Red Hook gallery BWAC launches four exhibits this weekend

Photographer Cait McCarthy recreates the 19th-century painting “The Reading” by French artist Édouard Manet.
Cait McCarthy

Culture is healing!

A whopping four art exhibitions will debut at the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition’s Van Brunt Street gallery May 8, offering an assembly of local paintings, prints, and other works for six weeks, according to the group’s head.

“After a challenging year, we are looking forward to welcoming an expanded number of visitors to our two-floor Red Hook gallery space,” said BWAC co-president Alicia Degener.

The exhibits in the 25,000-square-foot Civil War-era waterfront warehouse include a series called “The Sky Continues Beautiful,” named after a line in the Walt Whitman poem “To Think of Time,” showing how BWAC artist members reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For example, photographer Cait McCarthy explored her pregnancy and motherhood during the pandemic by shooting portraits of herself recreating well-known paintings from centuries past of mothers and children. Her series “Maternity in Quarantine” will have her pictures on view next to a counterpart to which she has added face masks. 

Photographer Cait McCarthy re-enacts a painting by 19th-century Italian artist Adolfo Belimbau.Cait McCarthy

The collection also includes artworks depicting the natural environment, which artists were inspired by as they sheltered in place, according to Degener.

“Even though all these awful things happened, artists still took inspiration from the natural environment,” she said.

This is the fourth show at the gallery since the pandemic broke out, but the art house has had no shortage of foot traffic as revelers flock to the waterfront nabe on weekends.

“Rebirth of Urban Spring” by Judith Hooper.Judith Hooper 

“Red Hook has become this big block party. People are out for the day in Red Hook,” she said. “Our traffic is so much higher than it was pre-pandemic.”

As part of the spring exhibit, the gallery will showcase its first print collection, ranging from both traditional to modern printmaking techniques, with works selected from more than 300 submissions, the gallery guru said.

A group of high school juniors and seniors from the artsy LaGuardia High School in Manhattan will show off their work under the moniker BWAC Crew.

“Searching for Land” by Jessica Schulman.

The fourth exhibit is dedicated to watercolors and hosted by the Brooklyn Watercolor Society, which will highlight a collection of local artists’ work.

There will also be a series of printmaking demonstrations and free workshops, which will be listed on BWAC’s website.

Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition [481 Van Brunt St. between Reed Street and the water in Red Hook, (718) 596-2506, www.bwac.org]. May 8-June 20, Saturdays and Sunday 1-6 pm. Free.