This week’s cover, “Summer Squall” by artist Daniel Pollera is part of a series featuring historic Bay Houses, a subject he is deeply involved with, and not only from an artistic perspective. He also acknowledges the importance of the structures when characterizing the 1920s in eastern Long Island. And if truth be told, Pollera imagines having the time of his life living in a Bay House himself.
Anything is possible in the world created by Pollera, one where sunsets go on forever, people dance until dawn and water sparkles from the moonlight. This doesn’t suggest that other series have not been salient to Pollera. His beach chairs and porches have a clarity of composition and light that place us, the viewer, in the “picture,” both literally and figuratively. His juxtaposition of vertical and horizontal lines is especially effective, creating both a sense of intimacy and comfort as we stand overlooking the sea, hemmed in by the porch’s railings. Conversely, his lone boats adrift in the water produce wide-open spaces that also evoke a sense of belonging.
What’s the back story for the bay house on the cover?
A squall is a passing storm. It doesn’t last long. The sky turns black when a squall is coming; the water reflects the sky and turns black, too. I’ve been out in the ocean when this has happened. You can’t see the marsh or the land. You’re a sitting duck. It’s lightning and thundering. You just point the bow of the boat toward the sea.
What’s the history of the white house?
It’s an original Bay House, the Goodwin House. It was built in 1910—I think this was a great time for Bay Houses when hotels and dance halls were built, alcohol was shipped from Europe and rum runners took the alcohol and brought it through the salt marshes. People at the dance halls danced and drank all night. It was like a speakeasy.
What does the area mean to you?
I actually go out there in my boat to the marshes and see these places, although the pilings are the only thing left of the dance halls and hotels. I live here, I’m part of the environment. Some of these houses are on the historical registry of New York State.
What’s the significance of the flag?
When people were home, they flew the flag so friends would know they were there and come to visit.
How did you find the house on the cover?
I take my camera and go hunting. I came upon the Goodwin House one day just looking around. I stumbled upon it. You have to know where you’re going to
Do you imagine taking your friends there?
I have taken my friends there, but I also imagine us having a picnic and lighting the potbelly stove in the winter and watching the sunset.
There are no people in your paintings.
I don’t like people in my work. I want the viewer to feel intimacy in the piece, as if they are the only one there.
You won Dan’s Papers 2013 Best of the Best Artist. What’s your personal Best of the Best experience?
Sitting on the beach in the late afternoon in the summer, watching the water sparkle. Listening to music at the same time.
How is “Best of the Best” relevant to you?
I’m experiencing the best of the best now in my life. I’m very satisfied. But I’m not greedy. I have no reservations about where I am in life. You lead your life a certain way because good karma will come from it. You know to be a good soul, to do the right thing.
Daniel Pollera’s work is on view at Chrysalis Gallery at 2 Main Street in Southampton. Call 631- 287-1883. For more information about Pollera and his work, go to danielpollera.com.