A bevy of local artists at Gould
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.

Other 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.

"Island 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.

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