Monday, December 14, 2009

holiday shop 2009

The Gem Gallery's annual Holiday Shop is chock full of original gifts. Above are unique collages by Diane Wiencke, for cards or framing. There's also a wall hung with paintings and encaustics, some by Diane, some by Norm Proulx. Baskets by Martha Morris Gibson, island style.

These are fuzzy felted Santas by Barbara Carter. Your tree is naked without them, honestly.

What about an original oil painting in an antique frame by Paul Brahms? A divine still life of morning ritual, that keeps one buttered and sweet for the rest of one's days...

Here are handcrafted rings by the notable artisan, David Sheppard. Limited edition, Santa glove optional.

These are fused glass plates by the multi-talented Thea DiMitre. She also has jewelry in the gallery. And an amazing voice. And, coincidentally a cute black-and-white dog.

Speaking of cute, if you know a small someone who loves riding the ferries on Casco Bay,
take note of this handpainted child's chair by Nancy Chalmers.

Hark! A multitude of jewelry, every piece made locally, perfect for that partridge in a pear tree you're partial to.

These are just a few of my favorite things: handprinted bags, cozy felted fingerless gloves, glass vases, pottery, prints, cards, tea bag angels, quirky clocks, handknit hats, and photographs in mats.

There are even songs. Here's a shot from Nate Drinkwater's recent opening of paintings, paired with a CD release party for Eastwave Radio. Rock on, Rudolf.

Gallery hours are:

Friday, December 18 4 - 6:30 PM.
December 19 - 24 Noon to 5 PM.

Stop in and meet the island elves that create magic just for you.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

dark shadows

The Gem Gallery opens a new show today. Come see it, if you dare.

The back room gallery looks like something out of the Addams Family stage set.

Weekend hours are 12 - 5 PM. Call 766-5600 for your fortune. An artists' reception will take place on Friday, October 30 from 5 - 8 PM. Spirits will abound.

But don't lose your head over it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

installation of warmth

The environment created by Suzanne Parrott for her "Inside and Out" show at the Gem Gallery has to be seen and felt.

She painted a backdrop of a closet, a landscape with clothesline, and a floor for the various work on display, including vests, skirts, fingerless gloves, scarves, purses, and rugs. There's even a bowl of felt pieces and wool varieties for touching.

Here's a detail.

Suzanne will be manning the gallery both today and tomorrow from 12 - 5 and is happy to chat with you about her process, her inspirations, and anything you want to know about
living on an island.

She made this figure, named Lulu, inspired by a model whose haute couture strut made the runway sizzle in last spring's fashion show at Zero Station. Lulu's deciding what to wear.

All of Suzanne's pieces are one-of-a-kind garments. Some are restructured from t-shirts and printed with block designs made by Suzanne.

Tres chic!

Friday, October 9, 2009

inside and out

Suzanne Parrott will be at the Gem Gallery this weekend, debuting her new fiber work.
Check it out!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

one of a kind

The Gem Gallery awaits the next solo show, "Inside and Out" with works by Suzanne Parrott, opening on Friday, October 9 at 5 PM.

Meanwhile, there are many unique items on display. These assemblages by Carol Cartier capture a certain bemused facade, resourceful and full of character, like islanders.

Martha Morris Gibson crafts these woven baskets with hand dyed reeds.

Diane Wiencke makes use of many materials, such as coins, wax, and pigment, which can be seen is this detail.

Here Tim Nihoff recycles playful plastic toys for this inspired twist on time. Money, too, gets a new context, with his painted additions.

A happy reminder that anytime is a good time to buy island art!

Visit on Saturdays and Sundays from (mostly) 12 - 5 PM. Call 766-5600 for more info.

Monday, September 14, 2009

fall finale

This pastel, "Delta Grass" by Jamie Hogan will be among works on display in an autumn group show featuring over 20 island artists.

The Gem Gallery will resume fall hours, opening on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 - 5 PM.
The weather is still fine for browsing, biking, and buying local art.

Friday, September 4, 2009

island treasure

The latest show opened at the Gem Gallery last night to a delighted crowd. Lavendier Myers is showing large and small oils and prints of favorite subjects such as colorful crows and dancing trees. This artist is a veteran of the Maine art scene, with collectors such as Deborah, an island resident who bought this painting by Lavendier years ago and redid her colors to match.

The Gem exhibit features scenes that evoke the Tuscan landscape, or perhaps a dreamscape with dancing trees. Lavendier grew up along the New England coast, but has lived all over the world. The work gyrates with color, energy, and inspired observations.

Jewelry artist Betsy Stout has shown her signature colorful beadwork in the front gallery all summer.

In the back gallery, alongside the paintings, she is showing these elegant pendants.

A newcomer, Christine Cassidy, joins the show with ethereal photographs that capture serene island moments. Her photographs are featured in the current Peaks Island Calendar, which can be found at the Peaks Cafe.

