Artists debut work on-Island


Ten artists made their debut at the Oak Bluffs Arts District Stroll this past Saturday. Piknik Art and Apparel’s “First Time Artists on the Island” show opened with the eclectic works of nine artists from as far afield as Paris, while Dragonfly Fine Arts Gallery introduced the large canvases of a new abstract artist from Woodstock, N.Y.

The work of Dragonfly’s newest artist, Jenny Nelson, will remain featured throughout the season along with that of the gallery’s core artists.

Ms. Nelson works in a light palette of blues, greens, and warm grays. Her abstract oils, typically done in a series of 10 to 12 paintings, reflect a sense of balance and energy, at once serene without becoming complacent.

Mr. McKillop, co-owner of Dragonfly with his wife Susan, admits to being immediately drawn to Ms. Nelson’s work. “Even non-abstract lovers have been taken by it,” he says, adding his commitment to introducing new artists. “It’s important to keep it fresh,” he says.

For the next four weeks, Piknik’s studio annex will display the works of Jean-Pierre Ceytaire, Walter Montstream, Gloria Gaddis, Julia Nelson-Gal, Caroline Hurley, Frances McGuire, Michael Miler, Nate Praska, and Ken Rabin.

The artists range in age from their 20s to their 60s, and their work provides a stimulating glimpse into the possibilities of today’s contemporary art scene.

Gloria Gaddis’ abstract figurative work distills the human condition in deceptively simple forms while Michael Miller’s surfing-inspired paintings provide a colorful, youthful homage to the sea and its board-riding aficianados.

Julia Nelson-Gal’s intriguing mixed-media works combine archival imagery with an overlay of modern whimsy.

Caroline Hurley’s lighthearted “Beach Laundry” series explores the joy of summer by the sea using color and composition, while Frances McGuire’s bold depictions of the Oak Bluffs sea wall and the imagined Ocean Holiday motel serve as memory pieces for summers gone by.

Representing Paris along with Mr. Ceytaire, Mr. Rabin’s mixed-media collages blend fragments of photos, fabric, text, and maps to create compelling new compositions.

Mr. Rabin, who has lived in France for the past 20 years, says, “Aside from my activities in a metropolis like Paris, I’ve regularly enjoyed living and exhibiting in regional settings. The Vineyard allows for more intimate relations between viewer, exhibition space, galeriste, and artist.”

Finally, Mr. Praska’s old world take on Portland’s very contemporary urban landscape provides a muted, moody evocation of the city’s universal everyday moments.

Michael Hunter, owner of Piknik, says, “I’m excited about the ‘Primo Tempere Show’ because it represents a stone soup of the best artists I’ve encountered in the last couple of years. Each one has his or her own thing, from Jean-Pierre Ceytaire’s uniquely sensual paintings to Walter Montstream’s brilliant mixed-metals sculptures and towering totems.” The show will hang until Saturday, August 14, when the gallery’s annual Urban Show opens.

Ms. Hurley, who attended the opening, commented on Vineyard art goers saying, “People here seem to gravitate toward art. I’ve been part of shows in New York and L.A., but people on the Island ask insightful questions and seem really interested in artists.”

Dragonfly Fine Arts Gallery, Dukes County Ave., Oak Bluffs. 508-693-8877.

Piknik Art & Apparel, 99 Dukes County Ave., Oak Bluffs. 508-693-1366.