Year in Review: Art & Galleries

The Gallery Josephine team, from left, Bryan Daigle, Kali Wingood, Nyama Wingood Daigle, and Ambrose Seward. — Photo by So Focused Photography

If there’s one thing that the Island has an abundance of, it’s artists and art galleries. The Vineyard provides inspiration for a multitude of creative types, and both the year-round and seasonal population are known to support the many established and burgeoning Island artists. Here’s a look back at some of the more memorable shows from the past year.

The past and the future

The Shaw Cramer Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven closed its doors after 20 years this spring. However, the loss of the gallery means the reemergence of an accomplished artist — gallery owner Nancy Shaw Cramer has moved on to focusing on her own work as an award-winning, highly regarded fiber artist.

The brand-new Gallery Josephine took over the former Dragonfly Gallery space in August. Although the gallery only hosted two one-person shows, the new space made quite an impression. The lovely rustic/modern gallery is, according to the website, dedicated to “artists engaged in the struggle for righteousness” and “local and international voices of change.” Owners Bryan Daile and Nyama Wingood also kicked off a series of talks and other events by hosting an evening with bestselling author Graham Hancock at the Katharine Cornell Theater in November. The gallery is sure to prove a welcome addition to the Vineyard scene for art lovers and the socially conscious alike.

This summer, the venerable Charlotte Inn in Edgartown opened a small gallery behind the main building, allowing visitors to view work from the inn’s vast collection of vintage and new paintings, drawings, and unique home furnishings. The gallery specializes in traditional artwork with a focus on maritime art, Vineyard landscapes, and equestrian scenes. Many of the works hanging in the inn are also on view to the public and for sale.

The Kelley House in Edgartown launched a new initiative featuring an ongoing exhibit of works by Island photographers in the lobby and other public spaces. Visitors can check out the work of dozens of local photographers any day by popping into the Kelley House.

Abstract artist Marie Louise-Rouff, who was formerly represented by the Shaw Cramer Gallery, opened her own studio/gallery on her West Tisbury property in May. The gallery is open by appointment by calling 508-693-2072.

The lobby of the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse is now home to a rotating art space. Every three weeks the Playhouse hangs a new show devoted to an artist whose work may not be quite so familiar to Islanders. In July, Laura Roosevelt unveiled her latest series of photos in a show featuring beautiful abstract images created by reflections on the water. The Playhouse ArtSpace will continue to spotlight the work of local artists year-round.

The Night Heron Gallery in Vineyard Haven added a new member to its ranks when glass artist Jeri Dantzig joined the cooperative group of Vineyard artists and artisans this summer.

Exhibits of note

Three of the Island’s premier art galleries — the Granary Gallery, the Field Gallery, and North Water Street Gallery — introduced new artists to their collections. The Field Gallery in West Tisbury hosted a first Vineyard gallery show for emerging artist Colin Ruel, who incorporates the natural wood grain of his chosen surface and acrylics to create stunning landscapes. The Granary Gallery reintroduced the work of renowned Island artist Andrew Moore, who was represented by the gallery many years ago before he opened his own studio, which is now closed. A showing of work by Island artist Meg Mercier, new to the North Water Gallery, sold out almost as soon as it was hung.

Rez Williams, who is represented by A Gallery, introduced a new focus to his work at a show in July. The artist, best known for his large paintings of New Bedford fishing boats, showed a number of scenes of rural Ireland and a few of New York City, delighting fans of his work.

In September, the Louisa Gould Gallery hosted a retrospective of the work of accomplished watercolorist Gretchen Feldman, who passed away in 2008 at the age of 73 after a successful five-decade career as an artist.

This past summer, the Martha’s Vineyard Museum hosted exhibits featuring two artists of international renown. Lois Maïlou Jones, one of the leaders of the Harlem Renaissance, was honored with an exhibit devoted solely to paintings representing her five decades as an artist. A small exhibit of rarely exhibited photos of the Vineyard by the famed Alfred Eisenstadt was featured in the Spotlight Gallery in July.

For the fourth year in a row, the traveling Harlem Fine Arts Show made a stop on the Vineyard, setting up for a week in August at the Harbor View Hotel, where hundreds of works by artists representing the many nations of the African diaspora was on view for an entire week.

Galleries and other art venues whose doors are open year-round include the Granary Gallery, Featherstone Center for the Arts, the Louisa Gould Gallery, the Workshop, Night Heron Gallery, Mikel Hunter, ArtSpace at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, and the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. The West Tisbury, Vineyard Haven, and Chilmark libraries all feature rotating exhibits of work by Island artists, and both Mocha Mott’s locations spotlight a different local artist each month. There are plenty of opportunities to keep up with the Vineyard art scene all winter long.