If you flip through any art student’s portfolio, you’re bound to find a few figure drawings and landscapes — standard assignments for any aspiring artist — but in the Watson MacRae Gallery’s new exhibit, “People and Places,” accomplished artists reinvent and reexamine traditional subject matter in new, thought-provoking ways.
“The essence of this show — and perhaps its most interesting aspect — is that these artists are presenting the human figure and landscapes in paint and metal. It’s a non-traditional look at traditional subject matter,” said gallery owner Maureen Watson. “It’s intriguing to see how different each piece is and how the artist captured the subject. The work in this show seems very straightforward, but it’s not — every piece has an interesting, thoughtful twist and when you look at it, it gives you a lot to think about. These works are complex; they capture the viewer, and as we look, we find more to explore.”
Many pieces in the show, Watson said, are a combination of both figures and landscapes.
“Harriet Marshall Goode, for example, creates semi-abstracted women and sets them in symbolic landscapes — her work is rich with symbolism, color and feeling.”
Emerging Sanibel artist Leila Walker, Watson noted, will unveil some of her latest work — figures sculpted out of wire and stuffed with sundry bits, including dried flowers, glass and canvas, representative of the intangible, inner-landscape.
The works of the late master painter Nicolas Carone will also be on display.
“Nicolas has 80 years of experience, and he was academically trained before he moved into abstraction in the 1950s with people like Jackson Pollock,” Watson said. “He always said he painted the metaphysical, and it’s really quite incredible how he could fit all this wonderful, deep space into small paintings.”
The final artist in the exhibit is Jim Krieger, who pays homage to the work of eighteenth century printmaker Katsushika Hosukai by reinterpreting the Japanese master’s prints of Mount Fuji and contrasting the softness of the landscape with the hardness of metal.
And while Mount Fuji might have gone unscathed during the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, Watson is dedicating “People and Places” to the people of Japan. During the exhibit’s opening reception, Watson MacRae Gallery will be collecting donations for unique Japanese relief effort.
“The earthquake destroyed thousands of kilns in Japan, and for many Japanese artists and craftsmen, their kilns are their livelihood,” Watson said. “A friend told me about this new movement in the United States to help the Japanese replace their kilns, and as I read about it, I knew I had to help too. One Japanese artist compared their kiln to their soul — ‘if the fire goes out in the kilns, the fire goes out in our souls.’”
The gallery will match the amount donated that night.
On the day after the opening reception, Wednesday, April 6, the gallery’s monthly Artists Talk will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and feature artists Harriet Marshall Goode and Jim Krieger.
The Watson MacRae Gallery is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way, Unit B3, in the Village Shops on Sanibel.
For more information about the gallery and upcoming exhibits, call 472-3386 or go to www.WatsonMacRaeGallery.com.
“Fuji #6,” mixed media by Jim Krieger.
People and Places opening reception
Tuesday, April 5
Watson MacRae Gallery
2340 Periwinkle Way, Unit B3
For more information