Main Street Gallery (MSG) is proud to feature the paintings of internationally renowned visionary folk artist Danny Doughty during its March and April show. Danny will join the 12-member MSG cooperative artists in an exhibit entitled “Stories.”
Locals may remember the charismatic painter who operated an art gallery on Race Street in Cambridge and whose works grace the hallways of the Yacht Club in that city. Danny, who now lives and runs an art gallery of his own work in his hometown of Onancock, Virginia, creates distinctive, textural paintings bursting with brilliant color. His subjects are the people, places and creatures of the Eastern Shore, but perhaps he is best known for his remarkable paintings that feature the black women who were so important in his life. These were the women he says, who helped him through tumultuous and challenging times during his growing up years.
“I really reflect back on the black women in the culture that I have been around, and they’re blessed with the glory of their everyday life,” said Danny, in a 2018 interview on the occasion of his exhibition and lecture at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. “They always loved me with their maternal love. They never turned me down. And they made me (feel) so special, and they sustained me through horrible times in my life.”
Danny had his first professional art show on the Eastern Shore at the age of 16 but finding his voice as an artist was not always a smooth path. At the time of that first show, he says, he felt like he had to paint traditional subjects like boats because that is what his dad liked.
“I was already struggling to just be me in a world that ripped my childhood away, ripped my adolescence away, ripped away my complete progression from childhood throughout life.” Eventually, Danny stopped imitating the artwork of others and found his unique artistic vision painting the people, places and creatures he loved growing up. These joyful and brilliantly colored works are in a style he calls visionary since they don’t depend on photographs or realism but instead are an expression of his true, inner self. “My work is so layered,” he says.” It is a really huge spiritual foundation first. It is a community foundation.”
Painting also became a balm for the artist in dealing with his painful past, which included severe poverty and physical and emotional abuse. “When I create, I lose myself in my work, and it’s the God’s truth -and He knows it – I get peace,” says the painter. “It’s kind of what takes me out of reality and puts me in the divine. It is my salvation. It is my everything. And it was an outlet for me to create a world that I’d never have.”
“Stories” opens on Friday, March 1 and runs through Sunday, April 28. There will be two artist receptions on Second Saturdays, March 9 and April 13 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the gallery located at 518 Race Street in Cambridge, directly across from Jimmie and Sooks Restaurant. Danny will be present at both receptions. Light refreshments will be served and all are welcome. For more information, visit www.mainstgallery.org or call 410-330-4659.
Main Street Gallery is Cambridge’s only artist-owned and run cooperative and is currently reviewing work from prospective members. Contact the gallery if interested in being a part of this vibrant artist community.