Authors Posts by Brooks Robards

Brooks Robards


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Left: a painting of Charlayne Hunter-Gault by Glenn Tunstull. Right: An abstract by Deborah Colter.

Four artists headline the latest show at Cousen Rose Gallery in Oak Bluffs. Paul Goodnight has charcoals on exhibit, painter Mark Zeender returns to the gallery after almost 30 years with new landscapes, Glenn Tunstull displays his “dashilist” watercolors, and Deborah T. Colter presents her mixed-media abstract paintings. In addition, artists who exhibited in July share space with these headliners in the gallery’s final exhibit of the season.

"Window of the Sol" by Paul Goodnight.
“Window of the Sol” by Paul Goodnight.

An artist who works in a variety of mediums, Mr. Goodnight is showing his black-and-white charcoal sketches as well as pastels. Concentrating on the human figure, his work conveys an intensity and complexity of composition.

Mr. Zeender’s marinescapes capture the color and nuances of water and shore in near abstract style. An Islander, he has exhibited at the Vineyard Artisans Festival as well as Cousen Rose. In his artist’s statement, he quotes poet Emily Dickinson: “Exultation is the going of an inland soul.”

Mr. Tunstull has had an active career as a fashion illustrator in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Wear Daily, and The New York Times, in addition to being an educator at the New School of Design, Marist College, Pratt Institute, and the Fashion Institute of Technology. “I have a preoccupation with water and light, which drives me to paint a particular setting,” he says in his artist’s statement. An extensive traveler, Mr. Tunstull creates watercolors that vary in subject from the Hudson Valley, Brazil, Australia, Bali, England, France, and the Caribbean. His Vineyard landscapes are executed in a style he calls “dashilism,” or brush strokes with rhythmic swirls.

Ms. Colter has lived on the Island since 1982. She works in mixed media, employing acrylic paint, prismacolor pencils, conté crayons, pencil, and pastel. Her highly geometric abstracts often use layers of cut paper and collage, and she sands, scratches, and paints to create multiple effects. In her artist’s statement, she says, “Often I think of the view from an airplane window and how the surface below is mapped out by the intervention of the human hand. The roads, the buildings and homes, congestion in contrast with open spaces and how those elements interact with natural elements and each other. There is an ordered sense of chaos, a quiet beauty, when the landscape is viewed from above.”

Emily Levett, assistant to Cousen Rose Gallery owner Zita Cousens, is celebrating her 15th year at the gallery.  A librarian at the West Tisbury School, Ms. Levett, a Vineyard Haven resident, has a master’s degree in art history.

July Meets August show, Cousen Rose Gallery, Oak Bluffs. Show runs through September 13. For more information, visit

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"Rouge Triptych" by Charyl Weissbach.

Louisa Gould Gallery opens its seventh annual abstract show on Friday, August 29, with the work of nine women. They are Tracy Spadafora, Susan Morosky, Cheryl Clinton, Linda Cordner, Charyl Weissbach, Kellie Weeks, Kay Hartung, Laura Roosevelt, and Roberta Gross. A reception for the artists will launch the show on Saturday, August 30, from 5 to 7 pm.

"Cells Surfacing" by Kay Hartung.
“Cells Surfacing” by Kay Hartung.

Ms. Spadafora has on exhibit a series of three constructions, all named “Vestiges.” Already known for her encaustic (hot beeswax with color pigments) work, she constructs boxes and decorates them with mixed media in “Vestige (Part 1).” The four boxes look like small towers with floral vegetation and miniature tubes on the bottom and vertical black-and-white scripts in what looks like handwriting on the top. Color is kept to a minimum. “The layering, obscuring, deconstructing and preserving of images helps me address a complex and shifting relationship between man, his biological roots, and the shaping of our natural environment,” she says.

Ms. Morosky celebrates color in compositions that demonstrate considerable variety in composition. “Blue Shallows” is a 12- by 48-inch work that combines shades of blue with touches of green and dark red in lively swirls. The artist works almost exclusively in shades of blue for “Coast Winds I and II” to create a very different effect. Layering, adding, and removing paint from the canvas add depth and subtlety to these compositions.

"Sea Winds" by Susan Morosky.
“Sea Winds” by Susan Morosky.

Ms. Clinton describes her photo transfers with acrylic as “a developing story…part autobiography with a dash of Grimm’s fairy tales around the edges.” This artist evokes a surprising number of moods and seasons in her work, from the winter feel of “Walking 6” to the stormy sense of “Flooded Brook Combo.”

