Louisa Gould mounts Africa photo benefit & Vineyard light

Clouds hover over a salt marsh in Leslie Self's "Summer Evening" at Louisa Gould Gallery.
Photo courtesy of Louisa Gould Gallery

Clouds hover over a salt marsh in Leslie Self's "Summer Evening" at Louisa Gould Gallery.

Louisa Gould leads a non-stop life. When she isn’t running her year-round gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven or hanging and promoting a new show, she can be found sailing and working on her photographic portfolio of sailboats. In the off-season she globe hops, documenting her travels through her camera lens.

This month she somehow found time to launch two shows, which will run consecutively and share an opening reception on Saturday, July 21, from 6 to 8 pm.

The shows are very different in nature, but they represent two worlds for which Ms. Gould shares a passion. Vineyard Light: Distinctive Views features four artists working in different media. According to Ms. Gould, each brings a unique approach to capturing the beauty and essence of the light found on the Vineyard. The featured artists are all gallery regulars with strong Island connections.

The vases, bowls, and vessels produced by glass artist Jeffrey P’an have the beauty of stylized abstract paintings with vivid color and, surprisingly, a lot of texture. Some feature vibrant swirls of color, others are made up of multi-hued mini squares, rounded and distorted to create interesting geometric patterns. Some form their design from a monochromatic spray of variously shaped spots.

Mr. P’an uses a very precise, labor-intensive process, fusing handmade mosaic pieces into blown glass. For the upcoming show, Ms. Gould asked the Stonington, Conn., artist to create a piece inspired by the Vineyard. The result is a stunning, stacked “window-panes” sculpture that captures sand and sea in swirls of white, gold, and neutral colors.

Two oil painters contribute work to the show. Joan Kennedy produces impressionistic paintings of boats, flowers, and landscapes. Leslie S. Self has switched from pastels to oils for her Vineyard landscapes, which feature dramatic skies in peaceful settings. Ms. Self is a former charter captain who only recently started creating artwork. Her familiarity with quiet, less travelled spots on the Vineyard, as well as changing weather, is obvious in her evocative seascapes.

Jeanne Campbell’s photos of Island scenes, including some from her latest series using a fisheye lens, round out the Vineyard Light show.

Life, Nature and Hope

Travel 4,000 miles southeast, and you’ll find the scenes depicted in the second show. Life, Nature and Hope in Africa gathers work by acclaimed photographers from all over the world. Subjects range from wildlife to people to landscapes.

Internationally renowned Italian fashion and underwater photographer Carlo Mari has contributed an amazing black-and-white shot of a wildebeest migration with a lone zebra providing contrast. This stunning shot wonderfully spotlights design in nature.

Takaaki Naashima zooms in on nesting owls, lion cubs, cheetahs and zebras for his charming color series. Filmmaker-photographer Harvey Wang’s work can be found in the Smithsonian and the New York Historical Society. Known for his portrait and candid work, Mr. Wang contributes photos that capture African people and village life.

Photojournalist Alan Brigish is the one local artist in the show (aside from Ms. Gould and curator Barbara Case Senchak, who have also contributed work). A native South African, Mr. Brigish has spent a lifetime documenting his world travels. He founded a trust in Cape Town, South Africa, to work with disadvantaged children. “Namibia Sunset,” a stunning color photo by Mr. Brigish, is a show standout. The curves and shadows of red-tinged desert hills are contrasted with a scrubby oasis in the foreground.

The African show benefits NetsforLife. Eighty percent of the proceeds will go towards providing mosquito nets to 17 malaria-endemic countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The nets cost $12 each.

Ms. Case Senchak will present a talk, “Net Culture in sub-Saharan Africa,” at 6 pm on July 19. Ms. Case is a former art dealer and a chairman of the NetsforLife Inspiration Fund.

“I like to do at least one fundraiser every year,” Ms. Gould says. The African show gives the artist/gallery owner the chance to showcase her travel work. “Most people know me as a maritime photographer,” says Ms. Gould, who has travelled to over 100 countries, including four trips to Africa. “A lot of what I do is international shooting. There aren’t many places on the Island that show that much of this type of work.”

Vineyard Light: Distinctive Views and Life; and Life, Nature, and Hope in Africa, running concurrently from July 19 – August 1.

Opening Reception, Saturday, July 21, 6-8 pm. Light fare served. Talk and slideshow by Barbara Case Senchak, Thursday, July 19, at 6 pm. Refreshments follow. For more information, visit louisagould.com or call 508-693-7373.