MEET OUR 2023 ARTISTS
Ara’s grandmother led an all-girl jazz band on the Vaudeville Circuit, so there is a certain evolutionary logic to her becoming a modern dance and theatre performer. She is also a writer, professor, improvisor and inveterate doodler.
She was a member of the Workgroup, Daniel Nagrin’s seminal improvisation company, The Entourage Music and Theatre Ensemble, and Fitzgerald, Kramer and Bean. Her work has been seen on and off Broadway, in dance spaces, museums, and Zen centers. A graduate of Connecticut College (BA) and Wesleyan University (MALS), she taught at Connecticut College, The National Theatre Institute, Trinity Square Conservatory, and served as Director of Dance and Theatre at Manhattanville College.
Primarily known for solos with original text, she revels in ongoing collaborations with photographer/film maker Peter Cunningham; composer Wall Matthews (Words for Music Perhaps based on the poetry of W.B. Yeats); Paris based choreographer Martha Moore (pandemic zoom films: If I Get Frozen, You Keep Going and Face To Faceless), Pilgrimage with Clare Byrne, and the honor to perform reconstructions of Life Of A Flower and Conversations With An Ant by dancer/clown, Lotte Goslar. She is on the boards of the American Dance Guild and the Mystic Paper Beasts. With Stuart Pimsler, she compiled and edited, dance great and mentor, Martha Myer’s memoir, Don’t Sit Down.
In these troubling times, one of Ara’s stage and film characters, The Ghost of P.T. Barnum, returns to haunt her in Watch The Bullies Dance (2016), and The Sound of One Hand Slapping (2017). The Invisible Circus Of The Present Tense (2022) is a collection of stories created for performance that have been translated to book form and illustrated by Ara’s drawings.
Ara says, “ It is heady as a creator and performer in the ephemeral medium of dance/theatre, to see words and drawings land on a page and stick.” She is thrilled to share digital prints of spreads from her book at the Grand Manan Gallery.
Ara is a seasonal resident of Ingalls Head, and when not on Grand Manan, she can be found in New York City and Lincoln, MA.
Barry Coombs is a visual artist based in Hamilton, Ontario. He has exhibited his work in Canada, Taiwan, China, and South Korea. He represented Canada at the G20 World Artist Festival in Seoul, South Korea in November of 2010. His watercolours were featured in the April 2013 issue of Leisure Painter, the best-selling ‘learn to draw and paint’ magazine from the United Kingdom. The Study was chosen for the front cover. Ross Island Light from the Grand Manan Art Gallery permanent collection was also featured in the article as well as Swallowtail Light.
Barry first visited Grand Manan in the summer of 1991 to teach drawing and painting for Island Arts. He was associated with Island Arts for seventeen years and followed that with leading independent workshops for another twelve years. In addition to the Grand Manan workshops, he has led dozens of outdoor painting and sketching holidays in Canada, the USA, Europe and Mexico.
His long teaching career focussed primarily on watercolour painting and pen and ink drawing. It has now wound down after over thirty years of teaching adults on a part-time basis.
Barry worked en plain air in watercolour for many years and shared his experience and skills with his students. Meanwhile, he developed a studio practice that was concerned more and more with ideas inspired by Cubism and other early Modernist art movements. The Leisure Painter paintings are representative of a watercolour period which reflects these influences. More recently, his practice has shifted more to the use of gouache and acrylic. He is represented in many private collections and several public and corporate collections.
The watercolour paintings in Barry’s Grand Manan exhibition were created in the early 1990s, while he visited the Island to teach en plain air drawing and painting workshops with Island Arts. The work ranges from sustained efforts to less formal, quicker studies. These were all completed during his down time between, prior to or following workshops. Much of the work now has a documentary quality and reflects many of the changes on the island that have taken place over the past 30 years.
When I was a teenager, my father gave me an Ansco camera, two rolls of black and white film, and a film-processing kit. It was the best gift I ever received, and the first time I saw an image slowly appearing on a blank sheet of paper in a tray of developer, I was amazed. It was a discovery moment, and I soon came to realize that photography is much more than art and science. Photography is pure magic!
