Mattapoisett watercolorist Mike Mazer is currently exhibiting 33 of his watercolors of the New Bedford Harbor working waterfront in an exhibit entitled, “Mike Mazer: Waterfront Works”. Installed in the third floor San Francisco Room and the adjacent gallery of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, these images depict a variety of daily scenes of the working harbor. The third floor gallery provides the entrance to the NBWM’s observation deck, where one can observe many of the sites depicted in Mazer’s work, in both the New Bedford and Fairhaven sides of the harbor. Mazer is a master of light and color, bringing lyricism and romance to the gritty marine enterprises.
The exhibit is curated by David B. Boyce, Curatorial Consultant to the New Bedford Art Museum, who also curated a larger exhibit of Mazer’s work in 2006 at NBAM, “Mike Mazer Paints New Bedford & Other Scenes of the South Coast.” Mazer’s work is well known locally and has won numerous awards across the nation. This exhibit will remain open through May 31st, 2010.
An exhibit catalog is available for purchase in the Museum Store.
No one specific reason or incident would adequately explain my excitement and invariable attraction to paint along New Bedford’s waterfront. The more I think about why this is, the more I realize that it is multifaceted. I do know that as I approach the site, my emotional juices start to flow in anticipation that there will be another scene waiting to be painted. I need this passion for my work.
I also know that from New Bedford’s past prominence during the whaling era to presently being our country’s financially most successful commercial fishing fleet and industry, that I have a strong urge to capture and portray today whatcould become tomorrow’s history.
A frequent theme in my waterfront paintings is the inclusion of the workers who maintain and repair the fleet. Although it is a different type of work, somehow, I feel a common bond between the workers and myself. Their work brings back memories of my past when I was a gravedigger maintaining a cemetery, a construction laborer building houses, an arborist and tree climber tending to the Boston Commons and surrounding area, and more recently as a physician. I interpret their hard work as well as the benefit and safety given to the crews and owners as not being too dissimilar to my past or present activities. Interestingly, when the workers and I have the chance to talk, not only do they tell you about their family and goals, a number of them also paint as artists and are awaiting better times to do more. I obviously feel comfortable being there.
Thus, it is not one aspect, but rather the waterfront in its entirety that intrigues me. The panoply of subject matter offers a wealth of material helping to bring about the essence of my maritime work, which is the creation of a compelling design. I find a fascination with all the abstract geometric man-made shapes found there that can be selectively rearranged into a realistic composition and painting.