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Watson MacRae Gallery to unveil new monthly exhibit

By Staff | Feb 4, 2020

DIANA STETSON “Birds in an Orange Light”

The Watson MacRae Gallery on Sanibel will unveil its new monthly exhibit next week, which showcases four artists whose works offer a reflection and appreciation of the environment.

On display from Feb. 11 through March 7, “In Love with This Earth” will feature pieces by painter Diana Stetson, printmaker and painter Kathleen McCloud, ceramist Caroline Douglas and painter Rimi Yang. All are tied to New Mexico, while Stetson, McCloud and Douglas are new gallery exhibitors.

“This exhibit was inspired by my summer in Santa Fe,” owner Maureen Watson said.

She explained that while New Mexico and Sanibel may appear different in terms of weather and climate, the feelings about and respect for the land and its creatures are actually very similar.

In fact, the exhibit’s title of “In Love with This Earth” comes from a show by Stetson.

KATHLEEN MCCLOUD “Moonlight Ride”

“That’s where she paints from – she loves the creatures, especially the birds, and the trees that they live in,” Watson said. “So I found other artists who also felt that way, but create different things.”

She noted the correlation between their artwork and Sanibel’s appreciation for the environment.

“I think this exhibit reflects how we feel about nature here on the islands, but it’s from the perspective of artists from Santa Fe,” Watson said. “So it’s really about nature – it’s a nature-based show.”

Based in Santa Fe, Stetson works with monotypes and mixed media paintings to “express and celebrate the deep connection between humans and the natural world,” more specifically through two means.

“She finds antique etchings of animals and includes them,” she said, adding that Stetson ties them into an Ark series. “That’s really her focus, endangered species, and the Ark is symbolic of saving them.”

CAROLINE DOUGLAS “Zebra”

“She also paints a series of stylized trees and places real birds in them,” Watson said.

She described the pieces as an appealing combination of mediums and styles.

Also based in Santa Fe, McCloud creates collages that are multi-layered and multi-leveled. Her collages are too intense to be described as whimsical, yet McCloud’s imagery is playful and quirky. Watson pointed to one work, in which an elephant is skateboarding to the moon, as an example.

“She has imagery that is too intense to be whimsical, but it’s spirited and imaginative, so I call it magical,” she said.

Watson added that McCloud’s pieces are layered with symbolism.

RIMI YANG “Jump Over Lotus”

“And her work has an Asian feel to it,” she said. “So it’s like the sacredness of the elephants, even though it’s fanciful.”

Douglas, who shows in Santa Fe but is based out of Colorado, is intrigued by stories of the mythic hero who travels inward and the quality of spirit found in the art of primitive cultures, Watson explained.

Her ceramic animals are shamanic beings and wise healers.

“She creates these wonderful creatures and animals, and shows the relationship between the animals and people – and the animals are superseding the people,” she said.

Watson noted that Douglas once was faced with a life-threatening condition.

DIANA STETSON “Gathering in Blue”

“Art saved her life. It brought her back,” she said. “These animals brought her back to life.”

The sole returning exhibitor out of the group, Rimi also shows in Santa Fe but is based out of Los Angeles. Watson described her paintings as full of vibrant color, enchanting imagery and spirit.

“She has a wonderful use of color and paint,” she said. “She paints about the things she loved in her childhood.”

Those subjects include horses, birds and cats.

“Her work is a great combination of folk and abstract art,” Watson said.

The public is invited to stop in and peruse the new exhibit.

“This is wonderful work that people won’t normally get to see,” she said, noting that many of them are internationally-acclaimed. “Coming from a different area, these artists have a different perspective on their subject matter.”

An opening reception for the exhibit will be held on Feb. 11 from 5 to 7 p.m.

For more information, call 239-472-3386.

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