Explore the human form with artists at the Cultural Center

Apr 30, 2024

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The Dartmouth Cultural Center’s latest exhibit is focused on figures, with 13 artists from around the South Coast featuring their work representing the human body. 

Many artists begin learning how to paint using the human body as a model, said Gallery Director Jill Law. 

She said though it isn’t the most popular art style in a coastal region, she wanted to give artists the opportunity to share their work. 

Law added the inspiration for the exhibit came after she found out her painting, “Lady in Red,” was removed from a show in Rhode Island due to its nudity.

She said she had not been informed of this rule, adding, “I could see if it was obscene or if it was male and female, right? But it's not and it's classic style.”

With famous nude works such as Michelangelo’s “David” or Bernini’s sculptures found throughout Italy, it’s hard to imagine a museum or gallery that doesn’t feature nude artwork, Law said.

And so for the very first time the Cultural Center is holding a Figures Exhibit from Friday, May 3 to Saturday, June 1, with an opening reception held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the first night.

The art featured ranges in style, medium and focus area. 

Artist Milton Brightman of New Bedford has an oil painting of humans interacting at a bar in his city named, “The Washington Club.”

Artist Michelle LaPointe of New Bedford has a stained glass piece, but also a photograph titled, “Not a Lemon.” Law said LaPointe shared how she mistakenly leaned over and got paint on her breast and became inspired.

Law has her “Lady in Red” feature in the exhibit in addition to an abstract piece and a sculpture titled, “Chondra.”

Two artists have a series of portraits on display. 

Amy Araujo of Dartmouth displayed charcoal portraits of her daughter and her best friend. 

Araujo said portraits and charcoal are often her subject area and medium of choice, adding how these are more traditional portrait studies, but she’ll often do ocean themed portraits.

She said she had actually gone to college initially to become a marine biologist. “I was only 17 at the time going into my second semester, but I actually got pregnant with my daughter and that just changed my entire life path, truthfully.”

A combination of her daughter, brother and great grandmother pushed her in the direction of pursuing art and “I just kind of never looked back.”

And now Araujo finds herself revisiting her daughter as a subject for her art time and time again.

Peter Guay of Fall River has a series of oil portraits on display.

Guay said he’s been drawing since he can remember and even recalls in the fourth grade when he and a friend were given permission to just sit in the back of the classroom and draw all day because they were still able to achieve high marks. 

However, with a wife and children to provide for, Guay spent his career as a carpenter and then a computer programmer. Though he continued to do art as a hobby, he was not able to truly get back to it until he retired. 

When he got it back, he had the opportunity to draw models and he found that he could never master a “believable” head, so he began to focus on them.

“That was about seven years ago,” he said.

“This is not easy stuff to do,” Guay said. “You have to be persistent.”

Event has passed

Event Date: 

Friday, May 3, 2024 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm