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ON THIS PAGE YOU WILL FIND ALL THE LATEST ANNOUNCEMENT, NEWS, ARTICLES AND REVIEWS RELATING TO WATSON MACRAE GALLERY AND ITS ARTISTS, EXHIBITS AND EVENTS.

 

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‘Feminine Magic and Mystery’ opens at Watson MacRae on February 6 (01-21-18)

Feminine Magic and Mystery is an exciting and different exhibit that combines paintings, sculpture and mixed media works that honor the feminine. It opens at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery on Tuesday, February 6 with a 5:00-7:00 p.m. artists’ reception.

The exhibit features the work of five highly accomplished and national recognized female artists who create a diverse and exciting visual narrative of the feminine mystique:

  • Cathy Hegman (Holly Bluff, Mississippi Delta) returns to the gallery with her woman of mystery. Set in surreal atmospheric spaces, Hegman’s paintings tell tales of female accomplishments beyond the realm of the possible.
  • New Orleans-based Cathy Rose’s sculptures continue to evolve as they become more textured and complex. Her figures, often androgynous, combine delicate porcelain features with sturdy rustic bodies that perform dangerous or unlikely feats with courage and grace.
  • Fran Gardner (Heath Springs, South Carolina) makes powerful statements about ancient female wisdom (often called magic) in her mixed media paintings. Symbols, signs and charms float throughout her work to conjure the energy of empowerment.
  • Kirsten Stingle’s (Atlanta) new work shows influences from her summer residency in Italy. Darker tones, more realistic features, more gravitas make these pieces a powerful statement about beauty.
  • Rimi Yang’s (San Francisco) narrative paintings combine East and West, abstract and figurative, realistic and folk, home and adventure all reflecting her view of the complexity of being female.

“This will be an exciting and different exhibit,” promises gallery owner and director Maureen Watson. “ Please join us on Tuesday, February 6th from 5:00-7:00 p.m. for the opening reception. Artist Fran Gardner will attend. We look forward to seeing you at the opening party.”

Watson MacRae Gallery is located in Suite B3 at 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957. For more information, please visit http:www.watsonmacraegallery.com or telephone 239-472-3386.

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Watson MacRae announces Season 10 exhibition schedule (11-07-17)

WatMac Nov 05Sanibel Island’s Watson MacRae has announced its 2017-2018 exhibition schedule, so save the following dates:

10th Anniversary Exhibit: A Decade in the Making: Opening reception is November 14; exhibition runs through December 8; show contains a wonderful survey of new work from 30+ artists who have shown over the past 10 seasons.

Watson Craft 06The Fine Art of Contemporary Crafts VI: Opening reception is on December 12; exhibition runs through January 5, 2018; exhibition features a varied collection of ceramics and glass from returning gallery favorites along with two exciting new artists (an awarding-winning master woodcarver (birds) and emerging ceramist).

Hollis Jeffcoat & Darby Bannard: Tale of Two Painters: Opening reception is January 9, 2018; exhibition Hollis Jeffcoat 002runs through February 2, Hollis Jeffcoat and Darby Bannard first exhibited together at the gallery in 2011. In this new exhibit, Jeffcoat’s recent paintings represent a new direction – Narrative Abstraction – while Bannard’s were just discovered in his studio after his recent passing.

Feminine Magic & Mystery: Opening reception is February 6, with the show running through March 2, 2018. Honoring the Feminine in this month dedicated to Women’s History, the exhibit features female artists Inside the New Gallery 02who do the same in their work. Sculptors Cathy Rose, Kirsten Stingle and painters Rimi Yang, Cathy Hegman and Fran Gardner are featured in this truly magical exhibit.

Beauty Heals: The Power of Nature in Paint: Opening reception is March 6; show ends March 30, 2018. Throughout art history, the subject of beauty has been both revered and destained. Recently, research has shown that beauty heals, ergo … Maureen 01 (2)beautiful art must heal. This exhibit of four masterful painters of the beauty of nature supports this premise. This show introduces Stanley Bielen, Kathleen Speranza, Paula Heisen and Carin Wagner.

Summer Salon ’18: Opening reception is April 3, 2018, with the show running all the way through the end of July. At the end of each show season, Watson MacRae presents a survey of all the artists that exhibited during the season. It is an eclectic and exciting exhibit of all things art.

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Watson MacRae ‘A Decade in the Making’ opens November 14 (11-07-17)

Exterior 03Watson MacRae Gallery survived Hurricane Irma with nary a scratch. But that was just the latest hurdle the Sanibel mainstay has had to overcome. There was the Great Recession, the freeze of 2010, the toxic sludge from the Gulf Oil Spill, the brown tide from Lake O and all the associated red tides as well. But as restaurants and other island businesses came and went, Watson MacRae endured. WatMac Nov 05And it kicks off its tenth season on Senibel on Tuesday, November 14, with The 10th Anniversary Exhibit: A Decade in the Making.

More than 30 artists from the prior nine seasons will be exhibiting their latest pieces in this celebratory show. It will be interesting to see how their work has evolved since you last them. Among the 3D artists taking part in the show are Debra Fitts, WatMac Nov 02Sheena Cameron, Cathy Rose, Amy Gross, Rick Araluce and Jane Jaskevich. Glass artists Marlene Rose, Cia, Patty Roberts, Elodie Holmes, Ann Hollingsworth, Jannine Cabossel and Carol Milne will have work in the exhibition, as will ceramic artists Cassie Butcher, Anja Bartels, Vicki Grant, Mark Knott, Taylor Robenalt, Lucy Dierks, Wendy Olson and Betsy Williams. And the tw0-dimensional artists participating in A Decade in the Making include Susan Mastrangelo, Paula Heisen, Michael Goodwin, David Fratkin, Darby Bannard, Maia T, Deborah Martin, Greg Biolchini, Dan Welden, Ro Lohan, Kevin Wixted, Andy Farkas, Jane Rosen, Sherry Rohl, Nicolas Carone, Sondra Dorn, Fran Gardner and Mark Messersmith.

WatMac Nov 03You will find many of these artists profiled in the articles that follow this post.

Over the summer, Watson MacRae was invited and joined Artsy, the premier online resource for art enthusiasts to learn about and purchase artwork from leading galleries around the world. The gallery started with five select artists – Darby Bannard, Hollis Jeffcoat, Kirsten Stingle, Dan WatMac Nov 04Welden and Sheryl Zacharia, but owner and director Maureen Watson expects the collection to grow.

“I invite you to follow the gallery or your favorite gallery artist on Artsy,” writes Maureen in the gallery’s online newsletter. “We anticipate updating twice a month to keep it fun, fresh and interesting. I hope you enjoy this well-done site and share your Jeffcoat and Martin 03love of our unique art collection with friends and family across the globe. Have a look!”

Watson MacRae Gallery is located in Suite B3 at 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957. For more information, please visit http:www.watsonmacraegallery.com or telephone 239-472-3386.

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Fiber artist Amy Gross’ delicate sculptures give illusion of arresting time (02-28-17)

Amy Gross 03On view in Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is an exhibition of work by eight artists who individually and in the aggregate express an aviary theme. One of the participants is Delray Beach fiber artist Amy Gross.

Gross creates delicate fiber sculptures teeming with birds, beads and embroidery. To create her ants-eye-view environs, Amy employs a coterie of photography, textiles, stitchery and paint. But the results are well worth the time, labor and effort. Gross has won many awards for her work, and Watson MacRae Gallery Brecognition continues to grow. She has exhibited at the Cornell Museum of Art, The Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Craft and Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles, the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin, the Rockland Center for the Arts, Kenise Barnes Fine Art and the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Amy has been featured in Fiber Arts Magazine, Visual Overtures, American Craft Magazine, HESA Imprint, The Washington Post, and on KnightArts.com. She was featured in an article in the Spring 2016 issue of Fiber Art Now Magazine, and was the issue’s cover artist. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Amy Gross 06Amy started out as a two-dimensional artist, studying painting at the prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York, where she received a BFA in fine art and graphic design. She then traveled to Maine for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Summer Residency Program. Returning to New York, she founded Color Box Studio, Inc. and Amy Designs, Inc, companies specializing in children’s Amy Gross 010products and textile design respectively. But it wasn’t until she relocated to Florida in 1999 that she began to sew.

Amazed by the “hysterical” rate of speed with which plants grow in Florida’s subtropical climate, “it was only through fiber and sewing and embellishing that I felt I could describe the natural world I was witnessing,” Amy relates. “I love the sAmy Gross 012mall and the overlooked … I love the illusion of stopping time, of making a leaf or a mushroom or bird that will last much longer than the eye-blink that nature allows them.”

For Amy, death and disintegration is an integral part of the cycle of life. “My hand-embroidered and beaded fiber sculptures … suggest not only what can be seen, but also what cannot: the early alterations of time, the first sAmy Gross 07uggestions of disintegration. I’ve always been attracted and frightened by things that are on the edge of spoiling, or straining to support an excess of growth. My elements seem to cluster, tangle, cling and multiply. They surpass some of the constrictions that my mind insists upon: my need to control excess, to categorize and label and keep things safe. They adapt to the environment they are placed into, like much of Florida life, and Amy Gross 014become hybrids in their desire to survive and thrive.”

Gross is not into the movement popularized by Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Nevelson of using found objects in her quasi-dioramas. To the contrary, her sculptures are constructed with craft store yarn, beads, wire, paper and fabric transfers made from altered scans and manipulated photographs. “They’re still and silent proxies, fictions frozen in the midst of their suggested transformation,” says Amy, waxing philosophically. “My organisms will not die. The natural world will alter, regardless of any attempts to Inside the New Gallery 02prolong or preserve. I know that my making these objects will not slow or stop the clock, perhaps they only clutter the environment with my very human need to turn thoughts into objects. Stubbornly, I still need to hold things still, insist upon asserting my will, to make up things that tell a story of change, things that capture rushing ideas in a life that races by.”

Warblers figure prominently in many of Amy’s sculptures. She Inside the New Gallery 04confesses to having a love affair with warblers since her earliest days as an artist because of the fact that they go largely unnoticed. “They’re the smallest of the North American birds; you hear them more often than you see them,” Amy explains. “But once you’re aware to their presence, they are everywhere.”

In fact, there are 50 species of New World warblers. And they migrate every year from Watson MacRae Gallery ACanada all the way to South America. “For us to see them, we must stop what we’re doing, place our intentions on pause, quiet our breathing and center our focus,” Amy observes. “We have to force ourselves into the moment. Their gift is that flash of yellow, that glimpse of a particular blue, a few minutes where there is nothing but the dance of a tiny living thing that traveled miles and miles to be at that very Aviary 01spot, in the wavering sun and shadow of that particular place in your life.”

Or you can just purchase one of her warbler-centric constructs. They’re on view and for sale at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery through March 4.

 

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Focus on New Hampshire pastel landscape and avian artist Cindy House (02-27-17)

Cindy House 03Cindy works in pastels. Consisting of pure pigment and just enough binder to enable them to be molded into sticks, soft pastels are perhaps the purest and simplest form of artistic medium. Pastels are considered paintings since color is applied in masses rather than in lines that form the basis of a drawing. If they are properly framed, pastels are permanent and can last indefinitely.

Cindy House 05Cindy’s motifs consist mainly of New England landscapes and coastal scenes. In rendering these motifs, she seeks to achieve two symbiotic goals – depicting the beauty of commonplace elements of the environment while capturing a particular moment in time. As a consequence, composition is a strong motivating factor when Cindy chooses the subject matter she intends to paint.

Cindy’s mom was a natural history teacher and Cindy House 06photographer, and Cindy credits her for inculcating in Cindy a keen and uncanny ability to observe and portray the splendor of the nature. That happened organically. From the time she could walk, Cindy would follow her mom on nature walks into nearby forests, fields and along the shorelines around Mt. Hope Bay, Maine. It was Cindy House 15during these sojourns that Cindy first learned to immerse herself in, appreciate and treasure the natural world.

Like so many other artists, Cindy did not start out intending to establish a career in art. Influenced by her experiences working during high school at a local bird sanctuary, Cindy opted to study wildlife biology at the University of Maine. But fate intervened, Cindy House 13and in her final year of college, she accepted an assignment to design, write and illustrate a small handbook on wildlife for the Boy Scouts of America.

Buoyed by the success of that project, Cindy went on without any formal training or education to illustrate A Guide to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. From there, she illustrated a number of other books, most notably the Cindy House 12National Geographic Society’s Guide to the Birds of North America, Book of North American Birds for the Reader’s Digest Association, and A Field Guide to Warblers in the Peterson Field Guide Series.

In the late 1980s, Cindy became so inspired after seeing an exhibit of William Merritt Chase’s landscape paintings at the National Gallery in Cindy House 11Washington, D.C. that she immediately enrolled in a pastel workshop. The focus of her work gradually changed from bird portraiture and illustrations in watercolor to pastel landscapes. But the common species of birds she encounters during her forays into the natural world remain a point of interest and importance to this day. When out photographing or painting the landscapes, Cindy always takes note of the birds that are present at the time for possible inclusion in the compositions Cindy House 14she will render later on. In a very real sense, it is typically impossible to separate one from the other.

One benefit Cindy hopes to derive from her landscapes, coastal scenes and avian portraits is a greater appreciation among her viewers for the need to protect the environment. With alarming frequency, Cindy is finding it harder and harder to find pristine, untouched locales to photograph and paint. She considers herself a conservationist, which unites her with local legends such as Mina Miller Edison and Jay “Ding” Darling, who advocated for conservation of our natural resources decades before the term entered our lexicon Watson MacRae Gallery Aand zeitgeist.

House has exhibited numerous times at the prestigious Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s ‘Birds in Art’ show. Her work is included in the permanent collection of that museum along with those of Bausch & Lomb Corporation and both the Rhode Island and the Massachusetts Audubon Societies. Cindy is a member of the Society of Animal Artists, the Pastel Society of America and Artists for Conservation.

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‘Aviary: An Installation’ opens at Watson MacRae tonight (02-07-17)

Aviary 01Tonight on Sanibel Island, Aviary: An Installation opens at Watson MacRae Gallery. As the name suggests, the exhibition celebrates birds from warblers to raptors in a variety of mediums from fiber to stone.

This exciting exhibit features work by eight artists from both coasts of the U.S. and Florida. Individually and together, they have immortalized their Aviary 02love of birds in their beautiful and remarkable work.

  • Lucy Dierks’ (Asheville, NC) is known for exquisite porcelain pieces that feature her hallmark hand-sculpting, interesting textures and wonderful glazes. Aviary includes over 20 of Lucy’s pieces. Many have a tropical theme.
  • Delray Beach’s Amy Gross continues to amaze collectors and casual viewers with her intricate fiber worlds of birds and their environs. Since Gross first exhibited at Watson MacRae in 2010, Aviary 03her work has been recognized by inclusion in museum shows and selected for the cover of Fiber Arts magazine.
  • “When I first saw Ann Hollingsworth’s work on line, I was stunned that someone could create birds’ nests out of glass,” remarks Maureen Watson. Intricate and unique, this California artist’s abstract nests involve a painstakingly long process of creation as do actual nests.
  • Aviary 04Jane Jaskewich (Atlanta, Georgia) returns to the gallery with her new stone sculptures of birds that accentuate both the grace of the bird and the beauty of the stone.
  • Naples’ own Deborah Martin creates intricate drawings of intimate moments in the life of her subjects. Her use of the once archaic medium of encaustics gives her work a softness that is Aviary 05juxtaposed with the crisp clear line of her drawings.
  • Mark Messersmith is a Professor of Painting at FSU in Tallahassee, Florida. Teaming with the wildness and weirdness of our exotic southern landscape, his work explores the spirit and struggle and survival of creatures in their shrinking environment.  For this exhibit, Aviary 06Messersmith has created smaller works of birds in his own distinctive style.
  • Since Hollis Jeffcoat returned to Sanibel, she has been immersed in the nature she loves. Recently, the sight and sound of birds have dominated her imagination and infiltrated her paintings. More than the paintings of her extensive Traveler series where birds were more Aviary 07iconic, these works are quieter, solitary and more personal.
  • Jane Rosen’s (California via NYC) love of wildlife and dedication to raptors permeates her highly acclaimed work of birds of prey in stone, glass and on paper. “Visiting galleries in Chelsea when I first opened mine, I walked into an exhibit on creatures and Rosen’s lone sculpture of a hawk dominated the room with its power and beauty,” reflects Maureen Watson. “I never forgot that moment and have looked at her work Aviary 08from time to time over the years.” A wonderful set of circumstances brings her fabulous prints to Sanibel.