Linda Cordner’s encaustic on board paintings express a dreaminess through muted palettes, as in the soft blues of “Still Water” and the more cerebral “Striation.” She likes to layer her paintings and preserve accidental traces of drips and blurs.

Boston-based Ms. Weissbach’s work demonstrates two very different styles. In some, her encaustics on Belgian linen, she creates a sense of graphic design through patterns of flowers and leaves or trees. In Metalscapes – Lavender, executed in encaustic, resin, and metal on panel, she hones down her composition to a minimalist evocation of color and form. The Balsam Poplar Series is based on a tree in the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University.

Ms. Weeks employs her vibrant sense of color with pigment sticks and encaustic in works such as Fragments of Illumination. Intermittent is particularly striking in its use of texture to evoke what might or might not be a crescent-shaped shoreline. She describes her work as illuminating “the human spirit and the journey it is on.”

Ms. Hartung, who works with encaustic mixed media, says, “I have been looking at electron microscope photographs and am inspired by the abstract organic shapes and intense colors of this hidden world. I imagine the energy and interactions that go on in my body and the mind to produce action and thought.” Her egg-like shapes in the abstract sculpture “3 Orbs” are rich in color. Encaustic mixed media such as “Microcell 11” share vibrant color with a delightful sense of form.

Ms. Gross, who divides her time between Philadelphia and Aquinnah, suspends mysterious, cloud-like forms in a geometric background in “Spring Orchard,” while texture unites a pale aqua background with an amorphous white shape in the foreground in “Seafoam.” Ms. Gross curated the show and experimented with burning Tyvek, a synthetic substance used by builders.

West Tisbury resident Ms. Roosevelt explores the shapes and distortions made by water in her abstract photographs.

Part of the pleasure of the Louisa Gould Gallery’s Abstract Vision show is the variety permitted by exhibiting so many different artists.

Abstract Vision: The Colors and Forms Behind the Everyday, opening reception, 5–7 pm, Saturday, August 30, Louisa Gould Gallery, Vineyard Haven. Show runs through September 18.

Curator’s Talk with Roberta Gross, 5 pm, Friday, Sept. 5.

For information, visit

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— Martha's Vineyard Film Society

An expanded Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival, hosted by the Martha’s Vineyard Film Society, opens Tuesday, Sept. 2, in what festival director Richard Paradise calls a soft opening.

After two additional days of film screenings, the Festival’s grand opening takes place on Thursday, Sept. 4, at Saltwater Restaurant, followed by A Trip to Italy, starring British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon. Also for the first year, the festival films will be screened entirely at the state-of-the-art Martha’s Vineyard Film Center in Vineyard Haven.

The Polish movie IDA screens on Tuesday, Sept. 2, followed on Wednesday, Sept. 3,by Land Ho from Iceland, followed by appetizers and Icelandic cocktails at The Port Hunter in Edgartown, with live music by the Mike Benjamin Band.

The documentary Austin to Boston, playing Saturday, Sept. 6, in its U.S. premiere, epitomizes what is best about the M.V. International Film Festival. This independent film is a gem not likely to be found at the local multiplex. It follows the 2012 road tour across the U.S. of a group of primarily British musicians, traveling more than 4,000 miles in five VW buses. Starting out in Austin, the group travels from Oklahoma City to Kansas City, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Nashville, New York, and Woodstock, N.Y. before ending up in Boston. Narrator-musician Gill Landry says, “What drew me into this trip was the ridiculousness of it.”

Beautifully photographed and edited, Austin to Boston, directed by James Marcus Haney, captures the youthful exuberance of a group of scruffy-looking musicians who have none of the slickness of musical headliners but all of the natural talent that the best of them offer. Playing guitar, drums, and bass, as well as other instruments, Ben Howard, the Stave, Nathaniel Rateliff, Bear’s Den, and Communion convey a sense of pure joy performing their folkie-based music. The musical odyssey is for some of them their introduction to America, reminiscent in tone of Simon & Garfunkel’s 1968 hit, America. By the end of the tour in Boston, one member of the group says, “I didn’t think I’d fall in love with America the way I have.” Along the way, the movie illustrates what it’s like to be a musician on tour. “It’s a damn good time,” says another member of the group.

More new elements of the M.V. International Film Festival include post-film coffee discussions at Nat’s Nook Café in Vineyard Haven, and a Closing Night Party at the Film Center with music and refreshments. Reel Food returns on Friday, Sept. 5 with hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and spirits at Saltwater Restaurant. Following that is the Juried Competition of International Shorts with nine finalists from more than 450 entries. Bill Plympton’s signature Animation Showcase screens on Saturday, Sept. 6.

