By Amy Simcik Williams - August 31, 2006
"Gay Head View," by H. Gray Park. Photos courtesy of Louisa Gould Gallery
You know those hole-in-the-wall places in Boston or New York - be they
restaurants, bookstores, ethnic markets, or galleries - where rare
goods are found? Only those familiar with their whereabouts have access
to the treasures offered. A visit to Louisa Gould Gallery on the
waterfront in Vineyard Haven conjures such thoughts, and the current
show "Island Colors" is an example of the gems awaiting discovery.
This fourth annual exhibition presents and juxtaposes the work of 11
artists. Paintings by longtime Island artists Jules Worthington and
Lanny MacDowell hang near mixed media works by newcomers Jon Kinzel and
Tamar Russell. Nationally-awarded H. Gray Park's seascapes share space
with promising pieces by local printmaker Marston Clough whose foray
into oil painting is already a success. Abstract images by Sandra Indig
are placed inches from photographic images by Aaron and Frada Galvin.
"Gate," by Jules Worthington.
colorful creations include stunning glass vessels by mainland artist
Jeffrey P'an, and distinctive gold, silver, and beaded jewelry by GoGo
Ferguson. Those who remember Ms. Ferguson's store, which was open for
10 years next to the space now occupied by Louisa Gould Gallery, can
still find the jeweler's signature pieces cast from natural elements; a
hand-picked selection is always available at the gallery.
Although diverse in subject matter, all the artwork focuses on how the
artists see and use color in their chosen medium. Most reference Island
settings, hence the theme of the show.
H. Gray Park produced his expansive oil paintings on location and the
paint still looks wet. His simple, rugged style allows landscapes to
run loose, to breath and move. The result is fresh, dynamic, and "Gay
Head View" bears this out. An arresting panoramic vista that overlooks
Moshup Trail and the south shore, the painting depicts a bright, clear
day, one on which you'd be sorry to leave your camera home. A lofty,
blue sky rolls across the canvas and fades into the ocean. Clouds in
the distance could be snow-capped peaks, and maybe the only way to tell
is to hang-glide out to sea. Colors aren't overdone in Mr. Park's
paintings. They do the job and let viewers settle into the scene.
The soothing colors in Jules Worthington's pieces identify him as the
artist behind "Lonely Boat," "Dinghy," and "Allen Farm," all aglow with
touches of lavender and pink. He stipples many paintings with these
soft tones, adding to the rich detail and gentle spirit that is very
present in his work. For another example, have a look at "Gate."
Probably the first piece that jumps from the wall upon entering the
gallery is Tamar Russell's "Foggy Barrens." It doesn't scream for
attention but has just enough pizzazz to lure viewers to the spicy,
rust-colored hills that weigh the piece.
Marston Clough was born and raised on Martha's Vineyard and says he
"never tires of Island colors, which change subtly sometimes and
abruptly at other times." Until this past year, all his landscapes were
monotype prints. Then he began experimenting with oil paints. He has
four small paintings in this show and they marvelously authenticate the
Vineyard experience without frills. If you're familiar with how storms
overtake West Chop, then the painting "West Chop," with its heavy, dark
blue sky will be meaningful to you. On the other hand, the greenness of
"Up-Island Tree" is sheer serenity. The artist is clearly talented, yet
timid about his work - his paintings are modestly priced. But don't let
that dissuade you.
In addition to the aforementioned artists, there are works by Traeger
di Pietro, who is also part of the "Island Colors" show, and Howard
Park, Nat Benjamin, Mark Sutherland, JB Lamont, Stephen Hart, and
Louisa Gould herself. One wonders how she fits all this art in such an
intimate space? That's another well-kept secret.
Colors" will be on view through Sept. 25. Louisa Gould Gallery, open
daily from 10 am to 5 pm, is located at 13 Beach Street Extension in
Vineyard Haven. For more information, call 508-693-7373.