Art

A little St. Tropez in OB

Hastings in the alley
The gallery, just a few steps from the Oak Bluffs Harbor. Photos courtesy of Ron Hall

By Tamar Russell - August 2, 2007

Hastings in the alley, a gallery beside Oak Bluffs harbor, is a simple space where big things are ready to burst. Just a step from the water like a scene in St. Tropez, France, this simple little gallery holds art that many scarcely understand. With three seasons under her belt, gallery owner Kate Goodridge says her gallery is "not for everyone."

Ms. Goodridge, a NYC native who summered on West Chop many summers throughout her life, says the Island gave her many things and she wanted to contribute, to give something back. She started her career push in the food industry and later decided to go back to school to study art. "Promoting art has a deeper meaning than promoting food," she related one afternoon, sitting on the boardwalk outside her gallery.

The work in hastings in the alley is chosen by Ms. Goodridge. She says that her artistic taste was greatly affected by an older man she met on-Island when she was in art school. That influence has bloomed into a deep need for color and studies in how color can move the viewer. The art she shows is risky for the Island, but Ms. Goodridge is prepared to take the risk. She plans to keep the gallery on-Island as long as she can.

Ovid Ward
Ovid Ward's "Balloons."

"I don't really think I am doing anything different here. There are tons of great galleries here on the Island," Ms. Goodridge says. Her spot is very different from most of the galleries around. The spot itself fits the work inside, but the location was not planned. She merely stumbled on the gallery.

The four walls of Hastings are filled with art that I personally could live with, especially several large pieces by Rick Hoffman. "We need to find a bigger home for these artists," Ms. Goodridge told me in regard to the local artists she is promoting. She would love to find a large year-round place off-Island to house artists like Ron Hall, Rick Hoffman, Jim Murray, and Ovid Ward. Her pride in the artists she represents is apparent. "I have come a long way and I am proud of the gallery," she asserted.

Ms. Goodridge's philosophy surrounding the gallery has some basis in her early education. "I like to look beneath the surface like a detective," Ms. Goodridge said after mentioning to me that she has a major in philosophy. A good example of this is in the work by Rick Hoffman. His pieces have definite relation to the organic and chemical worlds, but are difficult to deconstruct. Each piece, basically named for the thing it resembles, upon first look can be a flat read. Most people would either like it or hate it, but upon closer inspection his work is full of life. "You can plunge right into Rick Hoffman's work and can practically smell the essence of his atmospheres," Ms. Goodridge said with animation.

"I pick people who have something uncommon - things that are out there," Ms. Goodridge said. This type of taste combined with the fact that Ms. Goodridge is content to ride out the tides until a customer comes in who actually "gets it," is part of what makes Hastings in the Alley such an unusual Island gallery. Those viewers, though rare, are what give Ms. Goodridge complete satisfaction.

Throughout the rest of the summer, hastings in the alley will feature new work by young artists from all over the country, Fridays or Saturdays.

Kate Goodridge can often be found sitting in her alley in the Island's little St. Tropez, "dreaming and skirting the lines around the box," as she says, and waiting for the customer who will "get it."

hastings in the alley, Harbor Alley, Oak Bluffs. Tues.-Sat., 12 noon-8 pm; Sun., 12 noon-5 pm. For more information, call 941-993-7612 or visit thehastingscollection.com.