Welcoming spring

New painters use Island imagery to ring in the sunny season.


Louisa Gould is celebrating the start of the summer season with an exhibit titled “Spring Arrivals,” featuring new work by dozens of the artists she represents. Among these are two new painters who will be debuting at the gallery, starting this weekend.

Eileen Corse clearly has a love of the water, as evidenced by her series of images of people swimming, diving, and relaxing on pool floats (along with one of kids jumping off the famous Jaws Bridge). While the figures themselves are done in a realist style, Corse often plays with the effects of water by either using a sort of mosaic technique to create a multi-toned effect, or using swirls of various colors to give the impression of the movement, reflective properties, and distortion of the water. In either case, the result is an image that truly captures the movement of water as it is impacted by the motion of swimmers.

Corse’s work has been featured in a number of national art publications, such as American Art Collector, Plein Air Magazine, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine, and Artist Advocate magazine.

An article featuring Corse in “The Scout Guide” describes her work, saying, “Think the pool paintings of David Hockney, done in a painterly, choppy, and impressionistic style that harkens back to the impressionists. There’s something utterly contemporary about the bathing-suit-clad figures Eileen Corse paints.”

Nadia Mahfuz, on the other hand, focuses on the quieter side of life. For her still lifes, she favors items around the home that might otherwise be overlooked as subjects of art. Mahfuz is a realist artist with a real talent for capturing light and shadow in a reflective manner.

“Her work is realism, but a little softer,” says Gould of the artist. “She doesn’t have the hard varnish on canvas. It’s beautiful fine art — very livable. You can feel the texture — stopping us for a moment in time.”

To create that softness and palpable texture, Mahuz takes advantage of the properties of the canvas itself. For example, in her images of pillows in fresh, white linens, she says, “The canvas lends itself to looking like the fabric. The pillow almost looks like fabric. You can almost touch it.”

Other subjects that Mahfuz has captured include coils of rope, and linens hanging on a clothesline. In the exhibit there is also one allegorical painting featuring an incongruous grouping of Chinese food containers, fortune cookies, and billiard balls. The unique image is one of Gould’s favorites in the show.

Mahfuz is no stranger to the Vineyard art scene, having shown at the former Willoughby Gallery for 20 years, where she earned a faithful following.

The Rhode Island–based artist lives in an old mill where she operates a successful interior design business, and spends time painting in a large, light-filled studio. She was classically trained, having studied for many years under a respected classical French painter in Boston. Mahfuz has mastered techniques used in classical painting, while embarking on a very different focus from traditional still lifes and figurative work.

In her artist’s statement Mahfuz writes, “I discovered the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi — finding beauty in things imperfect, an imperfection that is not always attached to a physical trait. I began to explore space and light with objects that most would not consider beautiful unto themselves — yet a quiet beauty exists.”

On Saturday, May 27, from 5 to 6 pm, the gallery will host a meet-and-greet with Vineyard-born and -raised Jack Yuen, another artist who is relatively new to the gallery. The “Spring Arrivals” show includes new work by Paul Beebe, Eileen Corse, Rick Fleury, Teek Eaton-Koch, Nadia Mahfuz, Sean Roach, Christie Scheele, Jack Yuen, and others.