Members’ Gallery: September 2020

Homecoming on the Avenue by Marcia Chaves. Students and faculty at James Monroe HIgh School enjoy the autumn ritual of Homecoming in the true sense of the word as they march from the modern facility to Maury School, the original home of Fredericksburg High School, founded in 1920. After a morning of dance, games, food and cancelled classes, students put the last touches on their class floats, the band tunes up, everyone begins the long walk down Washington Avenue for a raucous pep rally on the football field of Maury Stadium. Alumni and residents line up along the route to wave and cheer as they pass by the historic icons of our Fredericksburg community. - Mary Washington’s Meditation Rock, the monument to Religious Freedom, Kenmore, the statue of Hugh Mercer and the Confederate Cemetery (MG: September 2020)

Artist Statement—Doing art and sharing it  with the public  at the FCCA is more joyful and satisfying than ever before.   After  the devastating Covid-19 pandemic and my own personal struggle with a broken hip in February, we  have all endured social distancing, lockdown and a longing for the  company of family and friends.  My most recent paintings have evolved from the difficult circumstances of  these six months.  Organizing boxes of old photos from decades ago, I was drawn to images of gatherings from many years past- my first birthday at Colonial Beach, July 4th on the bluff overlooking the Potomac at Mt. Moriah Farm, Thanksgiving dinner at our family home, Hillcrest, and the James Monroe High School Homecoming parade on Washington Avenue.  I was captured by these scenes of togetherness from long ago, so far removed from today’s reality.

In childhood, discovering sharks teeth in the sand, gathering beach glass, and shell fragments among the pebbles have inspired other recent paintings.  These offer a close-up view of the exquisite designs of nature in the creatures of the Chesapeake Bay and Outer Banks, and gathered as treasured reminders of summer vacations.  I’ve also included local scenes of our historic surroundings along the banks of the Rappahannock River - the Counting House, the  tunnels of Embrey  Power, and the Chatham Bridge.

In my  current works, I’ve chosen oil as a medium as it offers a richness of hue and deep saturation of color, evocative of a moment captured in time. Frequently painting over old images, multi layered paint creates texture and depth, leaving traces of old color from the past.

Afternoon Delight, work by Marcia Chaves. A photo from the summer of 1945 inspired this image of a quiet afternoon at our family cottage in Colonial Beach, following my first birthday celebration. World War II was still raging, and the year before, my father had left for training in the US Army a few days after my birth, and later arrived in Europe on Christmas of 1944 to endure the Battle of the Bulge. Meanwhile, my mother and I found a loving home with my grandparents who had built the beach cottage on the shores of the Potomac River in 1936. Generations of summer residents spent long afternoons under the quiet shade of mimosas and the Big Band sounds of Glen Miller. Today as we endure a different struggle, and the isolation of the pandemic quarantine,, the ephemeral peace of these quiet moments has special meaning. (MG: September 2020)