The Francine Kelly Gallery at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs is mounting a pair of guest-curated contemporary art exhibitions this summer, including a deeply absorbing group show that closes Saturday, July 30.
The A Gallery Pop-Up is a rare chance to explore — and potentially own — multiple works by more than a dozen different artists curated by Tanya Augoustinos, whose former Vineyard Haven gallery was a showcase for Islanders such as painters Rez Williams, Billy Hoff and Alejandro Carreño.
“I have worked with most of these artists for the last 10 years,” said Ms. Augoustinos, speaking with the Gazette in the Kelly Gallery lobby as visitors strolled through the striking collection of paintings, photographs, prints, ceramics and textile work by 15 artists with Vineyard connections and two from the curator’s native South Africa.
Mr. Williams’s large, light-filled canvases of views in Ireland and Maine are among the stand-outs in a show that also includes photographer Libby Ellis’s black-and-white flower portraits, so large and detailed that a viewer could imagine creeping into their petals like a bee.
Ms. Augoustinos is also showing several woodcuts by Ruth Kirchmeier and fantastical paintings by the late Richard Lee, as well as multiple works by emerging impressionist Whitney Cleary, a former night baker whose oils subtly capture Island landscapes on the cusp of dark and day or just as the sun starts to break through a clouded sky.
Antic, expressionist oils by Mr. Hoff and Mikey Rothman, serene color-block abstracts by Leslie Baker and hand-sculpted, etched stoneware whales and vases by Abbey Kuhe are also on display, along with Mr. Carreño’s allegorical, Afrocentric paintings, playful conceptual works by Richard Erickson and a towering diptych in stitched and printed linen by Jennifer Joanou titled Child Within.
After Saturday, the A Gallery Pop-Up makes way for another eclectic exhibition, Imagine: Celebrating Black Female Creativity, opening August 7.
The show is curated by seasonal Island resident Adrienne L. Childs, a curator with the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. and an associate at Harvard’s W.E.B. DuBois Research Institute, who earlier this year won a $50,000 prize from the High Museum in Atlanta for her work in African-American art and art history.
“We are very excited about the upcoming exhibition,” Featherstone executive director Ann Smith told the Gazette by phone, promising a “spectacular” collection of work by Black women from the Vineyard and the national art scene.
Artists from both the 20th and 21st century will be represented, including noted Washington painters Hilda Rue Wilkinson Brown (1894-1981) and Delilah Williams Pierce (1904-1992), along with contemporary Island painter Janice Frame and textile artist Martha Mae Jones, a seasonal resident of Vineyard Haven.
Ms. Childs also will give curator’s talks at the gallery on Wednesdays, August 10 and 24, both at 4 p.m., Ms. Smith said.
After Imagine closes Sept. 5, Ms. Smith said, the gallery is planning a retrospective of painter and former Oak Bluffs gallery owner William Blakesley, who died at 91 in 2012.
Curated by Mr. Blakesley’s daughter Barbara Blakesley, the show will include many scenes of Island life including views of the Camp Ground, Ms. Smith said.
In addition to its year-round gallery shows and art classes, Featherstone — a former horse farm off Barnes Road — keeps a lively summer schedule of poetry readings, live concerts and outdoor movies on the lawn, with Monty Python and the Holy Grail playing August 3 and La La Land August 10, both Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m.
Rollicking Island blues-rock band Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish play Fridays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in July and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in August.
The Musical Mondays series resumes August 8 with Mike Benjamin, followed by Entrain on August 15, Joanna Cassidy on August 22 and the Dukes of Circuit Avenue on August 29, all from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Former U.S. poet laureate and biennial Featherstone guest Billy Collins returns to the Francine Kelly Gallery on Thursday, Sept. 8 for a 6:30 p.m. reading, followed Friday, Sept. 9 by a poetry workshop.
The West Tisbury-based Cleaveland House Poets will be reading on Sunday, July 31 as a run-up to Mr. Collins’s appearance, Ms. Smith said.
Other summer workshops in the Featherstone writing program include Writing the Self through Others: The Ethics of First-Person Narrative with Emily Bernard on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 2 and 3.
Featherstone is open daily from noon to 4 p.m. More information is posted at featherstoneart.org.
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