Carla Massoni Gallery
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Marc Castelli | Knowing Hands
May 15 - June 13, 2009
Opening Reception: Friday, May 15 - 6-8 pm
June First Friday, June 5, 5-8 pm

More than 45 new watercolor paintings are featured in Marc Castelli’s one-man show, Knowing Hands. Castelli is known throughout the world for his depiction of the watermen and workboats of the Chesapeake region and for his action packed paintings of the historic Chesapeake Bay log canoes. Castelli drew his inspiration for the title of this year’s show from a passage he read in Eric Sevareid’s book, Not So Wild A Dream:

“None of them ever read a book of directions, or studied a blueprint. They just did it, with a leisurely, natural system, and it stayed done, it worked. None of them could have quoted a single law of physics or chemistry, and the words would have sounded like embarrassing nonsense to them anyway. Yet they understood, they knew, their hands knew. They live in a world of knowing hands.”

The challenge Castelli set for himself was to capture the watermen in these moments of effortless knowing. It is through Castelli’s “knowing hands” that we are privy to join him on the decks of these workboats as silent observers. This year’s exhibition features numerous portraits of the men plying their trade with skills and techniques passed down through the generations. Although Castelli work is always captivating, he does not paint “pretty” pictures of waterman’s world. It is his painterly skill, accuracy and attention to the raw detail that has brought him to the attention of curators and collectors of maritime art both in this country and abroad. You can view all images from this show by visiting the Marc Castelli website at

We are pleased to announce that next spring, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum will show the works of two artists, Louis Feuchter (1885-1957) and Castelli. The watercolors of both artists document the endangered cultures of the Bay. Each man spent years haunting the shorelines and the waterways to capture distinctive scenes of the Chesapeake. Lindsley Rice, Curator of Exhibitions at the Museum was intrigued by the intensity and dedication both artists brought to observing the Bay in a period spanning nearly one hundred years. Feuchter documented in meticulous detail the end of commercial sail while Castelli captures the light and grit of the waterman’s present domain. The exhibit, opening in May 2010, will include paintings from the Museum’s collections and works borrowed from private collectors.

This year as part of the annual one-man show, Castelli has been invited to offer a special presentation at the Prince Theatre – Castelli on Log Canoes: 19 Years of Stories and Images – on Saturday, May 16 at 4 pm.

Castelli has taken thousands of photographs of the log canoe fleet in order to capture the elegance, power and grace of these vessels as studies for his watercolor paintings. He has observed the summer series from the vantage point of a passenger on official race boats and as a crewmember caught up in the action of the moment. The lecture and slide presentation at the Prince Theatre offers a rare opportunity to go behind the scenes with Castelli to see these extraordinary photographs - not traditionally exhibited to the public - and hear the colorful stories he has squirreled away over his nineteen years of interacting with the dedicated community that race and preserve these historic boats.

Knowing Hands is open to the public and free of charge. Reservations are not required at the Prince Theatre. A donation of five dollars to benefit the Prince’s programming is suggested.

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