“Water, Water Everywhere,” an exhibition of paintings by Mimi Cernyar Fox, will be on display from April through July 7 at Newport’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.
Fox’s powerful works explore the grandeur and mystery of the ocean, a topic that has fascinated her for decades.
Fox holds a bachelor’s degree from Pacific NW College of Art and a master’s degree from Washington State University. During her years as an art student, she tended bar in Newport’s historic bayfront district of Newport. She became good friends with the commercial fishermen and women, who frequented the bar during storms and after long days at sea. She began fishing with them and doing sketches of them as she listened to their fascinating tales of life and work on the water.
During the summer fishing season, she went to sea on a fishing boat as a cook and night lookout, always studying the light and movement of the water as the boat moved up and down the Oregon Coast. During free times and her lonely, four-hour night watch, she would make sketches and color notations in her journal.
Later in life, Fox moved to Raymond, Washington, with her husband, Dante, a commercial fisherman. In that small coastal town, her experiences at sea began to find expression on canvases in her studio.
“I build the images as forward and backward movement for the eye, much like the movement of tidal waves is created,” Fox said. “I’m conscious of the rhythm and movement of the sea and work to paint it in such a way that one can almost hear it.
“My adventurous soul was intimately moved by my experiences at sea,” she added,” where one’s smallness becomes keenly obvious in contrast with the vast ocean and endless, ever-changing horizon. The movement and light on the water is expressed in my paintings, along with the passionate inner dialogue that flows from this source of life.”
Fox said she also draws inspiration from writings such as “Moby Dick,” “In the Heart of the Sea” and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.”
“I have created a large screen illustrating the ‘Rime,’ with the entire poem written on the reverse side,” she said. “In this way I am honoring one of our great masters of the English language, and hope to encourage young people to read the wonderful stories that have been composed for humanity and come down through history.”
“Water, Water Everywhere” is on display through June in the gallery at Newport’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, available to view from 10 am to 4 pm Thursday through Monday at 2030 SE Marine Science Drive.