The show is up for only a week! Stop in and meet the artists, learn their methods and stories. Gallery hours: 11 AM - 5 PM daily. Call 766-2371 for more information.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

trio of talents

Another elegant show has been installed at the Gem Gallery. Printmaker and painter, Jane Banquer, joins the pair of potters extraordinaire, Rick Boyd and Pam Williamson. Here Jane chats during the opening evening.

Rick and Pam combine their strengths: he forms the clay, she glazes it.

Rick is a nurse anesthetist whose deft hands now create classically voluptuous vessels. Pam's background is in apparel marketing and product development. Each thrown form suggests a color to her, and she mixes her glazes from recipes, never knowing what will emerge from the kiln. That element of surprise and lack of total control keeps Rick and Pam searching, and firing, and praying to the Kiln God.

Many of their ceramic pieces are glazed in layers, such as this series that has the patina of a long lost Mayan treasure.

Jane Banquer brought a recently renewed enthusiasm for abandoned mediums to her current body of work on exhibit. For years, she worked as a printmaker, creating delicate etchings with an uncanny line and atmosphere. After a rejuvenating summer session in woodblock at Haystack, she has not picked up an etching-needle since. She has approached favorite subjects in both woodcut and paint, enjoying the translations. Here is a wonderfully detailed oil of some hens she chased around Monhegan last summer.

And a certain tree has fascinated her, here in a curvaceous woodcut, an achievement of muscle and magic.

These artists will participate in the upcoming Art Walk on August 29. Meanwhile, feel free to stop at the Gem and chat with them directly. The show runs through September 2.

Monday, August 17, 2009


The opening of the current show, Habitats, was a bluesy buzz of islanders coming together to view the latest works by Claudia Whitman and Norm Proulx. These two are quite different in approach, yet their vision together is completely simpatico.

A statement on display reads in part, "Painting is about relationships. Every dot, line, or color, though it exists by itself, is seen in the context of how and where it is used. This show, though centered around two distinct themes is about habitats. It seeks to uncover both similarities in the energy that is created in a variety of visual fields. Its hope it to open up new possibilities for visual experience beyond the world we know."

This is a wall of Claudia's mixed media pieces. Claudia's passions are represented in visual emblems: a dove for peace, a horse for action. She layers these elements in and through her myriad collages that leap with color and surprising juxtapositions.

Here's a close up:

Norm's series of small paintings call us to another place, a home in the mind. A village of invented spaces that looks familiar somehow...

A Gem Gallery opening is always good for catching up. Here Gem Gallery founder, Jane Newkirk, announces her marriage to delighted friend, Diana.

Jane opened the Gem with owner Kristen Chalmers in 2003, but left Peaks Island two years ago to pursue other goals and dreams, leaving the gallery to run itself collectively. Over 25 of us are sharing the tasks of creating, hanging, promoting, gallery sitting, and selling, while Kristen pinch hits every show.

Island Times
publisher, Kevin Attra, jazzes up the event with clarinetist, John Zemanek.

Habitats is on view through Tuesday, August 18. Monday and Tuesday hours this week are 2 - 5 PM. 62 Island Avenue, a short walk from the ferry landing on Peaks. Stop in!

Next up: Norm's partner, Jane Banquer will show her eloquent prints and paintings along with Rick Boyd and Pamela Williamson, potters extraordinaire. Scroll down past the last post for more information on their show. Opening reception is this Thursday, August 20.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

amazing feats of nimble vision

Step right up, folks! It's another new show at the Gem Gallery, this one a collaboration of Carol Cartier and Diane Wiencke, masters of style and daredevilish creations.

The opening was last Saturday evening and the show remains through August 5. Don't miss it! Carol and Diane made great use of the petite space, with small but diverse works of hand-made mysteries, such as this doll by Carol.

Here's another one, an acrobat of delicate proportions facing razor-sharp odds.

Carol recently signed up for a tinware class at MECA, only to see it cancelled. Did that stop her? She stomped over to the teacher's studio, and had herself a private hootenanny cuttin' up tin like a crazy quilter from Kentucky.

Both Carol and Diane love shape, bold color, pattern, all infused with meaning that meanders into the mind, a subtle contrast to all the visual.

Here is a wall of Diane's small works on paper, playing with the circus theme.

And a couple of close-ups:

She had a door full of "paper bag paintings" for the downright bargain of $50. each. You have to see them to love them. She says:

"These paintings are made of cut up paper bags. They are dipped in wax, then painted with plaster, sanded, scraped and painted with white out and ball point pen. Poetry pages are vintage and basically jumped onto the pages themselves."

Now that is an act of magic!

Step right up, folks! See island art at it's best. Creating something from just about nothing that swells your heart with beauty.

The previous show was incredible as well. Paul Brahms never ceases to amaze. He filled the gallery with liquid light, brushy paintings that capture moments of the day with nimble vision.

Paul is seen here, chatting with Deb Chase, avid collector of island art.

This study of a boy at play is full of love.

Nathanial Chalfant, a middle school student, added some of his driftwood sculptures to Paul's exhibit.

The weathered form makes a symbolic contrast to the still butterfly.

Magic, delight, and daring feats.

Step right up, folks!