One owner had clear title to prove he owned the land and the shack. Other shack occupants had to sign different lease agreement with the Seashore.
It is not easy to live or stay at a dune shack. First, it is about a two mile walk from your car, or, if you are lucky, someone “authorized” might give you lift over the dunes on one of the two sand roads. The shacks have no running water and no electricity. There are kerosene lamps for light and wells dug in the sand a walk away for hand pumping drinking and washing water. It is heavy going pumping and carrying those gallon jugs of water. Propane stoves are used for cooking, wood burning stoves for heat. If you are lucky you might have a propane refrigerator that works. Otherwise coolers are the order of the day in the summer. Outhouses are a short stroll away.
Coyotes will howl in the night, foxes will cry or scream; numerous animal tracks will envelope the sand around your shack in the morning. You wonder where all those tracks came from and how you didn’t hear a sound.
Solitude abounds with the sound of the sea ever present.
This is home for those of us who want to be (t)here, who are lost without the endless vista of sand, the crashing Atlantic Ocean waves, the whales, the seals, the sand, the night sounds, the night skies. We worry about the increasing popularity of walkers and incursion of the “public” on these fragile lands and structures. They will outlive us though. They have so far. We must believe that.
Vanessa R. Thompson
noun: gobbet; plural noun: gobbets
a piece or lump of flesh, food, or other matter.
Using food to ladle the familiar into the uncertain, Vanessa R Thompson’s photographs of farm fresh food serve up an uneasy distrust of the world for our digestion. In her newest series, Gobbet, she uses pieces of raw meat from her local butcher first to disconnect and then to disconcert, perhaps to distress. Thompson delights in dishing out the suspense between the obvious and the suspect. Gobbet is a piece of a story, a piece of a dream, a teaser of what is to come, but it is fleeting; tantalizing our appetites and leaving us craving the next morsel.
Thompson wants us to thrill over the deep, organic energy of the natural world. She wants us to feel its lushness, its texture, its smell, its mortality. She relishes how it can be ugly, even to the point of repulsion; but, she says, she can never stray too far from its beauty.
Vanessa R Thompson received an MFA at the Art Institute of Boston in 2005. Since then she has been involved in a number of collaborative gallery spaces in the Boston area, including Galatea Fine Art in Boston, Washington Street Art Center in Somerville, Atlantic Works Gallery in East Boston and Gallery 213 in South Boston. She has exhibited this series at the Trailer Box Project in Connecticut in the Fall of 2016.
The Purring of the Soul
The seventeen paintings exhibited in this gallery were created during a dark period of my life. During that period of two years I stopped painting. I lost my appetite to create.
In March 2016, I came back to it after a thorough research on spirituality, esotericism and a personal idea of the afterlife. All these thoughts were logical to me. This in deep investigation was an epiphany. Painting became, once again, a new therapy guided by spiritually. Ideas came as a flow of emotions projecting childhood memories but also reflections of the future: the earth not in adequacy with humanity, the sabotage of the environment, the concept of time and the thought of possible reincarnations on Earth. In one of Paul Gauguin’s title,” Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going” the celebrated painter thought about that: the meaning of life on Earth?
Although my artwork differs from him I also question the meaning of life through my work. Where come my ideas when confronting to a white canvas? Was I guided by spiritual beings? It is a possibility!
As a concept my paintings utilize Abstract Optical Illusion. We all know that painting is an illusion…a make believe. With my cubes, straight lines, rectangles and rounded shapes, I also invent a new reality.
Through my esoteric readings I realize how it is fundamental important to live with the idea of “the Here and Now”. Is it my life’s purpose to paint? Probably so!
Where come my ideas when painting? I believe that I am guided by spiritual beings.
Among many mediums I was impressed by an erudite scientist, philosopher and writer, Francois de Witt and
his vision of afterlife. It mentions in one of his books that when his soul was happy he had the pure sensation that his heart was “purring” (ronronnee “in French) like a cat having a pure bliss. I like the idea and used it for the title of my exhibit.
In essence I believe my new vision of life helps to paint these images. What a beautiful experience it was .
Galatea Fine Art
460B Harrison Ave., #B-6
Boston, MA 02118
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