The show opens with a reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m. Amy Gross, Deborah Martin and Hollis Jeffcoat will all be in attendance.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located in unit B3 at 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957.

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Through her ‘Flight Series,’ encaustic artist Deborah Martin explores themes of freedom and fragility of nature (02-07-17)

Deborah Martin101On view in Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is an exhibition of work by eight artists who individually and in the aggregate expressing an aviary theme. One of the participants is Naples’ encaustic artist Deborah Martin who has long portrayed Southwest Florida birds both as commentary regarding the fragility of nature and as an iconic symbol for freedom and flight.

“The fragility of nature is a constant theme,” states Deborah, who often incorporates birds, nests, feathers and similar found objects into her encaustic works. “But in my Flight Series, I’m more interested in birds for their symbolic connotations.” And for this purpose, Martin has conscripted a host of burrowing owls, crows, sparrows and finches.

Deborah Martin Aviary 01Both real and imagined, birds have captivated humans throughout history. They are a familiar part of everyday life, but their ability to sing and fly sets them apart from every other creatures. As a result, birds are the subject of both legend and myth. In many religions, they’ve come to represent the soul. In olden days, empires and dynasties adopted birds as their symbols. In modern times, eagles, hawks, ravens and raptors decorate the helmets and jerseys of both professional and amateur sports teams and franchises.

Deborah Martin Aviary 03Cross-cultural symbolism attaches to a number of species. For example, the dove is typically equated with peace both in Western and Oriental cultures, while the peacock is understood to signify vanity and pride. But Martin gravitates toward big burrowing owls and owls in flight. It’s an intriguing choice, since the owl has come to represent both virtue and vice depending on the viewer’s culture and the context provided by the writer or artist.

For example, the owl is generally linked to death and the occult in ancient cultures such as Egypt, China, India and the indigenous peoples of North and Central America. During Rembrandt’s Deborah Martin Aviary 04time, the owl was used to suggest madness, lunacy and the occult. Today, the owl has morphed into a symbol for wisdom, moderation, calm and good judgment. Crows, sparrows and finches have their own lexicon and iconography, as Martin is well aware.

While the artist encourages viewers to bring these and other interpretations to her work, she employs each of her feathered friends for a far more expansive purpose. Birds are the one animal that’s unfettered by gravity. It is free to take flight and explore the skies. Its views are informed by perspective. Its horizons extend in every direction. Where our lives often seem mired in the mundane and convention, their possibilities seem to know no bounds.

Deborah Martin Aviary 02While Deborah is always cognizant of her surroundings, she does not draw on location. “I’m a studio artists,” she points out unapologetically. But that makes sense. She is not trying to render an exact depiction of her subjects. As stated, it’s about their symbolic meaning in her eyes and in those of her viewers. That frees her to work from both memory and the photographs she snaps. But even here, Deborah Martin Aviary 06the birds she draws are likely to be partially-fictionalized composites designed to convey a metaphorical message rather than a true representation of an actual, living being.

In fact, accurate fact-based representation is antithetical to Martin’s creative approach. By combining carefully modelled drawings with her signature encaustic process, Martin is able to cajole an enticing dialogue between sharp and soft, representational and abstract.

“As the encaustic soaks into the paper, it gives the drawing a softness,” Deborah explains. Deborah Martin Aviary 10It’s a juxtaposition of sorts. “The drawing is very precise and detailed but with the wax on top, it gives it more of a loose, abstracted ground. I like that dialogue between something really precise and something really loose and abstract.”

She also likes repetitive mark-making, and this combination of drawing and encaustic monotype enables her to indulge in this Zen-like, meditative process as she creates each work.

If you are not familiar with the term encaustic, don’t stress. Only a handful of artists today use the process, which dates back to 100 Deborah Martin Aviary 11B.C. and the portraiture popular back then in Greco-Roman Egypt. In fact, the word encaustic comes from the Greek work enkaustikos, which means “to heat” or “to burn.” In most cases, it involves mixing pigments and resins into melted beeswax which are then engrafted in layers over drawings, paintings and other materials. Heat is used to bind each new layer of molten wax to the one set down before it, and once the new layer of wax has cooled, unifying marks, textures and symbols can be inscribed on the surface.

Martin works like this in other series, but for the works in her Flight Series, she confines herself to a simple encaustic monotype which has the effect of creating Deborah Martin Aviary 09an immediacy that’s not attainable through conventional painting or sculpture or the layered, encaustic collages she typically creates in studio.

Martin received an MFA from the State University of New York in Albany in 1990. She taught in the art department at Skidmore College and Green Mountain College. She owned and operated a gallery in Saratoga Springs, New York for eight years before relocating to Southwest Florida. Today she owns and operates Gallery 100, which is located in Suite 14 at 5760 Shirley Street in Naples.

Martin’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Lee County Deborah Martin 05Alliance for the Arts (she received a Juror’s Choice award from Baker Museum of Art Director Frank Verpoorten in the 27th Annual All Florida Juried Show), The von Liebig Art Center (where she was awarded Best of Show), Florida Gulf Coast University, Guess-Fisher Gallery, the Art League of Fort Myers, and the annual painting exhibit at Rookery Bay. Her encaustic work has also been selected by The Visual Arts Center of Punta Gorda National Art Exhibition in 2012, the Kolbalt Gallery in Provencetown, Massachusetts, and the 9th Annual Encaustic Exhibition at the Conrad Wilde Gallery in Tuscon, Arizona.

Jeffcoat and Martin 02While Deborah hopes that lots of people see the five paintings, scroll and two art books that she has in Watson MacRae’s Aviary: An Installation exhibition, she is quick to praise the other artists in the show. Martin is like that. She appreciates fine art no matter who makes it. So when you see a piece you like, buy it. It will enrich your life and support someone who’s putting him or herself out there creatively – like the other seven artists in the Watson MacRae Show.

Aviary: An Installation is on view through Saturday, March 4.

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‘Sculpture Different’ opens tonight at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae (01-10-17)

exterior-01Watson MacRae Gallery is known for showing unique and unusual work, and Sculpture Different lives up to its name by featuring artwork using nontraditional materials, distinctive imagery and exceptional techniques. The work of five artists from across the country is brought together to show the diverse materials and styles of some of the amazing sculpture being made today:

  • Kirsten Stingle, ceramic figures
  • window-view-01Annie Wainwright, ceramic abstracts
  • Cathy Rose, mixed media figures
  • Taylor Robenalt, porcelain creatures
  • Rick Araluce, miniature constructions

Watson MacRae Gallery is located in the Village Shops at 2340 Periwinkle Way, #G1, Sanibel, FL 33957. Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. To inquire or purchase artwork, please call Maureen Watson at 239-472-3386 or email Maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Ellison Caribbean paintings included in ‘Sculpture Different’ show (01-10-17)

hollis-small-04Brooklyn-based South African artist Shaun Ellison immersed himself in the Caribbean Islands as a way to get lost physically and spiritually in a new and primal location. A selection of these paintings are included in Watson MacRae Gallery’s January’s exhibit, which “feature powerful harmonies of bold color that instill the works with a distinctive optical vibration.” This month Ellison will be exhibiting concurrently on Sanibel and in Paris!

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Small ‘Gulf’ and Mangrove Isle Jeffcoat paintings included in ‘Sculpture Different’ show (01-10-17)

hollis-small-02In between her series of large paintings, abstract colorist Hollis Jeffcoat creates small paintings that have the same intensity and beauty as her larger work. When Jeffcoat announced she had finished seven paintings depicting the “Gulf” and her beloved Mangrove Islands, Watson MacRae just had to include them in the sculpture show. Sculpture Different opens on tonight with a reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

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‘The Wonderful World of Small’ exerts huge presence at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery (12-18-16)

watson-smalls-1On exhibit at Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel is an intriguing little exhibit. Called The Wonderful World of Small, it features tiny, diminutive, small pieces with enormous presence and appeal, including plates, bowls and cups smaller than five inches in height created by four artists with larger-than-life talent, Betsy Williams of Riconada, New Mexico, Lucy Dierks of Asheville, North Carolina, watson-smalls-2Courtney Martin of Penland, North Carolina and Wendy Olson of River Falls, Wisconsin.

“I fell in love with Betsy William’s work when I was first opening the gallery and visited her studio on my way to Sheena Cameron’s,” recalls Maureen Watson. “I am pleased to finally have her individually hand-painted Tiny Plates in this exhibition.”

watson-smalls-3Lucy Dierks’ collectors know why her pieces fly off the shelves. The texture, color and hand-sculpted little birds create beautifully executed, exquisite small tableware.

Courtney Martin and her crew tend her wood-fired kiln round the clock for two days to ensure her pieces have the sought-after, signature features of this demanding process.

watson-smalls-4Wendy Olson continues to surprise and tickle viewers with her quirky, colorful and very well crafted ceramic pieces. For this exhibit, Olson has added another dimension – she carves into the clay adding texture to the mix.

The Wonderful World of Small will be an on-going exhibit at Watson MacRae Gallery and on-line and will in the future include artwork under ten inches.

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Silk constructions of Maia on view now through January 7 at Watson MacRae Gallery (12-13-16)

misc-xOn view now at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is Fine Art of Contemporary Craft V. One of the artists featured in this show is Georgian artist Maia Tsinamdzgvrishvili. As the name suggests, that’s the Republic of Georgia not the great state of Georgia – a place that was once a stopping point on the Silk Road to China. And appropriately, Maia’s exclusive artwork is crafted entirely of silk, maia-black-and-white-shells-02a material that expresses her unique heritage.

Maia’s media include pure silk fabric, thread and cocoons, which she colors and mounts on silk paper, felt and other material that she produces by hand. Hand-dyed and sliced horizontally, the cocoons resemble the millions of seashells that wash up on Sanibel beaches. Her tapestries (called gobelini in Georgian after the famous French family that founded the first tapestry center in Paris under maia-blue-shells-02the reign of Louis XIV) also include hundreds of silk wrapped “buttons.” Together, the cocoons, buttons and natural silk threads provide the unparalleled depth, dimension and texture that characterizes her nature-inspired contemporary constructions, which she mounts and displays under museum-quality glass.

Georgia’s silk industry thrived until recent maia-composition-green-02decades, and the Silk Museum in Tbilisi is a gem still reflecting the important place this cottage industry once enjoyed in the Republic. Fortunately, there are still families in Georgia who cultivate silkworms, and it is from them that Maian purchases the the fibers and cocoons she uses in her compositions. (Some of this raw material also finds its way into Maia’s intricately-fused silk and wool scarves.)

misc-y“I am inspired by nature and the realities of life and my surroundings,” notes Maia. “The choice of all the interesting and different kinds of methods comes after I have assembled the idea. I combine techniques with each other, but the most important is that there must be synergy. It is the skills and ability to compose a harmony of color and form which brings forth art works of great textural intensity and subtlety.” [This is not a translation. Maia is fluent in English, behind Georgian and Russian.]

maia-composition-red-02But art like Maia’s is more than just the product of technique. Woven into the fabric of every piece is Maia’s love of beauty, tradition and, of course, the materials she uses.

“She is an old soul in an old culture who spins silk into contemporary pieces for us to contemplate and marvel at,” states Maureen Watson of the artist and her work.

Maia lives in the capital of the Republic of Georgia, maia-sea-stones-02Tbilisi, where she teaches and creates art full time. She studied at the Tbilisi Vocational Art College before putting in four additional years of study at Tbilisi State Academy of Fine Arts, Textile Department. A member of the Georgian Textile Group and the Georgian Artists’ Union, she has exhibited her work in international textile exhibitions in Poland, Switzerland, Israel, Russia, China, Belgium, the Netherlands, France and, of course, Georgia.

maia-waves-02Maureen Watson met Maia a few years ago when she exhibited at BIG ARTS on Sanibel. That happy circumstance was occasioned after BIG ARTS council member Deborah Butler saw her work when she visited Maia’s atelier in the old Tbilisi neighborhood of Sololaki in 2011. Noticing the sliced cocoons in her tapestry-like collages, Butler sensed that BIG ARTS patrons would be as drawn watson-craft-05to them as they are to the shells they collect daily from Sanibel’s sandy beaches.

“We are very pleased to be exhibiting Maia’s work at Watson MacRae Gallery,” says Maureen, who admits to being astonished by the detail and workmanship that belies every one of Maia’s intricate compositions. Viewers routinely find themselves leaning in for a closer look when they watson-craft-01encounter a Tsinamdzgvrishvili, not believing at first that they are taking in a woven construction.

The Fine Art of Contemporary Craft V exhibition runs through January 7, 2017. Watson MacRae Gallery is located in The Village Shops, 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, Florida 33957. Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please telephone Maureen Watson at 239-472-3386 or email her at maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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‘Fine Art of Contemporary Craft V’ opens tonight at Watson MacRae (12-06-16)

watson-craft-01Even as people simplify their lives, the world of crafts continues to expand. Rather than more, people are seeking meaningful, heart-felt pieces that add beauty and functionality to their homes. This explains the popularity of Watson MacRae Gallery’s annual Fine Art of Contemporary Crafts exhibition. It opens tonight with a 5-7 p.m. reception and will feature work by six artists who watson-craft-02exemplify this aesthetic. They are:

Sheryl Zacharia (Santa Fe, NM) creates geometric sculptural objects inspired by ancient relics and modern paintings. With a music and painting background, she strives to make visual poetry. Zacharia will attend the reception and be pleased to tell you all about the many ways in which her watson-craft-03move to New Mexico affected it.

Sondra Dorn (Asheville, NC) uses her imagination and mixed media to develop a meditative series of intriguing landscapes. She paints, draws and prints on linen adding stitching for texture and mounts them on birch boxes.

The soda-fired process, vibrant color, and repetitive design of Mark Knott’s (Suwanee, GA) slightly oversized vessels move his work from functional to sculptural. For this exhibit Knott created a variety of 30 beautiful vessels. These will be the last of this work as Knott readies himself for a new direction.

watson-craft-05An internationally-recognized fiber artist from the Republic of Georgia, the wonderful Maia Tsinamdzgvrishvili has sent over her new silk button creations inspired by her love of Sanibel that she hopes you will enjoy.

This is the first year that glass artist Patty Roberts (Marysville, WA) is showing her work in galleries and Watson MacRae is pleased to be one of them. watson-craft-06Her Pate de Vert method and experimentation produces pieces with great color, texture and imagination.

