Abstract abounds at the Louisa Gould Gallery

"Winged Vessels with Dutch Ears" Black mountain clay with a porcelain inlay, cone 8, 13 x 20 x 4 in. — Heather Sommers

For 12 years now, Louisa Gould has hosted an abstract art show, giving Vineyarders and visitors the chance to check out some examples of a genre less frequently shown at Island galleries.

This year’s exhibit, which only hung for one week, featured work by seven artists, all of whom either live on the Vineyard or have strong connections with the Island. Many of the pieces are still on view at the gallery, and all are available online.

The artists included in the show represent a variety of media: acrylics, fabrics, collage, oil- and water-based monotypes, aluminum prints, pastels, and ceramics. The one unifying factor is the participants’ choice of nonrepresentational work.

Two of the artists using less traditional materials to express themselves are Martha Mae Jones and Heather Sommers. Jones, who is perhaps best known for her wearable art creations, uses fabric to create colorful designs on canvas. She chooses vividly patterned fabrics and alternates thin strips to build up wonderfully complex pieces.

Sommers works in ceramics, which she uses to make various vessels and sculptural pieces, and also employs in mixed-media wall art. Her ceramic pieces gain interest from unusual shapes, hand-carving and pressing and glazes with a metallic look. She also uses a combination of ceramics and wood to create frames for acrylic paintings, or uses bits of ceramics in mixed-media pieces.

Bricque Garber of Edgartown, who is showing her work in a gallery for the first time, uses collaged paper and paint to excellent effect in work that relies heavily on geometrics and lines. Her palette runs from pastels to bold colors, and she mixes her colors expertly in her small works (which, by the way, are priced very attractively). Garber was thrilled to have done so well at the opening, where many of her pieces sold.

The show was titled “Abstract’s Unlimited Boundaries” — an apt title, since all of the artists truly have their own very distinctive style.

Gould has always been interested in abstract work. Although her focus as an artist has always been photography, she recently returned to painting, and she included a few of her own paintings in the exhibit.

“I personally love, and am drawn to, abstract work,” says the gallerist. “It’s exciting to see that other people appreciate abstract work. I think people are embracing abstract more and more. It’s done very well in the gallery.”

Two of Gould’s longtime artists who work in abstraction have proven very popular with visitors. Deborah Colter, who lives and works on Martha’s Vineyard, tends to stick to one color scheme for each of her mixed-media pieces, which incorporate geometric shapes and symbols. Theresa Girard favors blue hues, punctuating each of her acrylic paintings with focal paints of unexpected colors.

Although the abstract show only hung for one week this year, visitors will always find the style well represented at the gallery. “I’ve always been dedicated to showing new work in various genres,” says Gould.

Case in point — the gallery will feature the work of a painter and a ceramicist during the next First Friday event on Sept. 6. Longtime gallery artist John Holladay will be showing new traditional paintings of fishing shacks, boats, and stone walls, while Ann Mallory, who is new to the gallery, will show ceramic vessels and sculptures in unconventional shapes with interesting details.


Louisa Gould Gallery, 54 Main St., Vineyard Haven, will stay open all year long, and Gould is continually adding new pieces to her collection. Visit louisagould.com to check out work by all of the artists that she represents, or stop by any day between 11 am and 5 pm.