Galleries : Sisters Show At Field Gallery
Out of the five Brewster sisters of Plymouth, two turned into artists who exhibit their work on the Vineyard. Patience Brewster and Marlee Brewster Brockmann will return to West Tisbury's Field Gallery for their annual summer show, opening July 25. Both will attend the gallery reception on Sunday, July 27, from 5 to 7 pm.
"It's really a pleasant experience for both of us," says Ms. Brewster.
"I'm so lucky to have her, and to have that bone connection," responds Ms. Brockmann.
The two don't live near each other, but talk on the phone daily. While they may be sisters, each works in a very different medium and style.
Ms. Brockmann, senior by seven years, describes her younger sister as "a little wood nymph." The label is an apt one for Ms. Brewster, who uses her Philadelphia College of Art degree in printmaking and bookmaking to design wildly popular whimsical cards, ornaments, gifts, and books, as well as original art, that have developed a national following.
"My pals were the horses, dogs, cats, chickens, pigs, and cows that populated the fields surrounding us," Ms. Brewster says of her Plymouth childhood. "My inspiration still comes from them, as well as the turtles, frogs, fish, and dragonflies on Forges Pond."
The exhibit at the Field Gallery will feature her original drawings, done in pencil, watercolor and gouache, as well as giclée prints. Ms. Brewster also makes ornaments, enamel boxes and other gift items called Krinkles - fantastical creatures like long-legged elephants, goats with skirts and bejeweled fish. "They're really very personal to me," she says. "It's the one show where I get to draw for myself without an assignment. I'm kind of excited about it. I just get to enjoy the process of drawing."
Courtesy of Marlee Brewster Brockman
Ms. Brewster has drawn new creatures for the show but says people will still see what they're used to. That means a magical world of fairies, nymphs, and other antic creatures.
"We grew up with influences from our grandmothers and great grandmothers, who were painters on one side and on the other side did more realistic work with pencil in black and white," Ms. Brewster says. She also turns inanimate objects from cupcakes to high-heeled shoes into lively make-believe figures.
In contrast, Ms. Brockmann is a landscape painter, as well as the Field Gallery's top-selling artist. With a degree from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), she uses oil, oil stick, and pastel to create dreamlike vistas of sky, clouds, and fields in richly muted colors. Squares rather than rectangles are her favored canvas shapes, and each painting explores the transformative impact of light diffusion on color and shape in balanced, almost abstract compositions.
When Ms. Brockmann is not in Plymouth, she is living along the coast of Mexico, south of Puerto Vallarta. Her husband, Javier Brockmann, is Mexican, and her work reflects the influence of Mexico, where they raised their three children.
"I was in Mexico for a long time this winter, so my paintings are full of pieces of it," she says. Her sons, Brewster and Pipo, who followed their mother to RISD, are artists now working in Mexico, and the Mary Etherington Gallery carries their paintings and ceramic sculptures.
Ms. Brockmann has come to the Vineyard for many years to visit friends Paul and Jane Langmuir of West Tisbury. Her sister's connection to the Island comes through Edgartown artist Margo Datz. The two attended high school together in Skaneateles, N.Y., after the Brewster family moved there from Plymouth, and have stayed in touch during their 40 years of friendship. Ms. Datz urged Ms. Brewster to visit the Vineyard, and she introduced her friend's work at a gallery she ran in Chilmark at the time. Ten years ago, they had a show together at the Field Gallery, beginning Ms. Brewster's association there.
Photos courtesy of the Field Gallery
"She was a smashing debutante," Ms. Datz says. She also credits Ms. Brewster with helping her get started in a new medium after singer Carly Simon asked Ms. Datz to illustrate her first children's book. Ms. Brewster has illustrated 30 children's books.
Both Ms. Brewster and Ms. Brockmann look forward to their annual visit to the Island, and Ms. Brewster hopes to visit in the off-season sometime in the future.
Ms. Brewster says, "We are spoiled by Martha's Vineyard. I love the fact that people there are interested in art. It's not something that happens every place in the world. And they surprise us that they're so moved by a work that they buy it, even if they weren't planning to. It's like chocolate chip cookies they can't resist."