“Unraveling” by Bill Oakes.

The Haley Art Gallery will host a gallery talk by Sharon Oakes in connection with the current exhibit, “Bill Oakes: Art, Imagination, Vision,” from 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 20.

Sharon and Bill Oakes were married for 15 years before Bill passed away in 2005. The talk will explore how a 1990 trip to Mexico and the artist’s unique vision and expansive imagination inspired many of the exhibited works on view at the gallery through Sept. 10.  

A portion of the profits from the Bill Oakes show will be donated to The Dance Hall in Kittery.

Sharon Oakes will also discuss how Bill, after years as a representational artist and illustrator, was so excited by Mexico’s light, textures, colors, peeling posters and rusting cars–turned from realism to abstraction. He felt abstract art encouraged the viewer to use their imagination and see in new ways. One of his greatest joys in life was helping others make discoveries.

Bill grew up in Maine and started painting as a child. Following his graduation from Brunswick High School, he attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington. Moving to Washington, D.C., to join the Navy, he was assigned to the Navy Combat Art Gallery as the first artist on active duty providing visual reporting since 1954. His over 180 paintings and drawings of returning Vietnam vets at the Bethesda Naval hospital, sailors at the Navy diving school, and the recommissioning of the Battleship New Jersey, remain in the U.S. Navy Fine Arts Collection. 

Bill held a master’s degree in critical and creative thinking from UMass, Boston and taught at the New England School of Art and Design and the Art Institute of Boston. His illustrations appeared in books and numerous magazines and newspapers including The Washington Post (as a Watergate trials courtroom artist), The Boston Globe, The Christian Science Monitor and Look, National Geographic, Reader’s Digest, Time, Sail and Yankee magazines. He created and self-published several art instruction manuals and produced three children’s books with one of his art students.

Visit Haley Art Gallery and its gift shop of handmade, social-impact gift items from around the world from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at 178 Haley Road, Kittery. Call 617-584-2580, email haleygallery@comcast.net, or visit haleyartgallery.com for more information. Follow the gallery on Instagram at https://instagram.com/haleyartgallery.

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