Art Commentary: “20 Under Twenty” and “Paperwork”

Artwork by Raphael Kustura
Artwork by Raphael Kustura

Two very different exhibits are currently on view in the Hamptons, both conveying an interesting juxtaposition between emerging and established artists. Amagansett’s Neoteric Fine Art evokes an edgy and often risk-taking approach by newcomers under 20 years old; Southampton Cultural Center’s “Paperwork,” curated by Arlene Bujese, represents works by artists who have paid their dues, developing an individual style and medium through the years.

Scott Bluedorn, co-owner of Neoteric Fine Art, has come up with a good idea for his show, “20 Under Twenty,” inviting artists from the recent student art exhibits at the local museums to participate. The results are often successful and prove an abundance of talent. With some more experience, we look forward to these emerging artists establishing their own “voice” and point-of-view.

Artwork by Roseann Schwab
Artwork by Roseann Schwab

At Neoteric, diverse media make for a lively presentation, including portraits (acrylics on canvas) by Lauren Rappa. The craftsmanship is arresting and so is the perspective from a worm’s-eye-view. Also potent is a sculpture by Geige Silver, which takes center stage; the woman’s dress is made of red, blue and white batteries and gives the impression of an impending explosion. Silver’s digital print of a girl wearing the exact dress and an American flag suggests a political theme. Photographs by Lea Winkler may also possess a political message, featuring people with flags draped around their shoulders.

Raphael Kustara’s painting of a man carrying a briefcase gets our attention as well: we only see the figure’s hand and arm, a disorienting composition that makes us wonder what’s happening. The juxtaposition of lines gives the work a “graphic” look adding to its visual interest. Another piece that has a strong visual image is “Watercolor Illusion,” a digital print by Brock Lownes. The use of negative space is particularly evocative.

While “Paperwork” at the Southampton Cultural Center doesn’t celebrate various media like the Neoteric exhibit, the works reflect the varied ways paper is employed. Such approaches are noteworthy in every detail. Consider Ann Sager’s photographs titled the “Tides” series. Sager has a particular talent for making the commonplace look extraordinary; abstract designs come washing in with the waves. The black and white photographs contribute to the mysterious forms that are suggested.

Walter Schwab’s “On the Waterfront” is another photographic series, which transforms ordinary forms (“gantries” or metal constructions on the Hudson) into beautiful compositions. Schwab’s penchant for infrastructure is apparent here, too, as it’s with his window series in Mexico where perceiving the interior becomes possible. History is also important to Schwab: there are only one or two of these structures left.

Ordinary objects also become extraordinary in E. E. Tucker’s collages where written words from a letter are rearranged into lovely patterns. The artist’s “Totem” is another arresting design with paper circles contributing to the overall effect. Besides circles, other shapes become extraordinary as well, like Hans van de Bovenkamp’s colorful hard-edged forms and Roseann Schwab’s rectangular collages alive with earth colors. While these images are different from Schwab’s familiar use of bright colors, there’s a sense of the past that’s especially eye-catching. The colors and shapes also recall ancient civilizations which are both dazzling and provocative.

“20 Under Twenty” will be on view at Amagansett’s Neoteric Fine Art, 208 Main Street, until April 24. 631-838-7518,

“Paperwork” will be on view at the Southampton Cultural Center, 25 Pond Lane, until April 22.

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