Labor Day and Memorial Day, the bookends to summer on the East End. The aesthetic appeal of that imagery is not lost on artist Eddie Rehm, who opened the season with a powerful show at Davenport and Shapiro in East Hampton on Memorial Day Weekend and is now poised to close out Summer 2012 in his home town at Bellport’s Circa Something Fine Art with “Once Expelled, Now Propelled, Hometown Belligerence”—an exhibition of his “Instant Gratification Abstract” cutting-edge contemporary artwork.
“It means a lot, to be showing in Bellport,” Rehm says. “It’s a chance to show the progression of my art and partake in some hometown Belligerent fun.”
“This exhibit will highlight the artist who had the hottest opening summer art show in East Hampton this past Memorial Day,” says gallery owner Dr. Bob Baker, “and I’ll declare 2012 is the summer that artist Eddie Rehm took out and took on the East End art scene in New York.”
As he looks forward to the opening night reception, Rehm reflects on the summer that’s passed, works he’s showing and the perpetual interweaving of art and life.
What does it mean for you to have opened the season in East Hampton and to be closing it in Bellport?
It means a lot to show in both places, as each has a very diverse cultural hub and appreciation for the arts. Opening this summer in East Hampton, after the success of the previous show prior to summer, went beyond my expectations. The amount of press, attention and connections I made from this past exhibit put a lot of hard work in perspective for the future.
Closing in Bellport has expanded not only my artwork and belief in my pursuit of a vision or message I’m trying to convey in each piece. It’s getting viewed by a lot of family, friends and people who can’t make it out to some of the places where I exhibit. I’m really looking forward to the upcoming show—it’s a single step of many I must take on my own artistic journey, with Bellport being another great stop on the way.
What themes, events and happenings from Summer 2012 have inspired you and your work?
I think what inspires myself in my artwork as of late is the ability to see my own truths. Intrigued & confident to share the relationship of my paintings and my own story to be interpreted in a way that keeps reality and myself honest. Whether it looks belligerently angry or chaotic in its aesthetic, well thats because it is. As life is an answer thats made up of many different experiences, self derived opinions and telephone games to call out to or disconnect from. I’ve had alot of fun this summer amidst some adversity and have refocused my art work to reflect that feeling of freedom with a progression of experimenting in my work that should be evident in this upcoming show.
What’s your take on the Summer 2012 art scene on the East End?
I’ll say this much—the economy has really affected gallerists and artists on the East End this summer. This is from what I noticed and the talks I’ve had with gallerists and artists out this way who seem to be saying the same thing. I saw a lot of communal projects going on this summer, which is cool for some but shows that others feel the need to use a group to be bigger then what they are rather than standing on their own two feet with real conviction as an artist. Also, a lot of solo and group exhibits have the occasional “yeah, that’s cool factor,” which I feel is the same no matter where you go.
The highlight of the 2012 Summer East End scene for me was the art fairs out in the Hamptons, which showcased some great emerging artists and obscure works of master artists. It gave a chance for other galleries and artists who don’t have the opportunity or venue out this way to show off some great work.
Can you share some commentary on a few of the pieces you’ll be showing at Circa Something Fine Art?
“Tie Girl” is a painting that shows the modern-day women or quintessential role that women have today—torn from the left and right, only trying to pull together normalcy in raising her kids, working, relationships, sanctity in a time where roles and staying at home in a ’50s idealogy are gone. This painting shows a blue- or white-collar woman tied to the obligations or priorities of this socio-economic hard time.
The dualistic depiction creates a plastic mirror—from the use of mediums in the painting—of what’s to come, as she and a lot of us aren’t close to seeing any relief. Her beauty, strength and will are tested by the challenges that surround her on a daily basis. Her ugliness, weak state and epically failed conviction are due to the need to persevere when the challenges consume her own willingness and tie her to the seam she once sewed—a moral fabric that ties us all together. We all have a great woman(s) in our lives who we look to or can relate this message about.
“If She can’t, I can, If she won’t, Then I will” shows the confliction and struggle between Men and Women. The production of love, kids and keeping up the unrealistic expectations that couples put on each other has scorecards being kept on both sides—and neither so-called team is winning. The sacrifices, compromises and daily things that are either taken for granted or misused to belligerently hurt one another has “Divorces for $299” billboards flourishing—what a joke.
A lot of other disconcerting factors lead to wasted what-ifs, children being used as pawns or paychecks and more reasons to build walls that no relationship can break or climb over. The crazy, frenetic energy that surrounds them in the painting is how one can affect another with verbal, physical or a clash of wills, things unspoken or unresolved. These paintings described, and others in the show, depict not only a common recurring theme in society but also ones from my own life.
“Once Expelled, Now Propelled, Hometown Belligerence” is on display from August 31 through September 15 at Circa Something Fine Art, 117A South Country Road,, Bellport, NY 11713. Phone (631) 803-6706 for more information.