Also new to the gallery is ceramist Kate Maury (St. Paul, MN). Her candlesticks, lidded bowls, serving dishes overflow with porcelain shells, birds and flowers, creating a “visual celebration.”

Watson MacRae Gallery is located in The Village Shops, watson-craft-042340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, Florida 33957. Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. If you have not been to the gallery so far this season, tonight will be a great opportunity to luxuriate in Watson MacRae’s new space. You will now find Watson MacRae in Unit G3 of the Village Shops.

For more information, please telephone Maureen Watson at 239-472-3386 or email her at maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Watson MacRae Gallery donates $1,500 to SCCF (11-28-16)

miss-3Maureen Watson promised to donate 10% of all art sales from the opening week of Watson MacRae Gallery’s Oh Florida! Exhibit, plus proceeds from the sale of Oh Florida! Tee shirts designed by Hollis Jeffcoat for the exhibition to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation in support of its ongoing efforts to protect the islands’ natural beauty. Maureen is pleased to announce that she has written a check to SCCF for $1,500. Tee-shirts are still available.

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Oh Florida’ exhibition opens tonight at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery (11-15-16)

watson-macrae-oh-florida-01Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel Island opens its ninth season tonight with Oh Florida!, an exhibition that features new work by eight artists from around the country and the Sunshine State whose work is inspired by Florida’s natural beauty and wildness.

Lauren Venditto (Atlanta/Sanibel) marries the classic beauty of form with the natural beauty of watson-macrae-oh-florida-02shells to create exquisite sculpture.

Greg Biolchini (Ft. Myers) continues to amaze us with his majestic “Florida Sky” series.  His ability to apply multiple layers of vibrant colors produces paintings with an inner luminescence reminiscent of the Renaissance.

Inspired by the Everglades, returning New York City artist Owen Gray captures the murky maze and the intense nature of Florida’s wild side in his compact abstracted paintings.

Rauschenberg Residency artist Tamara Staples (Brooklyn) had the unique opportunity to work with shells from a Calusa Shell Mound. watson-macrae-oh-florida-03Using the shells and other natural objects, she created and photographed sacred still-lifes that honor the Calusas and the creatures that once were alive on these Islands. [Note: All shells were returned to the exact place where they were found. This process was video documented.]

Linda Hunsaker’s (Santa Fe/Sarasota) work is driven by her wanderlust.  Capturing images and watson-macrae-oh-florida-04feelings of her visits to Florida is the inspiration for her intense multi-layered prints.

Cia Thorne (Santa Fe) pushes herself and the glass to make large and larger shells.  The clarity of color, iridescence, beauty of form and sheer size of her blown glass artwork is a tribute to her ability watson-macrae-oh-florida-05and the shells she loves.

Sadly, Darby Bannard (1934-2016) passed earlier this month.  Some may remember the fascinating talk he gave at the gallery in 2010.  This exhibit will include Bannard’s Florida series of oil stick and mixed medium “pictures,” as he always called paintings.  As Bannard’s NY gallery, Berry Campbell wrote: “He was a great man, an intellectual genius, a generous mentor, and an unstoppable artist. He will be missed watson-macrae-oh-florida-07immeasurably.”

The opening reception takes place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15. Greg Biolchini and Lauren Venditto will be joined by Hollis Jeffcoat at the opening reception along with folks from Macintosh Bookstore. Come celebrate with them and your neighbors and friends who are back – a kick-off to another fabulous season On Island.

Keeping reading for more information and for profiles of the individual artists who are participating in this show.

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‘Oh Florida!’ opening to feature eponymous book (11-15-16)

watson-macrae-cia-09The opening of the Oh Florida! exhibition at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery will also feature a new book titled Oh, Florida! How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country. Maureen Watson stumbled across this unique find a few weeks ago when she stopped into Macintosh Bookstore looking for a book. “Too funny!” recounts Maureen, who just had to have it. “I told them about my exhibit of the same name and  owner, Susie Holly, suggested selling the book at the opening.”

The opening reception takes place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15. Greg Biolchini and Lauren Venditto will be joined by Hollis Jeffcoat at the opening reception along with folks from Macintosh Bookstore. Come celebrate with them and your neighbors and friends who are back – a kick-off to another fabulous season On Island.

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Watson MacRae donating 10% of opening week sales to Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation (11-15-16)

group-photo-01Watson MacRae is donating ten percent (10%) of all opening week art sales to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and, not to be outdone, Susie Holly of Macintosh Bookstore will do likewise from all sales of Oh, Florida! How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country. But it gets even better. A fifth generation Floridian, Hollis Jeffcoat was inspired to create an “Oh, Florida!” tee shirt to be sold at tsccf-01he gallery with proceeds donated to SCCF. So it’s a win-win-win situation. An All Girl, All Art event in support of SCCF.

Founded in 1967, SCCF is dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats and aquatic resources on Sanibel and Captiva and in the surrounding watershed. From its earliest days, SCCF has been known as a land trust with an impressive sccf-05acquisition record. The story of SCCF’s land conservation efforts spans almost five decades on the islands of Sanibel, Captiva, Buck Key, Albright, York, Coconut and the Long Cut preserve on Pine Island.

Today, SCCF is the largest private landowner on Sanibel Island. SCCF manages more than 1,200 acres on Sanibel plus more than 600 additional sccf-04acres on Captiva and other islands. SCCF also facilitated the acquisition and fundraising for an additional 470 acres currently managed by the State of Florida or the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This environmental success story has been made possible by the generous support of conservationist donors and public sector partners, particularly the City of Sanibel and the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

sccf-06About to embark on its 50th year, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation program areas have grown to include Wildlife & Habitat Management, Sea Turtle Research and Monitoring, environmental education, natural resource policy, its marine laboratory and Native Landscapes & Garden Center.

SCCF is a 501(c)(3) organization for federal income tax purposes.

jeffcoat-and-martin-01The opening reception takes place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15. Greg Biolchini and Lauren Venditto will be joined by Hollis Jeffcoat at the opening reception along with folks from Macintosh Bookstore. Come celebrate with them and your neighbors and friends who are back – a kick-off to another fabulous season On Island.

The exhibition opening will be followed by an Artist & Author event at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29.

The exhibition will run through December 4.

The gallery’s second exhibition of the season, The Fine Art of Contemporary Crafts V: Collections, opens December 6. So save the date.

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Watson MacRae’s Hollis Jeffcoat designs ‘Oh Florida’ t-shirt (11-15-16)

Hollis Jeffcoat BAbstract artist Hollis Jeffcoat will venture into the world of fashion tonight when she unveils a t-shirt she’s designed for the opening of tonight’s Oh Florida! exhibition. No, Hollis is not making a career change, but she was so inspired by Watson MacRae’s November show that she made a t-shirt to mark the occasion. Proceeds from its sale will be donated to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation.

A number of Jeffcoat’s works will also be included more-hollis-01in the exhibition. While they span a range of colors, her palette these days gravitates to blues, greens and earth tones.

“In effect, my subject is color making space based on nature,” Jeffcoat has long maintained. “That space is created by the rhythm of colors instead of constructing a series of outward mounting planes.” This may sound somewhat cryptic and enigmatic until you discover that Hollis is chromesthetic.

more-hollis-02“I hear a sound then see a color,” explains the artist. “It’s always been that way for me, and I thought that’s the way it was for everyone else too. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I found out otherwise.”

Chromesthesia is a subset of synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (such as hearing) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a more-hollis-11second cognitive pathway (such as sight). Some studies suggest that as few as 1 in 2,000 and as many as 1 in 23 people experience some form or degree of synesthesia. For chromesthetics like Hollis, everyday sounds like music, dogs barking and people talking trigger the perception of colors (called photisms).

“Because I’m so attuned to nature, I see different shades, hues and intensities of green,” says Hollis. They arise, burst like fireworks across her mental movie screen, and then fade or transform like a kaleidoscope as the sound changes, gets louder or ends. The sounds which stimulate this activity most of Jeffcoat is the lapping more-hollis-14of the waters surrounding her beloved Sanibel Island and the warble of native ospreys.

Until quite recently, Hollis compartmentalized her synesthesia. “I didn’t deal with it and I certainly did not consciously incorporate it into my art. I’m dealing with it now, however, and exploring the consequences of it in this new series of paintings.”

Earlier this year, for example, Jeffcoat collaborated with Peabody, Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Award-winning composer and flutist Kat Epple to create an exhibition titled kat-and-hollis-04The Color of Sound, the Sound of Color. The two did not get together in an art or sound studio with the goal of inspiring each other. Instead, Jeffcoat immersed herself in music from Elemental Circuitry, an album Epple recorded last year with Nathan Dyke and which has been named one of the best Ambient-Chillout-Downtempo albums of 2015. After internalizing the notes and melodies, Jeffcoat produced a handful of abstracts, including Gliding Over Treetops, Journey to journey-to-timbuktu-sTimbuktu I, Journey to Timbuktu II and Expedition, a diptych she had abandoned several months earlier because it was not unfolding as she’d envisioned. “When I listened to Kat’s Expedition, the colors that came, the movement evoked, I knew that the diptych was … about … two people’s life journey. They are separate, but traveling together. To me, an expedition does not mean that there are not trials, ups and downs, but when one looks back over, it is beautiful.”

For centuries, synesthesia has been a source of inspiration for artists, composers, poets, novelists and digital artists. Isaac Newton proposed that musical tones and color hues shared journey-to-timbuktu-ii-scommon frequencies, as did Goethe in Theory of Color. Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky combined four senses – color, hearing, touch and smell – in his paintings and although Mondrian was not synesthetic, he too experimented with image-music consequences in his work. New art movements such as literary symbolism, non-figurative art and visual music have benefitted from experiments with synesthetic perception. Contemporary artists with synesthesia like Carol Steen and photographer Marcia Smilack (who waits until she gets a synesthetic response before snapping her picture) use their synesthesia to create their artwork.

more-hollis-16Jeffcoat does not typically attempt to force a synesthetic response by playing music or a recorded sound. “That’s too regimented,” Hollis notes. “Besides, for me the effect is better when music is live or I hear sounds in nature like birds chirping or singing.” Besides, as an abstract expressionist, it’s the visceral reaction to sound that’s important and it’s best when that reaction arises naturally instead of being artificially prompted. Even for her collaboration with Epple, her paintings evolved from the memory of her experience of the music, filtered through her own emotional state.

Initially a student at the Kansas City Art Institute, Jeffcoat’s more-hollis-09innate talent and abstract sensibility was honed at the New York Studio School, where she studied with some of the great painter/teachers of our time, including Philip Gaston, Andrew Forge, Meyer Shapiro, Jack Tworkov and George McNeil. After that, she apprenticed for three years with Joan Mitchell in France.

“It’s not because I was taught this is how you do it, but rather that is organically what I more-hollis-08gravitate toward. Each painting has its own reality or truth. It’s my job to respect it and make it manifest.”

Jeffcoat has lived, worked and taught in France, Canada, New York City and Southwest Florida. She has enjoyed 20 solo and in excess of 35 group exhibitions in the U.S., Canada and France. Her work can be found today in numerous private and corporate collections, as well as the permanent more-hollis-10collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Morgan Library, The Contemporary Museums of Art in Montreal and Quebec City, and the Pierre Matisse Collection.

Oh Florida! opens tonight at Watson MacRae Gallery. Watson MacRae Gallery is located in The Village Shops, 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, Florida 33957. Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please telephone Maureen Watson at 239-472-3386 or email her at maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Focus on Sante Fe glass artist Cia Thorne (11-14-16)

watson-macrae-cia-02Cia Thorne is one of eight artists participating in Watson MacRae’s Oh Florida! exhibition. Thorne pushes herself and the glass to make large and larger shells. The clarity of color, iridescence, beauty of form and sheer size of her blown glass artwork is a tribute to her ability and the shells she loves.

“Glass has been an inspiration and a challenge for me on many levels,” Thorne relates. “It has been an incredibly personal and public process. For over watson-macrae-cia-03two decades I have pushed myself to explore what I could do with this material.”

Thorne has been blowing glass for almost 25 years. In that time she has continuously challenged her understanding of the properties and possibilities of glass. Her fascination with this medium began at The California College of Arts and Crafts. In 1990, she moved back to New Mexico, where she has been working on her craft at Tesuque Glass Works watson-macrae-cia-04and Liquid Light Glass. Cia has attended Pilchuck, where she studied under renowned glass maestro Pino Signoretto. In 2015, Corning invited her to take a master goblet-making class with Bill Gudenrath. Showing her diverse skill set, she took a sculpting class with Martin Janecky at Urban Glass in 2016. Thorpe regularly collaborates with other artists, including Michael Bergt, Elodie Holmes, Patrick Morrissey and Lucy Lyon.

watson-macrae-cia-05“Many glass artists use their medium to explore light, transparency and motion,” notes Liquid Light Glass’ blog. “Cia Thorne hopes to push these boundaries with a new series focused on the tension between reflection and shadow. By pairing her angular glass shapes with graphite, she states that the work is an attempt to ‘counteract the reflectiveness of the glass…[by] letting the pieces work together, back and forth.’ This interplay watson-macrae-cia-01between light and shadow is broadened by Thorne’s use of the geometric, both in the exterior shapes of the sculpture and the interior shapes that are encapsulated within the glass.”

Clearly Solid marks the third stage in Thorne’s exploration into the abstract. She began by encasing the human form in geometric and architectural blocks, later encasing shapes, spheres, pyramids, or planes of bubbles. Her new work pairs transparent glass shapes with opaque blocks of graphite, encouraging viewers to explore the tension between the two materials.

Early on, the combination of graphite and glass seemed to Cia to be watson-macrae-oh-florida-01opposing materials, but “[t]hey are much more similar than my first assumptions lead me to believe,” she divulges. “Both are similar on a molecular level. They shift from opposing materials to a relationship. The complexity of the relationship let me make a change in my thinking. It opened up new levels of seeing and brought a connection between these abstract forms. Both hold their own in space and have a great companionship.”

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Focus on New York artist Owen Gray (11-13-16)

watson-macrae-gray-01One of the artists with work on display in Watson MacRae Gallery’s Oh Florida! exhibition is Owen Gray, a mid-career New York artist who, perhaps surprisingly, choses as motifs not the frenetic, hard-edged modernity of New York City, but the primordial, natural world of the Florida Everglades and Southwest United States. Among the works you will find in this exhibition, for example, are paintings bearing titles such as Tropical Fauna, Bathing Crocodiles, New Moon and Jungle with Full Moon.

Ranging from shellfish to hot air balloons, his subjects are inspired by his travels to the Southwest and Florida, as well as his watson-macrae-gray-04time drawing specimens from life in zoos, gardens and natural history museums. He directs these objects, animals and figures spiraling through sky and swimming through swamps, creating sensational compositions.

Gray has drawn praise from New Republic art critic Jed Perl for his “deft, fleet, subtly virtuosic brushwork that articulates shape and spirit with confidence and ease.” New York Times critic Ken Johnson has lauded Gray’s bird’s-eye views of tropical swamps, painted “in a Cézannesque palette of muted grays and earth tones” in which “he layers sketchy, calligraphic marks over more generous brushstrokes, creating watson-macrae-gray-02a dense, intricately knit, all-over abstraction that nicely matches a visionary world of reflective waters and plant life — ferns, vines, palms, reeds and lily pads.”

