WESTERLY — John Craig and Janet Maher are the featured artists at the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly this month in an exhibition titled “Environment — Between Sea & Sky.”
The exhibition will include a “vibrant variety of works” from the gallery’s jury artists, artist Helen Roy said in a statement. “Art lovers can admire serene seascapes, peaceful winter landscapes, handcrafted wooden tables, photographs of New England during this quiet season, and multicolored earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.”
The collection of artwork by local artists includes a wide selection of oils, watercolours, acrylics, cold wax and oil, encaustic, multimedia, photography, pottery, handcrafted jewelry, woodwork, textile arts, glass, sculptures, mobiles and more, added Roy. .
As the gallery celebrates 30 years as a thriving cooperative gallery, Roy added, “it recognizes and appreciates the beauty of its supportive community and beautiful natural surroundings.”
“The breathtaking coastline of Rhode Island and Connecticut provides perfect subject matter for artists year-round,” Roy said.
“It’s the perfect time to enjoy the quiet magic of winter,” she said, “and art lovers are invited to visit the Westerly Artists’ Co-operative Gallery and experience what artists like of the season at the February exhibition”.
Craig, said Roy, began painting later in life, after a long career in the “highly disciplined and regulated world of finance”.
Craig, according to Roy, “found the painting and broke free”.
Her media and tools are “acrylic and oil on paper, panel and canvas, as well as whimsical digital photography”, she added, and are used to explore the range of emotions in abstract art. .
His themes range from “dystopian dreamscapes to classic abstract expressionism to colorful still lifes,” Roy said. His approach is “simple, unfiltered and sometimes surprising”. Craig has participated in group shows in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut and was the 2021 Artist in Residence at Stonington Vineyards.
Roy said “Maher’s concern for our planet has led her to work with materials that are not inherently valued or overtly beautiful.”
“I create spontaneously or in multiple stages, usually including some form of collage,” Maher said in her artist statement. “I work to create a cohesive conclusion that satisfies my own eyes and hopefully intrigues others.”
“Creating art as a layered building process requires slowing down and paying attention to many details at once, simultaneously serving as a form of meditation,” Maher said.
Since moving to Rhode Island just over a year ago, Maher has completed a multimedia series called “Prayers for the Earth,” Roy said, explaining that the series combines “her handmade paper , his work in Photoshop, his archival inkjet print, colored pencil and nature images.”
“Continuing to make art in this time of such intense human and environmental suffering is my prayer for a better future while continuing my practice of living and working simply and sustainably in the present,” said Maher.
The exhibit opens Friday with an opening reception scheduled from 5-8 p.m. where guests are encouraged to dress in red.
The opening coincides with “National Wear Red Day,” Roy pointed out, and since February is American Heart Month, the gallery wanted to participate in the event “to raise awareness in hopes of helping eradicate heart disease and stroke in millions of women nationwide.”
“Each person who attends the opening on the first Friday will have the opportunity to choose an item from a basket of red items that have been made by member artists to match the ‘Wear Red’ theme,” Roy said.