3 exhibit openings in November share maritime themes

“White Island Lighthouse,” Harry Neyland, 1906, is one of several works by famous local artists in “Celebrating Generosity: Gifts from the Eliot S. Knowles Collection.”

Three new exhibitions premiere simultaneously in November at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

The exhibits, titled Celebrating Generosity: the Eliot S. Knowles Collection, Among the Waves and Amid the Vortex; Paintings by Jason Hancock, and Signifying the Whale; a crowd-sourced exhibit from the digital realm, opens to the public Nov. 2.

Peggy Rodgers, Judith N. Lund, Ph.D., and Mary Jean Blasdale, Chair of the Collections Committee, are guest-curators of Celebrating Generosity.

Eliot Stetson Knowles (1916-2002), became the thirteenth president of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society in 1973 after serving six years as its treasurer. His leadership and generosity is celebrated in a new exhibition of works, which he and his wife, artist Betty Kirkendall collected over decades. Theirs grew to be the largest private collection of art of the New Bedford region, including such well-known artists as William Bradford, William Allen Wall, Clement Nye Swift, Charles H. Gifford, and Harry Neyland.

Opening concurrently, an exhibition by contemporary artist, Jason Hancock, titled Among the Waves and Amid the Vortex, takes visual elements from Moby-Dick to create a series of new paintings that express the turbulent nature of the whaling seas. Capped by sunrise and sunset upon the ocean, Hancock’s work examines the parameters of opposites and excess.

Harold Davis dubbed his photo of a wet cyclamen “Moby Dick” because the flower looked to him like the white whale. Davis’ work and many others are part of a crowd-sourced digital exhibition titled “Signifying the Whale.” (© Harold Davis)

Curated by Michael A. Lapides, Director of Digital Initiatives, the third exhibit, titled Signifying the Whale evolved from the Museum’s 2003 Whaling History Symposium presentation by Zubeda Jalalzai and Jason Fiering entitled Wayside Whaling. In it, they investigated the connections between popular icons in contemporary New Bedford, its once dominant but now defunct whaling industry and the enduring language of Moby-Dick; or, The Whale The new exhibit, which follows in the path of two former museum exhibitions, Imagining Moby and Visualizing Melville, is an invitation to discover the leviathan, through imagery and words… wherever it can be found.

A photo group within the website Flickr expands into this exhibit and the public is invited to participate by posting images of “signified” (symbolic), or artistically rendered whales to the image pool. Actual whale photos will be excluded.

This crowd-sourced exhibition will continually expand with images in the Flickr pool, ultimately joining the exhibit, which will be administered by museum curators and updated weekly.

“Vortex (Dusk) Number One” by Jason Hancock

Anyone may submit an image. Email to web@whalingmuseum.org . The Museum will post contributed images to its Flickr photo group with credit and copyright pointing back to creators.

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