GLOUCESTER.- The popular and whimsical exhibition Greenheads: Paintings by Sam Holdsworth has been extended through October 12 at the Cape Ann Museum.
The Greenhead Fly (Tabanus Nigrovittatus) is an inhabitant of the coastal salt marshes along the Atlantic seaboard, particularly those that stretch north from West Gloucester to Newburyport. The Greenhead is large, impossibly beautiful, can fly at 50 MPH, and has an indestructible ectoskeleton. From early July through early August the Greenhead is the climax predator of the salt marsh and surrounding beaches and waterways. Unmatched in size, ferocity, weaponry, appetite and attitude, Greenheads are impervious to all efforts to subdue them, from black boxes to bug sprays. For centuries they have provided indelible memories to all that have encountered them in their marshland habitat.
Sam Holdsworth lives in West Gloucester surrounded by salt marshes. He has spent the past three decades in close contact with the Greenhead. Through this contact he has observed that in their allotted four weeks on earth, rather than a life that was assumed to be nasty, brutish and short, Greenheads live an individual, rich and complex life as befits their status as Lords of the Marsh.
The 30 paintings in the exhibition comprise a narrative cycle chronicling the habits, culture and character of the Greenhead Fly.