Artist Adele Schonbrun. Photo by Brian Jolley
A ceramic girdle displayed by its artist Adele Schonbrun. Photo by Brian Jolley

The art of love at Featherstone

By Molly Hitchings - March 16, 2006

Postponed a week because of the blizzard, a romance-themed art show at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs pulled in an eager throng on Sunday. "Kiss, Kiss, Hug, Hug" was a Cupid-free tribute to Valentine's Day by dozens of Island artists. Charles Blank provided piano accompaniment while Jeanne Marie Moore treated visitors to classical love songs. Adele Schonbrun's thrice-fired porcelain sculptures were popular, especially "Bra & Girdle," two exquisitely detailed pieces molded from the artist's own top drawer. "Toothbrush," a larger-than-life rendition complete with porcelain whirls of toothpaste, was another favorite.

"Love means sharing a toothbrush," offered Featherstone staffer Tom Dresser, who was kept busy pouring champagne at the refreshments table.

"Maybe I had a lot of dentist bills at the time," the sculptor said, when asked about her inspiration. Love means sharing bills, too.

Joyce Dresser had several photographs on display, including "Riunione Segreta," which appears to depict a secret meeting on a narrow street in Florence. Interpretations of the lovers' day were varied and refreshing.

In Traeger DiPietro's good-sized acrylic, "All is One," a man and woman seem to melt into each other in a riot of color.

"Unbridled," a candy-colored acrylic by Mary French, depicts a cartoonish couple embracing, the man holding a cell phone aloft in what looks like triumph.

Jim and Kathy Newman presented a pair of photographs taken from their travels abroad. "Dark Side of Love" is a portrait of a transvestite, an image made disturbing more by its saturated colors than by the man himself, with his long pink fingernails and bleak expression. "Staying Close" is a warm, richly-colored photograph of a mother and child, wrapped as one.

Photographer Julian K. Robinson, best known for his majestic osprey pictures, offered up "Prelude to a Kiss," a still life of chocolates, champagne, and a flowery wedding cake. "It's my only non-nature photograph," he explained.

Suzanne Nickerson's glittery greeting cards seemed ready-made for love notes. Artists in attendance wore heart-shaped name tags, and all pieces were labeled with valentines.

"It's very festive," Holly Wayman, a young artist from West Tisbury said appreciatively.

"Kiss, Kiss, Hug, Hug" at Featherstone Center for the Arts, Barnes Road, Oak Bluffs will continue through February, daily 1 to 3 pm. For more information, call 508-693-1850.