Janet Maher, Prayer for the Earth #2.2, Mixed Media Drawing

Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly presents February 2022 Show: “Environment – Between Sea & Sky”

As the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly (ACGOW) celebrates its 30th year as a successful cooperative gallery, it recognizes and appreciates the beauty of both its supportive community and magnificent natural environment. The breathtaking Rhode Island and Connecticut coastline offers the perfect subjects for artists year round.

This is the perfect time to enjoy the quiet magic of winter and art lovers are invited to visit the Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly and discover what artists love about the season in February’s show, “Environment – Between Sea & Sky.” The “First Friday” Opening Reception is Friday, February 4th from 5-8pm.  All are encouraged to stop by the Westerly Train Station, meet the artists and see the exhibit.

February’s show will feature the artwork of new artist members Janet Maher and John Craig.  Also on display will be the art of the 40+ juried artists of Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of Westerly as they showcase their favorite pieces. 

ACGOW’s February featured artist John Craig started painting later in life.  After a long career in the highly disciplined and regulated world of finance Craig explains he, “found painting and broke free.”  His mediums and tools, “Acrylic and oil on paper, panel and canvas, along with fanciful digital photography” are used for exploring the range of emotion in abstract art.

Craig’s themes range from dystopian dreamscapes to classic abstract expressionism to colorful still lifes. He explains his approach is, “…improvisational, entirely lacking in subtlety. Don’t look for deep thought. It’s simple, unfiltered, and occasionally startling.”  He takes inspiration from Pollock, Kline, Twombly and Basquiat, as well as the Impressionist masters.  He describes his own style best as, “whatever works.” Craig has been in group shows in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut and was the 2021 resident artist at Stonington Vineyards.

Featured artist Janet Maher’s concerns about our planet led her to working with materials that are not inherently valued or obviously beautiful. She states, “I create spontaneously or through multiple steps, usually including some form of collage. I work to create a cohesive conclusion that satisfies my own eye and I hope will be intriguing to others.” She believes her organic abstract images that reference Nature can be considered at either a micro or macro level. Maher’s process is very deliberate.  She explains, “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.”

Since moving to Rhode Island a little more than a year ago, Maher has been completing a mixed media series, Prayers for the Earth. The series combines her handmade paper, work in Photoshop, archival ink jet printing, colored pencil and images of nature. She explains, “Continuing to make art in this time of such intense human and environmental suffering is my prayer toward a better future while I continue my lifelong practice of living and working simply and sustainably in the present.”

“Environment – Between Sea & Sky” features a vibrant variety of work by the juried artists of ACGOW. Art lovers can view serene seascapes, peaceful winter landscapes, handcrafted artisan wooden tables, photographs of New England during this calm season and multicolored earrings, necklaces and bracelets. This collection of fine art by local artists includes a large selection of oils, watercolors, acrylics, cold wax & oil, encaustic, multimedia, photographs, pottery, handcrafted jewelry, woodwork, fiber arts, glass, sculpture, mobiles and more.

Friday, February 4th is National Wear Red Day.  February is American Heart Month and all are encouraged to wear red on Friday, February 4th in order to raise awareness in hopes of helping eradicate heart disease and stroke in millions of women all over the nation. Artists and patrons are encouraged to wear red and each person who attends the First Friday Opening will have the opportunity to choose one item from a basket of red items that have been made by member artists to correspond to the Wear Red theme. 

A Visual Presentation of the Artists’ Process
In February several artists will be creating visual story-boards of their creative process. These special displays, through photos and written descriptions, will give visitors to the gallery a deeper understanding of the processes and procedures that these individual artists go through in order to create their own expressions and ideas through art.

Monthly Art Classes at Artists’ Cooperative Gallery of WesterlyThe ACGOW Education Committee will be offering ten adult art classes in 2022. The classes will be held at the gallery and are open to members and the general public. The price is $80 Members and $110 Nonmembers.

Save The Date – Sketch & Alla Prima Painting Class in February

The first Painting Workshop at the Gallery will be held February 8th and 15th from 10am-1pm. Contact artist Christine Reilly for more information/to register at christinelynnreilly@gmail.com or 401 212- 6797.

Save The Date – Slow Stitching Class in March

The March Slow Stitching Class will be held March 7th and 8th from 10am-1pm. Contact artist Patricia Cheyne for more information/to register at cheynepatricia@gmail.com.

The Gallery continues to recognize its duty to care for its members and the community it serves and is taking all necessary health precautions. ACGOW is following RI COVID guidelines for cleaning, provision of hand sanitizer, mandatory use of facial masks, physical distancing between guests, and overall capacity in-gallery.

The Gallery Shop, located in the West Wing of the Gallery, includes artist member creations of small works of affordable art.  The shop features prints, cards, small and miniature paintings, mobiles, coasters, pottery, glasswork, bookmarks and small hand painted boxes.

All are invited to visit the Gallery at the historic Westerly Train Station which is located at 14 Railroad Avenue. Exhibits change monthly and visitors are encouraged to join the artists at the Gallery every “First Friday” for the monthly opening reception to celebrate new art.  Please call 401-596-2221 with any questions, and/or visit www.westerlyarts.com or the ACGOW Facebook page for information about ACGOW shows and artists. Please follow ACGOW on Instagram @acgow2018.


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