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In latest exhibit, Scituate artist looks to ocean for inspiration

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  September 19, 2011 07:11 AM

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Atlantic Study 3.JPG

One of Dunn's works from her Atlantic Study Series.

Scituate resident Kathleen Dunn has a knack for painting open space.

A landscape painter in trade, Dunn has always had a love of capturing the environment, bringing life into the stillness of a drawing or painting, and defining time through color and shade.

Yet her latest exhibit, titled “Atlantic Study Series,” on display in Rockland Memorial Library from Oct. 3 through Oct. 28, seeks to understand a very distant, and often overlooked, part of an everyday seascape – where the sea meets the sky.

The series is based on a visual study of the horizon line from Scituate. Done mostly from around her home in Scituate, and partially through time spent on the Cape, Dunn said the idea came to her after spending so much time on the waterfront.

“I live in Scituate, so I’m near the ocean, and I’ve also spent a lot of time down in the Cape,” she said. “But most of these are based on living by the coastline, having that view of the horizon.”

Her paintings capture the studies they came from. Blue panels with gentle white and green strokes seem deep and cool. Monet-like in texture, and lifelike in form, the prominent color blue seems to saturate even beyond the painting’s edge.

The works, each at around 20 inches tall and 20 inches wide, oil on paper, are meant to draw the viewer in, make them contemplate more than just the composition reflected in the piece.

It’s like staring into the ocean, Dunn said.

“You’re wondering what’s beyond that, it’s more ocean. It’s just a vast plain when you look out there. It can be kind of meditative in a way,” she said.

The series is ongoing, and the Rockland exhibit will display only four of the 10 in the series Dunn has completed thus far.

Although almost static in nature, Dunn said painting the one subject was actually more difficult than it initially seemed.

“You just concentrated on that one subject. That one view, the horizon line at the ocean, that’s all your concentrating on. It seems very static but it’s not. The waves are always changing, the sky, the light, you see a lot of differences you might not realize are there,” she said.

She was influenced by artist-in-residencies in the historic dune shakes in the Cape Cod National Seashore, and studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and the Truro Center for the Arts.

She is also a graduate of UMass-Boston.

Dunn has exhibited in numerous galleries and libraries throughout the South Shore, and is excited to add Rockland’s Art in the Rotunda gallery to her list.

“It’s nice that Rockland offers this to people in the area, that you can show your work locally,” she said. “They have a nice arrangement in the library. It’s not Newbery Street, but its nice to see things locally, and it’s important for the community.”

A reception for the artist’s exhibit is scheduled for Oct. 5 from 6 to 7 p.m.

For more of Dunn’s work, click here.

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