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Breaking Through

Emerging Artists Featured at PAAM

by Rebecca M. Alvin

Anyone who has wandered through the streets of the east end of Commercial Street on Friday nights in the summer has been witness to something incredible: a community of regular people who care deeply about art and celebrate it, talk about it, and of course, experience it in the galleries every week during these Friday night gallery strolls. As affable, approachable, and art-loving as this scene is, it can sometimes be hard to break through the inner circles, with artists of a certain age and status dominating the scene. For the younger artist, just emerging in his/her field, it can be daunting trying to find a place in the conversation, let alone in an actual gallery in Provincetown. But that doesn’t mean emerging artists are not among us.

Colin McGuire’s The Glow (oil on board, 48×48”)

Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) Director of Community Relations and Operations Grace Ryder-O’Malley began the process of proposing a show of emerging artists at PAAM about four years ago. This weekend, her curatorial efforts finally come to fruition in the exhibition Emerging Artists: Naya Bricher, Julian Cardinal, Antonia DaSilva, and Colin McGuire, which runs at PAAM May 5 – June 25, although, Ryder-O’Malley explains, many of the artists she originally proposed are no longer emerging or no longer on Cape Cod, so the names have changed from that first version.

“I was really looking for artists who were part of the Provincetown and Cape Cod environment and part of the community here,” Ryder-O’Malley states. She says the artists she ultimately picked came to her attention in different ways. She’d heard about Bricher through an exhibition at the Cape Cod Art Association and then requested a studio visit, while Cardinal, who is represented along with his father at Kiley Court Gallery (and whose piece Nude is in our table of contents on page 5), was someone whose work she long admired. DaSilva had been taking classes at PAAM and McGuire was an intern there.

Antonia DaSilva’s Docked at Menemsha – yellow (four color silkscreen on paper, 15 x 21.5”)

Each of the artists selected is a painter (although DaSilva is also a printmaker), but they all approach their work differently, with entirely different styles. Bricher’s work is bright and colorful, even whimsical, while Cardinal’s work is more muted. In his artist statement, he says “I am very inspired by vintage subject matter, especially early 20th century French fashion. Once I gain a sense of the picture’s composition, I then can duplicate the images using different sized canvas, colors, and line patterns. My goal — to combine the vintage style of fashion with contemporary expressionism.”

DaSilva says in her statement, “I am intrigued by harbors and docks—the lines of fishing boats, and the mess of buoys, traps, and ropes. The magical light that occurs by the water makes the buoys glow and injects the shadows with color. The surrounding landscape and natural world create beauty from the chaos of objects.” This is reflected in her piece Docked at Menemsha-yellow, with its combination of geometric shapes and less rigid lines.

Naya Bricher’s Such a Delicious Change! (oil on canvas, 48 x 48”)

McGuire’s work seems worlds apart from this. While DaSilva’s images are familiar, McGuire is interested in placing human figures in landscapes that tower over them and seem to come from another time, lending them a haunting quality. This is a show of diverse works, to be sure.

The obstacles in front of young artists on Cape Cod today are numerous, with housing costs front and center, just as they are for non-artists. This means artists at this stage of their careers usually have other full-time jobs and sometimes families, as well, making it difficult to carve out the time and focus for creating the work about which they are so passionate. While these economic realities can’t be easily fixed, there is also a need to broaden the scope of who is shown in Provincetown. And while the scope of the PAAM show primarily includes painters, Ryder-O’Malley acknowledges the lack of venues for artists working in newer mediums, such as video and computer-based work, something younger artists are more likely to be interested in. She sees PAAM as primarily focused on fine art, but doesn’t rule out the possibility of advances in this area, noting that there are a number of pieces in the members’ show that reflect an interest in different media. In the meantime, she’d like to see a return to support for the emerging artists in our community.

“The art world is kind of focused on the older generation, but…. the art colony has not ceased,” she says. “I feel like [this is] something we can do on a regular basis.”

She notes that these emerging artist exhibitions had been occurring fairly regularly in the 1980s and 90s, pointing to artist Joerg Dressler as an example of an emerging artist who showed in one such exhibit and later had his mid-career exhibition at PAAM, just a few years ago.

“It’s really an exciting experience,” she says.

Emerging Artists: Naya Bricher, Julian Cardinal, Antonia DaSilva, and Colin McGuire is on exhibit at PAAM, 460 Commercial St.,  May 5 – June 25, with an opening reception on Friday, May 12,  6 p.m. For more information call 508.487.1750 or visit


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Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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