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Where the Sand Meets the Sea- Joseph Patrick Arnegger

Cultural Center of Cape Cod Welcomes Artists from Near and Far

Three new exhibits feature artists from both sides of the bridges.



South YarmouthThe Cultural Center of Cape Cod is always proud to exhibit the work of both local artists and those from across the world, striving for a balance between the near and far and between emerging and established artists in a wide range of media. Starting on May 26, the Center’s galleries will perfectly reflect this balance as they offer art by the renowned contemporary artist Joseph Patrick Arnegger from Sarasota, Florida, and by three local artists: Willie Simon and Emily Jathas—whose work is influenced by their innate creativity combined with special learning styles—and local painter Peggy Richard. All exhibitions will open on Wednesday, May 26, and close on Saturday, June 19. The Cultural Center will host an open house on Saturday, May 29, from 2-5pm. All are welcome, but CDC protocols including social distancing and mask usage will be in effect. There is no admission fee. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 5pm. The Cultural Center is located at 307 Old Main Street in South Yarmouth.

“Where the Sand Meets the Sea,” by Joseph Patrick Arnegger, which will be shown in the Constantinidis Great Hall and Blue Room galleries, is a collection of paintings that combine the nostalgia of the past and the familiarity of found materials in a manner that bridges the gap between sculpture and paint. Over the last two decades, Arnegger has explored painting, materials, and techniques to create a style which pays homage to his family’s history and his own personal memories. Born in Boston and raised in Montauk, Joseph is no stranger to New England. 

“Living on the coast my whole life has made me keenly aware of the overlooked beauty of the flotsam and jetsam, the color of light reflected off water, and the horizontal relationship between sand sea and sky,” Arnegger writes. “’Where the Sand Meets the Sea,’ is an attempt to combine all those things with a kind of homecoming to a New England coastal town.”

Joseph comes to the Cultural Center through the Sarasota relationship with Managing Director Molly Demeulenaere, who worked with Arnegger on multiple art projects over the past decade. “Joseph’s creativity and ingenuity make him one-of-a-kind. He brings an energy and presence to each space that he curates, and we are thrilled to introduce the Cape to his unique work.” 

Synthesizing issues of realism and abstraction, Arnegger’s work recalls elements of vintage advertising in combination with art historical references. His work is nostalgic for a way of painting, and a way of life, that has vanished. His images of popular culture from the past resonate in the artistic awareness of the present. While figures and places in his paintings may appear iconic, for him the references are personal. They are memories that helped form who he is as a person and an artist.

Having a relationship with his materials is a key element of how each piece of art begins. His paintings are objects that are sculptural in their construction. They are structures often made of found wood or industrial metals. These components, that form the basis of his paintings, already have a history of their own. Arnegger wants the patina of these found objects to endow his paintings with a presence that is richly layered and complexly nuanced. 

In their Vault Gallery exhibition “Shelter Outside: Art on the Spectrum,” Emily Jathas and Willie Simon have approached art from two very different perspectives. Though both are influenced by complex neurological and language-based learning disabilities, Simon’s work incorporates aboriginal design into other subject matter using a highly structured and mathematical approach that involves conceiving, planning, and mapping out the art before he approaches the canvas. In contrast, Jathas works intuitively, spontaneously employing linear abstraction, even when the work is figurative, allowing each mark to inform the next. Their approaches to creating are quite opposite one another, but the results of their inner experiences are truly what define them as artists, and as such they both find shelter in their artistic process quite similarly. Both Emily and Willie have made successful work from their perceived "differences," and each enjoys the distinction of being identified as an artist.

Meanwhile, in the Saben Board Room Gallery, the “Forest Reverie” exhibition of paintings by Sandwich artist Peggy Richard translates a strong emotional response to woodland subjects into stunningly vibrant paintings. “My creativity is fueled by my constant curiosity and respect for the wonders I observe while spending time in nature,” she writes. “My childhood love for the woods, and sense of place there has gratefully followed me into adulthood. I am especially attracted to the wide variety of lifecycles that I witness. At times, metaphors can be found in observing these rhythms of nature, in scenes of new growth, persistence, adaptability, resiliency, tranquility and decay. My process starts with photographs, as well as plein air studies and sketchbook drawings that help me to achieve the desired composition. I enjoy the constant visual problem-solving challenges that go into managing shape, value, color, line and mark making. Some paintings are created quickly while others take months to complete. I know I have finished a painting when the atmosphere is right.”

For more information about these and other Cultural Center exhibits, events, and educational opportunities, please visit the campus in South Yarmouth or www.cultural-center.org or call 508-394-7100.

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