Mark Beebe and his partner, Julia Heimer Dadds, were visiting Parrsboro last summer when they fell in love with the beauty of the Minas Basin and its powerful tides.
“I think it’s one of the wonders of the world,” Beebe says. “The first time I stepped on one of these beaches, I fell to my knees from the power of it.”
Beebe says he was especially affected by the tidal currents opposite Cape Split.
“When I was at the Minas Channel and realized what was happening there, I thought, this is Niagara-Falls-plus on steroids and nobody knows it’s there.”
Beebe and Dadds had driven all the way from Bloomington, Indiana to visit friends here. A few days before returning home, Beebe wandered into Main & Station and met Harvey Lev, who urged him to come back this summer with Dadds as artists-in-residence.
So, since June 6, the couple have created paintings, drawings and poetry that will be on display at Main & Station until July 10th. Their show is called Full Bore Mystic.
“The whole point of our being here and doing art,” Dadds says, “was we wanted to see how the natural landscape and the social landscape came through…and to let it seep in and mix with who we are as artists and see what came out.”
Paint it blue
One piece that did come out was Beebe’s painting on an old door that already had a sticker on it saying “support the gray wolf.”
At first, Beebe rejected the door because it had glass in it, but as he worked, a kind of self-portrait emerged from the door’s black backdrop. He says he thought the door was finished. But it wasn’t.
“I walked in here one night and I heard the clear directive, ‘paint it blue,'” he says. “When I hear a directive that’s a good idea, it makes it past my brain editor and the editor says ‘go ahead.’
“OK, I had to paint it blue. It’s very simple.”
Beebe uses abstract techniques that he calls automatic art. It includes dripping paint onto surfaces and then looking for the patterns that emerge.
He says it’s a technique anyone can learn. He disdains the theories of art experts.
“I laugh when art historians say, ‘the first thing you need to know when you look at a work of art is the artist’s intention.’ I say ‘hogwash,’ the artist may have had no intention at all. I can testify to that.
“All I can say is, you don’t need to know anything about a painting to look at it,” he says. “Look at it, feel it like a kid would feel and that’s enough.”
Click below to listen to Julia Heimer Dadds reading her poem Wasson Bluff, The Brothers, Five Islands.
Click here to visit Mark Beebe’s website.