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‘All a We’ — Mango Tango Art Gallery Celebrates All the Artists It Has Exhibited

‘Harbor Night Study’ by WB Thompson

Mango Tango Art Gallery ends the season with flair. The “All a We” show celebrates the creativity of all of the Mango Tango artists. The show will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., on Saturday, May 25.

Paintings, drawings, both ceramic and wood sculptures, as well as Haitian flags and upcycled steel drum sculptures fill the gallery.

Mandy Thody excels at Afrocentric busts in clay and Islanders in watercolors. Local Jess Rosenberg delights collectors with her functional pottery. Her stand-alone vessels shine, and she shows her versatility with her striking pastel depictions of downtown.  Sara Lee Hayes offers a few stunning double-walled vessels. Former ceramicist Courtney Devonish concentrates solely on wood sculptures these days in winning touchable forms. Especially compelling are his sculptures of two pregnant women in two different woods and genres: abstract and realistic.

Two artists exalt the beauty of our islands, Brenda Sylvia and Brian Murphy. Sylvia works in large and small formats and Murphy generally paints smaller works in plein air (on location). Both artists paint on canvas and hardboard, she in acrylic and he in oil. Both artists capture a moment in time that poignantly captures each viewer’s attention.

Rae Kehoe has been successfully painting and selling engaging seascapes of the islands for over 35 years. She shares her art in two ways to her client base. First, she offers her images in offset matted lithographs, most of which are available as matted 11 by 14 prints but can be available in poster size. Secondly, she takes custom orders to create prints-on-canvas, or giclees of larger, more costly paintings.

Don Dahlke offers works on paper, canvas and linen. His whimsical paintings of Islanders in the early 90’s put Mango Tango on the world art map. His subsequent architectural paintings garnered another client base while his abstracts caught the notice of museums. As his originals have skyrocketed in price, he created three smaller and more reasonably priced works to celebrate the success of working with the gallery. He also offers giclees of his works on canvas.

Island icon W.B. Thompson continues to “control chaos with color” in mixed media on canvas, marine board, and paper. As his talent has created both a high demand for his work and an increase in price, for this show, he painted four 18×24 works on paper that are in a more affordable range.

“Race Day’ an abstract by Shari Erickson (Submitted photo)

Gallery assistant Adam Thorp notes that “Artist Shari Erickson simply captures the essence of the Caribbean in each of her paintings. Her paintings of people make you think fondly of someone you know here. Her oil-on-canvas paintings of children are just captivating. She has all the price points covered. She offers originals, matted prints, and prints on canvas. Additionally, she welcomes commissions.”

Nonagenarian Caroline Duprey’s use of color and subject matter is often noted by gallery-goers to be in line with WB Thompson’s paint choice, but distinctly in her own memorable primitive style. The St. Croix artist created three new works.

Kristen Maize, who grew up in St. John, spent time studying with her mentor Mercedes Bantz. It is with great pleasure that the gallery represents both these exceptional artists who both work in oil on canvas.

Phyllis Charles charms us in two ways. Her “animals with an attitude” paintings share a great sense of humor that makes us recognize subtle similarities between humans and critters. Her floral works capture the beauty of blossoms so well that all that is missing is the scent.

Mary Rodriguez is finding her niche in the Caribbean. She has two distinct styles, abstract and stylized, both often informed by a floral or a musical dimension. One avid buyer said, “This painting definitely makes for conversation.”

Figurative expressionist artist Mel McCuddin has sadly passed, but his paintings continue to mesmerize many. Gallery owner Jane Coombes notes, “He has always been popular in the gallery since we began working with him 18 years ago. We have a treasure trove of amazing paintings and drawings. We want locals to know not to wait too long to choose one, because he is the most popular artist shown in the website shop, selling globally.”

Kat Stevens counts Mel McCuddin as her greatest influence. Most of her paintings are diminutive: 16×20 inches, 12×12 inches, 8×8 inches, 6×6 inches and a few smaller ones. What makes her oil-on-canvas works so intriguing is that each one is a powerhouse of abstract colors and forms or mystical images. Sometimes they combine both.

Augustine Holder communicates distinctly via abstract color and form in acrylic on canvas. He has garnered clientele on St. Croix, and he debuted at Mango Tango last month with great success. Holder has long deserved to be part of the prestigious gallery lineup.

Jane Coombes began importing Haitian recycled metal fashioned into sculpture in the early 80s. She was a school teacher and her husband a chef. Wherever her husband cooked brunch on Sundays, the restaurant owner would give her a table to sell handmade items from the islands. The metal sculptures from Haiti were the biggest hit. Made from discarded oil drums, each finished sculpture is unique. Coombes continued to sell Haitian metal when Mango Tango opened in 1988. Later, Carolle Sirhakis, the Caribbean’s expert in Haitian art, took her to Haiti and Coombes became her dedicated student. In addition to Haitian metal, the show includes paintings and Haitian artifacts such as flags and bottles, bejeweled with sequins.

To add to the evening’s festivities, Louis Tayor on keyboard and Ras Abu on congas will provide dynamic music. Spirits and appetizers will also be offered.

The show continues for one month. For more information, view the show on the gallery’s website: mangotangoart.com or call 340-777-3060.

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