“What I like best each and every year is the reaction and feedback of the audiences, whether good or bad,” Mr. Paradise said in a telephone interview this week. “The more you can learn about other cultures, the more you understand your own culture. The tolerance for differences is very important.”

Other films playing over the six-day event include Child’s Pose from Romania, Metro Manila from the Philippines, the children’s film Belle and Sebastian from Switzerland, Ilo Ilo from Singapore, Attila Marcel from France, May in the Summer from Jordan, Kumiko the Treasure Hunter from Japan, Hunting Elephants from Israel, and A Five-Star Life from Italy.

Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival, Tuesday, Sept. 2 through Sunday, Sept. 7, M.V. Film Center, Vineyard Haven, For screening times, additional information, and tickets, visit

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"Fly," a mixed media on Luan Panel by Cindy Kane. — Cindy Kane

Using public spaces for art has become a significant and productive source for Island exhibitions since Martha’s Vineyard Hospital established its permanent collection by Island artists. Both the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center and the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse also utilize their lobbies effectively for temporary exhibits. Opening Saturday, August 23, is a M.V. Playhouse exhibit of work by Vineyard Haven artist Cindy Kane.

Great snowy owls visited the Vineyard in unprecedented numbers this past winter, and Ms. Kane has used the opportunity to capture these majestic raptors on canvas in “Wing to Wing,” her new exhibit at the Playhouse. She employs a muted palette for the graffiti-like gray background against which the owls’ white feathers provide a stunning contrast.

She sighted Great Snowy owls, which are not nocturnal, three times over the winter, once at West Chop and twice at Katama Airfield. “Each time you’re totally surprised,” Ms. Kane said. “This winter, we were all about that.” She was also inspired by the bird images of Vineyard photographer Sarah Mayhew. In order to avoid copyright infringement, Ms. Kane ended up destroying the owl painting she based on one of Ms. Mayhew’s bird photos. That led her to re-conceptualize her owl portraits, refining some of them into portraits of an owl’s solitary wing. It became a central motif. “I’m very grateful,” she said, “because it [the copyright issue] led to wing paintings that are very provocative.”

Bird photographers such as Ms. Mayhew spend hours in the wilderness, often under wet and snowy conditions, to get the perfect shot. “They have the utmost in patience and stamina,” Ms. Kane said. In some of Ms. Kane’s owl portraits, the graffiti-like background that she has returned to over and over in her work has evolved into a more elegant scribble, what she describes as “Cy Twombly-esque.” The late, celebrated painter was known for his calligraphy style paintings.

Birds have long provided inspiration to Ms. Kane, and she will include early works that incorporate them in her paintings, including “Veil,” which features a red-headed flicker, and “Safta’s Quilt” that depicts a grid of handkerchiefs belonging to her mother-in-law on which the artist has painted parrots and other birds. In addition, less expensive work from her magazine-cover series will be on display only on the night of the opening reception.

“It’s really nice to show in a public building,” Ms. Kane said. “I’m intrigued by the art in public spaces.” She also has work on display at M.V. Hospital, and at The Granary Gallery in West Tisbury and A Gallery in Oak Bluffs. Ms. Kane’s helmet series, consisting of military helmets painted and displayed as icons of war, will be on display at the Prow Artspace in New York’s Flatiron Building on Manhattan’s lower West Side this fall.

Cindy Kane: Wing to Wing opening reception, 4:30–6:30 pm, Saturday, August 23, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, Vineyard Haven. Show runs through September 6. For more information, visit

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“S is for Sea Glass” by Richard Michelson, illustrated by Doris Ettlinger, Sleeping Bear Press, Jan. 2014, 32 pages. $15.95.

Award-winning poet and children’s book writer Richard Michelson combines his writing talents in a new children’s book, “S is for Sea Glass,” written in a variety of poetic forms. New Jersey-based illustrator Doris Ettlinger draws on her experiences at Cedar Grove Beach Club in Staten Island, N.Y., where she grew up, for her colorful watercolors and mixed media images of children, dogs, and marine life celebrating sand and ocean.

The current poet laureate of Northampton, where he resides in the off season, Mr. Michelson dedicates his new book to the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association’s year-rounders and summer residents. He and his wife, Jennifer, summer at their cottage in the Campground with their dog, Mollie. In both his poetry and his children’s books, the author has built a reputation for writing about social issues.

