Maureen Watson opened her art gallery, Watson MacRae, with the hopes of making it one year. Now entering her fifth season, Watson has expanded the gallery to include an additional 600 square feet -- nearly doubling her space.
"To truly experience art, you must step back and take it all in," said Watson about why she expanded the gallery. "If it's crowded, you can't have a good experience and the work doesn't show at its best."
A floor-to-ceiling cut out connects the two spaces, giving the gallery a feeling of expansiveness. The additional square-footage also allows Watson to bring in larger artwork and installation art as part of her monthly exhibits. This season Watson is bringing both nationally acclaimed and award-winning artists and undiscovered talents to Sanibel.
Maureen Watson, owner of Watson MacRae Gallery, stands in her newly renovated gallery space
"Each year I strive to create new and exciting exhibitions that will inspire, delight or amaze you," said Watson, who credits support from the island community for her successful seasons. "Sanibel has made it fun."
Watson MacRae's season will start Nov. 13 with "An All Male Review" exhibit. Artists include Michael Beauchemin, a Southern painter whose work presents an overlay of the subconscious mind and perceived reality in dazzling vivid color. Beauchemin's hallucinogenic imagery is a visualization of the mental process; in essence, each painting takes the viewer on a roller-coaster ride through time and space.
Returning to Watson MacRae for the "All Male Review," Len Cowgill's work is about containment. He explores some facet of the human condition and boxes it or puts in a bottle. Cowgill is known to create a stage for his drawing and invites the audience to get close, look at and touch it.
What: "An All Male Review" Opening Reception
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 13
Where: Watson MacRae Gallery
2340 Periwinkle Way, Unit B3
(The Village Shops)
The work of Michael St. Amand will be part of the "All Male Review" at Watson MacRae. His mixed media paintings and digital art use raw, vibrant colors, fabric, photos and other found objects, geometric shapes and expressionistic movement, which allow his real and abstract subjects to exist harmoniously within each piece. St. Amand, a primarily self-taught artist, has earned numerous awards for his work and been exhibited throughout the world.
To round out the "All Male Review," Watson has chosen the work of sculptor Lawrence Voytek. He has been the director of art production for Robert Rauschenberg for more than 28 years, and has consulted for art installation, fabrication and restoration with renowned national and international museums and galleries.
"I continue to try and bring interesting, meaningful exhibits that people will find diverse," said Watson. "It also keeps the gallery fresh."
Future exhibits at Watson MacRae include "A Peaceable Kingdom" on Dec. 11; "The High Art of Contemporary Crafts" on Jan. 8; "Women Stories II: Love, Life and Dreams" on Feb. 5; "The Sea: In, On, Under" on March 5; "With Paper" on April 2; and "Summer Salon" on May 7.
"All Male Review" opening reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and artist talks will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Watson MacRae Gallery, 2340 Periwinkle Way, Unit B3. For a detailed schedule of exhibits, visit www.watsonmacraegallery.com.