Galleries : Seaworthy Gallery: Ready for the Maiden Voyage
When a photographer captures just the right moment, a picture can become a work of art to be printed and framed. Then someone with a wall must want to display it. But there are only so many walls, and often one image replaces another too quickly. But there are those who, with the same enthusiasm and vigor they summon to create art, decide to encompass the entire process of making, showing, and selling their art. They create a gallery.
On Saturday, Nov. 15, photographer Jeffrey Serusa will officially open Seaworthy Gallery on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven. Inside those walls, he transforms small computer images into 32- by 52-inch giclée images on canvas, framed and hung and ready for viewing. Mr. Serusa says, "When I first started this I made a conscious decision to do everything in house - all the printing, all the framing."
With sophisticated equipment and a full frame shop, he plans to offer these services through the Seaworthy Gallery to other artists.
Photo by Ralph Stewart
His first piece, "Sea Smoke," was exhibited at Granary Gallery in 2005. In it, The Islander, shrouded in the ocean mist, seems to hover toward the harbor. Mr. Serusa captured the light in such a way that the coolly colored, green seascape glows, bringing out subtle golds and purples.
His style brings mystery to the familiar - an invitation to a new way of seeing recognized icons. His photo "Wilbur," also featured at the Granary, depicts the profile of a hull and bowsprit jutting from one edge of the photograph into a blackened and rich abyss. Though the bow serves as a reference to the entire ship, the fragment becomes an abstraction: wood, rope and chain suspended in the darkness, illuminated by a hidden light source.
These pieces as well as others will have a new home at Seaworthy, giving Mr. Serusa the opportunity to make his work more accessible and present it in varying formats: on canvas, on watercolor paper; from larger to smaller prints.
"It's a natural progression," Mr. Serusa says of his gallery. "It gives you more freedom, more lateral movement. You can experiment: see what sells and doesn't sell."
Living on the harbor in Vineyard Haven, Mr. Serusa has an intimate connection to the sea and ships - a connection that infuses his work, and has shaped the concept for the Seaworthy and what it will offer. Alongside his own work, the Seaworthy will display and sell nautical charts of Martha's Vineyard and New England from the 1800s. He says, "They are very rare and beautiful. Framed properly, they are really interesting."
Also displayed will be note cards printed on archival paper, brass ship lamps and other nautical antiques, lending the space the same mystique as Mr. Serusa's photographs. Contributing to the appropriateness of the name, some of these relics may also be available for purchase after the opening.
The intimate space, formerly occupied by Maggie's
Salon, has wall space for hanging approximately 40 pieces. The sidewalls will be a deep and velvety red, contrasted by a dark grey, aluminum-finished back wall.
The gallery's color scheme was designed and painted by Mr. Serusa's friend, painter Terry Trimmen of Vineyard Haven.
"I'm color-blind," Mr. Serusa says with a laugh. "Terry picked out the colors. It's going to be really fantastic. He says it is going to set off the artwork and I believe him." With all the trials that can come with opening a new space, Mr. Serusa says Mr. Trimmen has been a great support, "He fixes everything, and gets me out of a lot of jams."
Being an artist and a businessman may seem like contrasting hats to wear, but Mr. Serusa doesn't so much wear them both, as he turns them into the same hat.
"By and large artists are business people. It comes down to economics," he says. "When an artist pays someone to print his work, to frame his work, and to hang his work, he is often left with very little."
Mr. Serusa is creating a self-sustaining system, where his art feeds his business, and the business supports new art.
Having his own gallery will in turn create a new balance in the creative process. He notes, "It will allow me more freedom," Mr. Serusa says. "The galleries will not always take what you have. I get to run with it and see what happens. The down side is you don't spend as much time behind the camera because there are always two or three balls you are juggling."
He adds, "I know it's not the best time to open up a business, with country the way that it is. It will be either a brilliant idea or stupid idea. If it turns out be the latter, I am prepared to stick to my guns." He says, "There are a lot of risks in life. But I am doing this because I want to. I love my work. It's a simple decision for me."
Seaworthy Gallery is fittingly located next to the Gannon and Benjamin boatyard and across from the ArtCliff Diner. He had his eye on the location for months, ever since the salon relocated across Beach Road.
"Vineyard Haven has had a great number of stores and galleries. I'd like to continue that tradition and I think I have a lot to offer," Mr. Serusa says. And when it comes to opening day, he says, "I can't wait: I'm like a little kid in a candy store down here."
Seaworthy Gallery holds its opening reception Saturday, Nov. 15, 4-8 pm. 30 Beach Rd., Vineyard Haven, 508-693-0153.
Adriana Stimola is freelance writer who divides her time between West Tisbury and Brooklyn, N.Y.