Over the years my interest in photography has continued to grow, and the advent of digital technology has added an astonishing new dimension that I think can only be fully appreciated by those of us who have laboured in the red glow of a darkroom safelight.
I like variety, and consequently my photos range from traditional landscapes and seascapes to more contemporary minimalist and abstract images. My objective is always to faithfully reproduce what I observe, and hopefully create images that project feeling or mood.
For this exhibit I have printed all my images on canvas. I believe that the combination of digital photography and artistic canvas is a perfect marriage, and it is clear that photography on canvas is rapidly gaining credibility on the art scene. Oil painters have been using canvas as a support medium for over 500 years, but photographers have not been able to print their images on canvas until relatively recently. In the early 1960s artists like Andy Warhol began using commercial silk screening technology to transfer images to canvas. It is much easier and more convenient today because photographers can now use inkjet printers that can print directly on canvas with archival-quality inks. After the image is printed, the canvas is stretched and stapled to a wooden frame, and then sprayed with a protective varnish. The end result is a piece of art that is vibrant, durable, light and easy to hang, and because glass is not required, there are no distracting reflections.
In 2018 I returned to my native Island after living and teaching (French and Resource) on the mainland for 30 odd years. A few school friends and I took up rock painting (with acrylics) in 2020, and soon became interested in moving on to canvas and paper. In 2021 I discovered watercolour which became my preferred medium. I enjoy painting birds, flowers, and seascapes in a loose, semi-impressionistic style.
“There is so much waiting for you in the wild, creative edges if you just say yes to the journey.”
I never considered myself an artistic person in any way, which just goes to prove that anyone can pick up a paintbrush and, with time and practice, produce something enjoyable. For me painting is therapeutic and a fantastic hobby!
How do we describe the coast, the water, the ocean? Leonardo da Vinci said, “Water is the driving force of nature.” We are inherently drawn to water. It is where we come from.
As a painter, the ocean is my muse, with endless inspiration. From dazzling sunrises to dreamy sunsets, lazy hot afternoons to dark and threatening storms. There is beautiful light and shadow to be found. Growing up on the coast has given me a love for the sea. It is a place that I could never leave.
This collection is varied, but the common denominator is the Maritimes with a focus on Grand Manan. Grand Manan is a wonderful place for inspiration. It is beautiful, quiet and calm. The peacefulness of the Island is good for the soul.
I work in acrylic paint, and I love a large canvas. All of my work is based on nature with a strong slant towards one of my favourite things . . . the ocean. As Jacques Cousteau said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net forever.”
I grew up in Saint John, NB, and I now live in Nova Scotia with my husband Mark. I come from a large family, one of seven siblings. Bayshore on the Bay of Fundy was my play ground. It was a beautiful place to grow up, and I was so lucky to have that landscape around me. I was always drawing as a child, and I dabbled in paint as a teenager. I come by it naturally from my mother. My Mom’s work was folk art in style and my siblings and I have many of her pieces which we hold dear.
Like my mother, I didn’t get into painting until later years. I started by filling the empty walls of my home with my work. I have donated pieces to several fundraisers over the years, and I have also done work for friends and my family. My work is sold online, and the Grand Manan show will be my first gallery exhibition. I am the quintessential “starving arist.” I paint for the joy it gives me, and to discover it brings joy to others is very gratifying.
Peter is the eldest son of the American cloud physicist Robert Cunningham and his Austrian-born wife Claire Steinhardt, a chemist and high school teacher. Peter graduated from Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School in 1965 and studied anthropology at Wesleyan University before taking up photography in 1969.
In his early career he specialized in photographing musicians and theatrical performances and concerts. In 1973, as his first professional assignment, he shot Bruce Springsteen’s first publicity photographs for Columbia Records, and in 1982 he took the first publicity photographs of Madonna for Warner Brothers.
