After more than a year of enforced solitude, most everybody is craving a chance to see people’s faces from beyond the limitations of a computer screen. Well, although they may be faces of the two-dimensional variety, Louisa Gould is currently offering an opportunity to enjoy viewing a variety of human visages with her latest gallery show — “Figures: Flow and Form.” The exhibit features portraiture and figurative work by five of the artists whom Gould represents.
“It’s something I’ve considered for the past few years,” says the gallery owner. “There are a number of my artists who do figurative or portrait work, and it’s something you don’t always find in local galleries.”
The work ranges in medium from paintings and encaustics to photography, and in style from realism to abstract, to a combination of both. The subjects represent a diverse crowd, including some well-known subjects like John Lewis (“The Boy from Troy”), Winston Churchill, and B.B. King, three of the many faces captured in colorful abstract style by Wooly Dutton, who has experienced impressive career success both in Boston and Providence, R.I. Along with portraits, Dutton is known for her realistic shorebird paintings, many of which are also on offer at the Louisa Gould Gallery.
In her artist’s statement, Dutton writes, “Faces can take on many forms in my paintings, but I am always striving to capture the soul, through their eyes and expression, and their energy through the coloring. Some are loose, others tighter, but hopefully all are capturing the interest of the viewer … to stay a little longer.”
Kate Huntington has also proven herself masterful at capturing character in her portrait subjects, executed in a loose, expressionistic style. Her subjects, representing a variety of ages and races, were recruited through her work running a portrait and life drawing class in Providence, something she has done for almost 30 years. “The portrait paintings on display are each the result of one three-hour study,” Huntington writes. “The models that I hire are mostly friends and people I’ve met through social situations. They include local artists, quite a few musicians, life drawing models, and those who could also use a few extra dollars. Providence is so full of diversity that there’s never a lack of colorful models in my class. I love the fact that I get to meet new people all the time.”
The gallery is offering Huntington’s unframed portraits for a very affordable $450 (all are available framed as well). The artist has also contributed to the show a handful of paintings set on Vineyard beaches, a popular subject for the part-time Islander.
Adair Peck’s work is the most abstract of all of the participating artists. She has created a fun series of highly stylized encaustics featuring a multitude of simplified faces, each one inhabiting its own little colorful cubbyhole.
The other artists in the show include Pepe Conley (romanticized realism), Jack Yuen (partially abstract portraiture) and Gould herself, who has contributed a selection of photos from her worldwide travels. She and some of the other artists offer portrait commissions through the gallery.
Along with the figurative show, the gallery will continue to display an exhibit featuring abstract work created during the residency that Gould leads each year in Florida.
During pandemic times, Gould has kept the gallery open full-time, year-round, in order to provide a space for visitors to explore safely (she and her husband J.B. Lamont are both fully vaccinated, and the gallery continues to strictly adhere to sanitary and distancing recommendations).
“I wanted to accommodate locals and the second homeowners who have extended their stay, and give people a place to explore,” says Gould. “There isn’t a real art museum on the Island. I don’t expect every visitor to be a buyer, and that’s fine. This gives me a chance to have some human connections for myself and for other people.”
“Figures: Flow and Form” will hang at the Louisa Gould Gallery through June 1. The gallery, located at 54 Main St., Vineyard Haven, is open daily from 11 am to 4 pm.