There is something for everyone in the new exhibition of Whitney Knapp Bowditch’s ‘On Island’. This body of work holds 36 pieces created by Bowditch this spring. The title ‘On Island’ is both literal and topical, as this new body of work are all images of Block Island, brought to visual life in a way that offers the viewer both the familiar and also a timeless sense of space and wonder at where exactly they may have seen this place before. Bowditch has captured a comprehensive array of island beauty on different surfaces using oils on prepared paper, cradled wood panels and canvas.
Bowditch’s technique incorporates broad strokes and building up of areas with palette knife as well as brush work to incorporate softer tones and imaging. The combination of the two brings us to a point in the painting that is vibrant and alive.
Looking at the paintings individually we are drawn into each scene and transported to different places and times of day throughout the seasons on Block Island. She takes us to places that are both familiar and new.
Traveling to Block Island by boat, ‘Ferry Wake’ will be a familiar sight. This 8.5 x 11.25” oil on prepared paper is the only work in this exhibition that is not actually on island. It is a transitional piece – are we traveling to, or coming from, the island? We are reminded of the power of the ocean and the elements surrounding the island and what it means to travel to and from this place. We don’t know whether we are coming or going but we do know that we are in the middle of the ocean and a part of the elements.
In ‘Boat Launch’ we see a subtlety of tonal shift in this 7 x 11.5” oil on prepared paper which invites us into the calm waters of Great Salt Pond. The atmosphere of this work has a sense of wonder of the natural world and the elements which affect it. It offers an inviting day to explore as we wonder what we will find after our boat launches.
‘Sunset over the Hollow’ evokes a mid-summer sun setting over the West Side into the ocean, leaving the sky a rosy kaleidoscope of color as the day turns to evening. The circle of sun feels powerful and draws our eye to this place while the rest of the scene radiates out.
In this collection by Bowditch there are a number of evening pieces. ‘Nocturne at Southeast Light’ captures the essence of twilight in this 5 x 7” oil on cradled wood panel and the circle of light coming from the SE Lighthouse gives us pause as we consider what that light means to those who pass by and the way the artist has built up most of this painting with texture making it feel alive.
‘Last Light, Mohegan Bluffs’ is a 36 x 48” oil on canvas painting and is the only one of its size in this exhibit and it is also the only one on canvas. We can see the light, yet we are in shadow observing, our backs to the setting sun as our focus is on the shifting light.
We will also be offering a limited number of catalogs to accompany this exhibit which begins July 7th , 2023, and if you’re on Block Island please come see us on the Second Floor of the iconic Post Office Building in Old Harbor. The Gallery is open Wed – Monday, 10am – 5pm and by appointment.