Warren’s Imago Gallery is hosting its annual show open to all and, a few miles away, the Bristol Art Museum has rounded up artists with a connection to coastal environs.

If art figures into your weekend plans, then the East Bay is the place to be.

Warren’s Imago Gallery is hosting its annual show open to all and, a few miles away, the Bristol Art Museum has rounded up artists somehow connected to coastal environs.

Be prepared; it’s a lot to take in.

The Imago show alone features close to 200 paintings, prints, sculptures and jewelry that run the gamut from masterful to crude.

But that’s the thing about the non-juried “The BIG Show.” Submit what you want, as long as it’s framed and no bigger than 3 feet in any direction, and it gets hung.

That’s not to be critical; just be forewarned. For there’s a place for this kind of show, where the most unsophisticated entries can be fresh and charming.

The more polished pieces include two knockout paintings from Peter Campbell, a zany take on John Trumbull’s classic “Battle of Bunker Hill,” with rebels brandishing swords in the background and the front ranks manned by pudgy toy soldiers.

On a more serious note, Campbell tackles the hot-button issue of climate change in a diptych pairing a despondent polar bear amid melting arctic ice with city dwellers clutching umbrellas as they make their way through knee-deep water. A tiny vintage prop plane adorns the upper left-hand corner of the frame.

Otherwise, this a pretty tame show when it comes to politics, with the delightful exception of Ed McAloon’s jack-in-the-box, from which pops a man with a red tie and orange comb-over made of copper. It’s called “Pop Goes the Weasel.”

As expected, the show has its share of seascapes, floral arrangements and animals, the most striking of those being Richard Kaiser’s up-close portrait of a shaggy Guernsey. It’s hard to believe the same man painted a delicate watercolor of a window filled with toys, pots and pans.

I have a soft spot for pastels, and Suzanne Dickson Albert caught my attention with her small slice of forest with purple-trunked pines, and her crisp “Thicket,” depicting a cove with an explosion of vegetation in the foreground.

Richard Harrington’s “Remnants," with flesh-colored patches and the occasional drip poking through radiant fields of blue, was among the best of the abstracts.

Carolyn Letvin picked up first place for her sketchy, black-and-white monotype of sheep. Letvin opted for energetic gestures rather than realistic detail.

Adrian Tio’s lively, Latin-inspired silk screens are contenders, too, with a hummingbird and lizard layered among tangles of red and green foliage.

You can’t beat Sally Barker for basic, no-frills landscapes, seen in a simple acrylic of Chase Cove in Touisset, with trees outlined in orange to make the piece pop.

Other standouts include Mary Belden Brown’s quirky collages, one of two rakish men of color standing next to a ceramic elephant in front of a stately home, plus a collection of necklaces by Lisa Lowenstein that pay homage to Roman art of yore.

 

The Bristol show, “Water, Water, Everywhere,” is a little easier to wrap your head around. For one thing, there are fewer entries, plus the unifying theme of the coast.

Two painters pretty much dominate this field of 11 artists, at least in terms of the boldness of their imagery. Dora Atwater Millikin’s paintings of boats focus more on the reflections they cast, dancing squiggles produced by masts and rigging.

Kathy Hodge, once resident painter for the national parks, is more interested in the wilderness, in icebergs and lakes ringed with fog-enshrouded mountains, all painted with a stylized touch that’s all about arresting patterns and strong, flowing lines.

But Hodge and Millikin are not boundary-pushers like Ellen Ferrin, who has covered a sheet of paper with horizontal streaks of black, or R. Douglass Rice, whose delightful scenes of Fishers Island use paint as thick as frosting, and could pass for the work of an 8-year-old.

Priscilla Foley Blackman turns torn-up scraps of paper, including bits of sheet music, into rushing brooks. Susan Fossati aims for a French feel in dashed-off pastels of bathers, where a few energetic hatchings form the makings of bodies, sand and water.

"The BIG Show" is up through Jan. 26; "Water, Water, Everywhere," through Feb. 23. Imago Gallery is at 36 Market St., Warren, (401) 245-3348, imagofoundation4art.org. It's open Thursday 4 to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Bristol Art Museum is at 10 Wardwell St., Bristol, (401) 253-4400, bristolartmuseum.org. Hours are Thursday through Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.