When the Featherstone Center for the Arts put out an artists’ call for its 2019 opening show, “My One and Only,” they had no idea what to expect. The invitation’s language gave wide berth to submissions: “Come show your latest unique creation — something new that has not previously been exhibited at Featherstone.”
Attesting to the creativity and range of talent to be found on the Island, the curators were thrilled with the work that their call for submissions generated. The Francine Kelly Gallery is currently filled with a spectacular representation of the many media and styles the Martha’s Vineyard artists’ community has to offer.
The large, airy space allows for a museum-like experience, with wooden pedestals in the center of the gallery displaying a couple of eye-catching sculptural pieces, a movable wall running down the middle of the space, and smaller pieces displayed on pedestals against all four walls.
Upon entering the lofty gallery, one is struck by a very colorful sculpture of a human torso by Jackie Baer, who used a dressmaker’s mannequin to create a bejeweled human torso. The piece is covered with polished stones and semiprecious gems artfully arranged by color and texture into a variety of patterns. It’s a fascinating piece deserving of up-close 360° inspection.
At the opposite end of the gallery is an almost life-size stainless steel sculpture by Barney Zeitz. Standing with wings outspread, Zeitz’ “Birdman” hovers majestically — outlined by the view of the arts campus beyond the windowed door behind him.
In between these two large sculptures is a charming doll house created by Floy Miller.
The exhibit, which was hung by Kate Hancock, features a theme for every wall. Themes include landscapes, seascapes, faces and figures, abstract work, animals, and fantasy. The abstract wall also shares space with some very interesting pieces with a political bent. Basia Jaworska, as is typical with the artist, offers a strong message with her image of five football players taking a knee for the national anthem and the words “Stand Against Racism.” Jannette Vanderhoop’s mixed-media piece, “Alt White,” features multiple images of Americana, including a flag and an Uncle Sam postage stamp, framed inside a large tin box.
Three different local women have contributed wall-hanging quilts to the show, including new to Featherstone artist Susi Henry Ryan, whose “Sistah of the Sea” features a brown-skinned mermaid poised on a rock amid a shimmering sea. The piece is made up of different patterned fabrics, and is embellished with beach pebbles.
Tom Carberry’s contribution to the show is a bust of Jimi Hendrix, which sits on a pedestal located, appropriately enough, next to a photo of Bruce Springsteen by the late Peter Simon.
The exhibit includes paintings, drawings, photography, sculpture, ceramics, collage, fiber arts, and even a hand-painted end table. All in all, there is work by 90 artists, who have provided examples of what they’ve been up to during the past year. “It’s great to see the diversity of the Island,” says Featherstone’s executive director Ann Smith. “It’s such an eclectic mix with so much fun stuff.”
If the opening show for Featherstone’s 2019 season is any indication of what the gallery will exhibit the rest of the year, visitors can expect a continuing rotation of some of the best the Island artist community has to offer.
Submissions for the next exhibit — “Feather and Stone” — are open to all in the community. See the Featherstone website for more details at featherstoneart.org.
“My One and Only” will hang through March 3 at the Francine Kelly Gallery in Featherstone’s Art Barn. The gallery is open every day from noon to 4 pm.