The East End Arts Council (EEAC) is a hidden (or not so hidden) gem housed in an old building filled with character, history and a brick patio where flowers are beginning to bloom. It’s a somewhat strange location for an arts complex, right in the middle of downtown Riverhead, a town that’s been revitalized but doesn’t quite match the Hamptons, which is several miles to the east. Nevertheless, we can’t help but respect the town’s spunk and resourcefulness. That goes for the EEAC as well.
Thanks to Jane Kirkwood and others, the art gallery there has been presenting lively shows, drawing artists from both the North and South Shores, including the Hamptons. In this regard, we can’t help but admire the EEAC’s attempts to connect our diverse art community, encourage quality and provide access for exhibitions.
The current show accomplishes all three of these objectives, where artists from varied local areas come together with their interpretation of the way music relates to art. Thanks to Judge Terrie Sultan, Director of Southampton’s Parrish Art Museum, the winning works are evocative and creative. In fact, all the submissions are noteworthy.
Some pieces are literal concerning the subject of music. Consider John Neely’s photograph, “Paulin Bros. Band,” where lively musicians play their music through the streets of New Orleans. The mood is so compelling that we feel we are absolutely part of the audience. Neely’s “Tuba Smith” also captures the energy of the moment, but this time the subject is a single tuba player, the worm’s-eye-view enhancing his demeanor.
Ellen Frank’s painting of a piano may also appear to be a literal representation, but it’s not. The artist’s bird’s-eye-view gives the instrument a unique perspective that is both surreal and eloquent. Whether it’s Frank’s signature gold leaf application or her perspective, the object becomes a larger-then-life symbol for any number of things: life, culture, the cosmos.
Another literal image is Vicki Wojcik’s paper lithograph featuring a violin and sheet music representing “Beethoven Symphony.” Ruth Nasca’s Third Place Winner, “Impassioned Gospel Music,” features a female face superimposed on a movie poster, and it evokes a different mood compared to most of the exhibit’s graceful and whimsical images.
Other works go beyond the literal depiction of music, including poetic interpretations, like the First Place Winner, Stephen Bitel’s photograph “Crescendo.” Here, ice skaters gracefully speed around a ring, their images blurred in the process. The suggestion of movement seems to be the trait that connects such figures with music. Motion is also the focus of the Second Place Winner, Virgina Aschmoneit’s “Spring Medley.”
Marion Jones’ drawing, “Jazz,” is another work capturing the spirit of music with its abstract energetic shapes that propel themselves through space. Mary Twomey’s monoprint received an Honorable Mention for a similar rendition of forms moving in the atmosphere. Anna Jurinich’s “Vivaldi’s Trumpet Concerto on an Easter Morning” effectively combines both literal and figurative representation with trumpets sprouting water from various fountains.
The “Music Show” at the East End Arts Council in Riverhead (133 East Main Street) will be on view until April 20, 2012. Call 631-591-3163 for information.