The artist recently celebrated his tenth solo show at Chelsea’s Blue Mountain Gallery. World of Darkness, World of Light, Gray presented two competing worlds – one that looks up into a vast, rich darkness that encompasses fantastical flying creatures lit brightly from below and another in which he emphasizes, in the words of Jed Perl, “a vast sunlit world where the open blue sky is inhabited by a dazzling array of winged creatures twirling and whirling every which way or down into the an aquatic netherworld where birds, insects, watson-macrae-gray-03musical instruments and overturned boats inhabit a lush mysterious environment of dense vegetation.”

The exaggerated lighting, compositional intricacies and baroque dynamism on display in his fantastical compositions are influenced by old masters such as Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, Francisco Goya, Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel.

Born and raised in Wayland, MA, Owen Gray moved to watson-macrae-gray-05New York in 1975 to study with Nicholas Carone and Leland Bell at The Studio School. His work can be found in National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., Chemical Bank and MICA Corporation in Connecticut, the NYC Cultural Affairs Building in New York, and numerous private collections. He currently splits his time between his home in Tribeca, New York City and his studio in Hoboken, New Jersey.

The opening reception takes place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15. Greg Biolchini and Lauren watson-macrae-oh-florida-01Venditto will be joined by Hollis Jeffcoat at the opening reception along with folks from Macintosh Bookstore. Come celebrate with them and your neighbors and friends who are back – a kick-off to another fabulous season On Island.

The exhibition opening will be followed by an Artist & Author event at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29. The exhibition will run through December 4. The gallery’s second exhibition of the season, The Fine Art of Contemporary Crafts V: Collections, opens December 6. So save the date.

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Printmaker Linda Hunsaker does encore show at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery (11-13-16)

linda-hunsaker-01One of the artists with work on display in Watson MacRae Gallery’s Oh Florida! exhibition is printmaker Linda Hunsaker.

Maureen Watson met Hunsaker in Sante Fe, where Watson spent her summer vacation opening and operating a pop-up gallery in the artsy New Mexico town two summers ago. But Hunsaker has long enjoyed ties to Florida. Not only does she winter and maintain a studio in Longboat Key, she is a graduate of the Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota.

linda-hunsaker-03“I don’t like cold weather, and Sante Fe gets pretty cold in the winter,” she explained at the opening of Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces From Sante Fe with Love earlier this year (on January 5) at Watson MacRae. Informed that Taos and Sante Fe were getting hit with heavy snow and a huge blast of arctic air, she added with a chuckle, “When the mercury dips into the single digits, I put my cat in the car and I get out of there.”

Although she went on to attend City College of San Francisco and study printmaking at Sonoma State University in California, she has never forgotten that good art starts with basic drawing.

linda-hunsaker-02“Drawing is the basis of all my work. I draw every day,” Linda asserts. “While watching Werner Herzog’s movie, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, I was reminded that human beings have been drawing for 40,000 years or so. I see no reason to stop now. Printmaking evolves from the drawing. There is a sense of mystery and magic in the process of printmaking that fascinates me.”

There’s a synergistic aspect to printmaking that really appeals to Hunsaker. “Once I was introduced to printmaking, I just knew that was it for me,” say Hunsaker reflecting back on her time at Sonoma State. But she still makes time to draw each linda-hunsaker-09day, and when she’s in Sante Fe, she often frequents a popular coffee house where she draws the patrons and their pets like a Western version of French impressionist Toulouse Lautrec.

Linda’s multi-layered prints capture images of places she visits. She’s driven by wanderlust, so she has a continual source of fresh, new material. Although she has lived in Sante Fe for the past decade, she previously spent time in Texas, New York, California and many places in between. But travel is not the only activity that provides motifs for Hunsaker’s prints.

linda-hunsaker-04“I’m also inspired by nature, animals and by movies,” Linda expounds. “I grew up in Houston, and back then there was no art, so movies were my artistic outlet. Movies were all there was and I’m still inspired by movies.” And because of that inspiration, Hunsaker recently took a road trip to Monument Valley with photographer and fellow Sante Fe resident Teresa Neptune. “The Searchers is one of my favorite films all time.” If you’re not familiar, it was one of ten films shot by legendary linda-hunsaker-10director John Ford in Monument Valley and the only Western he made during the 1950s. (Other Ford Monument Valley films include Stagecoach (which introduced John Wayne) My Darling Clementine (starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (starring John Wayne),  and How the West Was Won (in which the Monument Valley scene was not, ironically, shot under Ford’s direction although he was one of three directors who worked on the picture). The Searchers was named the greatest western of all time by the American Film Institute in watson-macrae-oh-florida-012008.

In addition to the Oh Florida! show at Watson MacRae Gallery, Hunsaker has work in the collections of the State of New Mexico, Sarasota County, and the Historic Sante Fe Foundation. She has enjoyed five solo shows and exhibited in more than 50 group exhibitions across the United States. She is a member of the Boston Printmakers, Los Angeles Printmakers Society and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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Artist Greg Biolchini dedicated to capturing the skies off Sanibel for the next 20 years (11-12-16)

Greg Biolchini Florida Sky #34Opening Tuesday with a 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. artists’ reception at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is Oh Florida! The exhibition features work by eight artists, Lauren Venditto, Owen Gray, Cia Thorne, Tamara Staples, Linda Hunsaker, Hollis Jeffcoat, Greg Biolchini and the late Darby Bannard.

Born near Chicago in 1948, Biolchini’s weekend trips to the Chicago Art Institute ignited his creative fires at an early age. Although he believed the great masters like John Singer Sargent were beyond his reach, he nevertheless strove to develop his talent and propensity for painting, drawing inspiration after his family relocated to Southwest Florida from the natural world all Greg Biolchini 04around him. He apprenticed with portrait painter David Phillip Wilson, and took courses at the Ringling School of Art, and through a combination of dogged determination and perseverance, he became a nationally-celebrated artist and Master Pastelist.

Since 1975, Biolchini has shown in more than thirty solo exhibitions and has been included in countless group exhibitions across the county. His numerous awards and honors include the Greg Biolchini 10Grumbacher Gold Medalian, a 2001 Best of Show in the Annual Wildlife Competition and inclusion in three Arts for the Parks nationwide touring exhibitions in 2001, 2002, and 2004. In 2006, he was named Visual Artist of the Year by the Alliance’s Angels for the Arts.

Greg has also been featured in books such as The Art of Pastel Portraiture and The Best of Pastel, Biolchini Sky Paintingand local magazines including Gulfshore Life, Aesthetix Magazine, Times of the Islands, Happenings Magazine, The Island Sun, The River Weekly News, Breeze Newspaper, Artspeak, Fort Myers Magazine and Lee Living Magazine.

For the last few years, Greg Biolchini has dedicated each morning and evening to studying and photographing Southwest Florida skies.  Greg then ensconces himself in his studio, where he paints the towering cumulous cloud formations found dotting the Southwest Florida sky. “While I use the photographs as memory joggers, my paintings actually reflect what I see during these dawn and twilight study sessions,” explained Greg at the Watson Greg Biolchini 02MacRae reception. “The light is so dramatic at this time of the day, but it changes too quickly to paint on location.”

So far, Biolchini has completed more than three dozen paintings in his luminous Florida Sky series. Each is realistic in style with graceful painterly gestures that express the emotional impact that the subject has on the artist. “While painting this series, I’ve experienced Greg Biolchini 01 (3)something quite powerful and unexpectedly spiritual,” Greg discloses.

It is this meditative, spiritual state that Biolchini conveys to those who have occasion to view work from the series. . “The paintings have an authenticity to them without being illustrative or sentimental,” observes Maureen Watson. “They are quietly powerful and are overwhelming in their beauty.”

Greg Biolchini 03And they all feature the skies and waters surrounding Sanibel Island. “Sunrise and sunset here is so varied and captivating, there’s simply no reason to go anywhere else,” Greg responds when asked if he’s ever considered  a change of venue. Not even Southwest Florida’s mosquitoes and no-see-ums deter Biolchini from getting up before dawn and making his way back to the beach each evening to continue his studies of the ever-changing local skies.

“I’ve been thinking about these skies for the past Inside the Gallery 0320 years and I want to paint them for the next 20,” Greg warranted during the Summer Salon opening. His collectors and admirers plan to hold him to his word.

You can view and acquire the latest in Biolchini’s Florida Sky series hot off the beach at Watson MacRae Gallery. Located on picturesque Sanibel Island, Watson MacRae Gallery is a fine art and contemporary craft gallery that features 30 to 50 artists from around the country. __________________________________________________________________________

 

‘Oh Florida’ exhibition opens at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery on November 15 (10-26-16)

watson-macrae-oh-florida-01On November 15, Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel Island opens its ninth season with Oh Florida, an exhibition which features new work by eight artists from around the country and the Sunshine State whose work is inspired by Florida’s natural beauty and its wildness.

Lauren Venditto (Atlanta/Sanibel) marries the classic beauty of form with the natural beauty of watson-macrae-oh-florida-02shells to create exquisite sculpture.

Greg Biolchini (Ft. Myers) continues to amaze us with his majestic “Florida Sky” series.  His ability to apply multiple layers of vibrant colors produces paintings with an inner luminescence reminiscent of the Renaissance.

Inspired by the Everglades, returning New York C ity artist Owen Gray captures the murky maze and the intense nature of Florida’s wild side in his compact abstracted paintings.

Rauschenberg Residency artist Tamara Staples (Brooklyn) had the unique opportunity to work with shells from a Calusa Shell Mound. watson-macrae-oh-florida-03Using the shells and other natural objects, she created and photographed sacred still-lifes that honor the Calusas and the creatures that once were alive on these Islands. [Note: All shells were returned to the exact place where they were found. This process was video documented.]

Linda Hunsaker’s (Santa Fe/Sarasota) work is driven by her wanderlust.  Capturing images and watson-macrae-oh-florida-04feelings of her visits to Florida is the inspiration for her intense multi-layered prints.

Cia Thorne (Santa Fe) pushes herself and the glass to make large and larger shells.  The clarity of color, iridescence, beauty of form and sheer size of her blown glass artwork is a tribute to her ability watson-macrae-oh-florida-05and the shells she loves.

Sadly, Darby Bannard (1934-2016) passed earlier this month.  Some may remember the fascinating talk he gave at the gallery in 2010.  This exhibit will include Bannard’s Florida series of oil stick and mixed medium “pictures,” as he always called paintings.  As Bannard’s NY gallery, Berry Campbell wrote: “He was a great man, an intellectual genius, a generous mentor, and an unstoppable artist. He will be missed watson-macrae-oh-florida-06immeasurably.”

The opening will also feature a new book titled Oh, Florida! How America’s Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country. Maureen Watson stumbled across this unique find a few weeks ago when she stopped into Macintosh Bookstore looking for a book. “Too funny!” recounts Maureen, who just had to have it. “I told them about my exhibit of the same name and  owner, Susie Holly, suggested selling the book at the opening.”

Watson MacRae is donating ten percent (10%) of all opening watson-macrae-oh-florida-07night art sales to the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and, not to be outdone, Susie Holly will do likewise from all sales of the book. But it gets even better. A fifth generation Floridian, Hollis Jeffcoat was inspired to create an “Oh, Florida!” tee shirt to be sold at the gallery with proceeds donated to SCCF.So it’s a win-win-win situation. An All Girl, All Art event in support of SCCF.

The opening reception takes place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 15. Greg Biolchini and watson-macrae-oh-florida-08Lauren Venditto will be joined by Hollis Jeffcoat at the opening reception along with folks from Macintosh Bookstore. Come celebrate with them and your neighbors and friends who are back – a kick-off to another fabulous season On Island.

The exhibition opening will be followed by an Artist & Author event at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 29. The exhibition will run through December 4. The gallery’s second exhibition of the season, The Fine Art of Contemporary Crafts V: Collections, opens December 6. So save the date.

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Watson MacRae’s new gallery space upscale, beachy viewing environment for enjoying 2 and 3D artworks (10-20-16)

exterior-06Watson MacRae re-opened October 18 with an eagerly-awaited and well-attended celebratory All Island Open House. The gallery has moved around the corner to the front of the Village Shops on Periwinkle Way. The space possesses good bones and a wonderful history.

The suite was originally leased to Stanley and Livingston, a travel and clothing business started by opening-01the Owens family. I was most recently the home of Bill Wilson’s fine jewelry. “His creativity, caring, dry humor and Tricia’s graciousness linger,” Maureen Watson points out.

The 1,100-square-foot space features rich, stained wood ceilings, broad cedar beams, exposed air-conditioning duct work and blond tongue-in-groove wood Florida pine flooring. “It’s the original flooring from when the plaza was built alcovearound 1987,” notes Maureen. “It was sanded five times to bring back its natural color. I had the contractor [Rick Kennedy] leave it natural with a matte finish.”

Muted grey walls soar to the apex of the vaulted ceiling. Although the gallery itself is roughly rectangular, the space also includes interesting nooks, inviting alcoves and broad windows that window-view-01usher tons of organic light inside. It all works symbiotically to create an upscale, beachy viewing environment in which to enjoy and appreciate the two and three-dimensional artworks the gallery displays during its monthly exhibitions.

If you missed the All Island Open House, you can opening-02experience the new space during regular business hours or wait for the artist receptions associated with the exhibition openings that will take place throughout the season. For planning purposes, Watson MacRae’s Season 9 show schedule follows:

  • November 15, 2016 – “Oh, Florida!”
  • December 6, 2016 – “The Fine Art of Contemporary Craft V: Collections”
  • January 10, 2017 – “Sculpture Different”
  • February 7, 2017 – “Aviary: An Installation”
  • March 7, 2017 – “Works On and Of Paper”
  • jeffcoat-and-martin-01April 4, 2017 – “Summer Salon ‘17”

Exhibits always open on a Tuesday with a 5:00-7:00 p.m. Artist Reception and remain on display throughout the balance of the month.

Watson MacRae Gallery is a fine art and contemporary craft gallery that features 30 to 50 artists from around the country. “I mainly look for people that do things that are very well done. That has soul. That is visually and emotionally engaging, and that can be work in wood or glass,” Maureen explains. “It is like an adventure opening-04finding new artists.” She often relies on networking, consulting artists she already represents for leads and referrals about artists whose work will also fit in. And then there is the Internet. “I find pockets of artists that live in a certain place and look at prestigious art shows in an area. Having identified some artists, we’ll write each other and then I’ll take a road trip. It’s a way of fostering a relationship with an artist, seeing their new work and meeting new artists for a possible fit.”

opening-05Watson makes a point of bringing in artists whose lives are their art. “One of the reasons I started this gallery,” she says, “is because what artists do and the sacrifices they make to give us their beautiful work deserves somebody working for them. And since sales is in my background, that is what I can do.” Not surprisingly, many of Watson MacRae’s artists are represented in museums, “which is a group-photo-01criteria you look for when you look for good artists.” A number have work in other galleries as well.

You will find Watson MacRae in Unit G3 of the Village Shops, which are located at 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957. For more information, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email Maureen at Maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Watson MacRae moving and will re-open at Village Shops of October 18 (09-07-16)

watson-macrae-new-space-01Since July 1st, Sanibel general contractor Rick Kennedy and his crew have been working on creating a new home for Watson MacRae Gallery in the Village Shops. Not only will the gallery’s new space have good bones, it has a wonderful history.

“Most recently, it was the home of goldsmith Bill watson-macrae-new-space-02Wilson’s fine jewelry. His creativity, caring, dry humor and Tricia’s graciousness linger,” reports Maureen Watson. “The first store was Stanley and Livingston, a travel and clothing business started by the Owens family. So, it was familiar space to architect, Joyce Owens whose creative insights to the wonderful design by Ron Kopko have transformed it into a perfect space for showing art. As Joyce said about her mother’s store, ‘… it was a very unique shopping experience. Islanders and tourists loved the place.’ And I will strive to carry on the tradition of both of these beloved Island businesses.”

