Art

Dennis Hopper
The man of the show, Dennis Hopper, shown in a black and white photograph by Edward L. Stanton. Photos Courtesy of the Louisa Gould Gallery

Art show by the dozen

By Tamar Russell - December 7, 2006

The gallery filled late, but fill it did. The crowd was abuzz with the works of 12 artists at the opening of the Second Annual Holiday Show at the Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven on Nov. 24. I am fortunate to be among the 12 artists represented. Six artists are new to the gallery while the other six had new work on display.

The six new artists to the gallery are: Steve London, Robert Jewett, Nathan Shepard, Jeanne Campbell, Edward Stanton, Janet Messineo, and William Blakesley.

Steve London
Steve London in front of his Gyotuku fish monoprints.

A feature of this show was the work on the back and right wall. This area of the gallery was spread with a tasty assortment of fish - in the Gyotaku style. This monoprint show by Steve London set the tone for the festive winter season show. Steve London's skill at Gyotaku work comes from his time studying with a master printer at the Hui No'eau Visual Arts Center on Maui. Mr. London's process of Gyotaku is "direct technique," whereby nontoxic inks are brushed onto a fish and then rubbed onto natural paper or fabric. Mr. London uses fish that he or friends catch to create these fun pieces of art. "It gives me an excuse to fish more," he joked.

Janet Messineo, also new to the Louisa Gould Gallery, has on exhibit a number of pieces near Mr. London's. Ms. Messineo is well-known in fishing circles, both as an angler and for her incredible skill in taxidermy. She has several fish "sculptures" in this show, including her two large pieces, "Striper at Dawn" and "School of Scup." Her love and knowledge of the fish that swim in Island waters are evident in her art.

A large centerpiece of the show is Nathan Shepard's "Silence on the Pond." This large representational oil painting is set on Menemsha Pond. His water work is deep in blues, moving to depths ranging down to black, yet remaining a daytime painting with a lightly painted dock - and refreshingly local.

Robert Jewett
Robert Jewett holding one of his earthenware vessels.

On the subject of water depths, also new to the gallery is Robert Jewett, a sailor and artist. Mr. Jewett studied with renowned potter Warren MacKensie at the University of Minnesota and taught at St. Paul Academy and Summit School. He said of his work that he is "interested not only in the surface of the water, but in what happens beneath." He says the sea's power is revealed in "fluid interactions with surface, objects and light."

The effects of the sea's power on Island shores can be seen in Robert Jewett's ceramics. A well-established potter, he brings an earthiness in beach tones to his pieces. His pieces at this gallery bring harmony to the naturalness of the show.

Near Mr. Jewett's pottery are a few pieces by William Blakesley. Mr. Blakesley is not a newcomer to the Island or the art world. He holds a list of awards and a past history running his own gallery on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Currently he works from a home studio on-Island.

In this show Mr. Blakesley has four pieces. "Little Boy" is a wonderful small black-and-white serigraph reminiscent of strong brush and ink work. A few crisp, sharp lines produce a miniature little face.

A fun finish to the new artists' show is a large photograph placed near the window of the gallery. This black and white photograph is by Edward L. Stanton. The subject is movie actor Dennis Hopper in Mexico. The mood of the photo is relaxed. It shows Dennis Hopper in a cervezina, geared out in Western garb and lighting a cigarette. Mr. Hopper is looking young and gritty and the party seems to continue in the background.

Nathan Shepard's "Silence on the Pond"
Nathan Shepard: Nathan Shepard's "Silence on the Pond" controls the left wall of the gallery, showing a quiet Menemsha Pond.

The previously mentioned pieces were complemented by two of Jeanne Campbell's nautical Island photographs, shown in this gallery for the first time.

Of the artists carried consistently by the Louisa Gould Gallery, Gray Park has several wonderful new small oil scenes. Howard Park also has some new landscapes capturing fall in all its brilliance, rendered in a traditional way. New work also includes Trager di Pietro's acrylics, "Clamdiggers," and "Vineyard Haven Landscape," Marston Clough's abstract off-season landscapes.

Guests coming and going at the opening on Nov. 24 could see Mr. Hopper's party photograph. He seemed to reflect the fun mood. See for yourself.

The current show is up until Dec. 23 at the Louisa Gould Gallery on the Beach Road Extension in Vineyard Haven. Gallery hours are: 11 am to 5 pm daily. 508-693-7373.