Artists and artisans co-exist happily at the Art Gallery in the Oak Bluffs Arts District. Like the Night Heron Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, the Art Gallery on Dukes County Avenue is a cooperative gallery, run by the artist members. And like the former, the gallery is an eclectic mix of work by both fine artists and a wide variety of artisans. This year the Art Gallery, hosted by the nonprofit Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts, has welcomed five new participants, who all bring something very unique to the mix.
Taylor Stone creates three-dimensional cut paper shadowboxes. Utilizing a combination of painting and textural art, the Vineyard native and Savannah College of Art graduate meticulously constructs little scenes based on Island landscapes and landmarks, as well as New York cityscapes and fanciful scenes such as an homage to “Alice in Wonderland” and a flying witch. The artist has been showing her work, including her popular little potted “plants,” at the Vineyard Artisans Festival for the past two years.
Longtime Islander Susan (Suzie) Pacheco has been painting underwater scenes for years. Her love of the ocean and her interest in depicting the human form have coalesced in her images of women swimming or floating on calm sun-dappled seas. She expertly captured all of the ripples and distortions of water, providing a sense of serenity and joy. Pacheco will also be showing other images such as colorful Illumination Night lanterns at the gallery.
Olivia Bell Mason of Olivia Bell Textiles fashions lush scarves and kimonos from hand-dyed silks and natural rayons. After earning a certificate of artisan in textile design from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Mason relocated to the Island in 2013. In her artist statement she writes, “Since then, I have lived full-time here on the Vineyard, where water, weather and the garden offer ever-changing palettes of color to breathe life into my work.” Mason’s designs often incorporate ancient Japanese patterns using traditional shibori techniques. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind work of art, in stunning colors and rich detailed patterns.
Helayne Cohen of Birdsong Ceramics has been creating and selling beautiful, functional pottery on the Vineyard for over three decades. She favors sea-inspired colors in layered glazes, making each piece unique. She decorates some of her work with etched designs, including popular pieces with the outline of the Vineyard. At the Art Gallery, Cohen will also be offering her sparkling beaded barrettes made from glass seed beads and Austrian crystals woven into striking patterns.
Linda Ferrini uses an unusual medium for her art. She paints on floor cloths and runners with acrylic paints, making for a practical application for a colorful painting. Ferrini offers work in a variety of themes, including flowers, geometrics, and of course, lots of ocean-themed images and Vineyard maps. Her designs can be used for a variety of purposes including kitchen floor mats, appetizer mats, kitchen counter maps, and desk blotters. The designs are painted with acrylics on canvas, then given a polyacrylic finish, creating a soft and pliable leather-like look and feel. On her website, Ferrini describes the benefits of using floorcloths: “Their durability and easy care make them even better for walking on than rugs, as dirt just wipes clean easily.”
The new Art Gallery members will join the existing seven artists and artisans, many of whom have been with the gallery since it opened in 2017. These include painters Marston Clough, Renee Balter, Anna Lowell Finnerty, Elizabeth Lockhart Taft, botanical print artist Peggy Turner-Zablotny, jeweler Joan LeLacheur (who works with wampum) and woodcut artist Ruth Kirchmeier.
On July 6, the Oak Bluffs Arts District will host the first of three Art Strolls. Any Island artist is invited to join the stroll as a vendor by calling Holly Alaimo at 508-693-5444.
The Art Gallery, located at 99 Dukes County Ave., Oak Bluffs, will be open weekends through the end of June and then seven days a week from 11 am to 5 pm throughout the summer.