Wood collages and landscapes
Louisa Gould Gallery. Photo by Ralph Stewart
The wood collages of long-time Vineyard summer resident Robert Jewett
and landscapes by Gray Park, a Connecticut artist who comes to the
Island to paint, are on view at Vineyard Haven's Louisa Gould Gallery
through August 3.
Mr. Jewett's 10 abstract wood
collages, some of which are massive, represent a transition of sorts
for this potter and ceramicist, who has not exhibited them on-Island
before. Although he has made sculpture for 30 years, his training and
teaching career have emphasized pottery and ceramics.
"What I'm interested in is how man-made things interact with the
seascape," Mr. Jewett says. His wood collages could be said to make a
direct translation of that interest. Several of the pieces employ
channels of narrow blonde wood strips as if a boat hull is cutting
through a mosaic of multicolored woods.
That is the case with the largest, 4 by 8 feet, "Passage Through
Pollock Rip Channel." The artist masterfully interfaces nine different
wood types in it, as well as in "Passage Through Robinson's Hole" and
"Stonewall Beach After Winter Storm."
"Vineyard Pond Overflow" relies on pieces of poplar fitted into simple
wavy lines above a more complexly patterned triangle. In "Winter
Solstice," the horizontal grain of the poplar shows through what could
almost be a landscape created by the pieces of wood fitted together.
Mr. Jewett's Vineyard roots run deep. His grandfather helped found the
Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, and his father, who learned to sail there,
is renowned in racing circles. Growing up sailing on the Vineyard
himself, Mr. Jewett has an appreciation for the enormous forces at work
in the water.
He points out that if you fly over the Island, you can see the water
patterns and the layers created by sun penetrating the water and
casting shadows. One trip in his mother's lobster boat to Muskeget
Island off Chappaquiddick made a particular impression on him.
"The shelves on the bottom there are huge because the tides are so
powerful," he says. Mr. Jewett, who teaches at St. Paul Academy, spent
the last year at his West Chop home while on sabbatical. In transition
from his career teaching art, he hopes to retire to the Vineyard in the
next few years.
His work as an artist is also in transition. While he continues to make
pottery and ceramics, he has become increasingly interested in wood
sculpture as an expressive outlet.
"When I build my studio here, I'm really going to have to decide," he
says. Making one workshop for the two art forms would not be easy.
While Mr. Jewett's work is new to the Louisa Gould Gallery, that of
Gray Park is not. Mr. Park exhibited there last year with his father,
Howard Park, when the gallery was located on the water across from the
Black Dog Tavern.
Ms. Gould met the Parks through mutual friends and challenged the two
artists to come to the Vineyard and paint. The results, in the case of
the younger Park who spent a week painting on-Island in July, are on
display. Many of his seven landscapes are large, horizontal rectangles
that capture the feel of the long, flat Vineyard.
"State Beach" depicts an unsettled sky full of kite-shaped clouds and a
rich meld of Sound colors - olive, aqua, lapis, and royal blues. Mr.
Park uses birds to cohere the composition of "Menemsha." They appear as
minimalist specks sailing over blue water, sand, a bluff, the hills and
Three Park paintings are set at Sengekontacket Pond. "Sengekontacket
Birds" powerfully depicts the water, salt marshes, and sky with its
titular birds barely visible like black and white punctuation marks on
the island in the pond where they roost and fly. "Sengekontacket Pond"
dates from a 2006 excursion to the Vineyard, and "Sengekontacket Cove"
uses a darker palette of green foliage, water, and salt marsh with a
small sailboat in the background.
Newly located on Main Street and refurbished after water damage from a
fire in the building, the Louisa Gould Gallery is positioned to become
a major force in the Island's art scene. The gallery was located for
three and half years on Beach Street Extension at the harbor in a space
that barely could accommodate Ms. Gould's own accomplished photography,
let alone the other artists she represented.
Now she has room for 25 artists in a broad range of media - oil,
pastel, watercolor, photography, furniture, glass, ceramics, wood
collage, nautical architectural drawings, jewelry, glass art, 3-D
renderings and works on paper. Three benches, made by a woodworker at
Gannon and Benjamin Boatyard, have been strategically positioned in the
long, deep gallery. Ms. Gould says people like to sit down on them and
look at the art.
"So far, people really like the diversity," she adds. The Louisa Gould
Gallery is open 10 am to 5 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 10 am to 10
pm Friday and Saturday.
Martha's Vineyard Times
July 26, 2007