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Project: Emerson Inn

May 15, 2016May 15, 2020

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The works of art hanging in the common rooms of the Emerson Inn in Rockport MA are by artists represented by Matthew Swift Gallery.

Emerson Inn, Rockport

When the owners of the Emerson Inn offered me the opportunity to hang art in the Inn’s beautifully refurbished rooms, which are suffused for much of the day in gentle natural light, I jumped at the opportunity for several reasons. I felt an immediate sympathy with their approach of blending respect for past eras of architecture and design with the freshness of contemporary elements and perspectives. Happily, the sympathy was mutual, and as I began to propose particular works of art, each one was greeted with enthusiasm, until I was paid the compliment of being left to make selections and hang them as I thought best. I have welcomed the challenge of selecting and hanging work in a new and intriguing space.

I hope you will enjoy living with these works of art during your stay—living with art is such a different experience than paying formal visits in museums or galleries. And I hope that this collaboration between the Emerson Inn and Trident Gallery will inspire some guests to discover or re-evaluate the possibilities of mixing the past and the present in the design of their personal spaces.

In making my selections, I have preferred several artists with deep connections to Rockport. Eileen Mueller and Pamela Ellis Hawkes have lived and made their art in Rockport for over twenty years. Roger Martin (1925–2015) was a well known and loved painter, poet, and historian who lived most of his life in Rockport and was a founder of the Montserrat College of Art in Beverly MA. Zygmund Jankowski (1925–2009) was an influential painter and teacher who lived and worked in both Rockport and Gloucester.

The other artists shown all live and work in neighboring Gloucester. For nearly a hundred years, Cape Ann was in the conversation as the center of new American Art. Since about 1960, that reputation waned as the art scenes in New York and Los Angeles grew and became major centers of activity, and as our modern society became less inclined to spend extended time away from home in the summers.

But exceptional artists working outside the prevailing genres of the region have always thrived here, and it still happens often that an artist from elsewhere arrives for a visit and of a sudden recognizes that the astonishing natural beauty and the rich cultural communities of Cape Ann provide the creative home he or she has been looking for.
I invite you to continue this conversation and to view more contemporary art at Trident Gallery during your stay.

Matthew Swift