Take a stroll down North Water Street any Thursday evening in the summer, and awaiting you on the steps of the Vineyard Square Hotel is a raucous party, complete with live music, dancing children, and rocking chairs a-rockin’. This weekly spectacle is an offering of the Eisenhauer Gallery, an Edgartown fixture now celebrating its 15th season in business.

The Eisenhauer Gallery kicked off the summer season in style this past Saturday, with Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish setting the musical backdrop, Vintage MV Wine and Spirits pouring the libations, and Sweet Neck oysters providing sustenance. But the true bounty was the art on show. Paintings, sculpture, and jewelry awaited the hungry eye, and the displays did not disappoint.

The Eisenhauer Gallery’s collection varies from realist marine paintings to bold expressionism, exhibiting a diverse body of work that has been carefully selected by gallery owner Elizabeth Eisenhauer, boasting painting and sculpture by both national and international artists.

Elizabeth has long been in the business of connecting folks with works of art, having opened her first gallery on Block Island in 1996. The gallery in Edgartown has been in its current location since 2000. Elizabeth says, “I love watching people fall in love with art. The unpredictability of being an art dealer keeps life very entertaining. So much unknown in each day, the adrenalin of the sales, and sheer beauty of my environment is so stimulating.”

Elizabeth credits husband Paul Caval with much of the gallery’s success, as his hard work behind the scene is imperative to the operation. With three sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren, and winters spent in the Abacos, there is no lack of inspiration.

The theme of Saturday’s event was the “Collectors’ Interview,” a new experience complete with ballot boxes and collectors’ commentary. The event welcomed four new artists to the Eisenhauer Gallery’s roster, each with fresh styles and viewpoints. Artist Jill Holland, who was on hand to meet guests and answer questions about her work, presents mixed-media abstract pieces that combine traditional tools with the nontraditional, including gold leaf and spray paint. Raised in Baton Rouge, La., and currently residing in Fredericksburg, Texas, Jill’s work “typically depicts hints of landscapes in abstract form, leaving room for the imagination to tell its own story.”

Suzanne Crocker works in oil on canvas, in large scale, depicting barns. Suzanne says, “My barn paintings are calm and peaceful … the goal is to depict the essence of the place … to capture the mood and light and to focus on what my subject may be feeling.”

Benjamin Anderson presents his latest series of large-scale oil paintings that blend themes of “beauty, war, and materialism.” Benjamin uses water as his visual vehicle, and depicts such things as antique cars just below the surface of a rippling pool of blue. In addition to his own art career, he is also a co-owner and co-curator of the Anderson ART Collective in his home town of Carpinteria, Calif.

Paul Norwood grew up on the coast of Maine, and decided early on that he’d “rather paint the sea than fish from it.” His oil-on-canvas works are fun and vibrant depictions of summer at its finest: swimsuits and sunshine and clear blue ocean for days. Paul’s use of the palette knife provides movement, and his backgrounds of concentric circles offer a note that adds to the almost frantic excitement of the scenes. Paul says, “By combining the figure with bold graphic elements, an invisible, layered reality emerges. Concentric circles echo the rippling of water and heighten the already charged world the figures inhabit.”

These four artists join many others in this bold, daring collection that never ceases to excite the senses. Stop by the gallery next time you are in town, and let Elizabeth help you fall in love with art. You will be glad you did.


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