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Watson MacRae Gallery to unveil new monthly exhibit

By Staff | Jan 7, 2020

SHERRY ROHL

Showcasing the work of Hollis Jeffcoat and over a dozen artists from throughout her life, the Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel will host an opening reception next week for its new monthly exhibit.

On display until Feb. 8, the exhibit “Forever Friends” will feature a montage of Jeffcoat’s art, along with two or three pieces from 13 of her friends. At least one piece from each contributing artist, many of them lifelong friends of hers, will be a new work inspired by her and dedicated in remembrance.

Open to all, the opening reception will be held on Jan. 14 from 5 to 7 p.m.

“This one is to commemorate Hollis and remember her and her influence on other artists,” gallery owner Maureen Watson said. “She was an artist, inspiration, teacher and friend.”

An abstract expressionist painter, Jeffcoat passed away in April 2018. A fifth-generation Fort Myers native, she studied at the New York Studio School and in France. A nature painter who put feelings into her work, she has pieces at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Library and Quebec museums.

DEBORAH MASTERS

Jeffcoat also had ties to Sanibel, as she and her father delivered provisions on the old ferry.

“Hollis made lifelong friendships,” Watson said. “The 13 artists featured in this exhibit are from the different segments of her life with one thing in common – they all shared a great love of art.”

“These accomplished artists continue to exhibit their work, adding to the beauty and wonder of the world,” she added. “Most agreed that Hollis had a significant influence on their art making. All felt she had an impact on their lives.”

The exhibit will feature mostly painters and sculptors, as well as printmakers.

“Some of them are local,” Watson said of the contributing friends.

SPENCER ELDRIDGE

It will highlight four periods of Jeffcoat’s career, with the artists divided among them, to include: “Early Fort Myers 1966” with painters Krista Johnson, Leo Johnson and Spencer Eldridge; “New York Studio School 1976” with printmaker and painter Patti Lipman, painters David Fratkin and Michael Goodwin, and sculptor Deborah Masters; “Montreal 1980” with sculptor Michel Beaudry, and printmaker and installation Bonnie Baxter; and “Late Fort Myers 1997” with sculptor Jim Krieger, printmaker and painter Sherry Rohl, painter Darby Bannard, and photographer Paul Rodino.

“Several of these people were collaborators with Hollis,” she said.

Some newly discovered pieces by Jeffcoat will be included in the exhibit, along with some of her sketchbooks and art diaries. Interwoven among the exhibit will be photos of Jeffcoat and her friends.

“Hollis was a very accomplished painter. She was steeped in art history,” Watson said. “She was very generous with her knowledge about painting and would readily give advice or critique to friends.”

“People were in love with her,” she added. “She loved them, and they loved her.”

PATTI LIPMAN

Most of the contributing friends will be on hand for the reception.

The public is invited to stop by.

“It’s an opportunity to see a great and varied painter,” Watson said. “And the (contributing) artists would be happy to talk to people about their work or about how Hollis influenced their work.”

For more information, call 239-472-3386.

The Watson MacRae Gallery is at 2340 Periwinkle Way, Suite G1.

KRISTA JOHNSON