Four artists join the ranks of environmentally conscious Gay Head Gallery

Copyright Barbara Norfleet

In its opening exhibit for the 2014 season, Aquinnah’s Gay Head Gallery, which has built a reputation for promoting environmental awareness and sustainability through art, features the work of four artists new to the gallery this year. The gallery, which is tucked into an Aquinnah hillside, packs some 25 artists into its small, three-room exhibit space.

Joan Kennedy of Washington D.C. and West Chop, whose work appeared at the gallery in the 1990s, has returned with a forceful series of Island houses and boats. West Tisbury painter Enos Ray has also returned with work that gallery owner Megan Ottens-Sargent describes as having “an incredible depth of subject matter as well as a richness of surface.”

West Tisbury’s Anna Lowell (Lowely) Finnerty is exhibiting pastels of Vineyard meadows, ponds, and dirt roads. New to the medium, Ms. Finnerty has already become a member of the Pastel Society of America, where she has appeared in juried shows. Marston Clough, who grew up on the Island and also exhibits at the Old Sculpin Gallery and Featherstone Center for the Arts, is showing his semi-abstract Vineyard landscapes and marine scenes.

Returning to Gay Head Gallery this year, Chilmark summer resident and photographer Barbara Norfleet is displaying a series of silver print photographs from her portfolio, “The Landscape of the Cold War,” as part of the gallery’s opening exhibit. They consist of black and white images of nuclear testing facilities and weaponry dating from the 1980s. Ms. Norfleet is the founder and head of the Harvard Photography Collection. Her books include “All the Right People,” “Archives and Architects,” and “Illusion of Orderly Progress.”

Ms. Ottens-Sargent also helped organize a public forum at the Katharine Cornell Theatre held last week. It featured Massachusetts State Senator Dan Wolf and members of the Pilgrim Nuclear Plant Coalition. The discussion focused on safety issues at Pilgrim, located in Plymouth. William Sargent’s book “Fukushima: Nuclear Disaster within the Ring of Fire” was on display, along with Vineyard resident Christina Miller’s scrapbook on the history of Pilgrim Nuclear Plant.

Among its other environmental activities, the gallery is currently sponsoring “Goatscaping,” a demonstration project that employs goats to help manage the environment by eating invasive plants and poison ivy. Before and after photos will be on display to illustrate the project.

The gallery, which in its curated shows promotes nonprofit organizations for the environment, will hold a benefit for Save the Gay Head Light with a reception on Sunday, July 13. The gallery’s August 10 show, The Abstract Wild, will benefit the national organization, Defenders of Wildlife.

Season Opening with New Artists and Barbara Norfleet’s Landscape of the Cold War continues through July 11. Gay Head Gallery, 32 State Rd., Aquinnah. For information and hours, call 508-645-2776.