Art : Louisa Gould Gallery opens
After months of restoration, the Louisa Gould Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven is finally up and running. The season opener Saturday evening was filled with gallery goers for a busy 5 pm start in what gallery owner Louisa Gould is calling a "new" gallery. Michael Haydn set the mood with his guitar and chef Liberty Russell created the tasty hors d'oeuvres that were served. Everyone seemed happy to have this early-season gallery opening with its impressive display of art. "We ran out of wine by 7 pm and were still making sales after the show was over," Ms. Gould said.
"We were only supposed to be closed for two months but were forced to be closed for four months," Ms. Gould said, explaining that having moved in and out of buildings six times in the past year, then painting and repainting the gallery, she could easily transition into the moving business.
Displayed in the bright and spacious room, the current show is a mix of new art and familiar gallery pieces including work by Gray and Howard Park, Kate Huntington, Stephen Hart, Janet Messineo, and Louisa Gould. And the reviewer's personal favorite by Frauke Klatt, on the gallery's back wall. Titled "Racing Down the Wind," it is acrylic and sand in brilliant colors with intense amounts of texture.
The new work featured was created by artists Caryn King, Donna Macomber Blackburn, Pia Post, Ovid Ward, Maya Farber, Louisa Gould, Carolyn Warren, Leslie S. Smith, James Masek, and Washington Ledesma. A number of these artists will return for solo shows later in the season.
A striking first impression is a seascape by Gray Park in the gallery window, "State Beach." Also notable was the attention paid to the presentation of artwork that added to the impact. Leslie S. Smith has used wonderful gold frames on her new pastels, as has Donna Blackburn on her oil seascape paintings on masonite and on a striking still life.
Ms. Blackburn's pieces are Island-inspired. A New Bedford native, she has been on the Island for about 37 years. When asked when she started painting, she replied, "Since before I could write my name." But she said that it was in her junior high school days she really got involved in art.
Ms. Gould presented two rows of her brilliantly colored digitally painted flowers. In her press release for the show, she offers three ways to approach these flowers: "The first is simply a flower in a particular color on a similar-colored, patterned background; the next level is color therapy; and the third level can represent the colors of the seven chakras." She started to create this series in late March after studying a daffodil that she received at Easter. "Watching people react to this study in flowers is very refreshing," she said, and she laughed about the process of painting each flower and expressing what the colors can mean to different people.
The art covers a broad range, designed to have universal appeal. James Masek, an Island artist, displays a sculpture called "Four Dancers," captured in graceful motion. The three sunny Noah's Ark themed folk art paintings by Washington Ledesma are a pleasure to view, especially on such a grey day as last Saturday. Also brightening the gallery are Maya Farber's four still life paintings that would cheer up any dining room.
For the fishing enthusiasts there is no shortage of sea/boat/fishing images: Chris Pendergast's buoys; Luther K. Hall's prints and oils of fishermen; and Brian Kirkpatrick's hooks.
An eclectic touch to the show was the presence of a very earthy fabric piece by long-time Island artist Pia Post. Ms. Post talked in animated detail about the bag she created out of Japanese worm cocoon silk. The bag was complete with a real bug, transformed into a jewel, an antique glass egg, and Austrian crystals. "It is reminiscent of a bird's nest," she explained. The show will be up until May 22, and hopefully we will see more of this work in the summer.
The Louisa Gould Gallery is located at 54 Main Street in Vineyard Haven. For more information, call 508-693-7373 or visit louisagould.com.
Tamar Russell is on the graphic design staff and frequently writes for The Times.