Daybreak's Best of 2013: Exhibits

At sunrise in Stage Harbor in Chatham, Albert Young rows into the harbor to start the day working the fish weirs. Image from Milton Moore's "Working Men, Working Boats."
At sunrise in Stage Harbor in Chatham, Albert Young rows into the harbor to start the day working the fish weirs. Image from Milton Moore's "Working Men, Working Boats." Milton Moore/The Day Buy Photo

"NEAR WATER'S EDGE": photography exhibit; January 2013; Custom House Maritime Museum, New London

Danny Moers is a bit of an enigma in the 21st century. In his art photography, he works in the darkroom with traditional materials. Minus the aid of digital computer techniques, he brings forth unanticipated, even colorful surprises from his black-and-white images. He uses a unique developing process that controls the action of light on chemical-sensitized photographic paper.

The Rhode Island photographer's exquisite monoprints were featured in an exhibit titled "Near Water's Edge" held in late January at New London's Custom House Maritime Museum. The dozen photographs investigated the various manifestations of water in dams, rivers, lakes and flooded fields and were shot overseas, in the West, and in New England.

Moers said in an interview with The Day that he discovered quite by accident that the chemicals in developing and printing would bring out this subtle yet stunning color in his photographs.

"It's allowed me to see these materials differently and discover color that hadn't been explored before," he said. "I'm just applying traditional formulas of toning black and white photography. I'm also applying light in a way that hadn't been used before … in the processing."

- Amy J. Barry

MARGARITA HERNANDEZ-MAXSON: Handmade dolls and paintings; March 2013; Gallery at The Light House, Groton

The folk art of Victorian New England and Mexico merged in unexpected ways in Margarita Hernandez-Maxson's handcrafted dolls and paintings.

A native of Tulancingo, Mexico the artist now resides with her family in New London. In March Hernandez-Maxson's playful, historically and culturally based work was on view at Groton's Gallery at The Light House.

Hernandez-Maxson's uses Victorian New England hand sewing techniques to create her sturdy dolls. She then adds Mexican hand-embroidery infused with the rich and colorful traditions of her culture - and a touch of whimsy. Highlights of the exhibit included a whimsical winged skeleton doll in yellow skirt and boots and a small angel doll sleeping in a house constructed of papier-mâché, her wings hanging on a coatrack above her.

Several of Hernandez-Maxson's vibrant allegorical oil paintings also were on view and, like her dolls, employed the same sense of fun and wonder. In "No Wake: sleeping children are pulled in a boat by a whale through the clouds above Mystic in the 19th century. The magical scene was inspired by old black-and-white photographs of the town that were in the artist's husband's family, which goes back many generations in Greater New London.

- Amy J. Barry

"MILTON MOORE: Working Men, Working Boats"; September 2013 through Jan. 1, 2014, Second Floor Gallery, Stillman Building, Mystic Seaport, Mystic

Moore is a news designer/classical music critic for The Day who spent much of the 1970s as a staff photographer for the Cape Cod Times. Part of his work at the Times involved coverage of the then-flourishing fishing industry, and over the years he compiled an amazing array of images capturing not just job nuances of working fishermen, but also their lives and the cultures of fishing villages of Chatham and Provincetown.

A devotee of the mid-20th century realism of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans, Moore's stunning black and white images offer indelible portraits not just of the everyday realities of his subjects, but a genuine and profound sense of a distinct time and history.

- Rick Koster

"MENTORING COURTNEY LOVE: David LaChapelle & Courtney Love"

Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London

I could talk about the art, but, really, the opening of this exhibition of Love's art at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum was all about the rocker-actress-painter. It was a show - but not in the way you'd expect from former-wild-child Love. She turned up dressed in a demure black dress, with her hair neatly coiffed and held in place with a black ribbon. Masses of fans followed her through the museum's galleries, and Love was gracious and charming, chatting and posing for photos.

- Kristina Dorsey

Courtney Love attends the opening of her exhibition
Courtney Love attends the opening of her exhibition "Mentoring Courtney Love: David LaChapelle & Courtney Love at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum. Dana Jensen/The Day Buy Photo
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