By Linda Haase
The walls in Ocean Ridge Town Hall will be transformed from stark to spectacular this month.
Instead of white, barren space, visitors and staff will be greeted by vibrant watercolors depicting banyan trees, feeding koi and palm fronds, oils portraying stunning horizons and intriguing bronze sculptures.
The exhibit — which kicks off with an open house/silent auction/meet the artists at 6 p.m. Feb. 25 — will be displayed for two months.
“Since its official inauguration Oct.7, 2008, the walls of the new Town Hall of Ocean Ridge have been bare. That is about to change,” says Ocean Ridge resident Dr. John Wootton, who organized the exhibit. Hopefully, says Wootton, it will jumpstart other exhibits and activities at the building.
“We have a beautiful Town Hall, but it’s not utilized for many things. We’d like it to be more of a hub for the community since Ocean Ridge doesn’t have any gathering spots other than the beach,” Wootton says. “There’s a book club that meets there monthly, but it would be nice to have more activities. Bringing people in for this exhibit is the first step.”
The artists, Max Matteson, Olga Moore and Steve Greenhut, hope visitors realize the importance of artwork in public places after seeing the exhibit. And, they say, it’s a great way to showcase their art.
“A beautiful new building with stark white walls, that’s what every artist yearns for,” says Moore, an Art Institute of Chicago graduate whose work showcases the vibrant colors in nature, using deep shadows for emphasis. Eight of her watercolors will be displayed, including Feeding Frenzy, created after she saw fish clambering for food at the Morikami museum pond.
Greenhut’s bronze sculptures will also be displayed. Greenhut, an Ocean Ridge resident who studied under artist Luis Montoya, starts with clay to create his intricate work.
His display includes The Soothsayer of Truths, an abstract of various people he has known.
Oil paintings from Matteson’s “Horizon Series” are minimalist in nature, imparting a sense of pleasure, rest and repose.
“I use a blending of colors which is very soothing,” says Matteson — also an Ocean Ridge resident, whose work is also displayed at Button Gallery in Douglas, Mich.
“The commission wanted to get some paintings up but didn’t have money to buy them. John took the bull by the horns and organized this,” says Ocean Ridge Town Manager Ken Schenck. “These are first-class, professional artists and their work will definitely beautify things. It will also be something else for citizens to see and get involved in.”
Moore and Matteson’s artwork will be available for sale. Proceeds will be used to support public art in Ocean Ridge.
If you go:
Grand Opening Art Exhibition and Reception
Where: Ocean Ridge Town Hall, 6450 N. Ocean Blvd.
When: 6 p.m. February 25, 2010
Details: Silent auction will feature three artworks (two by Olga Moore and one by Max Matteson). One hundred percent of the proceeds from that will be donated to public art in Ocean Ridge as will thirty-five percent of the proceeds from any sold exhibited artwork.