His most recent children’s books include “Twice as Good: The Story of William Powell and Clearview, The Only Golf Course Designed, Built, and Owned by an African American,” (2012); and “Lipman Pike: America’s First Home Run King” (2011), about a young Jewish New Yorker who became a baseball champion in the mid-19th century.

Although “S is for Sea Glass” primarily celebrates the joys of living and playing at the edge of the sea, Mr. Michelson’s distinctive style shines through in a number of ways. His marine alphabet includes off-season as well as summertime activities. The letter “I” stands for ice, where the author hails waves, that “like waiters, keep bringing ice cubes to the shore/Which looks like a magical ice castle floor.” Shells find their way into this beach alphabet through the letter “E,” which stands for empty shells. “If you display your shells with pride/Remember mollusks lived inside,” Mr. Michelson suggests.

He taps his skills as a poet by employing a variety of different poetic forms. “P is for Pail” is written in traditional three-line, five-seven-five-syllable haiku form:

Yellow birds on sand

Stay still when I approach. Oh!

My shovel and pail.

Sometimes his alphabet poems rhyme, as in “K is for Kite:”

Today we have gone fishing. Dad’s excited, so am I.

He’s angling in the ocean. Me? I’m fishing in the sky.

In “O is for Ocean,” Mr. Michelson launches into an ode:

O the ocean is full of emotion.

What are waves but its hopes and its fears?

By creating an alphabet of poems, the author has produced a children’s book that asks to be read out loud together by parents and children. And Ms. Ettlinger aptly captures the spirit of this Vineyard writer with designs that aptly comment on the subjects of the verses.

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"Bike Rentals," an oil on linen by Jeanne Staples. — Jeanne Staples

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.

Photographer Bob Avakian poses in front of his work on display at the Granary Gallery.
Photographer Bob Avakian poses in front of his work on display at the Granary Gallery.

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.”

Jeweler Ross Coppleman, here with Janice McBride, showed off his wares during the three artist showing at the Granary Gallery.
Jeweler Ross Coppleman, here with Janice McBride, showed off his wares during the three artist showing at the Granary Gallery.

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

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— Matt Lankes / IFC

Director Richard Linklater’s new film, “Boyhood,” opens at the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center this weekend. One of the superstars from the 1990s Indie movement, Mr. Linklater is probably best known for his trio of films about a couple, played by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, who meet on a train in Europe and fall in love in “Before Sunrise,” (1995); renew their romance nine years later in “Before Sunset,” (2004); and, most recently, continue their seasoned relationship after 20 years together in “Before Midnight” (2013).

A highly versatile director, Mr. Linklater has produced comedies like “Bad News Bears” (2005), “School of Rock” (2003) and his breakout film, “Slacker” (1991); as well as documentaries including “Fast Food Nation” (2006). Linklater fiction films tend to take place over 24 hours and be set in Texas, where the director was born, grew up, and returned after working on an oil rig.

In “Boyhood” the director tries a new approach, following the life of Mason  Jr., played by Ellar Coltrane, from the age of five to 18. Mason lives with his mother, played by Patricia Arquette, and his sister Samantha, played by the director’s daughter, Lorelei Linklater. Mason’s dad –– divorced from his mom –– is played by frequent Linklater cast member Ethan Hawke. Viewers will enjoy the remarkable experience of watching not just Mason Jr., but the actor who plays him, grow up before their eyes, since the film was shot over 12 years.

Mr. Linklater masterfully depicts the messy but loving dynamics of a Texas-based, Middle-America family. Mom runs through three marriages, gets an advanced degree and a job teaching psychology, and moves the family numerous times over the course of the movie. Viewers will watch how Mason Jr., a dreamy, sensitive boy, reacts to the life-changing experiences thrust upon him and his sister Sam by their parents. His father, Mason Sr., plays an important role in Mason Jr.’s life, as do his mother’s other husbands and the stepsiblings who move in and out of his world.

As Mason Jr., moves toward adulthood, the viewers see him struggle with his responses to his experiences and to the decisions that arise over the 12 years covered by the film. Shooting from 2002 to 2013, Mr. Linklater brought the cast together annually, and, in effect, first created a series of 10 to 12 short films, each representing another year in Mason Jr.’s life and that of his family. Amazingly enough, the entire film was shot in 39 days over 12 years’ time. Rather than rely on the conventional Hollywood melodrama formula, “Boyhood’s” two-and-a-half hours unfold in an episodic format. As such, the movie establishes the deeply satisfying kind of intimacy that comes from the serial nature of the best TV shows.

