Margot Datz takes a walk on the wild side


At her annual summer art show, artist Margot Datz explores the theme “Party Animals,” a playful look at the ways we celebrate our lives, she writes in a press release. Frolicking frogs, fancy chickens, and masked raccoons live inside these picture frames, opening a window into the fantasy world of the artist.

“I often use animals as metaphors for ourselves. It is somewhat of an archetypal way to work. I find I can get closer and deeper into complicated subject matter that way. Viewers may approach my critters in a curious, playful manner, and then through the image and my writing, viewers relate to the metaphor on a more personal level,” Datz says in her release about the show. “I really enjoy being both inviting and thought-provoking, silly and serious, simultaneously.”

Datz accompanies each of her paintings with a brief note that gives the audience access to her work’s meaning. “It’s like having an open house, only it’s an open brain,” she says. “People can come in, walk around, peek in a closet or two, and see my view from inside of me. It is rather intimate, a little scary, and very rewarding.” Some viewers prefer to read her writing first, others to view the painting first; the two fuse together into a unique experience.

Passionately devoted to the creation of public art, Datz says her goal is to communicate with people. Her many murals include those at the Old Whaling Church, the Martha’s Vineyard YMCA, both ferry terminals, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the Oak Bluffs Children’s Library, and now the 65-foot mural of coral reefs around the world at the Edgartown Children’s Library. She is in the process of creating panels for the Chilmark Children’s Library, based on the work of Thomas Hart Benton, which will be completed this fall.

“Each year I give myself a little time to play with my thoughts, and paint my heart. I just turned 65 this summer, and I seriously want to play more!” she says in her press release. “I want to celebrate this fabulous life of mine, in big ways and small. I am beginning this bend in the river with a show about celebration. It’s a nice birthday present, don’t you think?”

Datz’s show, for one night only, is Saturday, August 4, at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury, from 4 to 8 pm. Previews are available by contacting Datz will also share her limited-edition signed prints at the event.