|Title:||Burning and Ascending|
|Size:||24" x 24"|
|Frame Size:||26" x 26"|
|Medium:||Acrylic on Panel|
My great grandfather was a lobsterman in Menemsha. He built the house my grandfather, Jimmy Morgan, grew up in and which my brother and I grew up in out of wood salvaged from shipwrecks. We grew up with this mythology of fishermen fishing stories. My grandfather would tell us of narrowly escaping being skewered by swordfish driving their swords through the dory’s that were sent out to collect the fish after they had been harpooned. He told of hauling aboard undetonated bombs off of Nomans Land in the dragger nets. He would tell us stories about nets full of fish. Huge swordfish. Bushels and bushels of scallops. The painting “Burning and Ascending” is a painting of my grandfather’s boat the wooden dragger Mary & Verna which he sold when he stopped fishing in 2004.
When I was younger I would go down to the dock to see the fishermen unload the swordfish off the boats after the day’s haul. My mind would swim and meld images of Gregory Peck in Moby Dick with the stories my grandfather would tell me of harpooning swordfish with the Larsens in the 1940s.
The Viking Funeral is a painting of The Unicorn, Greg Mayhew’s boat which has since left Menemsha along with the Quitsa Strider, his brother Jonathan’s boat. I wanted to give The Unicorn a sendoff in a painting with smoke and wind and fire. It is a tribute to one of the icons of the mythology of my youth.
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Colin is a genuine islander, having grown up in Menemsha where his grandparents and mother still live. He left the island before graduating from high school in order to travel. After a trip to New Zealand, he expanded his musical interests by touring with Willy Mason and with his own band. During this time, he strengthened his artistic talents by creating the posters and t-shirts for the bands. This experience began his interest in the “real world” of art. Entirely self-taught, Colin’s art training has always been done with a purpose. Moving to Brooklyn, New York, and embracing the “learning by doing” approach to his art, he began working with the painter Holton Rower, the grandson of Alexander Calder. As Rower’s assistant, Colin restored Calder pieces and worked with Rower on his paintings. Colin also worked on painting restoration with Jason Brown at Alchemy Paintworks. Colin’s work with carpentry and stone work have also been a pivotal part of his education. He enjoys the process of working with your hands to create a composition, especially with stone. Aesthetically, he appreciates the natural appeal of stones being placed into walls without any alteration. The traditional stone walls of the island farmers have always been an inspiration. Colin’s work at The Field Gallery consists of landscape images of Martha’s Vineyard inspired from his memories growing up on the island. He often makes a smaller, improvisational piece before commencing with the final painting. Working with acrylic and ink, Colin also makes his own frames. “Always painting” at this time, Colin also paints in an abstract style. He exhibits his abstract work at the Calico Gallery in Brooklyn. Focused on the journey of the subconscious,these paintings are rich with movement and detail, with a colorful, floral quality. Colin is surrounded by artists and creative family members. His wife, Nettie Kent, also a native islander, is a jeweler. The two share a studio, and while they prefer to work quietly, they influence one another often. Colin’s grandmother, Roberta Morgan, grew up in Vineyard Haven. Roberta is married to James Morgan who grew up in Menemsha. Roberta runs the Harbor Craft Shop in Menemsha where James exhibits his drawings, carvings and weathervanes. Junko Records has produced a CD of Colin’s music which was recorded with fellow island musicians Nina Violet, Willy Mason, Sam Mason and Sam Decker.