After working in a gallery and for a jewelry designer for more than 15 years, Amy Cash decided to fulfill her dream of running a gallery where she would exhibit her own jewelry, along with work by friends and others whose work she admired. This past May she opened the doors of the Amy Cash Gallery on the corner of Spring and Main Streets in Vineyard Haven. The inviting space holds a select collection of work by artists and artisans working in a variety of media.
For the previous seven years, Cash worked for Elizabeth Eisenhauer at the Eisenhauer Gallery in Edgartown. Prior to that, she spent almost a decade with Sioux Eagle Designs in Vineyard Haven. “I was impressed that both women were able to make a living doing something that they are really passionate about,” says Cash. “It really filled my heart to be around art all day, and to work with artists.”
Of the 16 artists that Cash represents, 15 are women. “It’s really important for me to support women artists,” she says, adding, “I like supporting artisans who have elevated their work to the fine arts.” Six jewelers and one ceramicist are among those works that can be found at the gallery.
The space is welcoming and aesthetically pleasing. Although each of the artists and artisans Cash represents has an individual style, the paintings, ceramics, and jewelry tend to complement one another. There are a lot of blues, and black-and-white representations, giving one a sense of calm — an inviting feeling that here is a place where one can take a breath and relax for a moment while browsing the work.
Among the first artists to join the gallery were two longtime friends of Cash, Emily Galligan and Abbey Kuhe. The former paints landscapes, skies, and seascapes with a dreamlike quality. In her artist’s statement, Galligan writes, “My art is a visual representation of the exploration of my inner landscape and how it is shaped by my relationships with love, loss, wonder, and curiosity. Painting in various mediums, both abstract and realistic, has offered expression beyond words — a soliloquy of emotions represented through color and form.” Galligan, who has studied both art and environmental studies (she has a master’s degree in environmental education), has fused her two passions in her work, along with her love for the Vineyard, where she also teaches yoga and runs her own fine art wedding stationery company.
Perhaps the most unique offerings in the gallery come from ceramicist Abbey Kuhe, who creates fascinating, intricate stories through her chosen medium. Often working in black or dark blue on white, Kuhe handpaints designs on vessels, plates, and other traditional ceramic forms, as well as on purely sculptural pieces. Her stylized images often have the look of a woodblock print, and incorporate numerous narrative themes, including sea life, animals, mythical creatures, boats, and birds. In her artist’s statement, Kuhe writes, “Visually and conceptually, my ceramic work is inspired and informed by myriad resources, from the intersections of social and climate justice to the golden age of children’s book illustration; from biophilic philosophies of biology to 19th century textile design; from divine feminine mythologies to 16th century scientific expedition illustration.”
Eight other painters are featured at the Amy Cash Gallery. Their styles range from the abstraction work of Jessie Woodward and Scott Troxel to dramatic cloud paintings by Patty Keville Fogel, to floral work by Ann O’Brien Gonzales, to still lifes and painterly landscapes by Judy McCabe Jarvis, to figurative paintings of women on the beach — artfully shown with faces obscured by large sun hats — by Lois Mantak, to linoleum block prints by Allison Doherty. Local artist Donna Straw is showing a series of ink and watercolor drawings of familiar Island scenarios.
Designs by the five jewelers represented by Cash include statement pieces by Biba Schutz, who creates interesting, contemporary geometric designs using oxidized silver, and Nina Zabal, whose colorful, eye-catching earrings are crafted from polymer.
Cash’s own designs are on more of a dainty scale, but no less unique. She creates lovely droplet earrings and pendant necklaces using a variety of precious and semiprecious stones. The Vineyard native graduated in 2000 from the Art Institute of Philadelphia with an associate’s degree in fashion design, and received a bachelor of fine arts degree in jewelry and metals in 2009 from UMass Dartmouth. She has found, both as an artist and as a gallerist, that the Island is very supportive of the arts, and she appears to have found the ideal career for herself with her new undertaking.
“One of the things I love most about selling artist jewelry and fine art is that people are purchasing items that mean something,” says Cash. “They will be part of their lives, whether viewed on their walls or worn on their bodies, and eventually passed down or on, and become heirlooms.”
The Amy Cash Gallery, at 30 Main St., Vineyard Haven, is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Visit amycashmv.com.