Carlet Debuts at Featherstone


Maybe it’s in the genes. Near the end of the 18th century, world-class Venetian sculptor Antonio Canova resolved never to let a day end without designing something. His classic sculptures hang in museums around the world, including New York’s Metropolian Museum. His descendant, Tisbury painter Patricia Carlet, shares his resolve. Like Signor Canova, Ms. Carlet, 73, has spent her life in continuous commitment to her art.

“I began formal training at age 10, and I’ve been a fulltime artist since January 2008,” she says.

In between ages 10 and 70, Ms. Carlet got a couple of degrees, got married, raised a family, divorced, and seven years later remarried, to Island builder David Ferraguzzi. Along the way she also organized the reading and research lives of Edgartown students, serving for 20 years, from 1980 to 2001, as Edgartown School librarian.

A visit to Ms. Carlet’s Tisbury home uncovers a volume of work that suggests she’s quietly followed the same path as her famous ancestor. However, until this weekend at the Featherstone, the former educator has never publicly shown her bold and colorful acrylic canvasses. The first show of her paintings opens Sunday, May 30, 4 to 6 pm, at Featherstone Gallery off Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs.

Ms. Carlet is joyful, bristling with happiness, and her “rest-of-life work,” as she terms it, reflects her life view: big, bold, full of wonder and color.

“I define my work as abstract color-fielding and it generally begins on 3.5 by 5.5 inch pieces of mat board using permanent ink pens,” she says. Ms. Carlet numbers and titles each piece, making a transparency and copy, then projecting the image on to canvas for painting in her home studio.

Given her multi-tasking life, her imagery, she says, “is usually fashioned while I’m doing something else — sitting in a meeting, talking on the phone, listening, or traveling.”

While Caribbean landscapes inform her paintings, many of her inspirations come from “everyday pleasures and anxieties — popular slogans and current events,” she says, pointing to “Revolving Credit,” one of her paintings inspired by the financial world and “Affordable Housing,” drawn from Island construction.

“My art is created to evoke smiles and to encourage laughter. If it captures the pleasure and irony of the everyday for the viewer, then I believe I have succeeded as an artist,” she says.

Her work is being displayed at Featherstone Gallery off Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs May 30 through June 9. Also being shown at Featherstone this weekend will be the art of Ms. Carlet’s brother, Francis Carlet, who visits from the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont to add his work to the exhibition.

Paintings by Particia Carlet at Featherstone Center for the Arts, runs from May 30 through June 9. Gallery open daily, 12 noon to 4 pm; Sunday openings, 4 pm to 6 pm. 508-693-1850.