Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed in the Art Beat column are those of columnist Don Wilkinson.
A decade ago, Jessica Bregoli was a sculpture major at UMass Dartmouth when she founded and organized the Seaport Art Walk, an annual public art installation that has popped up every year on the waterfront, on Route 18, between Elm and School Streets.
The tenth anniversary installation features eight new works that have been created for the event and are displayed alongside some older works that have become more-or-less permanent fixtures on the waterfront.
Some of those older sculptures, such as Eric Lintala’s “I Am the Walrus, I Am the Hunter” (from 2010) and Donna Dodson’s “Moby Dick” (from 2015) have weathered well, standing the test of time. But not all have fared quite as well. I’m talking to you, Tom Bob. Next time you’re in town, do you think you could throw another coat of paint on your “Octopus?” It’s not looking so cheerful these days.
Before delving into the artwork on the waterfront, it must be noted that, for the first time, an auxiliary and complimentary exhibition is on display at Groundwork, featuring over two dozen additional artists.
In that indoor alternative space are two small scale sculptures by Eric Lintala. One of them is a black metal silhouette of the world’s most famous fictional whaler. With harpoon in hand, a pegleg and a finger thrusting outward to something (we all know what) in the distance, “Shadow Moments Of A Time Gone Past, Homage To Captain Ahab” would make a terrific weathervane. And that is not a dersion in any way.
Lintala also displays “Shackles Broken Free At Last, Homage To Frederick Douglass.” With empty shackles and dropping lengths of chain, it is a fitting tribute to the famed orator, activist and favorite “son” of New Bedford.
Several other works of art within Groundwork speak to the evils of oppression. Grace Lang’s “Votes for Women” is a delightfully cartoonish mural of three suffragettes, each with a word balloon espousing the most basic of wants: equality, love and peace. Beatrice Alder’s complex and text-heavy mixed media piece “Daughters of the Loom” details the cruelties visited upon women who worked in the textile mills of local lore.
On a lighter note, Charles Hauck’s three-dimensional “Fish Doorstop,”with its silvery blue scales and sad yellow eyes, could easily serve as an attention-getting icon for any smart fishmonger.
Mark Carvalho, a.k.a. “Boston Maki,” master of the stencil cut and the aerosol spray, exhibits “Papa Joe Cataldo,” featuring a welder holding a mask over his face as he labors and it works as an homage to hard workin’ Joes everywhere.