In both its modern industrial look and its fascinating collection, the A Gallery in Oak Bluffs presents the atmosphere of a modern art museum. Curator Tanya Augoustinos has, for the past two years, gathered a coterie of artists whose work is cutting edge and, in many cases, innovative in technique.
For the final show of the season, the temporary gallery features nine artists in a show Ms. Augoustinos calls Small Works. The paintings, photos, and sculptures included are all small in scale and priced accordingly. The proportions run from mini, like Nancy Aronie’s tabletop tableaux featuring teeny tiny figurines, to striking mid-size works in acrylics by Margo Ouellette, who focuses on bold geometrics in bright purples and greens and vibrant pink roses.
Both Billy Hoff and Ed Schulman have original styles. Mr. Schulman simplifies the world around him using a limited palette, indistinct outlines, and lots of motion. Mr. Hoff creates a fantasy world featuring blurred figures from a bygone era. His all but faceless, top-hatted men and bustled women stroll through surreal landscapes conjuring up scenes somehow familiar but hard to identify as real or imagined.
Alejandro Carreno’s work clearly shows his Cuban and Caribbean roots with the vivid colors and bold lines, but the nudes and abstracts that he focuses on have more in common with the work of the cubist artists from the early 20th century.
Well-known Island artist Cindy Kane contributed works that are a departure from her signature bird paintings. She created a series of tiny scenes of fire against a stark landscape that are simple but very appealing.
Three photographers — all of whom incorporate innovative techniques in their work — are included in the show. Christopher Wright uses a complicated process to print his landscape photos on metal. His ocean scenes — Lucy Vincent under the super moon, a dock in the fog — are moody but benefit from the precision of a master technician. Mr. Wright also captured a very interesting shot of New York City that combines black and white and color photography for an unusual effect produced by meticulously layering multiple images of the same scene.
Emily Drazen uses a Holga camera to create images that she mounts in floating frames. Her small, square landscapes have the retro look of old Polaroids and a feel that is an unusual combination of cold and emotional.
Mathematics professor Edwina Rissland’s work is all about texture. Exploring the Gannon and Benjamin Shipyard in Vineyard Haven, she captured extreme color close-ups of boat surfaces that look like abstracts but on closer inspection reveal interesting surface details like chipped paint and even a dead mosquito.
Not everything currently on display at the A Gallery requires close scrutiny as the space presents both extremes of scale. Along with the small works there are two huge installation pieces — a giant leaf print encased in a plexiglas frame by Peter Eaton Gurnz and a gallery-spanning set piece featuring mannequins and an organic hammock-like structure filled with hydrangeas by Paul Lazes.
Other interesting pieces include elongated wooden totem sculptures by Lucy Mitchell, small 3D textile works using a patented process infusing precious metals into fabric which was developed by Michele Ratte, and few mid-sized works by the local master of large-scale painting, Rez Williams.
A Gallery is located on Uncas Avenue in Oak Bluffs. For more information, call 917-378-0662 visit agallerymv.com.