Gallery Josephine hosts local artists for the first time

Various works by Ellen Lyman. — Stacey Rupolo

Gallery Josephine in the Oak Bluffs Arts District is currently hosting its first show of work by local artists. The select group includes established artists Ellen Liman, Jessica Pisano, and sculptor Ivory Littlefield, as well as two newcomers to the art world, painter Bruce McNelly and photographer Lara Forte.

The gallery has built a reputation for bringing acclaimed New York City–based socially conscious artists to the Island, and traditionally the gallery hosts one-person shows, so the current exhibit is quite a departure for the three-year-old gallery.

On Thursday, July 27, Gallery Josephine will host a Meet the Artists reception featuring 15-minute talks by Ellen Liman, Ivory Littlefield, and Bruce McNally. Ms. Pisano and Ms. Forte will also be on hand to chat with guests.

On August 1, the gallery will introduce its second show of the season, with an opening during the Arts District stroll. The exhibit will feature paintings by a few New

York artists, as well as the work of famed Colombian sculptor Heriberto Cogollo.

For the local show, gallery owner Nyama Wingood has chosen a group of artists with very diverse styles. Gallery Josephine has devoted one entire section to the work of Ellen Liman. The selection includes some colorful still lifes of flowers and vegetables, a number of summer beach scenes, and a striking brightly hued landscape titled “Makonikey Sunset.” Ms. Liman’s vibrant work features unusual color combinations and bold brush strokes, creating a very distinctive style.

Jessica Pisano has contributed a few paintings of hummingbirds, as well as a wonderfully

mysterious piece called “Saggezza,” Italian for wisdom or reason. The large painting features an abstract landscape with a remarkably, almost three-dimensional, tree. Ms. Pisano’s work has a lovely mystical quality.

Well-known architect Bruce McNelly is showing his paintings for the first time on-Island. Among the pieces on display at Gallery Josephine are a work titled “Witness,” featuring two blindfolded men and a grouping of black-robed figures creating a border along the bottom, and a series of small paintings of simple structures, featuring highlights done with metallic paint.

Lara Forte, recently married to musician John Forte, founder of the Fugees, has created a series of close-up photos of flowers and other plant life. These black-and-

white micro shots spotlight the intricacies of a variety of flora.

“Pliez”, bronze 6×6 — Stacey Rupolo

Ivory Littlefield’s selection of bronze statuettes, featuring isolated body parts, are sensuous in their curves and give a nod to classical sculpture. Mr. Littlefield is also showing a series of hand-carved wooden bowls embellished with abstract patterns done in gold leaf and lacquer. These pieces very effectively combine the primitive with the contemporary.

Keeping up tradition, Gallery Josephine will continue its commitment to providing a community gathering space for thought and discussion. Once again, acclaimed author and activist Junot Diaz will pay a visit the gallery later in the summer. Author, educator, and civil rights attorney Gloria Browne-Marshall will present a reading of a new play, and Ms. Wingood also plans to host other talks, readings, and musical performances.