Hector deCordova’s “Fantasy as Reality” on North Fork

On a crisp fall day, there’s nothing better than taking a ride to the North Fork. Or even better yet, stopping off to see an art exhibit while you’re there. Last week’s Art Commentary featured galleries in Greenport; this time, it’s nearby Jamesport.

North Fork resident and longtime artist Hector deCordova (who has exhibited in Mexico, Puerto Rica and Costa Rica, besides the United States) has mounted a lovely and comprehensive show at the historic Barn Gallery on the grounds of the Jedediah Hawkins Inn. Built in 1863, the Inn offers pleasant accommodations, a charming restaurant, grape arbors and verdant fields. The point is, deCordova’s exhibit fits in well with the surroundings, establishing an ambience of peace, calm and spirituality.

For example, there’s “Trout Pond,” a large blue–green image that recalls the gentleness of Monet’s style. “Night Sounds,” featuring a pink whirlpool, also establishes a Monet- sense of “being there.”

Yet some works evoke a different mood, created as assemblages with bright colors, decorative designs and found objects. Imagine the great Alfonso Ossorio who has admittedly inspired deCordova. What’s salient is that these pieces pay homage to Ossorio as well as deCordova, proving that the latter artist has a special way with materials and textures. Many elements are found objects from the beach and elsewhere, causing deCordova to wonder what their life was like before he found them.

There are other paintings that are somewhat surreal, yet given a gentle touch by the artist. Consider “Come Closer”: a man with butterfly wings and a net eyeing a huge butterfly floating above him. Then there’s “Bubba’s Monsters,” featuring a man looking at a school of large fish. In both images, human beings and nature become one entity. Conversely, “The Source” shows large birds encircling a group of hooded, medieval–looking figures. We are not sure if the birds are friends or foes, and we do not get an immediate connection between the humans and nature.

The same may be true of the watercolor “Kites,” where an image seen from above captures figures and birds cavorting below. Again, we are not sure if the two species have bonded or are threatened by one another.

Another subject and theme that deCordova creates are his male-female figures, like “Family Ties” and “Asian Dreams,” where connection is also important. Sometimes the humans are simple touching, sometimes they are intertwined, forming one being.

No matter what diverse styles or themes the artist uses, the idea of “fantasy as reality” is pervasive. It’s quite a feat to synthesize a large body of work into a single concept, but deCordova certainly does it.

“Fantasy as Reality” will be on view until Nov. 16 at Jedediah Hawkins Inn, 400 South Jamesport Ave., Jamesport. 631-722-2900, www.jedediahhawkinsinn.com.

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