Watson MacRae re-opens October 18 with a celebratory All Island Open House. The gallery’s new home will be in Unit G3 in the Village Shops, which are located at 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957.

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‘Summer Salon ’15’ opens at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery on April 5 (03-24-16)

SS1The next exhibition opening at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery will be its annual summer salon featuring artwork from all the artists exhibited during the 2015-2016 season. The show is an opportunity to see work viewers may have missed, as well as new work from the gallery’s artists.

Lucy Dierks is back on the island – at least her popular porcelain tableware is. Gallery owner Maureen Watson advises that ten very special pieces with Lucy’s signature birds and colorful glazes have just arrived in the gallery.

SS2Messenger Horses by Sheena Cameron will also be on view during the opening. These enticing ceramic pieces are filled with treasures that Sheena found during her annual trip to the Tucson Gem Show.

Greg Biolchini graces the gallery with recently-completed Flordia Sky paintings while Vicki Grant SS3will supply new colors and new forms in her Windows to Earth series of porcelain sculptures.

“This is always a fun opening with new artwork and a chance to see friends and neighbors before everyone heads for points north,” states Maureen Watson. “It is also a good time to remember F.I.S.H. and begin to empty cabinets of non-perishable food items for F.I.S.H. Please bring them to the opening and help stock the Food Pantry for the summer.

Summer Salon ’16 opens Tuesday, April 5, with a 5-7 p.m. artists’ reception.

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Unique perspective and formal relationships transform Ruth Miller Forge motifs from ordinary to extraordinary (03-20-16)

Ruth Miller Forge 02On view now at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is New York, New York II, an exhibition that provides insight into the state of the art scene in Manhattan. One of the artists whose work has been included in the show is Ruth Miller Forge.

Miller paints in the tradition of Cezanne, with whom she shares a steadfast fascination of the way the eye moves over and across objects and space. Ruth Miller Forge 03Visual distortions and focal shifts are recorded, but they are tempered and given authority by the artist’s knowledge of Western painting tradition.

Like most good Impressionists, Miller paints mostly from observation. She favors motifs that are both familiar and ordinary. But her compositions are far from mundane. She makes her depictions of glassware, pitchers, fruit Ruth Miller Forge 04and vegetables and richly-textured fabric tablecloths extraordinary through the filter of her artistic sensibility. For Ruth, no two cabbages, no two pears, no two pitchers are alike. Each object has its own unique and formal presence, as expressed in the way each form presses against the others that occupy her compositions and shape the space around them. Shadow links to the contour of a pitcher. The pitcher points the way to another Ruth Miller Forge 05passage in the still life. On it goes, and we as viewers travel from familiar to unknown territory.

To convey this reality, Miller employs a visceral touch to companionably combine harmonic color chords, gestural movement, and the innate beauty of the pigments and paints themselves. As one reviewer has observed, the appeal of Forge’s Ruth Miller Forge 06paintings inheres in “… her vivid hues and richly scumbled surfaces.”

Miller’s paintings have a confident modesty about them. They are steeped in the pleasure of domestic settings and well-worn pathways. She repeats her motifs constantly, finding new avenues of painterly exploration which underscore that authenticity is Ruth Miller Forge 07not achieved by novelty. Her work confirms the idea that there is still much to see right in front of us.

Ruth began her formal art education at the University of Missouri, later attending the Art Students League, but is was in the context of the New York art scene of the 1950s that Miller formed her lasting commitment to representational painting. Since 1973, Miller has taught drawing NY 06and painting at the New York Studio School and has participated in exhibitions at the National Academy of Design Museum, the New York Studio School Gallery, the Bowery Gallery, Alexander Hogue Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. She is a member of Zeuxis, and association of still life painters.

NY 01Miller has close yet indirect connection to Sanibel and Captiva. Her husband and noted painter, teacher and writer, Andrew Forge, authored the quintessential book on Robert Rauschenberg and his work.

The other artists in the show are Ro Lohin (see below), Albert Kresch, Mark Heyer (see below), Kevin Wixted (following article) and Lynn Kotula (next article). The show will be on view through March 31. Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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A paradox in paint, Kevin Wixted’s geometric abstracts have pulsating organic feel that captivate viewers (03-14-16)

Kevin Wixted 10On view now at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is New York, New York II, an exhibition of work that provides insight into the current state of the New York art scene. One of the artists represented in the show is geometric abstract artist Kevin Wixted.

Wixted is a teacher, art writer, juror and art advisor, but he still carves out time to paint. At Kevin Wixted 03first, his geometric paintings appear as an array of simple, colorful shapes. But upon closer and keener observation, they take on the form of a recognizable object. And that’s when the magic begins. Shapes cluster, pulsate and re-form, giving Wixted’s paintings an organic life that captivates the viewer. His use of horizon creates a painting that is at the same time flat and dimensional – a paradox in paint.

Wixted’s paintings and drawings have appeared in numerous exhibitions around the globe. His shows have been written about in dozens of art publications and newspapers, including Artforum, Art in America, ArtNews, The New York Times, The Boston Kevin Wixted 04Globe, New York Observer and the Hudson Review. His work can be found in many public collections, including the State Museum of Pennsylvania, Mississippi Museum of Art, Chase Manhattan Bank, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Noruma Securities, Societe Generale and Time Warner.

Among the accolades that Wixted has received are the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, Cite Internationale des Arts/Paris Residency, Alfred University International Fellowship Faculty Grant/Dusseldorf Germany, Josef and Anni Albers Foundation Residency, MacDowell Colony Residency, Patrick Allen Frazier of Kevin Wixted 06Hospitalfield Foundation Residency/Scotland and the Excellence in Teaching Award from Alfred University.

Wixted received his MA and BA in Studio Art from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Kevin is Professor of Drawing and Design at Alfred University. He lives and paints in New York City and the North Fork of Long Island. He spends time each year in the Yucatan Peninsula, where he has Kevin Wixted 08designed and built a home/studio.

The other artists in the show are Ro Lohin (see below), Ruth Miller Forge, Albert Kresch, Mark Heyer (see below) and Lynn Kotula (next article). The show will be on view through March 31. Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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New York artist Lynn Kotula crafts still life landscapes using cloth, bowls and a variety of fruits and vegetables (03-10-16)

Lynn Kotula 02On view now at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is New York, New York II, an exhibition of work that provides insight into the current state of the New York art scene. One of the artists represented in the show is Lynn Kotula.

Initially, Kotula chose landscapes as her favored Lynn Kotula 05motifs. During this phase of her aesthetic evolution, she braved the challenges of painting en plein air – the weather, racing the light, remixing and rearranging colors, and spectators. But eventually, the New York winters bested her and she moved her studio indoors. As a still life artist, she now uses cloth, bowls and a variety of vegetables to construct her landscapes. Color next Lynn Kotula 06to color, form next to form, Kotula paints a non-verbal story that is as clear as it is vibrant.

“I want to paint paintings in which each gesture –color or line – has multiple meanings,” says the artist. “The ochre does more than name the ‘pear;’ it has a relationship with a yellow, or red or green. It is color and drawing. I love the transformation of the seen into the language of color and shape. I Lynn Kotula 04want my paintings to tell the non-verbal stories that only painting can tell.”

Kotula’s first inspiration was her dad, Jo, who was an illustrator and the much-loved creator of the covers for Model Airplane News. As a child, Lynn was in the habit of watching him work and had access to a studio full of brushes and paint. From Morristown, New Jersey, Lynn moved to New York Lynn Kotula 03City immediately after graduating from college, where she began her career and studies as an artist. She studied painting with Gabriel Laderman at the Art Students League, with Leland Bell and Gretna Campbell at The New York Studio School, and with Leland Bell and Paul Resika at The Parsons School for Design, where she earned her MFA in Painting.

Lynn still lives in New York, in an apartment she Lynn Kotula 07shares with her husband, Tony Stewart, and their cat, Jack. It’s a spot that’s just a 15 minute walk from her studio, which is a place full of golden light.

The other artists in the show are Ro Lohin (next article), Ruth Miller Forge, Albert Kresch, Mark Heyer (see below) and Kevin Wixted. The show will be on view through March 31. Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Ro Lohin’s abstracts reflect the colors and texture of spring (03-09-16)

Ro Lohin 05On view now at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is New York, New York II, an exhibition of work that provides insight into the current state of the New York art scene. One of the artists represented in the show is Ro Lohin.

Lohin’s work is seasonal. Although she paints year round, the colors and textures of her compositions are heavily influenced by the seasons. For example, her previous series of abstracts reflect the Ro Lohin 03icy colors and frigid feel of winter. By contrast, the paintings on display at Watson MacRae radiate the warmth, hope and rebirth of spring. As one viewer noted, “Lohin conveys the idea that landscape can be used as a metaphor for emotional states.”

Lohin received a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, studied at the New York Studio School, and earned an MFA from Parsons Ro Lohin 02School of Design. She was assistant to the Dean and taught drawing at the New York Studio School and has taught painting at the School of Art and Design at Alfred University, Western Carolina University, and the Chautauqua Institution. She also served as director of the Lohin Geduld Gallery in the Chelsea art district in Manhattan for nine years.

Lohin’s work has been exhibited both nationally Ro Lohin 04and internatioally. She was awarded artist residencies at the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, the Vermont Studio Center and the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris. Lohin paints on site on the North Fork of Long Island and at various locations along Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.

The other artists in the show are Ruth Miller Forge, Albert Kresch, Lynn Kotula, Mark Heyer (see below) and Kevin Wixted. The show will be on view through March 31. Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Brooklyn artist Mark Heyer seeks authenticity in primitive-style paintings (03-05-16)

Heyer 06On view now at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is New York, New York II. The show features work by six acclaimed New York painters who individually and in the aggregate provide a look into the myriad aspects of the current New York Heyer 05art scene.

One of the artists participating in the show is Mark Heyer, whose style of painting can be described as primitive although he is well-schooled and not at all self-taught. Rather, his approach to painting Heyer 07has been influenced by his roots growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch country. In fact, noted painter and printmaker Will Barnet told Heyer at an exhibition of his work, “I like the way you see the world.”

“My paintings are about what interests me and my unique way of seeing the world around me,” expounds Heyer, providing insight into his art. “Like a lot of people, I made pictures when I was Heyer 03a child. Early on, I found a picture could take me somewhere, anywhere I wanted to be. I make paintings that relay my feelings and emotions that are difficult to express in the person-to-person world. As I become older, I find my pictures have Heyer 02different meanings to other people. This is an added bonus for me.”

Heyer enjoys discovering beauty in the odd, the obscure and the ordinary. “The primitive and folk art seem to come through my pictures,” Heyer agrees. “I grew up with this art around me in the Heyer 04Pennsylvania Dutch farmland. I love art that comes from the heart and is felt by something more than just the conscious mind. I continue to do my own work striving for this always. If an oil painting is done well, it will only get better with time. That is the magic of oil paint.”

Mark paints both from real life and from Crowd Shot 3photographs that portray a moment in time. Getting to the essence of his subject or motif is always his overarching goal. In this regard, a quote he took from a lesson with David Smith has become his mantra. “The master painter can paint a leaf and make one feel the forest,” said Smith. Heyer believes this expresses the complexity of well-done primitive art.

Heyer attend Swain School of Design in Bedford, Crowd Shot 2Massachusetts and receive an MFA from Parsons School of Design. He has exhibited his work in galleries around the country and has enjoyed solo exhibitions at O.K. Harris and Lohin Geduld in New York City. Mark currently lives and paints in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York.

The other artists in the show are Ro Lohin, Ruth Miller Forge, Albert Kresch, Lynn Kotula and Kevin Wixted. The show will be on view through March 31.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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‘New York, New York II’ returns to Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery on March 1 (02-23-16)

NY 01The greatly anticipated exhibit, “New York, New York II, returns to Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery on March 1. The show features work by six acclaimed New York painters who individually and in the aggregate provide a look into the myriad aspects of the current New York art scene.

Participating in the exhibition are –

  • Ro Lohin, who has returned to painting (her first love) after nine years as the co-owner and director of the Lohin Geduld Gallery in Chelsea. Lohin captures the everyday-ness of life around her, layering bits of color until images of her subject beautifully emerge. Ro is co-curator of the show.
  • NY 03Ruth Miller Forge, who taught painting and drawing at New York Studio School from 1973 until just recently. Miller paints what she taught: forms are significant, colors contain an inner light and construction is essential. The appeal of her paintings, as expressed by one reviewer  “…  is her vivid hues and richly scumbled surfaces.”
  • Mark Heyer, who refers to his style as NY 04primitive. Painting scenes from by-gone eras or New York skylines, Heyer’s paintings have a sincerity that touch us and stir our memories.
  • Albert Kresch, who is a New York School painter best known for landscape and still life compositions painted with evocatively rhythmic NY 05forms and vibrant colors. As he says about his work, “Although I had studied with Hans Hoffman for 2 years, I am not particularly interested in his famous ‘Push & Pull.’  On the other hand, my aim is to hurl the viewer off the surface.”
  • Lynn Kotula, who uses vegetables, cloth and bowls to construct landscapes in her still life paintings. Color next to color, form next to form, NY 06Kotula paints a non-verbal story that is clear and vibrant.
  • Kevin Wixted, whose geometric paintings at first appear as an array of simple colorful shapes.  But with closer and longer observation, they take on the form of a recognizable object and then the magic begins.  Shapes cluster, pulsate and reform giving Wixted’s paintings an NY 07organic aliveness that captivates. Wixted is a Professor of Painting and Drawing at Alfred University.

Watson MacRae has a full schedule of events planned in conjunction with this show.There will be a 5:00-7:00 p.m. opening reception for this exhibition on March 1, with painter Al Kresch in attendance. An original member of the Jane Street Gallery of the 30’s, Kresch will be on hand at 11:00 NY 02a.m. on March 2 to talk about his work and recount stories of the New York art scene and the artists he knew. Co-curator Ro Lohin and Kevin Wixted will guide guests through the exhibit at 4:00 p.m.on Thursday, March 10, giving insights into the work and the artists who created them.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Video of superb Jeffcoat/Epple ‘Gallery Talk’ to be posted on Watson MacRae website (02-22-16)

Hollis and KatPainter Hollis Jeffcoat and flutist/composer Kat Epple gave an Artist Talk in connection with “The Color of Sound; The Sound of Color,” and Watson MacRae Gallery reports that it was an unparalleled success. “These two talents turned the ‘talk’ into an amazing art performance – delighting the SRO crowd of art lovers,” reports Maureen Watson.

“Joined by Kat, both of you (Hollis and Maureen) were superb at the gallery,” said one patron after the event. “I learned so much and felt ‘in the moment’ for an entire hour. Wow! … Thank you Kat Epple Performs 19for creating such a wonderful experience…..right here on Sanibel!”

Watson MacRae will be posting a video of the event on its website by March 1, providing everyone with an insight into the creative process of these two exceptional artists.  This exhibit will remain on view in the gallery until February 29, when it must come down to make room for New York New York II. Please stop by to enjoy the paintings and the music or visit the gallery’s website under Current Exhibit.

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How Kat Epple inspired Hollis Jeffcoat’s new work (02-03-16)

Sound of Color 01The Color of Sound, The Sound of Color opened last night at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery. It is a fascinating exhibition, not only because of the luminosity and quality of the paintings on display, but because of the process used by abstract artist Hollis Jeffcoat in conceiving and rendering her compositions.

