Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel Island has opened the "Peaceable Kingdom" exhibit that is inspired by "The Peaceable Kingdom" series from the painter Edward Hicks. The self-taught artist painted numerous versions of his infamous series based on versus from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah.
The work portrays predatory animals coexisting in harmony with meeker animals and children. In the background, the earthly realization of the prophecy in Isaiah is represented by a historical scene of William Penn forging a treaty with the Native Americans, based on Benjamin West's famous painting.
"The intention of (Hicks') painting is to show friend and foe, prey and predator harmoniously coexisting," said gallery owner Maureen Watson. "These islands are very creature astute and bringing this exhibit together with the community makes for a wonderful exhibit."
Peaceable Kingdom, which is open until Jan. 5, features ceramic sculptures by Pam Brewer. Her sculptural animal imagery show Brewer's connection and reverence to the natural world. With intentional lack of embellishment, her forms are thoughtful and appealing to primal instincts.
"I am very impressed with her interest and attention to art at the recent opening," said Watson about Brewer. "All of her work is handmade with an ancient method of firing used by the Greeks."
Work by Charlotte Foust is also featured in the Peaceable Kingdom exhibit. Foust creates non-objective paintings because she finds the creative process honest and satisfying. Using mixed media allows Foust to layer and re-work textured surfaces with each painting resulting in a delightful discovery of things unseen.
Featured Artist: Hollis Jeffcoat
By Shannen Hayes
Multi-generational Floridian Hollis Jeffcoat is the featured artist at Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel Island.
Jeffcoat studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and New York Studio School with some of the greatest painters and teachers of our time. She apprenticed with Joan Mitchell in France for three years; lived and worked in France, Canada, New York and Florida.
"Hollis is an accomplished and dedicated artist," said Maureen Watson, owner of Watson MacRae Gallery. "Her work currently being featured in the gallery is a survey of places where she has lived, but her work continues to evolve as she strives to discover new ways of expressing her feelings about nature."
Jeffcoat's work always reflects her love of nature and is filled with light, energy and intensity. While her lineage goes back to New York School, Jeffcoat goes beyond abstract expressionism to create a style that is hers and hers alone.
"She is a great painter a true genius," said Watson.
View Jeffcoat's solo exhibit from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the "sanctuary of art" in The Village Shops, 2340 Periwinkle Way, Unit B3.
"Charlotte took the theme and made it contemporary through collage," added Watson. "This exhibit is full of fur, fin and feather in clay, glass, paper and paint by artists from New York to local artist Sherry Rohl."
Rohl, who since the age of 4 loved to draw horses, has returned to that first love with equine paintings as part of the Peaceable Kingdom exhibit. Her passion and sensitivity to the subjects, coupled with her exceptional drafting ability, enable Rohl to express the power of stallions on the run and tenderness of an expectant mare at rest. She captures the anatomical correctness of each horse, as well as its personality and essence.
Owen Gray, a New-York based artist, works from his imagination to compose all types of animals in his paintings. Gray's work is full of various creatures in and around tropical foliage to demonstrate life as nature versus nurture with animals and humans living cooperatively in nature. His "Peaceful Crocodiles" oil on panel is part of the exhibit at Watson MacRae Gallery.
Peaceable Kingdom at Watson MacRae also features painter Vicki Sawyer; Elena Sheppa, a described self-taught glass artist with formal training in figurative sculpture and drawing; Thomas Swanston, who exhibits regularly in galleries in Boston, Atlanta, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Santa Fe with his work placed in private and public collections across the globe; and ceramic artist Guy Veryzer.
"The reviews have shown this is the best exhibit," said Watson. "The expressions of the artists in the theme are an unexpected portrayal of creatures. I hope this exhibit entertains and delights people."