“Serendipity: The Story of Tony Hussein Hinde,” Thursday, August 21, 8 pm, The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, Harbor View Hotel, Edgartown. For tickets and information, visit

 “Boyhood,” Friday, August 22; Saturday, August 23; Monday, August 25; Tuesday, August 26, 7:30 pm, M.V. Film Society, Vineyard Haven. $12; $9 members; $7 under 14. For tickets and information, visit

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A painting of squid by Ashley Medowski. — Ashley Medowski Gallery

After 12 years as Saltwater Gallery, Ashley Medowski has changed the name of her establishment on Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury to reflect her own name. She held a reception for New Mixed Media: Menemsha, Boats & Sea Life, in the newly named Ashley Medowski Gallery on August 10.

A mixed media piece of The Captain Flander’s House in Chilmark.
A mixed media piece of The Captain Flander’s House in Chilmark.

“I pride myself on being original,” Ms. Medowski said in a recent telephone interview. The original name came from “Salt Water in my Veins,” a book of her great-grandfather Captain Norman Benson’s stories, set down by his friend Dr. William Peltz.

“I don’t think people realized all the artwork was my own,” Ms. Medowski said, offering another reason for changing the name of her gallery. It is housed in the 1869 building that once was her great-grandfather’s fishing barn, adjacent to the family house built the same year.

An artist with a deeply ingrained appreciation for Vineyard history, Ms. Medowski lost her grandmother Mabelle Medowski and her aunt Alma Benson last November. “My grandmother was born and died in that house,” she said. Both of these relatives worked for many years at E. C. Cottle’s lumber yard in West Tisbury. Ms. Medowski describes her grandmother as a historian. “I hope I can continue her legacy,” she said. As an extension of that legacy, she has acquired permission to reprint her great grandfather’s book of stories. The author, Dr. Peltz, sat with Capt. Benson at the Lambert’s Cove Beach gate where the captain served as gatekeeper.

“I was the fourth-generation gatekeeper at Lambert’s Cove,” Ms. Medowski continued. “I wasn’t born here, but I’m the 13th generation to live here. We all could use a dose of the past.”

Jellyfish, by Ms. Medowski.
Jellyfish, by Ms. Medowski.

Much of Ms. Medowski’s new work is small in scale. The size reflects the considerable detail that goes into her painting and her desire to keep her work affordable. Good examples of this year’s work are “Moon Jellies” and “North Atlantic Squid,” marine portraits that benefit from the focus their small size provides. A collector of wood and antique objects such as the tricycle parked in front of her gallery, Ms. Medowski has framed another acrylic painting, “Shenandoah,” with wood from one of her great-grandfather Benson’s old eel pots.

“Sometimes pieces take me a year,” she said. A commissioned painting, “The Captain Flanders House” is an especially fine example of the artist’s talents. It is an historic rendering of the Flanders house in Chilmark, including the windmill on the property that was built in 1934 and lost its original vanes in the 1938 hurricane. Two quintessential touches by the artist are a stone fence made of real pebbles and a miniature Capt. Flanders House sign. The acrylic painting will eventually hang on the mantel in the inn.

In addition to the paintings on display are giclée prints of some of her favorite new paintings, including the magnificent and subtle work, “Summer Flounder.” She calls this painting her study in pointillism, and she has depicted the sand camouflage surrounding this bottom-feeding fish by using an old toothbrush to flick paint into the background. The painting is framed in Brazilian hardwood given to her by an Island carpenter.

Examples of her more whimsical older work include “Humphrey – The Oak Tree Wizard,” and “Squishy & the Magic Grape Shoe.”

While she hasn’t been making much jewelry lately except on commission for her regular clients, Ms. Medowski has examples of her sea-glass jewelry on display. Also on view is her charming, older painting, “Pink Elephant,” inspired by a stuffed animal Ms. Medowski had as a child and an embroidery of a pink elephant done by her grandmother. One of the works the artist was putting the finishing touches on last weekend is a portrait of the Cuttyhunk Coast Guard station that was moved by barge to Menemsha in 1952. It became Coast Guard Station Menemsha, which that now sits on the hill behind the Home Port Restaurant.

Ashley Medowski Gallery, 367 Lambert’s Cove Rd., West Tisbury. For more information, visit

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Hatmaker Xavier Blum of Artesano. — Brooks Robards

Michael Hunter, who built a following in the Island art scene for mixing wearable art with more traditional art forms at his gallery PIKNIK Art and Apparel in the Oak Bluffs Arts District, has brought together seven out-of-the-ordinary artisans this week for Propaganda, an Invited Artisanal Expo, at his new Edgartown location.

