During the past few years, I had been exploring the nautical past, the maritime history and
industry of Provincetown, through my assemblages. I have incorporated antique and vintage
sailcloth, hand fashioned fishing line and netting, wood of various types and age, pegs, and
parts from deconstructed musical instruments, together with other objects and memorabilia.
Having served the Town of Provincetown as a member of the Cemetery Commission, I worked
on the Smallpox Memorial which respectfully brought to the Winthrop Cemetery, a
memorial stone bearing the names of those once relegated the outskirts of town
due to fear and contagion during the smallpox epidemic of 1882 - 1883.
As a long-term HIV/AIDS survivor, diagnosed in 1988, my participation in this project
resonated with my personal and professional experiences as an activist artist —
kurtreynoldsart.net — art therapist and social worker during the earliest days of the HIV/AIDS
pandemic, in Boston. When HIV/AIDS arrived in Provincetown its people rose with the
strength and force of a tidal wave in support of its community in this small, ocean side village.
In 2020, with the arrival of the COVID pandemic, Provincetown reconsidered its program
planning for the 400th Anniversary of the pilgrims first landing. This quickly spreading
virus resulted in the cancellation and scaling back of public gatherings, and additional public
health measures were taken in response to yet another deadly pandemic.
I had submitted an assemblage, included in the Provincetown 400 Exhibition, a
collaboration between the Provincetown Art Association and Museum and the Pilgrim Monument
and Provincetown Museum. This show, exploring themes relating to the 400th anniversary of
the pilgrims first landing opened with restricted access and was later shuttered due to
Among the questions I had imagined, those aboard ship raising during their perilous journey to
a new life was: HOW FAR IS THE WORLD, which became the title of the artwork.
Given the perils of their passage, I chose a nineteenth century bisque figurine of a
sailor in a wool suit and a hand-hewn child’s pond boat, breaking apart.
The solitude and isolation I experienced during the HIV/AIDS and the COVID pandemics
inspired two of the most artistically productive periods of my life.
HOW FAR IS THE WORLD
Assemblages and Constructions
August 23rd - October 2, 2022
46 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA, 02657
Opening Reception: Saturday August 27th 4pm - 7pm
Artist Talk and Closing Reception TBA
Provincetown retains its legacy as a place of refuge and sanctuary, of open minded and
hard working people who care about one another. Newer neighbors
tethered to the past have grown up alongside the shadows of old fishing piers, clamming
shacks, boatyards, lifesaving stations and generations of fishing families and whaling ships
and tales of a centuries ago. Surrounded and shaped by water, the ocean provides a container
for joy and sorrow, birth, and burial. Provincetown, for this artist, is backlit with sun and
moonlit nights, fog drenched mornings and winter snows which cover the magical forest which
holds tightly to soil born of beaches, a construction of wind and sand.
This stretch of street at the end of the world of quiet reflection, reveling tourists,
antique houses with widow’s walks, light houses stunned by rising seas of changing tides,
disappearing dunes, and fierce environmentalists and advocates of the living ocean. A
potpourri of diverse creative souls, divas in retirement, tech magicians, builders, artists, writers,
stage and street performers, families raising their children for a world we all pray will right
itself. It is here, where the land ends, that I ask of my own life: HOW FAR IS THE WORLD
This is the Provincetown that I found at eighteen, the summer before
going to art school during which time I worked as a gardener and s sales
person in an antiques shop. I have returned, as many have, throughout
my life, making my home here in 2014. (Photo, 1971, Provincetown)
Embedded in this body of work, largely created during COVID, are my personal
inquiries, and our collective concerns which include:
The forced migrations of animals and humans, frightening climate patterns, vanishing
resources, the endangered living oceans, species extinction and mutation, the rise of
authoritarian regimes, the fragility of democracy, the trampling of human rights and human
dignity, the generational transfer of trauma through wars, childhood assault, loss and
separation, the monsters of our times, and the inherent human need for creative self