Monday, April 22, 2002

Art exhibit salutes flower show

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer contributor

        MADEIRA — Peggy Marquette is gathering blossoms this week as a salute to the Cincinnati Flower Show. Unlike the picture-perfect posies that will be featured at Ault Park this week, Ms. Marquette's floral arrangements are on canvas. They're part of a new exhibition, “Take a Peek at our Bloomers,” which opens Friday at Marquette Gallery.

        The show is a bouquet of oils, acrylics, watercolors and pastels from about 20 artists. Some, like Indian Hill artist Cecily Auvil Harness, are local and have helped coordinate the event. Others submitted works from as far away as Japan, France and Spain. The tableaux are a mix of springtime landscapes and colorful still-lifes.

        “I like to see each artist's impression of flowers,” said Ms. Marquette. “We could have them all paint the same flower and we'd have 20 different visions.”

        The show is also designed to attract budding art collectors, who aren't necessarily prepared to spend lavishly for a canvas.

        “I get a lot of these — people who say they're just starting to collect. In this economy, people want to have more of a choice of style, medium and price,” said Ms. Marquette. “We also work with people on financing. But even if people don't buy anything, we want them to come and have a good time.”

        Ms. Marquette's gallery opening gatherings are legendary among her friends and customers.

        “Peg is so intimately familiar with her artists that you feel like a family member is showing at her house,” said Grace DeGregorio, who often attends Marquette Gallery events. “I'm so comfortable going there; it's so laid-back and casual.”

        Marquette laughs about the Mexican-themed opening at which she served margaritas. The bartender didn't understand how the margarita machine worked and ended up spraying green foamy liquid all over.

        “I had to repaint the walls,” she recalled.


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