Jim Collins and Barbara Murphy-Leary Share Their Perspectives of “The Natural World Around Us” at the Cape May Artists’ Cooperative Gallery

WEST CAPE MAY – As featured artists at the Cape May Artists’ Cooperative Gallery, the works of wood carver Jim Collins and painter Barbara Murphy-Leary will provide an insight into how they see the world. Their show, “The Natural World Around Us,” will let visitors see what they perceive as natural. The exhibition runs Wednesday, July 1 -through Sunday, July 31. An artist reception will be held at the Gallery located at 122 West Sunset Blvd., West Cape May on Saturday, July 9 from 2 to 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served.

Collins, a Dias Creek native, began wood carving 24 years ago but raising a family and the demands of life had him place his knives on the shelf. Several years ago, with the encouragement of his family, he began carving again and has studied with well-known local carvers Anthony Hillman and J.P. Hand. Collins is known locally for carving and hand painting ducks, birds and fish. So successful, he has begun teaching classes and recently completed a consignment carving of 35 shorebirds to be used as centerpieces for a wedding reception held in Cape May. “Each piece reflects a moment of time in nature,” said Collins. “I thoroughly enjoy the process of carving, it’s creating life out of wood,” he added.

Murphy-Leary, a Marmora resident, began painting briefly as a relaxing pastime while attending Villanova. After raising a family and building a 30-year career as a public relations and marketing professional, she sold her business and decided to venture down a different path. Three years ago, she began painting full time. Self-taught, she originally used oils exclusively but now paints primarily in acrylics and works in mixed media. Since becoming a member of the Cooperative Gallery in 2015, Murphy-Leary’s style has ranged from abstract, to realistic to impressionistic. “I believe that from the mind of a creative, everything is art,” said Murphy-Leary. “My natural world is whatever I am thinking or want to try – with that being said, I see a mermaid every now and then.”

The Cape May Artists’ Cooperative Gallery is the only artists’ cooperative in Cape May County. Owned and operated by its members, it carries a full selection of members’ work, including original paintings and photography and prints, jewelry, glass, works in wood and bird carvings, clay and works in paper, fiber arts and mosaics. The Gallery is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Credit cards are accepted. Parking is available behind the gallery. For information regarding shows, classes, membership and events, call (609) 435-5253 or visit capemayartistcoop.com.