Gliding Over Treetops, Journey to Timbuktu I and II, and the alluring diptych Expedition evolved from a collaboration with Peabody, Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Award-winning composer and flutist Kat Epple, whose compositions include an amazing variety of musical styles (from World Music, New Age and Jazz to Metal, Orchestral Film Scores, Native and Ambient music). “We’ve Kat and Hollis 10 Sknown each other for 16 years,” Jeffcoat notes. “I’ve always felt great respect and affinity for Kat and her music, but we’ve never done anything together before.” Although Kat did perform once at the opening of one of Hollis’ solo shows.

But this was not a collaboration in the conventional sense. The artist and the musician did not get together in an art or sound studio to simultaneously paint and play. “It was important for me to connect with the music first,” Jeffcoat Gliding Over Treetopsexplains. “And with one exception, the paintings evolved from the memory of my experience of the music, filtered through my own emotional state.”

To understand what Jeffcoat is saying, it helps to know that she is a chromesthetic.

“I hear a sound then see a color,” Hollis divulged during the opening of last April’s Summer Salon show at Watson MacRae. “It’s always been that Journey to Timbuktu Sway for me,” she said back then, “and I thought that’s the way it was for everyone else too. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I found out otherwise.”

Chromesthesia is a subset of synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (such as hearing) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second cognitive pathway (such as sight). Some studies suggest that as few as 1 in 2,000 and as many as 1 in 23 people experience some form or degree of synesthesia. For chromesthetics like Hollis, everyday sounds like music, dogs barking and people talking trigger the Expedition Left Sperception of colors (called photisms).

“Because I’m so attuned to nature, I see different shades, hues and intensities of green,” says Hollis. They arise, burst like fireworks across her mental movie screen, and then fade or transform like a kaleidoscope as the sound changes, get louder or ends.

For The Color of Sound, The Sound of Color, Jeffcoat immersed herself in music from Elemental Circuitry, an album Epple recorded last year with Nathan Dyke and which has been named one of the best Ambient-Chillout-Downtempo albums of 2015. After internalizing the notes and melodies, Jeffcoat produced Gliding Over Treetops, Timbuktu I and Expedition.

Expedition Right SIt was a satisfying experience, to be sure, but even more so with respect to Expedition. “I had been working on this painting many months with the idea of two people dancing – a form of duet,” Hollis explains in a note that accompanies the diptych. “I eventually had to abandon it as it was not unfolding as I had envisioned. When I listened to Kat’s Expedition, the colors that came, the movement evoked, I knew that the diptych was not about a dance duet but two people’s life journey. They are separate, but traveling together. To me, an expedition does not mean that there are not trials, ups and downs, but when one looks back over, it is beautiful.”

Journey to Timbuktu II SHollis did deviate from her usual process in connection with one painting, Journey to Timbuktu II. “For the others, I would listen, see the colors, feel the music, then paint. Here, I actually listened and went straight to the canvas – a more direct translation of the music. I felt I was on a razor’s edge. It was the difference between pure improvisational jazz musician and jazz when you have the sheet music but riff when you are moved to.”

Jeffcoat enjoyed the process so much that she is considering actually painting while Kat plays live at some point in the future. But that remains to be seen.

Coquina ISOne other painting in The Color of Sound, Sound of Color show bears mentioning. However, it was not inspired by Kat Epple’s music. That painting is titled Coquina I. Hollis completed this work in 2013. “At the time, I was painting representational works of the lake I live on, getting more in touch with the environment. And that’s when I heard chanting.” Remember, for a chromesthetic, sights and sounds stimulate other sensory pathways.

Stababa 02“It was a group chanting, and I came to the conclusion that they were Calusa.” For those who may not be familiar with Florida’s distant history, the Calusa nation reigned supreme in southern Florida from 1000 to roughly 1700 A.D.. While the capital of the Calusa empire was located on the circular island of Mound Key in Estero Bay, the Calusa maintained important settlements on Hollis at Sound of Color 04Estero Island, Pine Island and, of course, Sanibel Island.

“The chanting translated into color, which is how Coquina I came into being.”

And in the spirit of collaboration, Kat Epple has composed a song based on the painting.

While it is not necessary for viewers to hear the Kat Epple Performs 13music in order to appreciate the hues, colors, values and forms in Jeffcoat’s compositions, it certainly enhances their appreciation and enjoyment of her work to learn about how they were made. But the important thing is to see and experience the works for yourself.

And the music that inspired the paintings is also Crowd Shot 02available at Watson MacRae, so it’s a win-win for everyone who goes.

The Color of Sound, The Sound of Color will remain on display at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery through the end of February. Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Jeffcoat and Epple collaborate on exhibition at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery (01-22-16)

Sound of Color 01Watson MacRae on Sanibel is hosting an unusual exhibit in February. “The Color of Sound; The Sound of Color” pairs painter Hollis Jeffcoat with musician/composer Kat Epple. The show opens February 2 and continues through February 29.

Admiration and respect for each other’s work is what brings Jeffcoat and Epple together for February’s exhibit, but it is color that unites their collaboration. And the individual work created by each artist is what makes this exhibit so unusual.

In this co-inspired exhibition, Hollis Jeffcoat embraces her synesthesia and paints Kat Epple’s music. For Jeffcoat each note Hollis Jeffcoat 001and chord evokes a specific color creating a composition as she listens, which she later applies to canvas. Epple who often sees color as she plays, translates Jeffcoat’s paintings into musical compositions.

Hollis Jeffcoat has works in many prominent collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, and the Pierre Matisse Collection. She began her extensive career by Sound of Color 02studying at the New York Studio School with some of the great painter/teachers of the time. She has lived, painted and exhibited professionally in Paris, Montreal and NYC.  It was in France when she was 24 and living with her mentor and life-long friend, Abstract Expressionist Joan Mitchell, that Jeffcoat learned not everyone had synesthesia as she and Mitchell did. Synesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which Hollis Jeffcoat Ethe stimulation of one sense leads to the automatic, involuntary experience of another sense. For Jeffcoat, sounds, numbers, letters, smells and many other things are seen as colors. It was not until 2014 however, that Jeffcoat consciously employed this gift to create her first sound-inspired painting, Sound of the Osprey

Kat Epple is a Peabody, Edward R. Murrow and Kat Epple and Sonic Combine 01Emmy Award-winning composer and flutist who has released 30 albums worldwide. Her compositions include an amazing variety of musical styles, from World Music, New Age and Jazz to Metal, Orchestral Film Scores, Native and Ambient music. She has produced film scores for National Geographic, Nova, CNN and Carl Sagan, as well as many other renowned television soundtracks. Epple performed live music with the Kat Epple 05Merce Cunningham Dance Company, and for the art openings of legendary visual artist Robert Rauschenberg, who was a close personal friend. For this exhibit, Epple applies the breadth and depth of her talent to Hollis Jeffcoat’s paintings – turning them into beautiful musical compositions.

The opening reception for this show is from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2. There will be an Artists’ Talk at 4 p.m. on Thursday, February 11. 

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‘Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces’ continues at Watson MacRae through end of January (01-22-16)

Watson Sacred Places 01Watson MacRae Gallery’s current exhibition is Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces: From Sante Fe With Love. Featuring work by six Sante Fe artists that Maureen Watson met during her summer sabbatical in New Mexico, the show will remain on display through January 31. For articles, reviews and other news about this exhibit, please visit Art Southwest Florida.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Painter Rebecca Haines portrays wild animals in unique and highly-stylized way (01-18-16)

Haines 08On view now at Watson MacRae Gallery in Sanibel is Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces: From Sante Fe with Love. The show features work by six Sante Fe artists, including painter Rebecca Haines.

Like the other artists in the exhibition, Haines came to Sante Fe by way of someplace else. In Rebecca’s case, it was Wyoming, where she was always drawn to the animals who roam the wilderness around her home in Torrington along the historic Oregon Trail. But it was not until she Haines 03started working in a Native American art gallery in Denver after attending the Colorado Institute of Art and Metropolitan State College that she came to appreciate the symbolism and power associated with all creatures. And so she made a sea change in her career, moving from her first love of creating photorealistic human portraits to portraying wild creatures in a unique and personalized style.

“[I am seeking to present] a more abstract dimension which allows for a connection to something larger than just the realistic portrayal of Haines 02an animal’s shell,” Rebecca explains.

For example, one of the paintings that Haines included in Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces is a pelican titled Raphael. “Pelicans symbolize the quality of lightness and buoyancy,” Rebecca explains. “They teach that no matter how difficult life becomes, no matter how much you ‘plunge,’ you can always pop back to the surface. They hold the knowledge of how to rise above life’s trials and free yourself from that which would weigh you down.”

In a similar vein, Haines explains that owls are associated throughout mythology with “crossing back and forth between the Haines 04living and the dead, guardians and messengers.” Sea turtles and rabbits also express their own metaphors, as do Florida Panthers. “Panthers are very elusive creatures and often symbolize a quiet personal power,” Rebecca remarks. “The gaze of [the panther depicted in her painting, The Philosopher] brought to my mind a look into the vastness of all that is. I find myself doing this – wondering about the big picture and how we all fit together. That’s where the title of this piece came from, ‘the philosopher.’”

Many of the animal images Haines paints come from dreams in which the creatures visit her. Through her color-filled paintings, she communicates the messages they have for us and the lessons Haines 06they have to teach.

Haines’ process is as unique as her motifs. She mixes oil paint and China marker on wooden surfaces. “I truly love to make marks and lines and just to draw,” states Rebecca. “Mark-making is my passion. It’s how I make sense of the world, and animals are some of my greatest teachers. I pair up both these passions and this is how I make art.”

In addition to the one in Denver, Haines has also worked in a Native American gallery in Berkeley, Haines 07California. Most recently, she was the Director of the Tom Ross Gallery on Canyon Road in Sante Fe. Haines has exhibited extensively in the West. Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces represents her debut in the State of Florida and first venture to this side of the country.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces: From Sante Fe with Love runs through January 31, 2016. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Teresa Neptune’s provide viewers with elegant simplicity ideal for reflection (01-17-16)

Teresa Neptune 04On view now at Watson MacRae Gallery in Sanibel is Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces From Sante Fe with Love. The show features work by six Sante Fe artists, including photographer Teresa Neptune.

Neptune is a world traveler who shares her adventures through her award-winning photographs. The images in this exhibit are from Teresa Neptune 05an odyssey that she and Linda Hunsaker (see article, below) began 10 years ago. “The iconic Monument Valley was the first stop on what evolved into a decade-long series of road trips in search of the creative moment,” says Neptune of their sojourn into the Arizona desert.

Neptune observes keenly, eyeing composition Teresa Neptune 03when she first photographs. She then discovers more detail as she goes to print her images. Imbued with a painterly quality, her black-and-white photographs provide an elegant simplicity that encourages the viewer to relax and reflect – a space for the spirit to breathe.

Teresa often jokes that she had no choice but to become an artist, being “born in the Teresa Neptune 06People’s Republic of Berkeley to a physicist father and an artist mother. In fact, her mother taught her color theory and perspective as she was learning to read. Her art education continued as her family moved to Europe, first to England, then to Switzerland (where she studied art with Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s granddaughter, Ann) and finally to Paris, where she roamed the city with her camera.

Teresa Neptune 02Teresa formal art education took place at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of New Mexico. Her photographs have been published in national and regional magazines , including B&W Magazine and The New York Times. Her work is included in the U.S. Department of State, Art in Embassies Program, National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of the Palace of the Governers in Sante Fe, as well as the State of New Mexico Art in Public Places and numerous private collections. Neptune’s home, studio and gallery are located in the historic Iren von Horvath House on Canyon Sante Fe Opening 05Road in Sante Fe.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces: From Sante Fe with Love runs through January 31, 2016. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Geoffrey Gorman animal sculptures straddle territory between imagination and science (01-16-16)

Geoffrey Gorman 01On view now at Watson MacRae Gallery in Sanibel is Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces From Sante Fe with Love. The show features work by six Sante Fe artists, one of whom is metal sculptor Geoffrey Gorman.

After completing studies at the Maryland Institute of Art, Boston Museum School and Franklin College in Switzerland, Gorman worked as a furniture maker, ceramist, curator, gallery dealer and art consultant. In 2005, he began to make creatures from discarded objects and, four months later, a Sante Fe gallery Geoffrey Gorman 02offered him his first solo show, which promptly sold out. Thus began his new career into “Animalology,” which is the name Gorman gave to his line of sculptures.

Geoffrey credits his inspiration from stories he’s learned and materials he finds and neatly stockpiles in his studio. In the rich tradition of artists like Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Nevelson, many artists incorporate found objects into their artistic compositions. However, most incorporate the found objects intact. Not Gorman. He transforms them. “The materials I use need to give the sense of something else – skin, hair, feet – or feel scientific in a way,” explains Gorman. The trinkets each animal carries are the Geoffrey Gorman 03exception. Gorman feels that artifacts such as rusty keys, bells, and washers are “hard earned talismans, accumulated during the trials of the creature’s life.”

Gorman visited Sanibel several times prior to this exhibit, and so he made the four creatures included in Sacred Creatures Sacred Places with the islands in mind. Some of his creatures seem sweet, like the Blue Jay, but the others are intense and otherworldly, evincing a pervasive sense of Sante Fe Opening 02mystery. But as a reviewer writing for American Style Magazine in 2012 once put it, Gorman’s work straddles “the territory between reality and legend, imagination and science.”

Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces: From Sante Fe with Love runs through January 31, 2016. For more information about the show, the participating artists or Watson MacRae Gallery, please telephone 239-472-3386 or email maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Focus on ‘Sacred Creatures, Sacred Spaces’ exhibitor Linda Hunsaker (01-15-16)

Linda Hunsaker 06One of the artists with work on display at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is printmaker Linda Hunsaker.

Maureen Watson met Hunsaker in Sante Fe, where Watson spent her summer vacation opening and operating a pop-up gallery in the artsy New Mexico town. But Hunsaker has long enjoyed ties to Florida. Not only does she winter and maintain a studio in Longboat Key, she is a graduate of the Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota. “I don’t like cold weather, and Sante Fe gets pretty cold in the winter,” she explained at the opening of Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces From Sante Fe with Linda Hunsaker 08Love on January 5. Informed that Taos and Sante Fe were getting hit with heavy snow and a huge blast of arctic air, she added with a chuckle, “When the mercury dips into the single digits, I put my cat in the car and I get out of there.”

Although she went on to attend City College of San Francisco and study printmaking at Sonoma State University in California, she has never forgotten that good art starts with basic drawing.

“Drawing is the basis of all my work. I draw every day,” Linda asserts. “While watching Werner Herzog’s movie, Cave of Linda Hunsaker 02Forgotten Dreams, I was reminded that human beings have been drawing for 40,000 years or so. I see no reason to stop now. Printmaking evolves from the drawing. There is a sense of mystery and magic in the process of printmaking that fascinates me.”

There’s a synergistic aspect to printmaking that really appeals to Hunsaker. “Once I was introduced to printmaking, I just knew that was it for me,” she said at the Watson MacRae opening, reflecting back on her time at Sonoma State. But she still makes time to draw each day, and when she’s in Sante Fe, she often frequents a popular coffee house where she draws the Linda Hunsaker 03patrons and their pets like a Western version of French impressionist Toulouse Lautrec.

