Art : Fall colors in peak display at Featherstone
Photo by CK Wolfson
For all nature's spectacular displays on the Vineyard, the fall season is the shyest, especially down-Island. But at its peak now through November 14, fall is on display in bright colors at Featherstone Center for the Arts. Gallery assistant Emme Brown says, "It's like a celebration of fall in all mediums."
It's an impression that visitors are met with at the door. Featherstone's annual The Art of Fall Colors brings together a blaze of seasonal hues in photographs, paintings, fabrics, ceramics, and richly grained wooden sculptures. It's a full variety of media and creative expression that delivers on its premise. In some instances, the subject is autumn — Vineyard scenes, studies of trees and sunsets — in others it is the palette of reds, oranges, and golds.
Ms. Brown explains that the show is not juried, rather it's open to all Island artists, offering the emerging as well as the established artists the chance to see his and her creations on gallery display. All submissions are accepted based on available room.
With few exceptions the art is for sale, and as each piece is purchased and removed, the exhibit is replenished, in most cases with work by the same artist.
According to Featherstone's new director, Ann Smith, the show represents an essential aspect of Featherstone's mission. "This show goes back to the roots of Featherstone," she says. "It's a nice culmination of what we're about — supporting the entire Island community."
She notes the symmetry of this closing show to the season opener, The Art of Flowers, which opened on Mother's Day. Both shows encompass artists of varied experience, and creates something accessible to the entire Island community.
For a non-juried show, the results are impressive. With surprisingly few exceptions, the art is well crafted and produced, and offers the viewer thoughtful pause.
Leonard Reid's various sculpted wooden forms, expressionistic ("Thunderstorm on Nantucket"), free form, and figurative (sperm whale), glisten with violin varnish and revel the richness of the Siberian Elm.
Helayne Cohen displays her talents with handmade jewelry and ceramics. Her graceful porcelain bowls in everyday practical sizes are beautifully glazed in blues and shades of sand, and reasonably priced.
The least predictable and most exciting media represented is the fiber art. Fabric artist Paulette Hayes displays denim jeans with the droll and clever title "A Walk in the Woods." About 18-inches of the hem of each leg is covered in meticulously ornamented, multi-colored fabric leaves. In addition to a large and beautiful log cabin stitched quilt, Enid McEvoy's talent is expressed in affordable knit hats, purses, and weekender bags in lush patterns and fabrics. Pam Flam's brilliantly colored red quilt, "Big Flower, Little Flowers" beautifully dominates the gallery's porch.
Painter Ruth Major makes a significant contribution with her landscapes and bright still lifes, and Jeanne V. Campbell, Carolyn Daniele, Harvey John Beth bring originality and strong individual viewpoints to the subjects they photograph.
There are just more than 20 artists participating — including some Featherstone teachers and their students. There is work by Patricia Carlet, Marston Clough, Frank Folts, Mary S. French, Joan Fresher, Nancy Kingsley, Judith McConnell, Sarah Davisson Moore, Cheryl Neal, Debby Rosenthal, and Donna Straw. While the majority of work is paintings in watercolor, acrylic, and oil, some artists working in more than one medium, each piece reflects individual personality and talent. The show, welcoming and bright, does Island artists proud, and is well worth a visit.
The Art of Fall Colors, Featherstone Center for the Arts, Oak Bluffs. Through November 14. Open daily 12 noon to 4 pm. 508-693-1850; featherstoneart.org.