Edgartown painter Jeanne Staples brings a medley of landscapes, figurative paintings, and other subjects to her new show at West Tisbury’s Granary Gallery. Joining her are award-winning Vineyard photographer Bob Avakian and jewelry designer Ross Coppelman. Their show continues through August 30.
Ms. Staples’s landscapes are distinguished by the frequent inclusion of houses and other buildings. Combined with evening settings that include brightly lit window squares, her recent work often recalls Edward Hopper. “Nightfall at Flying Horses” hangs a big sky over the oversized Oak Bluffs shed. Even in those paintings that are pure landscape, this artist’s work evokes the absence of people. Paintings such as “Path to Sengekontacket” and “Salt Grass” emphasize strong and pleasing patterns of light and shade. Stone walls serve as strong compositional elements in “Stone Fence,” “Stonewall,” and “Stonewall to Stonewall.” It’s also interesting to note that for her painting “Up-island Forsythia,” Ms. Staples chooses not to depict the signature yellow of this springtime shrub.
Some of Ms. Staples’s handsome larger paintings articulate the unusual combinations of light that are so characteristic of the Vineyard. In “Weather from the South–Southwest,” the reddish-purple color of clouds is reflected in the siding of the houses in the painting. “Workboats at the Reading Room” uses the water surface and light-colored skiffs to echo the region’s powerful light.
Ms. Staples, who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Arts and is a member of the Copley Society of Art in Boston, includes “Mutoscope #114,” an anomalous piece of vintage peep-show machinery that the artist collaborated on with Chilmark woodworker Andy Palmer. The Mutoscope is a variation on the kind of flipbooks and nickelodeons that create the illusion of motion and predate the motion picture. In addition Ms. Staples has created a series of 14 paintings of the equines from The Flying Horses. “Andy is part craftsman, part artist, and part crazy inventor,” Ms. Staples says in her artist’s statement. “It was a joy to work with him.”
Vineyard photographer Bob Avakian uses his camera to make powerful images that fit well with Ms. Staples’s oil paintings. He has put on exhibit a series of photographs shot at night that often pay tribute to star-studded skies without over sentimentalizing them. “A Cape Cod Night” depicts its large evening sky predominantly in dark yellow with stars that are small streaks of white. In “Night Mist,” stars are blurred stripes of light in a dark sky that dominates the photograph, while a bank of mist hangs low above a field and the house next to it. The stars in “My Back Yard” are bright dots in the night sky.
Strong lights dot many of this photographer’s compositions, usually executed in a square format, but it’s not always clear what their source is, as in the case of “Into the Light.” “King of the Hill” depicts the silhouette of a horse, his neck arched and tail swirling, as if caught in the act of prancing. It comes as a surprise and helps the viewer appreciate the solitary nature of most of Mr. Avakian’s compositions.
Harvard-trained jewelry artist Ross Coppelman says, “I use traditional materials in a nontraditional way. My designs travel in time between Egypt and the year 2000.” Mr. Coppelman has on display a variety of bracelets and bangles in 18-carat gold or sterling silver, necklaces, and earrings, many studded with precious and semi precious stones, including diamonds, turquoise, onyx, and aquamarine. Mr. Coppelman draws for inspiration from Roman, Aztec, and Byzantine art, as well as Egyptian design elements. One of his most striking creations is a tidal flats ring made with hematite and diamonds. He trained with Cape Cod jeweler Bernie Kelly and has a showroom at Sunflower Marketplace in Yarmouth Port. Up to almost half of his jewelry is one of a kind, with the rest produced in limited editions.
Jeanne Staples, Bob Avakian and Ross Coppelman show, Granary Gallery, West Tisbury. Show runs through August 30. For information, call 508-693-0455 or visit granarygallery.com.