Linda’s multi-layered prints capture images of places she visits. She’s driven by wanderlust, so she has a continual source of fresh, new material. Although she has lived in Sante Fe for the past decade, she previously spent time in Texas, New York, California and many places in between. But travel is not the only activity that provides motifs for Hunsaker’s prints.

“I’m also inspired by nature, animals and by movies,” Linda expounds. “I grew up in Houston, and back then there was no art, Linda Hunsaker 09so movies were my artistic outlet. Movies were all there was and I’m still inspired by movies.” And because of that inspiration, Hunsaker recently took a road trip to Monument Valley with photographer and fellow Sante Fe resident Teresa Neptune. “The Searchers is one of my favorite films all time.” If you’re not familiar, it was one of ten films shot by legendary director John Ford in Monument Valley and the only Western he made during the 1950s. (Other Ford Monument Valley films include Stagecoach (which introduced John Wayne) My Darling Clementine (starring Henry Fonda as Wyatt Earp), She Linda Hunsaker 04Wore a Yellow Ribbon (starring John Wayne),  and How the West Was Won (in which the Monument Valley scene was not, ironically, shot under Ford’s direction although he was one of three directors who worked on the picture). The Searchers was named the greatest western of all time by the American Film Institute in 2008, and it’s easy to see the film’s influence in the print depicted to the right, which is one of four on display at Watson MacRae.

Linda Hunsaker 10In addition to the Sante Fe show at Watson MacRae Gallery, Hunsaker has work in the collections of the State of New Mexico, Sarasota County, and the Historic Sante Fe Foundation. She has enjoyed five solo shows and exhibited in more than 50 group exhibitions across the United States. She is a member of the Boston Printmakers, Los Angeles Printmakers Society and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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Exhibit of work by Sante Fe artists opens at Watson MacRae on Sanibel (01-07-16)

Sante Fe Opening 01Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces From Sante Fe with Love opened on January 5 at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery. The show contains work by six artists that Maureen Watson met this past summer, when she opened a pop-up gallery in Sante Fe during her summer vacation.

The artists with work in the show are:

  • Britt Freda – The Aviator, oil and graphite on canvas
  • Ron Allen – Songcatcher, found objects/cement Sante Fe Opening 02sculpture
  • Geoffrey Gorman – Alberti, mixed media/found objects sculpture
  • Rebecca Haines – Minerva, acrylic on canvas
  • Teresa Neptune – Milagro Shoes, photograph
  • Linda Hunsaker – Chihuahuas at Chimayo, monoprint

Sante Fe Opening 04Ron Allen hails from Wewoka, Oklahoma. His tribal sculptures wear memory skirts made of 100 objects encountered every day – which do we carry with us, what do we leave behind?  His Shaman-like sculptures witness the person’s relationship with the supernatural guardian of our collective memories.

Britt Freda calls Vashon Island, Washington home. Her paintings express her lifelong fascination and reverence for the natural world, and now her concern.  Her Endangered Species series is a testament to her art and her commitment to preservation.

Sante Fe Opening 08Geoffrey Gorman came to Santa Fe via Maryland. Geoffrey is fascinated with discarded artifacts that he uses to create creatures for his “Animology” Series. Gorman’s work straddles the” territory between reality and legend, imagination and science.”

Many of the animal images that Rebecca Haines paints come from dreams where the creatures visit her. Through her color-filled paintings she Sante Fe Opening 07communicates the messages they have for us and the lessons they have to teach. A Wyoming transplant, Rebecca also calls Sante Fe home.

Teresa Neptune came to Santa Fe via Paris). Her painterly black and white photographs provide an elegant simplicity where one can reflect and relax – a space for the spirit to breathe.

Linda Hunsaker 01Linda Hunsaker is a Santa Fe resident, by way of San Francisco, that is. Her work is driven by her wanderlust. Capturing images and feelings of places she has never been before is the inspiration for her quietly moving multi-layered prints. Hunsaker was in attendance at the opening.

There’s some interesting work in this show that more than justifies the drive out and $6 toll to cross over the Sanibel Causeway. 

 

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Still time to view ‘Fine Art of Contemporary Craft IV’ and ‘Natured Inspired’ exhibits at Watson MacRae (12-23-15)

Watson Mack 03Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel is filled with beautiful displays of artwork from December’s exhibit “The Fine Art of Contemporary Craft IV,” and the walls are lined with paintings and pastels from “Natured Inspired.”  Visitors to the gallery are telling Maureen Watson that “this is the best exhibit yet.”

Maureen invites you to bring your holiday visitors to see these exhibits, which close on Saturday, January 3

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New exhibit at Watson MacRae to feature work by artists gallerist met during summer vacation in Sante Fe (12-21-15)

Watson Sacred Places 01We know what Maureen Watson did on her summer vacation! The inveterate gallery owner went to Sante Fe for the summer. Did she kick back and relax? Did she take a canvas, easel and paints into the desert and create art of her own? Not our Maureen. She opened a Pop-Up gallery! And she stocked the gallery with high quality, unusual art with soul. And now she is bringing that art to the island in an exciting new show.

“The six artists in this exhibit have all that in common plus one other thing – they care deeply about the environment and its creatures,” states Maureen. “Wonderfully, Sanibel’s commitment to preservation and conservation was one reason these highly-Watson Sacred Places 02regarded artists were willing and excited to show here. I’m thrilled to begin the New Year with this exhibit.”

The exhibition is called Sacred Creatures Sacred Spaces From Sante Fe with Love, and the six artists with work in the show are:

  • Britt Freda – The Aviator, oil and graphite on canvas
  • Ron Allen – Songcatcher, found objects/cement sculpture
  • Linda Hunsaker – Chihuahuas at Chimayo, monoprint
  • Geoffrey Gorman – Alberti, mixed media/found objects sculpture
  • Rebecca Haines – Minerva, acrylic on canvas
  • Teresa Neptune – Milagro Shoes, photograph

Watson Sacred Places 03Ron Allen hails from Wewoka, Oklahoma. His tribal sculptures wear memory skirts made of 100 objects encountered every day – which do we carry with us, what do we leave behind?  His Shaman-like sculptures witness the person’s relationship with the supernatural guardian of our collective memories.

Britt Freda calls Vashon Island, Washington home. Her paintings express her lifelong fascination and reverence for the natural world, and now her concern.  Her Endangered Species series is a Watson Sacred Places 04testament to her art and her commitment to preservation.

Linda Hunsaker is a Santa Fe resident, by way of San Francisco, that is. Her work is driven by her wanderlust. Capturing images and feelings of places she has never been before is the inspiration for her quietly moving multi-layered prints.

Geoffrey Gorman came to Santa Fe via Maryland. Geoffrey is fascinated with discarded artifacts that he uses to create creatures for his “Animology” Series. Gorman’s work straddles the” territory between reality and legend, imagination and science.”

Many of the animal images that Rebecca Haines paints come from Watson Sacred Places 07dreams where the creatures visit her. Through her color-filled paintings she communicates the messages they have for us and the lessons they have to teach. A Wyoming transplant, Rebecca also calls Sante Fe home.

Teresa Neptune came to Santa Fe via Paris). Her painterly black and white photographs provide an elegant simplicity where one can reflect and relax – a space for the spirit to breathe.

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Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery showing three exhibits during month of December (12-15-15)

Through the Window 2SThree separate but interconnected exhibitions opened at the Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel Island on December 8. They are The Fine Art of Contemporary Crafts Fiber and Clay show, Nature Inspired and Mangroves by Hollis Jeffcoat.

“The world of crafts continues to expand even as Maureen 02 (3)people simplify their lives,” notes Maureen Watson. “Rather than more, people are seeking meaningful, heart-felt pieces that add beauty and functionality to their homes. The work by the eight artists in this exhibit exemplify this aesthetic.

Those artists are Cassie Ryalls Butcher, Maia Tsinamdzgvrishvili, Linda Green, Sheryl Zacharia, Mark Knott, Vicki Grant, Melisa Cadell and Sondra Dorn.

  • Butcher hails from Asheville, North Carolina. She Watson Mack 03first exhibited her iconic ceramic sculptures called “Souls” at the gallery in 2011. Since that time her simplified figures have grown in size and variety while never losing their ability to resonant with something deep within.
  • Tsinamdzgvrishvili is an award-winning international fiber artist from the Republic of Georgia. She creates silk “button” pieces incorporating new proprietary techniques that add another fascinating dimension to her work.
  • Linda Green is from Sanibel. A textile artist, she combines quirky and abstract design with traditional and precise beading and stitchery on colorful hand painted fabrics. The result is emotion-driven “story portraits.”  This unusual combination gives Green’s work a unique style – quirky with soul.
  • Sheryl Zacharia is from Santa Fe, New Mexico. She creates geometric sculptural objects inspired by ancient relics and modern paintings. With a music and painting background, she strives to make visual poetry.
  • The soda-fired process, vibrant color, repetitive design and slight oversize of Mark Knott’s vessels move his work from functional to sculptural. For this exhibit, the Atlanta artist created a variety of 30 beautiful vessels.
  • Vicki Grant is from Littleton, North Carolina. It is easy to see in her artwork  the  influence of her 30-year career in architecture. She builds her “Center to Earth” pieces around natural found objects with layers of porcelain, which she obsessively textures, then paints and mounts on slate.
  • Grant applies the same process and dedication to her new work – “Spirit Sticks” and “Creature Pots.” Melisa Cadell is from Bakersville, North Carolina. Melisa continues to surprise viewers with her clay sculptures of intense female figures, both beautiful and macabre. This exhibit features new work from her Head series.
  • Sondra Dorn uses her imagination and mixed media to develop a meditative series of intriguing landscapes.  The Ashevill, North Carolina artist leaves traces of her drawings and stitching in her pieces, showing the “hand” of a multi-talented artist at work.

Watson Mack 01Nature Inspired is a group show consisting of work by Deedra Ludwig, Jan Jaskevich and Cindy House.

Ludwig is displaying oil, ink and graphites on canvas from her Bayou Sublime series. From New Orleans, Ludwig travels to national parks throughout Florida to get the feel, inspiration and samples of soil and flora to create her mixed media paintings, which “preserves the area landscape and serves as a visual record.”

Jaskevich creates sculpture out of transparent orange calcite stone. Her work evokes images of birds that are “mystical in nature.”

Watson Mack 02House’s part of the show includes beautiful pastel renditions of Sanibel scenes that show the hand of a master of realism.

Hollis Jeffcoat returns to painting her beloved Mangroves. Jeffcoat becomes immersed in the lush landscape and paints more representationally as a way to ground and replenish herself after having completed a series of large abstract paintings. The seven small paintings in this exhibit are aglow with light and color and have a complexity that alludes to the hidden world of the mangroves.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island.

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‘Paper & Paint’ celebrates five artists who use ancient media in modern ways (10-26-15)

Paper and Paint 01Paper was invented in China in 105 A.D. by Ts’ai Lun, an official of the royal court, as a substitute for writing on silk. The first use of oil paint for art making was recorded on the walls of a cave in Afghanistan in 650 A.D. A new exhibit at Wason MacRae Gallery on Sanibel Island combines these two ancient media. “Paper and Paint” features 5 artists who use these ancient materials in modern ways.

Greg Biolchini continues to amaze viewers with his majestic “Florida Sky” series. His ability to apply multiple layers of vibrant colors produces paintings with an inner luminescence reminiscent of the Renaissance. For this exhibit, in addition to his large work, Biolchini has created paintings in a much-anticipated smaller format.

Paper and Paint 02Hollis Jeffcoat titled her new series “Telos,” which means to be drawn towards one’s divine purpose for human good. Her new paintings are like modern-day Mandalas, as Jeffcoat’s application of color weaves its way deeper and deeper into meditative space.

Anne Gates Yarnall returns to the gallery with a new collection of her innovative collages. Using torn pieces of painted paper, Yarnall constructs abstract landscapes that capture the light, color and mystery of remembered places. It is surprising Paper and Paint 03how their modest size belies the monumental feel of these exquisitely formed pieces

It is hard to fathom that Akiko Sugiyama’s intricate and delicate constructions are made entirely of paper. Even when she explains how she rolls, twists, paints, textures, stripes, sews, wraps and spins the paper that she collects from all over the world, viewers still can’t believe – “paper?!”

Cathy Hegman turns from her color saturated Paper and Paint 04paintings to creating in black and white on paper. In her series, “Insomnia,” Hegman’s women are accompanied by sheep and it is through her intense brush strokes and line work that she conveys the signature Hegman mood and atmosphere.

Paper and Paint opens at Watson MacRae Gallery on Tuesday, November 10 with an opening reception from 5-7 p.m. Hollis, Greg and Anne will be in attendance. Come celebrate with them and your neighbors and friends who are back – a little kick-off to another fabulous season On Island.

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Watson MacRae’s Hollis Jeffcoat embraces interplay between sound and color in new series of green-hued paintings (04-21-15)

Hollis Jeffcoat BOn view now at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is Summer Salon. It is an exhibition of paintings, photographs, glass art and sculpture rendered by the artists that the gallery featured during the course of its 2014-2015 season. And included in Summer Salon is one older and a handful of new works by abstract artist Hollis Jeffcoat that embrace and explore the interplay between sound and color.

“In effect, my subject is color making space Hollis Jeffcoat Sound of the Osprey IIbased on nature,” Jeffcoat has long maintained. “That space is created by the rhythm of colors instead of constructing a series of outward mounting planes.” This may sound somewhat cryptic and enigmatic until you discover that Hollis is chromesthetic.

“I hear a sound then see a color,” Hollis divulged during the opening of Summer Salon on April 7. “It’s always been that way for me,” she continued, Hollis Jeffcoat Eaux Sallees XII“and I thought that’s the way it was for everyone else too. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I found out otherwise.”

Chromesthesia is a subset of synesthesia, a neurological phenomenon in which the stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway (such as hearing) leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second cognitive pathway (such as Hollis Jeffcoat green paintingsight). Some studies suggest that as few as 1 in 2,000 and as many as 1 in 23 people experience some form or degree of synesthesia. For chromesthetics like Hollis, everyday sounds like music, dogs barking and people talking trigger the perception of colors (called photisms).

“Because I’m so attuned to nature, I see different shades, hues and intensities of green,” says Hollis. They arise, burst like fireworks across her mental Hollis Jeffcoat Latelymovie screen, and then fade or transform like a kaleidoscope as the sound changes, get louder or ends. The sounds which stimulate this activity most of Jeffcoat is the lapping of the waters surrounding her beloved Sanibel Island and the warble of native ospreys.

Until quite recently, Hollis compartmentalized her synesthesia. “I didn’t deal with it and I certainly did not consciously incorporate it into my art. I’m dealing with it now, however, and exploring the consequences of it in this new series of paintings.”

Hollis Jeffcoat DFor centuries, synesthesia has been a source of inspiration for artists, composers, poets, novelists and digital artists. Isaac Newton propose that musical tones and color hues shared common frequencies, as did Goethe in Theory of Color. Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky combined four senses – color, hearing, touch and smell – in his paintings and although Mondrian was not synesthetic, he too experimented with image-music consequences in his work. New art Hollis Jeffcoat Hmovements such as literary symbolism, non-figurative art and visual music have benefitted from experiments with synesthetic perception. Contemporary artists with synesthesia like Carol Steen and photographer Marcia Smilack (who waits until she gets a synesthetic response before snapping her picture) use their synesthesia to create their artwork.

Hollis Jeffcoat orange paintingJeffcoat does not try to force a synesthetic response by playing music or a recorded sound. “That’s too regimented,” Hollis bristles. “Besides, for me the effect is better when music is live or I hear sounds in nature like birds chirping or singing.”

