(Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard) Mark Sutherland, an American master craftsman specializes in creating model ships and boats of the 19th and early 20th century, along with scrimshaw artifacts, decorative ship carving, and figureheads. His main interests are the small craft of the 19th and early 20th century, whaling vessels and traditional yachts, and his passion for such vessels led to the development of a unique style of half-hull modeling. Based on the 19th century “shipping office” style, the models reflect the artist’s long relationship with boats, ships and the sea. “The beauty manifest in the design of sailing ships & boats reached a peak during the 19th century,” explains Mark. “This harmony of form & function gave rise to some particularly refined & elegant forms. My work as a ship modeler has been to express these forms for a contemporary audience and at the same time capture the artistic sensibility of the past.”
Model Ship (2006)
, a piece that echoes the artist’s interest in the evolution of working watercraft into pleasure yachts, is a full model ship emanating an antique aesthetic in it’s presentation. Consequently, the piece is both historically accurate and aesthetically pleasing, a combination that allows the ship model to stand on its own artistic merit through Mark’s interpretation.
“My work with real boats influences my model work and visa versa,” says Mark. “I've often built models of small craft I've designed. Some to actually sail, some to look at, and a few that went on to become real vessels.” Agate (2004), a half-hull whaling schooner, is based on a hull built at Essex, Massachusetts in 1853 and registered at Provincetown, Massachusetts. Scaled at 3/16” for every foot, the sleek elegance of Agate, paired with Sutherland’s painstaking craftsmanship, exhibits how Mark’s
direct contact with antique marine folk art and scrimshaw through conservation and restoration work has helped him in developing his own unique style.
Weathervanes have long have long been a staple of historic homes and businesses throughout the United States. With his Whale Weathervane, Mark has left the realm of simple utility and entered the arena of fine architectural detail, reminiscent of his model boat work.
After 25 years of showing and selling his work on Nantucket Island, Mark has brought his models to Martha’s Vineyard for the first time now showing at Louisa Gould Gallery. In addition, Mark will provide an in-depth discussion of his craft and models on Saturday, July 8th from 4:30-5:30pm at the Louisa Gould Gallery.