Art : Vineyard libraries offer art, photography as well as books
Photo by Alida O'Loughlin
To brighten their walls and enlighten the minds of patrons, Island libraries are exhibiting art and photography these days. The three artists are showing currently or in the upcoming weeks.
Showing at the Vineyard Haven Library is Moments of Light by photographer Alida O'Loughlin, while the Chilmark Library features photography by Lauri Bradway, and the West Tisbury Library has Lyn Hinds's paintings and one of her pastels on exhibit this month.
Self-taught, Ms. O'Loughlin works primarily on film with a point-and-shoot Olympus camera. Her exhibit consists of 12 color photographs, most of which are 16 by 20 inches.
"Film to me gives depth," she says. "It gives me the chance to get into the picture. My eyes don't see the way digital sees it." Remarking about the fascinating shift from film to digital photography, she said that it can be a challenge to buy fresh film these days.
Ms. O'Loughlin took up photography in her 70s after serving as director of the Cambridge Center for Education, capping her career there with a major conference on Education for the 21st Century. Before that, she was director of the Boston office of the Experiment in International Living. She calls her new career as a fine art photographer "accidental."
"I've always taken pictures," she says, "but I never did anything with them." One day when she arrived home in Oak Bluffs, she found that her partner, the Island artist Washington Ledesma, had enlarged and framed a photograph of hers, titled "Motif #2," of the wharf and building next to the Black Dog Tavern.
Deciding it looked "pretty good," she began enlarging her images and boxing them in plastic display cases. Before long, she was exhibiting at the Tisbury Street Fair and the Artisans Festivals in West Tisbury.
"Bit by bit I took it up," Ms. O'Loughlin says. The public liked what they saw and began buying her work, a gratifying experience for the newly minted artist. She took first prizes for Professional Photography in Landscape and Seascape at the 2003 Agricultural Fair in West Tisbury.
Ms. O'Loughlin describes the act of photography as a spontaneous process for her. There are three spots on the Island that she really wants to photograph, for instance, but she hasn't done it yet. She hasn't had her camera with her, and the time has not yet been ripe.
Growing up in the Netherlands on the North Sea, Ms. O'Loughlin learned to notice the interplay among sky, clouds, wind, water and "whatever sunlight might bring shadows.
"There are all these sudden moments when I see the composition of the elements," she adds, "and sometimes I have my camera with me, and sometimes my camera is capable of catching that one specific instant. These photographs are what they are: a conscious moment in time, a moment of light, not retouched or altered in any way."
The Vineyard Haven Library's Art in the Stacks, sponsored by the Friends of the Library, is a good spot for exhibiting, according to Ms. O'Loughlin. When patrons pass the stacks on the ground level, each of her photographs provides a focal point, as if at the end of a tunnel.
After the Moments of Light exhibit finishes at the Vineyard Haven Library at the end of May, Ms. O'Loughlin will move to the West Tisbury Library and mount a new exhibit during the month of June. A reception will be held at the West Tisbury library on June 1 at 4 pm with refreshments and a chance to meet the artist.
Another photographer, Chilmark resident Lauri Bradway, has launched her first exhibit, Island Perspectives, at the Chilmark Library. Unlike Ms. O'Loughlin, Ms. Bradway uses a digital camera, and some of her color images have been manipulated to create a painterly effect, including one of a lily.
Her 18 photographs are mounted on posterboard and range in size from 8 by 11 inches to three by almost four feet. Ms. Bradway's show runs through June 8. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the West Tisbury Library, Edgartown artist Lyn Hinds has new work on display until the end of the month. Her six paintings and one pastel are landscapes, and a departure from work that in the past has been more abstract.
As Ms. Hinds explains, "For some time I was working abstractly with color, and shapes and brush strokes. Lately, I have been painting in a more representational manner, subjects that I have always been interested in, i.e. boats and Vineyard places that have special meaning to me."
Trained at the University of Connecticut and the University of Hartford School of Art, Ms. Hinds has exhibited at the 93rd annual New Haven Paint and Clay Club Show, and on the Island at Dragonfly Gallery in Oak Bluffs and Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art Gallery in West Tisbury. She won Best in Show at the 65th Annual Woman Artists, Inc., Show, and she taught painting at the Oak Bluffs Firehouse Gallery for three years.