Peter has been a professional photographer for over 30 years. His teachers include Baptist fisherman Lester Tate, dancer Martha Myers, French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, Zen Master Bernie Glassman and singer-songwriter Janis Ian. He has exhibited his photographs and StillFilms in New York, Krakow, London, Paris, Tokyo, Jerusalem, Kigali, Nanjing, Beijing, Berlin and Grand Manan. His clients include singers, teachers, chefs, playwrights, athletes, accountants, actors, fishermen and clowns. He teaches “Photography as Zen Practice” in the US and China. He is co-author with Peter Matthiessen of “Are We There Yet? A Zen Journey through Space and TIme,” and he is a founding member of “The Order of DisOrder.”
Peter is a Zen practitioner and a student of Bernie Glassman of the Zen Peacemaker Order. He participated in, and photographed, the first interfaith meditation retreat at the Auschwitz concentration camp led by Glassman in 1997.
Peter began visiting Grand Manan Island with his parents as a child, and he returns to the island annually. Part of his show at the Grand Manan Gallery will involve the launch of Disappearing Before Our Eyes, his new book about Grand Manan.
Being a part-time teacher at Grand Manan Community School and full-time mom of a toddler leaves me with less time than I would like to explore creative endeavors, but I’ve always enjoyed “dabbling” in art and trying new projects and mediums.
Photography has been a mainstay for me, and I love to travel and capture new things with a camera. I am originally from Nova Scotia, but always came to Grand Manan in the summers and it’s been my family’s special place for a long time. I’m now lucky enough to call the island home and live by the beach where I first discovered beach glass. Hunting for this treasure has become a hobby, okay obsession, that always makes me happy and clears my mind. I wanted a way to share the decades worth of collecting I’ve done, so I’ve been taking pictures of my “loot” and experimenting with still life, light, and different vessels. Hope you enjoy 🙂
Three Potters (Roz Leslie, Alison Ogilvie and Karey Ingalls)
Roz, Alison and Karey work as educators at the Grand Manan Community School. All work in different capacities and in different areas of the school, meaning aside from a few chance hellos and friendly smiles, there is not much time to connect during the frantic pace of the school day.
In 2018 art teacher Sara Griffin applied for, and received, grants totalling $10,000 from the province of New Brunswick, the Rotary Club of Grand Manan and the Fundy Community Foundation to purchase a kiln for the school. Not only did this provide an incredible opportunity for her students, she also used it as wellness initiative for staff. After school she provided tutelage and materials for staff to make their own pottery creations. The stresses of the school day melted away and staff bonded and were inspired by each others ideas.
When the pandemic hit, Roz and Karey kept their spirits afloat by continuing to explore the world of pottery from their homes, celebrating when restrictions were eased and they could return to school . . . to the kiln!
Alison, having moved to Grand Manan in 2017, was buoyed by the beauty of the island. She enjoyed the social aspect of the pottery classes, but being used to painting, it took her a while longer to fall in love with pottery. All three artists draw inspiration for their work from the beautiful island they get to call home. Be it the colours, the boats, vegetation, animals, or an incredible art teacher, this show is truly “island inspired.”
The Paleolythic Painters
For a number of years, a group of Island women artists that included Kay Boynton, Beverly Cheney, Josie Dalzell, Rosalie Harvey, Winnifred Harvey, Molly Laffoley, Barb Leslie, and Lillian Wilcox met around a kitchen table on a regular basis to share their artistic talents, and they became known as “The Grand Manan Group of Eight.”
In 2006, when he was appointed minister of the Anglican Churches on the Island (Ascension and St. Paul’s), Rev. Dana Dean, a keen artist himself, reformed this group at St. Paul’s Church Hall with the surviving members of the “Group of Eight” along with other Island artists, summer residents as well as many other artists who would visit the Thursday group when their busy schedules would allow. At this time, the group members also started an evening class on Tuesdays for the youth of Grand Manan from the age of 7 and up to encourage their interest in art.
When Rev. Dana left the Island the group seemed to split up – some members meeting at Tam Greenley’s Art Supply Store in North Head, and then at the Moses residence, while others met at Rotary Isle then the Lodge and the Curling Club.
It is said that “what goes around comes around,” and in March of 2023 the group, now known as the Paleolithic Painters, was able to gratefully return to St. Paul’s Church Hall in Grand Harbour where they get topgether every Monday between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., and anyone interested is more than welcome to join them.