Art

A mixed-media marriage

By Julian Wise - October 5, 2006

The launching of the Midnight Mermaid Gallery at 117 Upper Main Street in Edgartown on Saturday, Oct. 7, is a curious fusion of art, romance, and history. Artists Rebekah Blu and husband Adam Thibodeau are celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary by opening a gallery together to showcase each's artistic talents. The gallery is situated two blocks from the Old Whaling Church on the corner of Main Street and Green Street in the Old Sea Captain's House, a building that once belonged to Adam's great grandparents. The Midnight Mermaid Gallery will feature Mr.Thibodeau's original handcrafted wampum jewelry, Ms. Blu's black-and-white photography, and an assortment of other artistic treasures. On Saturday from 3 to 6:30 pm the couple will open the gallery's door to welcome the Island community. Light delicacies by Lattanzi's and acoustic music by Milo and Maynard Silva and New York City musician Jaik Miller will augment the celebratory mood. The two are suggesting elegant, festive, or theatrical attire; black, brown, white or gold colors are suggested.

Mr. Thibodeau and Ms. Blu (oft referred to as "Blu" by friends) have pursued different artistic trajectories in their creative lives. Mr. Thibodeau taught himself lapidary art at a young age and mastered the art of wampum jewelry. His precise craftsmanship with quality raw materials has put his jewelry pieces in high demand, with clients often commissioning his work privately. Many of his pieces will be on display in the gallery, while his work will continue to be available at several fine jewelry stores around the Island.

Ms. Blu's childhood interest in photography has led to dual careers in Manhattan and Martha's Vineyard. Locally, she is known for the Goddesses of Martha's Vineyard and Gods of Martha's Vineyard calendars. In Manhattan, she has spun her education at the Parsons School of Design into a career as a fashion and music photographer. Her work has been featured in numerous solo shows and her photographs of musicians have appeared in Rolling Stone, Spin, Creem, Drum World, Guitar World, and the New York Review of Records. Her camera lens has captured vivid images of rock icons Perry Farrell, Eddie Vedder, Trent Reznor, Warren Haynes, and Flea. She has worked with fashion designers Betsey Johnson and Suzy Wong to photograph their creations.

With the opening of their own gallery, both artists are delighted to have a home for their mutual creations. Ms. Blu will display work from her celebrity portraits and the Dreamscapes collection, a series which draws its inspiration from the natural beauty of the Island.

Rebekah Blu and husband Adam Thibodeau. Photo by Allison B. Fuller
Rebekah Blu (left) and husband Adam Thibodeau open Midnight Mermaid Gallery. Photo by Allison B. Fuller
"The images in this collection are inspired for the most part by my dreams," she says. "I am deeply connected to the rustic terrain of Martha's Vineyard. Most of the photographs for Dreamscapes were created on the Vineyard, utilizing its beautiful landscapes as a backdrop. My relationship to nature and a celebration of the female form are two of the themes I've explored while producing this work."

In addition to photography and jewelry, the gallery will feature soy candles created under the Midnight Mermaid Private Label gift line. To create the candles Ms. Blu drew on her skills as a perfumer, a craft she honed by experimenting on her own and while working at the Essense fragrance boutique. The aromatic candles feature locally inspired names like Katama Mermaid, Moon over Menemsha, and Aquinnah Moon. Ms. Blu cites her childhood memories of swimming in Katama Bay as the beginning of a lifelong connection with mermaid iconography and lore. The gallery will feature mermaid images from different artists around the country.

"Not only has it been extremely enjoyable for me to connect with others who are equally passionate about mermaids, but the collection of mermaid art that I have begun to acquire for the gallery from these talented artists are simply treasures," she says.

As the two young artists celebrate the merging of their romantic, professional, and artistic lives, they are also celebrating a creative collaboration that merges New York's urban sophistication and the Vineyard's rustic charm. "As an artist it's very effective for me to be exposed to these incredible yet opposite places on a regular basis. They both fuel me and inspire me in such different ways. Some famous person [Garson Kanin] whose name escapes me once said, 'Manhattan takes my breath away; the Vineyard gives it back.'"

Julian Wise is a frequent contributor to The Times, specializing in music, film, and the performing arts.