Check out the summer’s most festive gallery event this week, as the Eisenhauer Gallery in Edgartown hosts a themed party in honor of their latest exhibit, “She Only Wore White.” Not only will the artwork feature a white theme, guests are encouraged to dress in their summer whites, and hostess Elizabeth Eisenhauer will offer white cocktails. Outside in the courtyard, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish will perform the gallery’s weekly live concert.
Ms. Eisenhauer hosts a featured show every two weeks. This particular exhibit has been in the making for a year. “We invited the artists last year to prepare something for this exhibition,” Ms. Eisenhauer said. “The challenge is to stretch the artists, to open our minds.”
The 10 artists included in the exhibit have each interpreted the theme in their own individual style.
Edgartown artist Deborah Colter has provided two abstract pieces. She is known for her abstract mixed-media work, featuring grids and geometric forms built up with cut paper.
“White is pretty difficult to work with,” Ms. Colter said. “You’re limiting yourself. I work mostly in bold, strong colors, but it’s always fun to do something that opens you up in new direction.”
The two pieces she created for the white show feature small colored sections surrounded by white-on-white areas. “Both have a lot of sort of subtle texture within the white that will command interest,” she said. “I work with a lot of cut-paper collage that I build into the surface of the canvas. I love the way it fills up a three-dimensionality. It’s much more challenging mentally and physically.”
Carol Bennet, a mainstay with the Eisenhauer Gallery, is known for her paintings of swimmers. Captured beneath the surface of the water, her swimmers’ bodies (in this case in a white suit) float and glide in various poses of weightlessness.
Michael Brousseau paints snapshots of rural and seafaring images: a portion of a sail, a stack of buoys, a deteriorating old barn. For the current show, he has discovered white in nature: a mama and baby goat, a woman in an unbleached muslin dress disembarking from a boat with two handfuls of freshly caught fish showing their pale underbellies as they dangle from their tails. Another painting features a beat-up old truck in a chalky white shade in stark contrast to the rusted-out spots.
Santiago Garcia has provided a painting of two zebras against a white background. Kenneth Peloke contributed a couple of his dreamy close-up horse paintings.
As with many of the featured works, Jim Zwadlo’s paintings are especially attractive because of the way color stands out against the primarily white canvas. Mr. Zwadlo choses a bird’s-eye view for his paintings of crowd scenes. His series “Pedestrians” features people rushing about in various directions, viewed from above.
In her artist’s statement, Agnieszka Pilat says, “I don’t paint people. I paint time, which is a universal concept that can be described through a visual metaphor.” Her choice of metaphor for many of her paintings is a young girl, often clad in a white ballet dress and slippers. The painting she is showing in the current exhibit features the little ballerina, a pensive expression on her face, leaning against a partially painted wall which takes up half of the frame. The detail in the girl’s features, combined with the unfinished quality of the rest of the work, gives a wonderfully moody effect to the painting.
The one three-dimensional artist in the show is Susan Freda, who creates delicate floating dresses from wire, embellished here and there with bits of colored glass. Her airy, life-size pieces spotlight the female form while also evoking something ephemeral and mysterious.
One of the artists that Ms. Eisenhauer is especially excited about is Lee Price, who has provided one of her contemporary realist self-portraits to the white show. “I’ve been watching her work for about 10 years,” Ms. Eisenhauer said of the artist, who shows in numerous galleries in New York City, California, and elsewhere around the country.
Ms. Price is known for incorporating food in her hyper-realistic self-portraits, often depicting herself in a bathtub surrounded by edibles like lemon slices or pints of ice cream. For the Eisenhauer Gallery, the artist has posed herself in a simple white dress, munching on a sugar-dusted jelly doughnut.
Like all of the work in the show, Ms. Price’s is far from your typical Vineyard art. “It’s a mix,” Ms. Eisenhauer said of her gallery’s collection. “I want to offer something more than just landscapes. It’s more interesting to have a mix. It’s our job to keep it interesting.”
-By Gwynn McAllister
M.V. Times, August 2, 2016