WESTERLY — Painter Kathleen Hemenway, calligraphy artist Jane Parillo Rollins and furniture maker and designer Clarence Spangler are the featured artists this month at the The Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly. The show, which runs through April 1, will have an opening wine and hors d’oeuvres reception Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.
Hemenway, originally from Washington, D.C., has a passion for abstract landscapes and a deep love of nature. Her current works express her respect for elements of the natural world — the water and the mountains, according to Lois Lawrence, one of the exhibit organizers.
Hemenway has been painting for most of her life and has shown her work at the Providence Art Club, the Imago Gallery in Warren, R.I., and a number of galleries in Virginia and the metropolitan D.C. area.
Rollins typically chooses subject matters that are spiritual and nature-based, said Lawrence. Rollins began her journey as a calligrapher in 1980 and was immediately captivated by the meditative practice of creating the letterforms, said Lawrence in a media statement.
Her work has appeared in a number of international juried publications and she has exhibited throughout New England, Lawrence added. In 2002, her project in response to the events of Sept. 11, was funded by the North Kingstown Arts council.
“Rollins tells us in her artist’s statement that words are powerful,” said Lawrence. “They can convey an idea, express an emotion, render one to laughter or tears. Such is the impact of calligraphic art.”
“My work is influenced by literature and poetry, and sometimes the words are my own,” wrote Rollins in her artist’s statement. “My medium of choice might be watercolors, collage or ink. My backgrounds might be paper, wood, glass, walls, or perhaps canvas. The tools I use may be traditional pens or brushes — or perhaps something more unusual such as toothpicks, popsicle sticks or handmade pens out of litho plate.”
Spangler, a Pittsburgh native and active member of the Woodworkers’ Guild of Rhode Island, has been interested in his craft for 30 years.
During his more than 20 years in the military, Spangler dabbled in woodworking, making gifts for friends and performing repairs.
Originally self-taught, he has since studied with master craftsmen at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, Mickey Callahan, co-founder of the Society of American Furniture Makers, and Michael McCarthy, master carver of wood signs at Yankee Woodcarvers of Plymouth, Mass.
Over the years Spangler has carved beds and other bedroom furnishings, chairs, tables, sideboards, as well as signs and decorative flower boxes.
He explains that he likes to incorporate woods native to New England including white oak, cherry, maple and holly in his work.
He strives to accent each piece with decorative inlay to highlight light and dark tones in the wood.
Spangler strives to bring out the natural beauty in wood whether depth of color, grain direction or old growth appearance.
He protects his pieces with a durable clear finish.
Westerly Middle School students will show their work during the month of March in the gallery’s Back Room Art Gallery, along with the work of their art teacher, Kelly Nunes Donohue.
Lawrence said gallery patrons are encouraged to join in the creative process by voting on their favorite pieces and by sharing ideas with the artists.
“It is part of the gallery’s mission not only to share what members have created but to inspire and to take inspiration from friends and neighbors as well,” Lawrence said.
Lawrence also said the gallery has announced a Call for Entries for its annual regional juried show to be held during the month of May. Work submitted for jurying will be accepted on April 29 and 30.
The annual event draws work from artists from around New England. This year’s juror will be Michael Peery, an artist who holds an MFA from the New York Academy of Art and is currently an instructor in Painting at RISD Continuing Education at the Westerly Education Center.
A prospectus is available on the gallery’s website at westerlyarts.com.
The gallery is located on 7 Canal St. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 401-596-2221 or visit westerlyarts.com.
-- Nancy Burns-Fusaro