Two artists, one show at Pathways


A new exhibit at Pathways pairs two artists from different generations whose work, though vastly different, complements the other well.

Paul Lazes has been creating art since his days studying at the California Institute of the Arts in the 1980s. Since moving to the Vineyard in 2000, Lazes, whose day job is renovating bathrooms and kitchens, has been experimenting with various artforms, completing four different series in different media.

With the Pathways show, Lazes will be presenting a retrospective of sorts — showing examples from each of his series, along with some early paintings and life drawings. The series includes assemblages made from small plastic dolls combined with wood, larger-than-life photos of Island women from a series titled “Tough Chicks,” drawings of local men from his series “Sweet Guys of MV,” and a number of wall-hanging sculptures made from interwoven strips of cardboard cut from discarded boxes.

Each is made from a single deconstructed box, with the color-coordinated strips layered in such a way as to create a sort of asymmetrical nest effect. Some strips feature some letters or words, but you would otherwise never guess that the striking sculptural pieces are actually upcycled boxes. “I use boxes from Cronig’s that would otherwise go to the dump,” he says.

Isaac Blaise Hurwitz was born and raised on the Vineyard. After graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2015, he opened his own gallery in Berkeley, Calif., where he showed the work of other recent college grads. Two years ago, Hurwitz moved back to the Island, where he is working on establishing himself as an artist.

The young painter’s work is highly contemporary in nature. Many of the images on exhibit at Pathways are abstract, or partially abstract. By using tiny, swirling brushstrokes, Hurwitz builds up areas of color that create a vibrant, active image.

“I’m exploring calligraphy and mark-making,” says the artist. “My work is a metaphor for language, in a sense. Language is pretty abstract until you finalize it into a form. Each letter stands on its own.”

In his artist’s statement, Hurwitz writes, “I use paint to explore places where language cannot go. Before letters and characters were used to express concrete ideas and concepts, each mark made in the world existed on its own, as a force which participated with the maker and the viewer. Paint articulates a truth that we have overlooked, and enables potential we have forgotten.”

In his newer paintings, Hurwitz uses language in a more familiar form. Some of his images include words and phrases expressed in the form of signs or advertising logos. “The direction I’m heading is in using more obvious language,” he says. “They relate to the usual bombardment we face with commercial logos.”

All of the artist’s work is intended to convey a message. “I’m attempting to make a comment on technology and human connections,” he says “I’m not at all into the chaos surrounding technology. People are constantly on their phones disconnecting from each other. I’m not convinced that tech is the solution to all things.”

“In my practice, I am discovering how the act of painting connects us with the source,” Hurwitz writes. “The way paint is mixed and applied parallels how we form and express ideas, learn about and interact with the physical world.”

Curator Tanya Augostinos is committed to giving a platform to artists unrepresented by local galleries. She has also, since her days as owner of A Gallery, striven to provide an outlet for contemporary art. That is an ideal she shares with Hurwitz. “I think there’s a little bit of a void here in the art world,” he says. “Landscapes and other traditional work is well represented, but there’s kind of a gap with other things that could be said with paint.”

Sixty percent of the proceeds from one of Hurwitz’s paintings, “In Formation,” will go to Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

Work by Paul Lazes and Isaac Blaise Hurwitz will hang through the end of February at Pathways at the Chilmark Tavern. There will be an artists’ talk and reception on Sunday, Jan. 21, from 2 to 4 pm.