July 22, 2024

June Exhibit: Book

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At the DeBlois Gallery June 1 -30 , 2024
Gallery Night Thursday June 13, 5-7 PM

Our June exhibit features the work of painter Michael Pekala, multimedia artists Manjula Padmanabhan, Bettie Sarantos, and Virginia Stone, as well as book artist Kathleen Morton. The show’s title, Book, connects work by illustrators of books, writers, and artists who use book imagery and have a connection to the world of books.

Kathleen Morton has been a member of DeBlois Gallery and Beach Studios for over 15 years. Known for printmaking, encaustic, and collage work, she more recently ventured into bookmaking. As a self-taught bookmaker, with the help of some instruction books and the computer, Kathleen has refined her craft. Her love for working with papers and textures allowed for a natural transition to designing books, many of which have become memory makers for herself as well as others.

Artist and author Manjula Padmanabhan says that as an illustrator, her drawings are usually detailed and realistic with a touch of comedy. She drew a comic strip for many years, which has no doubt contributed to the slightly cartoony aspect of her illustrations for children. As an artist, however, her work tends towards bright colors and surrealism. For this show, Manjula is presenting drawings and reproductions that will echo some of her book illustrations. She will also have few copies of her published books available.

An illustrator who primarily paints on stretched upholstery fabric with acrylic paints, Michael Pekala looks for ways to incorporate the fabric’s pattern and texture into his work, which often infuses the piece with a sense of whimsy and wonder. Inspired by nature, wildlife and New England lighthouses, Michael started with pen and ink before evolving into acrylics on fabric. Being surrounded by bolts of his furniture upholsterer mom’s fabric at a young age led Michael to experiment with fabric as his “canvas.” The patterns to him are like clouds in the sky; he’ll stare at them and think, “What do I see?” as a way to jumpstart his creative process.

Multimedia artist Bettie Sarantos says that she paints intuitively and enjoys playing and experimenting with different media. She loves the meditative feeling of getting lost in the process and going with the flow. Chinese art is her passion; she has explored this lifetime learning experience through the process of grinding ink, using unique brushes, natural pigments, and Asian papers, embracing the symbolism, calligraphy and philosophy behind this special art form. Bettie also has a passion for printmaking and especially monotypes, and often transforms prints into collages or multimedia pieces using found objects and textures.

Virginia Stone was inspired to create this group show to honor books. She was in line at a Habitat for Humanities store one day when she began to discuss the novels in the cart of the lady in front of her, explaining the plots and recommending which books she liked. At some point the lady finally stopped her and said, "I am not buying these books to read. I am an interior designer. I am going to cover them with white paper for staging"! 

Follow us on social media for specific dates, times, and artists featured in
these events. 
Website: www.debloisgallery.com  
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/debloisgallery/  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debloisgallery1  

The DeBlois Gallery is located at 134 Aquidneck Avenue in Middletown and is open 1-5 PM Wednesday through Sunday. All welcome; ample, free parking!

*DeBlois Gallery will be participating in the Newport Artists Collective Gallery Trolley Tours departing from Perrotti Park (near the Brenton Hotel) on Thursday June 6, 6-8 PM. For more information on stops and times,
email debloisgallery@gmail.com.

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