This summer, it may be harder to find indoor things to do on the Island, but luckily, art lovers won’t be at a loss for viewing opportunities, as most of the Island’s galleries are now open and have adapted their layouts and protocols in adherence to safety concerns.
Chris and Sheila Morse’s trio of businesses — the Granary Gallery and the Field Gallery in West Tisbury, and the North Water Gallery in Edgartown — opened their doors for the season and, although no opening receptions will be scheduled this year, each of the galleries will be hosting two-week shows spotlighting specific artists.
The Granary Gallery will kick off the season with a show featuring the work of photographer Alison Shaw and painters Heidi Lang-Parrinello and Terry Crimmen. All three are full- or part-time Islanders, and each has managed to capture the beauty and spirit of the Vineyard in his or her own unique way.
Alison Shaw will introduce new work at the Granary. The acclaimed Vineyard photographer has collaborated on 20 books, and teaches photography workshops on the Island and elsewhere. In her work, Shaw often manages to capture images of intimate scenes that perfectly reflect stories of Vineyard life.
Heidi Lang Parrinello works in photorealism, rendering detailed scenes in watercolor. She tends to focus on up-close, evocative scenes like a weathered rocker on a Campground cottage porch, or a lichen-covered stone wall.
Terry Crimmen favors beach and ocean scenes, as well as images of rural life. His subjects are generally depicted in realistic fashion, often against an unadorned, static backdrop, allowing his focal points to truly stand out.
For their first exhibit of the season, the Field Gallery, home to contemporary art, is spotlighting three women artists, all from the Vineyard. Rachel Cassiani creates striking color block semi-abstract landscapes of the Island.
Jennifer Christy further abstracts her Vineyard-based images. On the Field Gallery website, she is described as being “primarily interested in modern, abstract representation of the contours, intersections, and patterns of the natural Island landscape.” Her work is described as ”an interpretation of the elemental forms and recurring structures in topography and terrain that are created by the ever-present Island forces of wind and water.” In each painting, she works in one or two colors, focusing on form to striking effect. Christy also creates bronze sculpture in a similar style.
Susie White also describes her abstract paintings as landscapes, although in her case she focuses on textures and surfaces, creating mixed-media pieces full of energy and motion.
Starting on July 16, the North Water Gallery in Edgartown will feature the work of sisters Meg and Nell Mercier. Meg creates beautiful, soft, impressionistic scenes of the Vineyard in oils, while miniature artist Nell features her tiny oil paintings on pendants, bracelets, and buckles. That show will also feature the realist work of Jim Holland.
All three galleries have work by numerous artists on display at all times. “We’re seeing some of the best new work we’ve seen in a long time,” says Chris Morse. “I hope the consumer population realizes the importance of supporting local artists. That’s something we’re very aware of.”
The gallery staff are also very aware of the safety and comfort of their visitors. The Granary Gallery allows only small groups at a time, and has stations with hand sanitizer, wipes, and gloves throughout the gallery. Along with those measures, the Field Gallery has implemented a system of directional floor dots spaced safely apart to direct the flow and prioritize social distancing. For those who prefer to view from home, the galleries will offer 3D virtual tours of their spaces, along with interviews with artists. “Our main focus is trying to find ways to service our customers that make them the most comfortable,” says Field Gallery director Jennifer Pillsworth.