Art Commentary: deCordova Gallery

An effective combination of abstraction and figures makes up the season opener at Greenport’s deCordova Studio and Gallery. We must add that non-realistic styles prove effective as well. While Impressionism, Surrealism and Expressionism are present, the artists use them in subtle and sensitive ways. And there are surprises in store for the viewer when Gordon Gagliano and Hector deCordova offer us images we haven’t seen before. Gagliano’s abstractions feature the biggest change of direction from his previous works, presently recalling landscapes in their conception and execution. They are also reminders of forms in nature yet they appear spontaneous, the brush strokes sweeping and joyful. The artist’s colors are interesting, too: “Vineyard” employs warm and analogous colors at the top of the frame and cool and analogous ones at the bottom.

The exhibit is well-arranged, particularly apparent when Gagliano’s works are hung on the wall leading to the second floor. It’s as if viewers are entering a whole other world as they ascend the stairs, one full of light and energy. [expand]

Art by deCordova offers other worlds as well, his pieces often using metaphorical and mythical figures. Consider “The Source,” where pink, blue and white birds fly above a series of black-hooded figures. The image is intriguing, stimulating us to wonder about the meaning. Another ambiguous work is “Needs,” where a figure of unknown origin is apparently grasping an object. The result is a bit surreal and also abstract. And what does the title indicate?

A more surreal, yet still ambiguous, painting is “Teddy at the Beach,” which juxtaposes a real little boy with a toy bear. Both objects are somewhat distorted and unrealistic. Is there meaning here that evades us? Perhaps deCordova is suggesting that it is difficult to hold on to childhood. His male and female figures in “Way to Go” are also somewhat deformed; there’s something happy and sad about the couple dancing, their demeanors conveying both childlike and adult traits.

Rosamaria Eisler’s monotypes are equally intriguing and ambiguous, their style somewhat expressionistic with figures arranged in different positions. Some, like “Threshold,” have their backs to us as they are walking into the distance. We can’t help but recall a science fiction film, so full of atmosphere is the setting. In fact, all of Eisler’s monotypes evoke a mythical atmosphere from another time and place. We’re just not sure what exact time and place.

Her “Looking for a Place” seems appropriate, therefore, as a lone figure walks in the rain, standing apart from two other people. This critic is reminded of Vienna of all venues. Yet this non-distinct quality is a plus; each viewer can supply his or her own place.

Regarding a sense of place, the deCordova Studio and Gallery evokes any number of environments, like a Victorian house (which it is), or any setting where we feel welcome and comfortable. By extension, the art is also welcoming.


The current show will be on view until July 31 at the deCordova Studio and Gallery (538 Main Street, Greenport). Call 631-477-0620. [/expand]

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