Town Column : West Tisbury
Despite the reluctance of most West Tisbury residents to venture out of town, a surprising number of us went all the way to Edgartown last Saturday afternoon to attend the opening of an exhibition of Stan Murphy's drawings and paintings at the Martha's Vineyard Museum. It was more than worth the trip, and I can hardly wait to go back.
Drawings are, to me, the most personal of an artist's work. They can be rough, a few shorthand lines to remind us of a place, a gesture, or an idea. Or they can be fully completed works of art on their own. Drawings are often a way of working out a composition or ideas for a larger painting. The drawings in this show represented the full range of possibilities.
There were simple little sketches, surprisingly loose and abstract, studies for the polished surfaces and compositions for which Stan was revered. Placed beside these drawings, the paintings of Ozzie Fischer and David Flanders showed the artist's completed vision. Seeing both together enriched my appreciation tremendously.
Other drawings were beautifully rendered, fully finished self-portraits. Here Stan used softened edges and subtle variations of tone to make drawings of complexity and richness.
These drawings, and many more, are a gift from the Murphy family to the museum. This exhibition will continue through October. More of the collection of several hundred drawings will eventually be displayed.
Besides the Murphy show, the museum has a wonderful roomful of World War II memorabilia from Islanders who went to war. Most are people I know, so it was particularly interesting to see their photographs, flight jackets, chewing tobacco, and other artifacts, and to hear or read their reminiscences. I was touched by the stacks of letters written by the Athearn brothers, Leonard, Clifton, and Mike, that they sent home, neatly addressed to their mother. A well-known painting by Chandler Moore has been repaired and restored; it hangs across the front of the room.
Another room shows photographs of Oak Bluffs. There are permanent exhibits of scrimshaw, paintings, arrowheads, whaling tools, and much more. The museum is open Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. It is closed for President's Day. Call 508-627-4441 or look at the website mvmuseum.org for more information. Consider becoming a member and traveling down-Island on occasion.
There will be a memorial service and gathering to honor and remember Dan Prowten this Saturday, Feb. 13, at 1 pm, at the Ag Hall. Everyone is invited to bring memories, musical instruments, and food to share.
Recently, I saw New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen being interviewed on television and found myself looking at the people in the background, wondering if I might catch a glimpse of Maxwell Nunes. Max is living in Washington, D.C., where he is a freshman at George Washington University, and is an intern for the senator.
When I was leaving the library Saturday, I ran into Mike Black and his nephew, Jon Black, who was visiting from New Jersey. Jon had called home earlier to learn that his family was snowed in with two feet of snow, while he was walking unimpeded into the West Tisbury Library with only a random snowflake floating by. The storm that covered the mid-Atlantic states was offshore well to our east by the time it got this far north. Mike and Jon were planning a day in Boston together before Jon headed home this week.
Several West Tisbury students at the M.V. Regional High School will be performing in the musical "Rent" this weekend at the school's Performing Arts Center. Show time is 7 pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with a matinee at 1 o'clock on Saturday.
Don't forget that schools, the library, and all town offices will be closed on Monday, Feb. 15, for the President's Day holiday.
If you are looking for something to do on Monday, the Capawock Theatre in Vineyard Haven is having a special showing of "Gone With the Wind," a benefit for the Island Food Pantry. The show begins at 2 pm. Admission is at least one non-perishable food item for the pantry. They ask particularly that it not be a past-dated item. I can't believe anyone would really need such an admonition, but there it is.
This weekend is Valentine's Day. As regular readers of this column know, I love holidays, so I am busy thinking up something special for Mike. Make the day special for yourself and for someone you love.