Animals take over Featherstone

The menagerie included elephants photographed by Jeanne Campbell (left) and by Harvey John Beth hanging above (from left) Heather Sussman's sculpted horse, and Scott Campbell's giraffe and horse. Photos by Barbara Ronchetti

By Pat Waring - June 7, 2007

Vineyarders love animals and that goes double for Vineyard artists. From pets to wildlife, farm animals to fantasy creatures, fish to fowl, they offer artists of every type great opportunity for creativity. So when Featherstone Center of the Arts in Oak Bluffs put out the call for participants for their first "Animals in Art" show, it's little wonder that 25 artists responded. The result is a gallery packed full of images of our furred, feathered, and finned friends, in a fascinating variety of media and styles.

Birds ranged from farmyard and forest familiars to the elegant and exotic. Julian Robinson contributed several of his well-known avian images and there was a striking triptych, three photographs of white geese, by Valerie Sonnenthal. Husband and wife photographers Aaron and Frayda Galvin captured birds in unusual poses and places, but Ms. Galvin was most pleased with the portrait she shot of her sophisticated Abyssinian cat. Painter Lanny McDowell's seabirds swooped up from crashing waves.

Prevalent though they were, birds were just the beginning. Here was a thoughtful looking sheep, there was a pig, and Carolyn Daniele's many-colored dogs expressed volumes with their soulful eyes.

Patrons enjoyed art, refreshments, and conversation during Sunday's opening reception at the Featherstone Gallery.

Jungle animals were well represented, their photos a particularly eye-catching addition to the collection. Among them, Alan Brigish's portrait of a sinewy lioness crouching low to drink and Harvey John Beth's scene of Mt. Kilamanjaro towering over a herd of elephants.

Back on Vineyard soil again, there is a deer standing still by the woods, a painting of horses grazing beside a weathered barn. Marston Clough displayed a modestly charming monoprint of a calf and Rose Treat showed two seaweed-collages of cats, one a more representational lissome silhouette, and the wonderful "Gigi" in which two dark eyes peer from a cloud of seaweed, the essence of an energetic kitty face.

The animals remain in residence at Featherstone through Friday, June 15, soon to be followed by another themed show, " Water: Different Perspectives," opening on July 1.

Featherstone Center for the Arts, Barnes Rd., Oak Bluffs. Gallery hours, daily 12 noon to 4 pm. For information, call 508-693-1850.