Margot Datz’s art show brings fairytales to life

Artist Margot Datz hosts her annual one-day art show once again this year, despite the challenges of planning an event this summer. 

“I wanted to watch what was transpiring as far as opening up safely to the public before I made any firm plans, but all the while I was painting, painting, painting,” the artist says. 

Datz, well known for her public works and murals, such as the Old Whaling Church, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, both ferry terminals, and the YMCA, has an annual one-day show in August, where she shares her intimate and unique vision with the Island community. According to a press release from the artist, this year’s show is titled “Into the BeWilderment.”

“I vowed I would not paint about COVID. Anything BUT COVID. But what I discovered was that as I painted from my heart, the way our culture is wrestling with so many issues did indeed influence my paintings, not in a literal way, but in a kind of fairytale way. We are in uncharted territory, like Hansel and Gretel lost in the woods, finding our ways. This inspired my work this year,” Datz says.

Her painting “Into the BeWilderness” shows a girl embarking on a journey into a dark forest, inviting the question: Now what is going to happen to her? “So many of us are asking ourselves the same question, and I loved reducing our emotions to a child’s level,” the artist explains.

In Datz’s painting “Stand Back!” a prickly pixie defends herself with thorns and thistles. “I was playing with my granddaughter and I told her there were pixies that were so adorable that people would catch them for pets. In their defense, they developed armor of teasels, rose thorns, and thistles, so that if someone grabbed for them, they’d get a handful of pain. This reminded me of how we have to protect our precious selves individually during this time in history.”

It is noteworthy that the frames of Datz’s works are unique. “I hunt for unusual, antique frames, and then paint to them like muses. There is a fusion of frame to painting that I think creates a gestalt sort of objet d’art. The old frames have so much soul, history, and workmanship. In a day of modernity, I am about as modern as ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales,’ but I do deal with contemporary issues,” the artist states in the release.

Datz is not modern; she is evocative of bedtime stories that lead to dreams of enchanted creatures, woodlands populated by anthropomorphic beings, and natural beauty seen through a child’s eyes. In her painting “They Are Watching,” forest life stares back at the viewer, and even the tree is aware of our presence. “Nature is my foundation. I start there, and then add my soul to the mix,” she says.

Datz’s reception will once again be hosted at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. “The Grange Hall is perfect for a healthy art show. I will hang one painting on each spaced post, with lots of breathing space, open windows, and social distancing.” There will be a print sale and refreshments outdoors. Be sure to bring a mask. 

“Into the BeWilderment,” Saturday, August 8, from 2 to 8 pm at the Grange Hall. Previews are available online, or private previews on the artist’s front porch by appointment. Call 508-330-8246 or email margotdatz@gmail.com for more information.