‘Red Hot’ at Louisa Gould’s gallery cures the winter blues


The Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven is offering a show that may provide the antidote for the winter blues. Partly in honor of Valentine’s Day and partly to provide an antidote for the February lull, gallerist Gould has filled the walls of her eponymous gallery with a show titled “Red Hot.” You guessed it, everything on display features the color red — sometimes as the defining hue, sometimes just a pop of color that draws the eye to a vibrant focal point.

“It’s been a really, really gray winter,” says the gallerist. “There’s nothing in the landscape. We’re supposed to be rooting and grounding. I wanted to brighten things up.”

Walk into the Main Street gallery and you’ll get a sense of the power color can have on mood. There’s also something very appealing about taking in an arrangement where one unifying element affords a sense of continuity.

Due to the inclusive nature of the theme, the work is not restricted by style, media, dimensions, or subject matter, and you’ll find great variety in all of these represented in the show.

The exhibit includes almost 50 works of art by 16 different artists. Much of the work is new — some from artists who have shown with the gallery for many years, including Peter Batchelder, Deborah Colter, John Holladay, and Nancy Furino. Others are artists who are more recent additions to the gallery’s roster, such as painters Pepe Conley and Nick Paciorek, and ceramicist Abby Kuhe, who decorates her trays, bowls, and sculptural pieces with unique, intricate images inspired by myth, maritime history, sea creatures, and vintage design — in this case, all rendered in red.

The late Nancy Furino’s work on display is a departure from her quiet landscapes. Her series of interior scenes employs geometrics, angles, and implied dimension with a focus on color and form. In a throw rug, pillow, or lamp, these shades of red serve as focal points, drawing the viewer’s attention.

Peter Batchelder generally tends to favor warm colors, and the show’s selection of his barn and lighthouse studies employs oranges, pinks, and reds, providing a pleasing contrast to the blues and greens of the natural surroundings. Among these works, “Pink Hedge,” with its pastel shades, shows a more fanciful side to the artist’s work.

Michael Zigmond’s images bring a modern realism to the show. His painting “No Turn on Red” features a hanging stoplight against a gorgeously rendered, cloud-filled sky. This piece and his image of Matchbox cars aptly illustrate how a small snippet of red can be very effectively used.

Abstraction is represented in a couple of mixed-media works by Deborah Colter, where red is the primary color, while blocks of quiet greens, grays, and yellows temper the brightness.

Fran Dropkin’s painting of a red beach umbrella shading a lounging figure set against a textured turquoise background is a good example of how a vibrant color can balance a subdued scene.

Along with the more unusual uses of red, there are flowers, fruits, and a lobster or two to bring back memories of a summer that seems almost like a distant dream at this midway point of winter. “I look at the show and I get excited,” says Gould. “There’s an energy to red. It’s the root chakra. It’s grounding. It’s the first color you see as a baby.”

There’s something unexpected and revitalizing to the “Red Hot” show. Stop by on a dreary winter day for a much-needed break from the more dull winter landscape.

The group show “Red Hot” will hang at the Louisa Gould Gallery, 54 Main St., Vineyard Haven, through March 19. Open daily, 11 am to 5 pm, year-round. A meet-and-greet with artist Deborah Colter will take place on Saturday, Feb. 18, 4 to 5 pm.