Good things come in small packages at Louisa Gould Gallery
November 20, 2012
A nice change of pace from Black Friday crowds and bustle, the opening reception for the annual Holiday Small Treasures group show at the Louisa Gould Gallery in Vineyard Haven has become a post-Thanksgiving ritual for many Islanders. It provides a great opportunity to meet and greet friends visiting for the holiday weekend.
"I like opening this show the day after Thanksgiving, which is overly commercial in the rest of the world but not here," Louisa Gould said. "It's Island work for Island people. It's not the hoopla. People come here for Thanksgiving to get away from that."
Annually since 2006, Ms. Gould has gathered works from local artists to present a show where the word small is defined not just by size but by price point. Everything you'll find in the current show sells for under $500. Most works are in the $200 to $400 range, and there are also some unique gift items and handmade cards for under $30.
Among the literally small works are a selection of 5- by 7-inch realistic oil paintings of local birds by Donna Blackburn. Ms. Blackburn, one of the artists regularly featured at the gallery, is known for her detailed landscapes and nature scenes. The bird series are something new for the popular Island artist.
The work of Genevieve Jacobs similarly captures birds in small format, but her pieces are more stylized renderings set on muted pastel backgrounds that wrap around for a frameless look. Maya Farber, a frequent Vineyard visitor from New York City, creates wonderfully warm still lifes. For the Small Treasures show she has contributed some attractive impressionistic flowers enhanced with gold leaf.
Artist couple Warren and Debra Gaines are showing their work at Ms. Gould's gallery for the first time. Mr. Gaines is known for his realistic pastel landscapes. A sampling of his smaller seascapes are included in the show. Ms. Gaines works primarily in encaustics. She is showing three of her lovely muted moody works including a fish, a lone tree in a field, and an interesting enhanced photo of three men on ladders painting a house, with a pink blossomed tree in full bloom in the foreground.
Ms. Gaines said that the quirky scene was something she captured on an Easter morning in Oak Bluffs. "There was no one on Circuit Ave. but these painters," she said. "The pink tree provided kind of a juxtaposition."
These three works are a bit of a departure for the Edgartown-based artist who noted that the Small Treasures show provides a unique opportunity for an artist. "It's a nice venue to debut new genres in your work," she said. "When it comes to the season, galleries want a theme. Before you invest yourself in a style you want to try it out."
Man of innumerable syles and media, John Holladay is displaying an interesting series of stone wall closeups done in acrylics on board. Folk artist Doug Kent has created a series of small landscapes called Everglades in the Morning. Both men are well-known Vineyard artists who are regularly featured at the Louisa Gould Gallery.
Paul Beebe, another regular at the gallery, has contributed dramatic seascapes in oil. Set in ornate gold frames, the smaller works that this acclaimed maritime artist is showing are striking and dramatic.
Two new young artists are represented in the show. Kathy Poehler creates whimsical works using local seaweed. Her mermaids and abstracts benefit from the variety of pinks and browns of nature's palette. Photographer Katie Prisco is currently doing an internship with Ms. Gould. The recent graduate of Paier College of Art in Hamden, Conn., will feature some striking black-and-white still lifes. The way that she frames her subjects — an egg on a spoon, an hourglass, a flower sprouting from a fire hose, give these crisp images added aesthetic appeal.
Ms. Gould herself will show some of her latest color travel photos. As well as two-dimensional art, the show features some affordable gift items. Once again, Ms. Gould is offering contemporary hand-blown glass ornaments by Thomas P. Kelly of Corning, New York. His Vitrix line has proven very popular at the show year after year and Ms. Gould will offer some new designs. The lovely handcrafted globes, featuring swirls of color, make perfect decorative accents year round, she said.
Also available will be ceramics, jewelry, and cards.
The Small Treasures show provides a great opportunity to get a head start on your Christmas shopping, or add an affordable piece of art to your own collection. "A lot of people come back after their Christmas shopping is done to buy something for themselves," Ms. Gould said.
Holiday Small Treasures Show Reception, Friday, Nov. 23, 4–6 pm, Louisa Gould Gallery, Vineyard Haven. Show runs through December 24. For more information, call 508-693-7373 or visit louisagould.com.