Eisenhauer Gallery expands to year-round status

"Cannonball," 36" x 36", oil on canvas. Art by Paul Norwood

Look for an invigorating variety of styles among the 40-plus artists represented by Edgartown’s Eisenhauer Gallery, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary on-Island this year. This year, for the first time, it will remain open year-round. The gallery plans to add two Island artists and has issued a call to Islanders to contact owner Elizabeth Eisenhauer about representation. It is also expanding its staff to accommodate the new schedule.

Year-round status will allow the gallery to participate in the 19th annual Boston International Fine Arts Show (BIFA). Running from Oct. 22 to 25 in the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts, BIFA calls itself New England’s premier show and sale of historic, modern, and contemporary fine art. Eisenhauer is the only Island-based gallery to participate this year.

Among the Eisenhauer artists whose work will be exhibited at the October show in Boston are Carlos Lopez, Carol Bennett, Cheri Christensen, Stephanie Danforth, Wayne Salge, John Schuyler, Annie Wildey, Robert Cardinal, and T.S. Harris.

“We’re growing,” said owner Elizabeth Eisenhauer in an interview earlier this week. “The past couple of years have been really strong. Our collector base is getting broader each year. Many international buyers we see during the summer continue buying year-round. We need a more year-round Island base.”

New to the gallery this year, Ms. Wildey paints atmospheric water scenes where she uses a heavy impasto to evoke the frothy white surf so characteristic of waves as they approach the shore. As a result, the surf seems to be physically present in work like “Summer Wave.” This British-born artist, now based in Mystic, Conn., says in her artist’s statement, “At the shore I am reminded to be present. It provides a place for contemplation and reflection … I bring this experience into the studio as I interpret the smells, sounds, feelings, and energy of the water, or the quiet movement of fog.” Ms. Wildey’s painting “Rolling Crest” is hanging in Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s office in the Capitol.

John Schuyler is another painter new to the gallery, whose work will also be at BIFA. His mixed-media seascapes move close to abstraction, developing a rich palette of blue sea colors. A two-piece work like “Strati #53” employs a heavy patina to help create a sense of depth. Captivated by texture, the artist uses plaster to build up the surface of his work, then scrapes parts of it away, adds scratches, and finishes it with a heavy coat of varnish to develop a richly reflective surface.

Islander Stephanie Danforth, also showing at BIFA, contributes brightly colored fruit and vegetable still lifes like “Aubergine,” and oil-and-gold-leaf studies of water patterns like “Glisten,” with its swirling green and yellow patterns. Another artist new to the gallery, Paul Norwood, who divides his time between the Vineyard and California, exhibits antic, playful portraits of swimmers like “Cannonball” and “Jaws Bridge Jump,” where figures are outlined in red as if irradiated by the sun. Also new and participating in the Boston show is T.S. (Tracey Sylvester) Harris, who relies on primary colors to capture the female form. Her swimmers, like the figure in “Poolside Late Afternoon,” have a strongly graphic presence at the same time as they appear dreamy and mysterious. Yet another new painter is Jill Holland, whose mixed-media works like “Call Out to the Waters” employ gold leaf to create effects that combine abstraction with land- and seascapes.

Artist Carol Bennett will be featured in a private event scheduled for Sept. 12. Those interested in attending should contact the gallery for an invitation. Ms. Bennett’s black and white swimmers like “Twin II” offer a powerful figural presence in combination with the waters in which they are submerged.