Inspired by PEM 6/23-7/29/23

Salem Arts Association members reflect on the Shelagh Keeley: Drawn to Place exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum. The exhibition features artwork that inspired by the past, present, and future of Salem, the North Shore, and Massachusetts; SAA members’ relationship to this area; and by the PEM and Phillips Library collections, the collections of local cultural institutions and homes, and the legendary people and families who called the North Shore their home. 

My artwork juried into the exhibition is a mixed media piece, Stairway to Heaven, 20″ x 24″ matted and framed. It is meant to illustrate one of my favorite rock & roll classics by Led Zeppelin. A charcoal drawing showing the hips and legs of a skeleton ascends a staircase made of cut outs from music to the song. The drawings in Shelagh Keeley’s installation at the PEM employ charcoal and subdued colors which remind me of this piece.

The exhibit will be on display at Salem Arts Association’s beautiful seaside gallery, 159 Derby Street, Salem, MA. The show runs from the opening reception on Friday, June 23 until July 29, 2023. Gallery hours are 12:00 to 6:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Please also visit our gallery shop featuring unique items handmade by Salem Arts Association members!


Observance: Inspired by PEM 2022

Salem Arts Association members reflect on the Zachari Logan: Remembrance exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum and the Covid-19 pandemic to create works in observance of our personal and collective experience.  Members were asked for work that reflects grief, anger and loss in addition to hope and remembrance.

I chose to concentrate on the remembrance aspect and am delighted that my painting, Free Birds Too, was juried in to the exhibit. This painting represents my memories of rearing my three children through good times and bad. Now that my husband and I are in the autumn of our lives, our children are grown and have flown the parental nest to make lives of their own. They are certainly Free Birds, and at first I was heartbroken to see them go! However, I am happy to have learned that this has given my husband and me a new chance to connect as a couple, to live our lives for and with each other again and remember why we fell in love. It turns out that we are Free Birds Too.

Free Birds Too is painted in acrylic on canvas and is 12″ x 15″ framed. The background is painted with many layers of metallic paints and glazes, inspired by the backgrounds on some of the paintings and panels I have admired in the Asian collection at the Peabody Essex Museum. I like this process because it gives the painting warmth and depth and causes it to look very different in various lights. The three trees represent my three children, who can be seen flying into the distance. The swirling leaves represent the passage of time. And the two blackbirds sitting together in one of the trees are my husband and me, snuggled together, free as birds.

The exhibit Opening Reception will be held Friday evening, July 1, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. The Exhibition Dates are July 2 through August 27, 2022. The show can be seen online at www.salemarts.org and in person at the Salem Art Association Gallery at 159 Derby Street, Salem, MA 01907. Gallery and shop hours are Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 6:00 p.m. 978-745-4850.