Often on the Vineyard the things some might at first consider a constraint, become an advantage: Our town libraries regularly function as community centers; our places of worship become venues for lectures, forums, and films; and our art galleries serve in much the same way as museums — stimulating imagination, encouraging new original work, and making the fine arts part of the community experience.
“I love it when people come in and I can see in their faces the way they view the work that they are getting inspiration,” says Louisa Gould, whose namesake gallery is on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. “We need to be inspired; it creates energy and dialogues.”
And with the holiday season upon us, Islanders — with no nearby shopping malls to shuffle through — are privileged to choose their gifts and indulgences from artisan fairs, craft festivals, studios, and galleries where finding something unique and special is almost assured.
The annual Small Wonders Show at Louisa Gould Gallery holds its opening reception this weekend with prices starting at $50. The participating artists are displaying work designed for the selective art patron as well as for the casual art lover.
The show has no theme — “Not having a theme is liberating,” says Ms. Gould, “but many of the artists do work that expresses a seasonal flavor.” She describes the work of several artists: “Donna Blackburn incorporates seasonal berries, Maya Farber paints winter scenes in acrylic, and Laura Roberts’ art expresses a seasonal flavor.”
Since the gallery opened in 2003 with a focus on marine photography (a specialty of Ms. Gould), the gallery has expanded to include artists in all mediums, both the well established and emerging.
“For the artists, when they do new work for a show there’s a freshness, an enthusiasm that they feel,” explains Ms. Gould. “It propels you along. For myself as well, I’m an artist who works with deadlines.”
The long wall running the length of the gallery from the front almost to the back will display the Small Wonders show. They will be cases of Francesca Lewis Kennedy jewelry featuring elegant necklaces in coral, vermeil, and pearls; Leslie Kenney’s diminutive bronze sculptures of graceful horses; and some of Jeffrey P’an’s small, uniquely colored handmade glass pieces.
Other artists who will be featured are Charles “Fran” Kenney (Ms. Kenney’s father) who creates realistic marine oil paintings, and Kathryn Wronski, who paints whimsical animal portraits — close up portraits, each revealing its own personality.
The paintings of two of the gallery’s well-known favorite Island artists, Doug Kent and John Holladay, will be on exhibit: Mr. Kent’s stylized animals and John Holladay’s paintings of Island ferries.
Ms. Gould, who has been producing representational still lifes in strong colors and modeling, will be exhibiting her small (six-by-eight-inch) abstract paintings for the show.
And yes, they’ll be a tree in the gallery’s window and some seasonal touches, but Ms. Gould says, “The art is really the focus.”
She says, “People tend to indulge more around the holidays. I get calls from people who’ve come in with a spouse or friend who’s seen something they’ve liked, and they’ll come back to buy it as a gift for them.”
Saturday’s reception should prove a festive gathering of artists and friends. Ms. Gould smiles. “I love Christmas,” she says. “People who haven’t been to the Island since September come back and it’s fun seeing everyone again.”
Opening Reception: Small Wonders Show, Nov. 27, 5–7 pm, Louisa Gould Gallery, Vineyard Haven. Show runs Nov. 19–Jan. 2. 508-693-7373; louisagould.com.