Now called Mikel Hunter, his gallery and store also includes paintings and art by Dan VanLandingham, Lauren Coggins-Tuttle, and Terry Crimmen. The Expo runs through Thursday, August 14.

Seattle-based designer Seth Damm creates striking Neon Zinn necklaces out of organic cotton rope from Pennsylvania. After dyeing the rope, he ties and twists it into unique, one-of-a-kind shapes.

Michael Hunter, left, wearing Hardenco jeans with Josh Westbrook of the Brothers Crisp and his handmade shoes
Michael Hunter, left, wearing Hardenco jeans, with Josh Westbrook of the Brothers Crisp and his handmade shoes

Joshua Benjamin Westbrook of The Brothers Crisp specializes in handmade shoes, some models of which have been designed especially for Mr. Hunter.

Hardenco is the trade name for Luke Davis’s Hartford Denim Co., which transforms blue jeans into idiosyncratic aesthetic statements. Mr. Davis grew up summers on Abel’s Hill in Chilmark.

Xavier Blum represents Artesano, an Ecuadoran collective that produces hand-made hats of Carludovica palmata. Known as Panama hats because they became popular in that country in the 19th century, these creations are Ecuadoran. Many models take months to create, and Artesano partners with the nonprofit organization Techno to fund workers in communities across 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean from a portion of the cost of each hat.

Located in the Oak Bluffs Arts District, Kenworthy Designs is displaying its clothes from Studioshop – Flowers and Fashion.

Laura Wass of WXYZ, who makes metal sculpture, headpieces, and leggings as well, has jewelry on view, as does Stash Style.

Mr. Hunter emphasizes that the artisans at his Expo are not normally found on the Island, and their goods provide examples of “real things not made in China.”

Propaganda: Invited Artisanal Expo, Mikel Hunter Gallery & Store, Edgartown. Show runs through August 14. For more information, visit

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Norfleet. Raccoon&Car

Defenders of Wildlife executive Michael Senatore will speak Sunday, August 10, at a Gay Head Gallery reception featuring the work of artists Jennifer Christy, Enos Ray, Barbara Norfleet, Matthew Smith, and John Nickerson Ahearn. Mr. Senatore is Vice President for Conservation Law at the Washington-based organization.

In The Abstract Wild: Wilderness Lost?, each of the featured artists will donate a portion of sales from their work to Defenders of Wildlife. This is the second year Aquinnah’s Gay Head Gallery has sponsored a Defenders of Wildlife fundraiser.

Mr. Senatore’s areas of expertise include federal environmental and natural resources law, endangered species and wildlife law, biodiversity conservation, water and marine resources, federal lands, administrative procedure, and federal legislation. He has been a public interest environmental attorney for more than 15 years, and he will speak on environmental policy and regulation.

The title for the new show comes from nature writer Jack Turner’s book “The Abstract Wild,” in which the author suggests that our overall contact with wilderness is endangered and that ecosystem management is a sham. He also argues that control of grizzly and wolf populations is at best a travesty.

Each of the artists in the gallery’s new show presents work that relates in some way to wilderness. Chilmark’s Jennifer Christy’s large-scale, abstract acrylic paintings draw inspiration from the natural world. In her artist’s statement on her website, she writes, “I have, from the beginning, been drawn to following the contours of the shoreline, the patterns of the wind on the water surface and the silhouettes of vegetation and cliffs, ancient hills and glacial rocks.”

West Tisbury painter Enos Ray draws from his experience with jazz musicians and the landscapes of the South as they express wilderness. One of his most striking paintings in the exhibit shows the antics of fishermen cavorting on the shores of a river with a spray-painted overlay of mist.

Photographer and Island summer resident Barbara Norfleet displays her dramatic images of Vineyard swamps and wildlife, and Mr. Smith, his copperplate etchings of marine wildlife. Mr. Ahearn’s meticulous detailed landscapes will be on display, as well as Vineyard Haven painter Rose Abrahamson’s abstract painting of birds, “Loud Thing Cuckoo.” The exhibit runs through September 2.

The Abstract Wild: Wilderness Lost? reception and talk by Michael Senatore, 5 to 7 pm,  Sunday, August 10, Gay Head Gallery, Aquinnah. For more information, call 508-645-2776.