Being an abstract expressionist, when she hears a sound, it creates a visceral reaction that manifests itself on canvas. “Not only did I study with some of Hollis Jeffcoat Fthe great abstract expressionists, my sensibility runs in that direction.”

Initially a student at the Kansas City Art Institute, Jeffcoat’s innate talent and abstract sensibility was honed at the New York Studio School, where she studied with some of the great painter/teachers of our time, including Philip Gaston, Andrew Forge, Meyer Shapiro, Jack Tworkov and George McNeil. After that, she apprenticed for three years with Joan Mitchell in France.

Inside the Gallery 01“It’s not because I was taught this is how you do it, but rather that is organically what I gravitate toward. Each painting has its own reality or truth. It’s my job to respect it and make it manifest.”

Jeffcoat has lived, worked and taught in France, Canada, New York City and Southwest Florida. She has enjoyed 20 solo and in excess of 35 group exhibitions in the U.S., Canada and France. Her work can be found today in numerous private and corporate collections, as well as the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Inside the Gallery 03Brooklyn Museum, The Morgan Library, The Contemporary Museums of Art in Montreal and Quebec City, and the Pierre Matisse Collection.

Summer Salon is on view now at Watson MacRae Gallery. Watson MacRae Gallery is located in Suite B3 of The Village Shops, 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, Florida 33957. Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please telephone Maureen Watson at 239-472-3386 or email her at maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Underwater photography by Karen Glaser part of Watson MacRae’s ‘Summer Salon’ (04-20-15)

water1 (3)On view now at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is Summer Salon. It opened Tuesday, April 7, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. and features work by the artists that the gallery has exhibited over the course of its 2014-2015 season. One of those artists is Karen Glaser.

For more than two decades, Karen Glaser has been photographing underwater ecosystems, including breamatcatfishdeep water oceans, coastal reefs, freshwater springs, outdoor swimming pools, and wild swamplands. Taking her camera both above and below the surface of America’s coastal waters and Florida’s wetlands, she has captured diverse forms of life that have existed since prehistoric times. Glaser’s photographs of these remote spaces have a timeless quality in the tradition of Audubon’s Spawningornithological watercolors or Da Vinci’s water drawings. Taken with a 35mm camera and only using available light, the images appear distinctively grainy, further abstracting these rarely seen worlds. They elevate the complexity and fragility of aquatic systems that lie beyond the day-to-day perspective of most people.

FrankieAndMeGlaser’s photography has found a very wide audience through commissions and permanent public art installations. For example, her photographs are held in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City: Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin; Portland Art Museum in Oregon; National Park Service; Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego; Parque de los Deseos in Medellin, Columbia; the LaSalle Bank and Chase Bank At Bob Rauschenberg Gallery 01collections in Chicago; the New York Public Library; the University of Louisville; the Museum of Science in Miami; Illinois Collection, State of Illinois Center; the Port of Miami; and the David C. and the Sarajean Ruttenberg Collection, Chicago, IL.

Her work has been featured in many solo exhibitions and been represented in numerous group exhibitions across the United States. In 2011 Spanish Mossalone, her photography was the subject of three prestigious solo shows, Dark Sharks/Light Rays at PHOTO in Oakland, California (9/22-10/29/11), The Hillsborough River from the Green Swamp to the Bay at the Tampa Museum of Art (7/2-10/16/11), and The Mark of Water: Florida’s Springs and Swamps, a touring exhibition organized and circulated by the Southeast Museum water21 (2)of Photography, Daytona State College, Daytona Beach, Florida. The Mark of Water exhibited locally at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery on the Lee campus of Edison State College from October 7 through December 3, 2011 and resulted in the highest attendance recorded by the gallery in two years.

Her solo show at Watson MacRae, Landscapes: Inside the Gallery 01Different Views, was one of the gallery’s more popular exhibitions as was the group show in which she participated during the 2014-2015 season.

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Glaser holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Indiana University, Bloomington. She is an adjunct instructor of photography in Chicago and has been a guest lecturer at Wild Photos, Royal Geographical Society, London; the USF Humanities Institute (which hosted events celebrating the Hillsborough River through art, literature, history, archeology and Inside the Gallery 02ecology in the Fall of 2012); the May, 2013 Blue Mind 3 summit (an annual conference that brings together neuroscientists, oceanographers, explorers, educators and artists to consider “the human brain on water”); the Everglades National Park; Big Cypress National Preserve; Fanning Springs State Park; University of New Mexico, Albuquerque; Museum of Science, Miami; Pacific Through the Window 2SGrove Museum of Natural History, California; University of Illinois at Chicago; Northlight Gallery, Arizona State University; and at Centro Colombo Americano, Escuela Popular de Artes, Universidad de Medellín as part of FotoFiesta.

Glaser has received grants from the Illinois Arts Council and Arts Midwest/National Endowment Inside the Gallery 03for the Arts, Visual Arts Regional Fellowship. She has been a Fellow at the Hermitage Artist’s Retreat in Florida and Artist in Residence at both Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. In 2010, Karen was appointed as the Photographer Laureate for the City of Tampa, Florida, and in February of 2012, the Carnegie Museum of Art and Carnegie Mellon University’s CREATE Lab invited her to join a select group of contemporary artists to participate in a collaborative project involving an innovation called dustbowl_correctGigaPan. It is new technology developed by CREATE Lab, NASA and Google to explore imaging boundaries and create “something we have never seen before or could have even imagined.”

Her images have been featured and reviewed in Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Photo District News, Wrasslin Gators 1Lens Culture, Origo (Hungary), Popular Photography, Swimmers: Seventy International Photographers (Aperture), New Chicago Photographers (Museum of Contemporary Photography) and Alternative Photographic Processes.

Watson MacRae Gallery is located in Suite B3 of The Village Shops, 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, Florida 33957. Gallery hours are 10:30 a.m to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, please telephone Maureen Watson at 239-472-3386 or email her at maureen@watsonmacraegallery.com.

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Artist Greg Biolchini dedicated to capturing the skies off Sanibel for the next 20 years (04-08-15)

Greg Biolchini Florida Sky #34On view now at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is Summer Salon. It opened Tuesday, April 7, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. and features work by the artists that the gallery has exhibited over the course of its 2014-2015 season. One of those artists is realist oil painter Greg Biolchini.

Born near Chicago in 1948, Biolchini’s weekend trips to the Chicago Art Institute ignited his creative fires at an early age. Although he believed the great masters like John Singer Sargent were beyond his reach, he nevertheless strove to develop his talent and propensity for painting, drawing inspiration after his family relocated to Southwest Florida from the natural world all Greg Biolchini 04around him. He apprenticed with portrait painter David Phillip Wilson, and took courses at the Ringling School of Art, and through a combination of dogged determination and perseverance, he became a nationally-celebrated artist and Master Pastelist.

Since 1975, Biolchini has shown in more than thirty solo exhibitions and has been included in countless group exhibitions across the county. His numerous awards and honors include the Greg Biolchini 10Grumbacher Gold Medalian, a 2001 Best of Show in the Annual Wildlife Competition and inclusion in three Arts for the Parks nationwide touring exhibitions in 2001, 2002, and 2004. In 2006, he was named Visual Artist of the Year by the Alliance’s Angels for the Arts.

Greg has also been featured in books such as The Art of Pastel Portraiture and The Best of Pastel, Biolchini Sky Paintingand local magazines including Gulfshore Life, Aesthetix Magazine, Times of the Islands, Happenings Magazine, The Island Sun, The River Weekly News, Breeze Newspaper, Artspeak, Fort Myers Magazine and Lee Living Magazine.

For the last few years, Greg Biolchini has dedicated each morning and evening to studying and photographing Southwest Florida skies.  Greg then ensconces himself in his studio, where he paints the towering cumulous cloud formations found dotting the Southwest Florida sky. “While I use the photographs as memory joggers, my paintings actually reflect what I see during these dawn and twilight study sessions,” explained Greg at the Watson Greg Biolchini 02MacRae reception. “The light is so dramatic at this time of the day, but it changes too quickly to paint on location.”

So far, Biolchini has completed 35 paintings in his luminous Florida Sky series. Each is realistic in style with graceful painterly gestures that express the emotional impact that the subject has on the artist. “While painting this series, I’ve experienced Greg Biolchini 01 (3)something quite powerful and unexpectedly spiritual,” Greg discloses.

It is this meditative, spiritual state that Biolchini conveys to those who have occasion to view work from the series. . “The paintings have an authenticity to them without being illustrative or sentimental,” observes Maureen Watson. “They are quietly powerful and are overwhelming in their beauty.”

Greg Biolchini 03And they all feature the skies and waters surrounding Sanibel Island. “Sunrise and sunset here is so varied and captivating, there’s simply no reason to go anywhere else,” Greg responds when asked if he’s ever considered  a change of venue. Not even Southwest Florida’s mosquitoes and no-see-ums deter Biolchini from getting up before dawn and making his way back to the beach each evening to continue his studies of the ever-changing local skies.

“I’ve been thinking about these skies for the past Inside the Gallery 0320 years and I want to paint them for the next 20,” Greg warrant during the Summer Salon opening. His collectors and admirers plan to hold him to his word.

You can view and acquire the latest in Biolchini’s Florida Sky series hot off the beach at Watson MacRae Gallery. Located on picturesque Sanibel Island, Watson MacRae Gallery is a fine art and contemporary craft gallery that features 30 to 50 artists from around the country. For more information about the gallery, please click here

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‘Summer Salon’ gives Watson MacRae patrons last chance to see work exhibited at Sanibel gallery this season (03-21-15)

Watson MacRae Glass 1At Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel, The Many Facets of Glass has delighted both glass admirers and collectors alike with the variety and quality of studio glass artwork.  Six artists from across the country have contributed their unique work – from blown to sand cast to “knitted” – to this exhibit. Work by Jacob Vincent, Carol Milne, John Geci, Elodie Holmes, Marlene Rose, Abbot/Leva is included in this show. “Do stop by to see this colorful, sparkly, unique exhibit,” beckons gallery owner and curator Maureen Watson. The exhibit closes April 3.

Watson MacRae’s final exhibit of the season will be Summer Salon. It opens Tuesday, April 7, with a reception from 5-7 p.m. Biolchini Sky PaintingSummer Salon is a group show of the artists featured at the gallery this season, and provides guests with an opportunity to see some of the work they might have missed – and there were some terrific shows – as well as, new pieces from several of the artists, including Sheena Cameron’s Messenger Horses, fabricated Sanibel birds by Amy Gross and Greg Biolchini’s majestic Florida Sky paintings. As an added bonus, the season-eanding show provides you a chance to see friends and neighbors before everyone heads for points north.

Please remember F.I.S.H. Food … And a good time to begin to empty cabinets of non-perishable food items for F.I.S.H.  Please bring them to the opening and help stock the Food Pantry for the summer.

“I hope that you will join us at the last opening of the season,” adds Maureen. “However, make no mistake, the gallery will be open all summer with some special surprises. I look forward to seeing you at the gallery.

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Watson MacRae to feature work by six glass artists in next Sanibel exhibition (02-23-15)

Watson MacRae Glass AWatson MacRae’s next exhibit will feature the diverse work of six glass artists. The Many Facets of Glass opens with a 5-7 p.m. reception on Tuesday, March 10.

Elodie Holmes (Santa Fe) and John Geci (Penland, NC) blow glass into beautiful shapes and forms. Holmes’ are a fusion of swirling colors based on a secret formula passed down from her teacher, Marvin Lipofsky. Geci combines an old Venetian technique called Caning with beautifully clear vibrant colors to create contemporary pieces.

Watson MacRae Glass BPouring molten glass into forms lined with sand, Marlene Rose (Clearwater FL) creates sculptures inspired by ancient cultures. Her colorful variations on the traditional Buddha image are contemporary and contemplative.

Carol Milne (Seattle) “knits” glass to create amazing bowls and sock sculptures.

Ellen Abbott (Houston) uses a 19th Century French method called Pate de Terre to create delicate sculptures with gradations in color difficult to achieve in this medium.

Etching and cutting away layers of glass is the process Jacob Vincent (Brooklyn) uses to unearth colors and create designs on his sophisticated blown glass bowls.

“I designed this exhibit to help advance the appreciation of glass as a creative Watson MacRae Glass 1medium by presenting different processes and methods,” states galleries Maureen Watson. “I think you’ll like this show, so please join us Tuesday, March 10th from 5-7 p.m. for the opening reception. We all look forward to seeing you at the Gallery.”

Watson MacRae Gallery is a fine art and contemporary craft gallery that features 30 to 50 artists from around the country. Watson makes a point of bringing in artists whose lives are their art. “One of the reasons I started this gallery,” she says, “is because what artists do and the sacrifices they make to give us their beautiful work deserves somebody working for them. And since sales is in my background, that is what I can do.”

And she does it very, very well.

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Watson MacRae’s next exhibition will feature new work by Hollis Jeffcoat, Mira Lehr, Rainer Lagemann and Sang Roberson (01-20-15)

Watson Mac 01The next exhibit at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is Contemporary Florida:  Recent Work by Jeffcoat, Lagemann, Lehr and Roberson. The show opens with a 5-7 p.m. reception on Tuesday, February 3.

“I wondered how to write about the four artists in this exhibit – the high level of quality, uniqueness and sophistication of their work and their commitment to their art, longevity and accomplishments – without using superlatives or flowery language,” remarks Maureen Watson. “Then I realized the common thread, museum exhibits and collections, which in the art industry says it all.”

Portal XVIIWatson first saw Miami Beach sculptor Mira Lehr’s mixed media sculpture at a 2014 exhibition at the Naples Museum. She was transfixed.  Lehr studied with Robert Motherwell in New York City and was selected by futurist Buckminster Fuller as a member of a yearlong project he headed, and she continues with that experimental vein in her work today.

“I discovered Miami-based Rainer Watson Mac 02Lagemann’s unique gravity-defying steel figures at the international exhibit I attended at the Republic of Georgia National Museum.  Lagemann has amassed a large international following, as well as acquisitions by numerous museums.”

At that same exhibit, Sanibel’s Hollis Jeffcoat showed her mesmerizing Portal series. A third generation Abstract Expressionist, Jeffcoat studied with the major painter/teachers of that movement and carries on the tradition of great oil painters pushing it in a contemporary direction.

Another museum find was the sophisticated terra cotta boxes of Ormond Beach’s Sang Roberson at her solo exhibit at the Brevard Museum of Art. Roberson’s burnished and banded boxes are in corporate and museum collections across the country.

“One thing I can say is that the work in this exhibit is truly museum quality,” Watson adds. “Please join us Tuesday, February 3rd from 5-7 p.m. for the opening reception. Hollis, Rainer and Mira will be attending the opening and we all look forward to seeing you at the gallery.

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‘Fine Art of Contemporary Craft’ on view at Watson MacRae through February 22 (01-20-15)

Through the Window 2SCurrently on exhibit at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is The Fine Art of Contemporary Craft. “People find the weightlessness of Bryan Hopkin’s architectural porcelain vessels hard to believe,” comments Maureen Watson, “or that Akiko Sugiyama’s wall sculptures are made entirely of paper or the microscopic detail of Amy Gross’s textiled little environs with Sanibel birds, to Inside the Gallery 06mention only three of the nine artists in the show.”

The show runs through February 22.

Located on picturesque Sanibel Island, Watson MacRae Gallery is a fine art and contemporary craft gallery that features 30 to 50 artists from around the country. For more information about the gallery, please click here.

 

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