IN WAR AND AFTER: The Art of Combat Veterans curated by Ken Hruby at Rocky Neck

The creative response to military service is vast.

Several Gloucester and Cape Ann artists and writers were veterans officially engaged as combat documentarians and/or military artists, like Larry O’Toole (1908-1951), marine artist, official USCG artist and WWII Veteran.

Ron Gilson visiting Larry O'Toole oils commisioned ca1945 by Ben Pine for YMCA and Master Mariners moved to Essex Shipbuilding-  then O'Maley ©c ryan.jpg
Author and historian Ron Gilson viewing Larry O’Toole murals at O’Maley Innovation School, originally commissioned by Ben Pine ca.1945; after fire and demolition, temporarily relocated to Essex Shipbuilding Museum ; rescued and returned to Gloucester by Raye Norris. When he was a teenager, Gilson helped O’Toole with general art handling-studio assistance such as readying and moving these murals.

 

Addison Center’s 1866 portrait of Ulysses S. Grant is to the left upon entry in City Hall. (On the right is a 1946 memorial commission by Marguerite Pearson to 5 WWII marines: Sherman B Ruth, Ralph Greely, Wilfred Ringer, John M. Sweet, and Robert M. Maguire.)

Others created art in response to their service experience like fine artist, Robert Stephenson (1935-2013).

Good Morning Gloucester readers have been following an indeliable original illustrated series, Stories from Vietnam, with illustrations and writing by David Hussey. The Gloucester Writers Center established a Veterans Writing Workshop in the fall of 2013 and published a compilation book, The Inner Voice and the Outer World, launched in December 2017.  Cape Ann Veterans Services brought copies of the children’s picture book, Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhoodand super volunteer readers, into local Kindergarten, first and second grades to read aloud in the classes. Copies of the book were gifted to the classroom libraries. (Veterans: Heroes in Our Neighborhood ©2012 is by Valerie Pfundstein with illustrations by Aaron Anderson and foreword by John Vigiano Sr., a Marine Veteran and retired FDNY Captain, who honors his sons’ memories –both lost on 9/11– by volunteering his time and resources to Gold Star families and wounded heroes.) Gloucester native and Gold Star mother, Anita Coullard Dziedzic, helped support this outreach through Cape Ann Veterans Services, to honor her son Sgt. David J Coullard.

© c ryan Bradley Smith poet and veteran
Artists-veterans throughout Cape Ann. Bradley Smith, poet, veteran

NEXT MONTH, Rocky Neck Cultural Center will present a visual arts group exhibition featuring artists who are currently active or served in the military curated by fine artist and veteran Ken Hruby:

IN WAR AND AFTER: The Art of Combat Veterans, Curated by Ken Hruby
May 17 – June 24, 2018

Courtesy photos credit info and press release below from Rocky Neck.

  • Mourning the Loss of a Comrade, GySgt Michael Fay, USMCR- Served in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan
  • Walking in Two Worlds, US Army Signals Linguist Cara Myhre, Served in Iraq, Afghanistan
  • Haunting Memories, Lt. Col. Deveon Sudduth, US Army, Served in Iraq
  • Ready for Ga Noi, Sgt. Robert Louis Williams, USMC, Combat Artist, Served in Vietnam
  • Woman Marine, GySgt Michael Fay, USMCR, Served in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan
  • Through The Elephant Grass, Sgt. Robert Louis Williams, USMC, Combat Artist, Served in Vietnam

PRESS RELEASE – “The Rocky Neck Art Colony (RNAC) proudly presents “IN WAR AND AFTER: The Art of Combat Veterans”, a multi-media, juried exhibition of over sixty works by more than thirty combat artists from the military services and by veterans making art from their experiences in zones of combat…Congressman Seth Moulton of the 6th congressional district of Massachusetts, himself a Marine Corps veteran of four tours in Iraq, states of this exhibition, The ‘incommunicable experience of war,’ as Oliver Wendel Holmes once described it, indeed often defies explanation by words alone. That veterans can share some of their experience through art can help us all better understand what they went through. And as a veteran myself, who returned to war with a camera after I left the Marines, I know how cathartic art can be for those of us who were there. The work of combat artists is important for civilians as well, to deepen their understanding of the lives of our service men and women, and their families. “In War and After” is an a very important exhibition for both communities.”

Few people are aware that when US military forces go to war, some of them carry, in addition to their weapons, their sketch pads, graphite pencils, watercolor brushes and cameras. These are combat artists, tasked to not only serve the combat mission but to record that mission in ways only an artist can.

Continue reading “IN WAR AND AFTER: The Art of Combat Veterans curated by Ken Hruby at Rocky Neck”

Larry O’Toole Amazing map and Historic murals at O’Maley School #GloucesterMA

Five monumental Larry O'Toole paintings circa 1948- reinstalled O'Maley School circa 1971 - Gloucester MA DPW crew Mike Hale, Joe Lucido, Phil Curcuru, Mike, and John inspecting 2018 wit

photo above- Five monumental Larry O’Toole (1909-1951) paintings circa 1948 were rescued and reinstalled O’Maley School circa 1982. Gloucester MA excellent DPW crew Mike Hale, Joe Lucido, Phil Curcuru, Mike, and John inspecting 2018 with ©c ryan.  Thank you DPW! City art is routinely checked. Photo by Phil Curcuru below- note the artist’s distinct “L” signature

Larry O'Toole signature photo by Phil Curcuru Gloucester MA DPW  #5 installed at O'Maley painting pre dates 1951.jpg

If you haven’t seen the series of five murals painted circa 1945 by fine artist and muralist, Larry O’Toole (1909-1951), that were rescued and installed (decades ago) at O’Maley Innovation Middle School, perhaps you’ve noticed a poster of his brilliant pictorial map around Cape Ann.

O’Toole published editions of the map in 1947 and 1948. Reproductions of “A Salty Map of Cape Ann: Gloucester-Magnolia-Rockport-Pigeon Cove-Lanesville-Bay View-Annisquam” the 1948 blue version are available at Cape Ann Museum shop.  The delightful map includes inventive and intricate details and local nods: a shout out to Ben Pine’s* wharf, “All maps like this have a sea serpent;” schooners like the Henry Ford and Gertrude Thebaud (again Pine); historic sites and characteristic scenes not to miss “Artists and Seagulls”; and upcoming landmarks to look forward to like the Annisquam Bridge slated for completion in 1950. The numbered border framing elements could have been inspired by Virginia Lee Burton.close up zoomable map (sold) can be found here 

 

Gloucester, Massachusetts Capt. Ben Pine, the man who raced the schooner Gertrude Thebaud against the Canadian schooner Blue Nose for the fisherman trophy, one of the three men who made
Ben Pine office, 1941, Howard Liberman FSA/OWI photograph

Ben Pine* portrait by FSA/OWI photographer, Howard Liberman, titled “Gloucester, Massachusetts. Capt. Ben Pine, the man who raced the schooner “Gertrude Thebaud” against the Canadian schooner “Blue Nose” for the fisherman’s trophy, is one of the three men who made Gloucester. The others were Tom Carrol and Ray Adams.” (author’s note: Ray Adams was a gal so the compliment is for two men and one woman…).

Art can be seen on the walls throughout the Gloucester Mariner’s Association in Howard Liberman’s faint photos from 1941. I’m looking for more interior shots. Some of the art could be O’Toole’s, who completed commissions for Pine.

Carved fish models at the Gloucester’s Mariners Association (Fishermen’s Institute)

Howard Liberman FSA photo Gloucester Mariners Association.jpg