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‘Summer Salon’ exhibit on display at Watson MacRae

By Staff | Jun 16, 2011

By SHANNEN HAYES The new Summer Salon exhibit at Watson MacRae Gallery that includes work by artists Harriet Marshall Goode, Darby Bannard and Hollis Jeffcoat.

The Southwest Florida temperatures have heated up, natives slowed down and island restaurants are happy to accept walk-in patrons, but most important is left turns are possible – all signs of summer on Sanibel.

This also means Maurueen Watson, owner of Watson MacRae Gallery has a new exhibit “Summer Salon” on display. The wonderful exhibit features several pieces from artists shown at Watson MacRae this season turning the small gallery in The Village Shops into a little museum with artwork for everyone to enjoy.

“It is snapshots of the season that work together in this space,” said Maureen about the Summer Salon exhibit. “I do this every year, as a way to start over for another season.”

Work by artist Darby Bannard, an initiator of the Minimalist movement, is part of the gallery’s Summer Salon. Bannard has made significant original contributions to the field of art throughout his career. He began to use the new acrylic medium, which evolved into his ground-breaking paintings of colorful expanses of richly colored gels applied, due to a fortuitous lack of brushes, with squeegees, rakes and brooms.

Today, he is professor and head of painting at University of Miami and, always the innovator, is working with a group of painters creating the Miami School of Abstraction. For more than 45 years, people across the world have enjoyed his pictures starting with his first solo exhibit in New York City in 1965.

Now his work is in collections of all the major New York and United States museums and several overseas. In addition, he is a prolific writer on art with more than 100 published essays and reviews in ArtNews, Art Forum, Art in America and the NY Times. Bannard has received six national awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and Clement Greenberg proclaiming him one of the best five or six living painters.

As Bannard often says in his artist statements, “I hope you enjoy the pictures.”

Along with Bannard’s work, is art by Sanibel artist Hollis Jeffcoat. Known as an extraordinary colorist, the work in Jeffcoat’s exhibit showcases the dexterity of her paint handling that can only be called masterful. While Jeffcoat’s lineage goes back to the New York School, she goes beyond abstract expressionism creating a style that is hers alone.

The vibrancy of Florida color and light found in her earlier work returns, but there is maturity to the work that goes beyond making beautiful paintings. Look closely and you will see the nuance and layers of color, the direction and size of the brush stroke, the edges and you will learn about Jeffcoat’s incredible technique; sit with it for a while and you will have experienced a masterpiece of abstract painting.

“As I painted this series it was a very visceral experience,” Jeffcoat’s once said about creating this collection. “I felt like I did as a child swimming underwater through grasses in the Gulf of Mexico and seeing the creatures I might encounter.”

This Florida native has had 19 solo exhibits and been in 35 group exhibitions in the country, Canada and France. Her work can be found in several New York and Canadian museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Morgan Library and in the Pierre Matisse Collection.

Harriet Marshall Goode rounds out the Summer Salon exhibit with her storytelling through brush strokes and paint. The stories she tells are about women – some she knows and some she would like to know. Goode’s paintings are quiet, yet her women are large, elegant and frontal.

The paintings in this exhibit have an otherworldly quality with bright light that illuminates the graceful figure in the largest work. Of particular interest is the presence of string or rope in every painting. This string is often tied to the key symbol and in many forms a Catenary Arc. The women in Goode’s paintings look us straight on – they have a deeper story to tell. It’s a treat to explore these paintings and to get to know these women better.

“For years I painted imagery that was easy, safe and almost came off my brush like honey oozing from the hive,” said Goode, a South Carolina native. “Now, I’m making what I believe is a more courageous mark, full of renewed commitment. I simply want to leave my mark.”

Goode’s paintings of women have won top awards in juried competitions across the country since the mid-1980s. She has had extensive experience in the arts and has received the Medal of Honor in the Arts presented by Winthrop University, a Career Achievement Award by Converse College, along with several other honors. She paints and resides in Rock Hill, S.C. with her husband Martin.

Watson MacRae Gallery is closing its third season on Sanibel Island with this wonderful collection of artwork by masters of their craft. It is the first gallery owned by Maureen, who studied art in New York and helped start an art school in Naples with Jeffcoat.

“Art is important to the human experience,” said Maureen. “Art in a gallery created by passionate artists is beauty and beauty heals – that is idea behind Watson MacRae.”

Visit Watson MacRae and experience tremendous paintings, sculptures and handcrafted jewelry. The gallery, or sanctuary of art, is located at 2340 Periwinkle Way in unit B3.