On Saturday, July 1, 2017, The Christina Gallery, which is celebrating its 40th season, opened the 2017 Summer Exhibition with an artists’ reception for Duane Alt, Sandi Blanda, John C. Traynor, Russell Gordon and Marjorie Mason. The gallery is celebrating 20 years each with Alt, Blanda and Traynor and works by Island landscape artist Marjorie Mason and Still life and Portrait artist Russell Gordon are also being featured.
In the spring of 1977, my father and I opened a small gallery featuring his collection of vintage photographs of Martha’s Vineyard. We didn’t tell my mother about the gallery until we were ready to open. As each year passed we would expand upon the gallery’s offerings to include posters, limited edition prints and finally original works by nationally recognized artists. Today the gallery features the work of 30 living artists, a Modern Masters collection and a very unique collection of antique maps and nautical charts dating back to the mid-1500’s. We are quite proud of our artists and of the gallery.
The fall, and particularly the month of October, is a really pleasant time to visit Martha’s Vineyard and the town of Edgartown is always worth the trip. You are able to find a parking place and get a table at your favorite restaurant. The beaches and bike paths are deserted which make for a wonderful afternoon walk while taking in the crisp fall air and seasonal colors.
Even though the crowds are gone, the Island is still bustling, in part due to the very popular annual Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby but also because of the many festivals and outdoor activities that take place during this time of the year.
On Saturday, July 2, 2016, The Christina Gallery opened the 2016 Summer Exhibition with an artists’ reception for William R. Davis, Lloyd Kelly and Marjorie Mason. The gallery is celebrating 20th anniversaries with both Davis and Kelly who joined the gallery in 1996. Marjorie Mason, who has been with the gallery for many years as well, is also part of the season celebration with her recent collection of paintings of Martha’s Vineyard.
It’s finally starting to feel like summer here on the Vineyard and with the season upon us, The Christina Gallery is very excited to announce details about our 2016 Summer Exhibition with William R. Davis and Lloyd Kelly. Both Bill and Lloyd have been with our gallery for twenty years so we are celebrating this milestone with an artists’ reception on Saturday July 2, 2016 from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. There will be soft music and light refreshments.
My mother, Liz and I first met Bill Davis when we visited his studio on the Cape back in the mid 1990’s. Not only did he display his work but also many antique paintings, which he and his wife, Judy, had a fondness for collecting. Almost instantly, Bill’s masterful marine paintings were a success with our clientele.
Au revoir 2015, Bonjour 2016! With 2015 now behind us, we find ourselves reflecting on the past year and how fortunate we are for being both healthy and happy. It was an exciting year for many of the artists who experienced steady sales and the exhibitions with Lillia Frantin and Marjorie Mason were very well received. We are looking forward to next season with the hope that this positive sales trend will continue for all of the artists.
In November, I traveled to France with my sister, Catherine. We were in Paris when the attacks took place and although we were not in harm’s way, it was an unsettling experience – one that I personally will not forget anytime soon. Paris is such a beautiful and vibrant city and I hope to make it back there soon.
The first time I saw a Sailors’ Valentine was in 1997 when award-winning artist Sandi Blanda joined our gallery. I remember being surprised by the intricacy of her work and still to this day, I marvel at her time and commitment in making these really distinctive works of art. Her colorful, geometric patterns remind me of a kaleidoscope, though these works should not be rotated, just enjoyed.
Sailors’ Valentines are part of an old maritime history dating back to the Victorian era. These mosaics, originally called Fancy Work are native to the island of Barbados. The locals would often use up to thirty-five different types of indigenous shells and arrange them into elaborate designs in octagonal boxes. Sailors travelling to the area from England and America would purchase the mementos in port to bring home to their loved ones. Often a sentimental message such as Be Mine would be worked into the mosaic, thus inspiring the name Sailors’ Valentines.
Every time I speak about the marine paintings by William R. Davis, I point out that he is a self-taught artist. As I am saying the words and looking at his paintings, I say to myself ‘that cannot be’, but it is true. Davis was born in 1952 in Somerville, Massachusetts, and grew up near the shore in Hyannis where he enjoyed a love of sailing that still is with him today. He has spent much time studying the works of the 19th century masters and has amassed an impressive library that he references to achieve historical integrity in his paintings.
Over the nearly twenty years that we have represented his work, I have most enjoyed Davis’ attention to detail, regardless of the size of the painting. To me there are little paintings within the larger one. Clients and those new to his work have also marveled at his detail.
Marjorie Mason’s Vineyard Landscapes opened on Thursday, August 6, 2015, at The Christina Gallery in historic downtown Edgartown. Mason has developed an impressive following of patrons since her graduation from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Art and Design in 1981. “Just before I graduated from art school I happened upon a printmaking technique that guided me out of my major in Illustration and into the world of oil painting the landscape.” Mason would spend the next twenty years perfecting that technique of monotype oil painting where the finish work takes on the softness of a pastel. During this time she also evolved as a plein air painter working consistently with other Island artists who shared the same passion to explore Martha’s Vineyard through direct or alla prima painting.
Lillia Frantin’s “Island Colors” exhibition opened last Saturday evening with an artist reception hosted by The Christina Gallery. Frantin has been exhibiting with the gallery for four years and this is her second solo exhibition. The collection has been very well received by her admirers, as well as first time visitors to the gallery.