Nancy Furino exhibits work that encompasses a lifetime

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At 90 years old and counting, artist Nancy Furino has been painting her entire adult life, the majority of which she has spent as a full-time resident of Martha’s Vineyard. And like many lifelong artists, her style has evolved and refined over the years. This coming weekend, visitors to the Louisa Gould Gallery will get a chance to view the first selections of a retrospective of Furino’s work that the gallery will be introducing throughout the summer.

“She’s considered a painter’s painter,” says Gould, who has been representing Furino for the past six years. Previously the artist exhibited her work at the Carol Craven Gallery, and then at the Dragonfly. Now, through an arrangement with Furino and her family, Gould has access to a lifetime’s worth of art, and she is sifting through the selection to put on display, for the first time, work representing a variety of styles and covering a range of decades.

On Friday, June 7, Louisa Gould Gallery will host an opening for an exhibition showcasing some of the artist’s work created primarily during the 1990s and early 2000s. The selection includes about 13 oil paintings, mostly Vineyard scenes, featuring soft colors in a style that at times evokes another beloved Island artist, Thomas Hart Benton.

In the paintings “Hay Field,” “Waskosim’s,” and “Shoreline,” one can see the artist’s interest in clearly delineated outlines, bold shadows. and a love of contours. However, other styles adopted by Furino throughout her lengthy career are also on display. Venice, painted during a period when Furino lived in Italy, benefits from the quick brushstrokes and soft palette associated with the French Impressionist Claude Monet. “Spring,” showing a group of art students painting en plein aire, also has the feel of a classic Impressionist painting, but with more detail and brighter colors. “It’s just such a timeless painting,” says Gould.

In her artist’s statement, Furino credits Rembrandt, Van Gogh, and Picasso as influences. “I love good, simple design, whether a building, a city, or a panorama,” she writes. “I exaggerate on purpose to convey the feeling of a subject.”

However, many different styles are represented in the artist’s work over the years, from her early days, studying at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, up to the present. In late July and August, Gould will introduce more of Furino’s paintings in a group show titled “Beautiful Burst.” For that exhibit, the gallerist has selected some of Furino’s more contemporary work, using a bolder palette and more of a color block style. Gould is continually delighted with the work she is uncovering with each visit to the family home. On her latest foraging expedition, she unearthed what she refers to as “a treasure trove.”

“I thought I had seen everything,” she says, “but on my last visit I spent an entire day searching through the collection, and it was full of surprises.” Family members commented that they had never seen some of the paintings that Gould selected for the gallery. “You’ll see a whole lifetime of work,” says Gould. “It has been an honor to be entrusted with the privilege of curating her work.”

An opening for the exhibit of Nancy Furino’s work will take place at the Louisa Gould Gallery on Friday, June 7, from 4 to 8 pm. The exhibit will hang through early July. Other works by the artist are also available through the gallery. Visit louisagould.com for more information.