Sporting Art

The Martha's Vineyard Times

Galleries : The Fishing Lure

By Tamar Russell
Published: September 11, 2008

The lure of fishing affects almost everyone on the Vineyard - and most acutely the 3,000 individuals who will participate in the 63rd annual Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby over the next five weeks. The Derby, the largest fishing event on the east coast, begins this Sunday, September 14, at 12:01 am.

Included as part of the Derby fest is an art show that opens this Saturday. The exhibition is Louisa Gould Gallery's second annual Derby art show. A portion of the proceeds from the exhibit will benefit the Derby Scholarship Fund. Photographer Louisa Gould, the owner of the Main Street Vineyard Haven gallery, is the official Derby photographer.

The exhibition promises to be a must-see for those who collect sporting art. The 25 various artists, many of whom will attend the opening, will include many of the artists from last year's show along with some new participants.

The artists include Marjorie Mason, Brian Kirkpatrick, Luther Kelly Hall, and Peter Corbin. The paintings, photography, and sculptures depict the settings, seascapes, and dramatic representations of the fish sought by Derby contestants. Charles Giordano's dramatically realistic representations will be displayed along with engaging scenes by Donna M. Blackburn, Brook Olsen's scrimshaw, the prints of Ray Ellis, and the taxidermy art of Derby board member Janet Messineo, former President of the Martha's Vineyard Surfcasters Association, who has been fishing from Vineyard beaches since 1976.

An important aspect of the show will be the Grand Slam painting by Dimitry Schidlovsky, a contributing artist to Outdoor Life Magazine and American Hunter Magazine who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology. Mr. Schidlovsky has been commissioned by the committee for the past five years to create the official Derby painting that will be sold exclusively at the Louisa Gould Gallery. This year, 20- by 24-inch signed glicee prints of his painting "Pride" will be awarded to the eight grand slam winners of the Derby. It depicts a realistic image of a black Labrador standing watch next to a bucket filled with fish.

The work will range from collectors' images to fun, traditionally decorative art. A good example of the collector's items will of course be the work by Connecticut fisherman/artist Luther Kelly Hall. This type of work is considered Sporting Art. His oils on illustration board are serious images of serious fishermen, in action, in all type of seas. These pieces are framed and signed under glass. This is Mr. Hall's second Derby show at the gallery.

Louisa Gould
Gallery owner Louisa Gould displays the sporting art of close to 25 artists.
Photo by Ralph Stewart

The watercolors by Donna Blackburn are simple and refreshing, while the colorful acrylic work by Brian Kirkpatrick is downright entertaining and not too heavy. His bright Caribbean colored paintings depict Island fishing scenes as well as generic scenes sure to make you smile.

The sporting art by Charles Giordano, a mix of photography and paint, is also light in comparison to Mr. Hall's work, but skillful. He will portray each of the four derby fish in his style: bonito, striped bass, bluefish, and false albacore. His is also in the show for the second year.

An additional feature of the show's opening reception will be the presence of Derby president Ed Jerome, the former Edgartown school principal. Mr. Jerome will be signing copies of the book "Fishing the Vineyard," which he edited and which features the paintings of Ray Ellis of Edgartown. ("Fishing the Vineyard," Ray Ellis, Ed Jerome, et al. Compass Publishing. $30.)

"The Derby is a quintessential Island event. It crosses across all social-economic levels," said Ms. Gould.

As was the case last year, she expects to see her gallery full of individuals from all walks of life both from this country and from abroad. Many of these people will be collectors of sporting art. But many will also be people who rarely visit a gallery. "This event will bring people into the gallery who are not regular gallery-goers," Ms. Gould noted.

Ms. Gould recounted the story of one woman who walked in and saw one of Brian Kirkpatrick's paintings. "That could be my husband," she exclaimed - a reaction that is typical of those who have viewed the show. The art show is known for its festive atmosphere and the variety of the work and of the crowd.

Opening Reception, Derby Art Show, Saturday, Sept. 13, 6-8 pm. Louisa Gould Gallery is at 54 Main St., Vineyard Haven. 508-693-7373. For more information, visit See this week's Martha's Vineyard Times Derby Supplement, pages 6 and 7, for details.

Tamar Russell is a painter, and a graphic artist for The Times.

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