Work on Monday: “East Gate” by Joel Perlman

"East Gate" by Joel Perlman
“East Gate” by Joel Perlman,

After a vacation and day off, Work on Monday returns this week with a large outdoor sculpture by Hamptons artist Joel Perlman, who is exhibiting through October 14 in the Frieda and Roy Furman Sculpture Garden at Guild Hall (158 Main Street) in East Hampton.

Work on Monday is a weekly look at one piece of art related to the East End, usually by a Hamptons or North Fork artist, living or dead, created in any kind of media. Join the conversation by posting your thoughts in the comments below and email suggestions for a future Work on Monday here.

East Gate
Joel Perlman (b. 1943)
180 x 252 x 84 inches, 1989

This monumental piece immediately resembles the gates common in traditional Japanese architecture, as the title “East Gate” suggests, and creates a window into the landscape behind it. But Perlman takes the viewer beyond the obvious by adding large, seemingly unwieldy slabs protruding from the top and bottom of its square shape.

While the sculpture cuts a simple, relatively conventional, form out of the sky and foliage behind it, “East Gate” also presents a sense of discomfort, even danger—as Perlman often intends. The weighty and geometric metal shapes chop into the main structure and threaten to topple it, or at least crash down upon the viewer, at any moment.

This feeling of unease and the sculpture’s uncomplicated beauty gives “East Gate” a powerful presence, especially when juxtaposed with its bucolic surrounds in Water Mill. Add to it the rusty patina, changing sunlight and resulting shadows, and Perlman has a substantial work worthy of viewing through each hour of the day and even into the starry, moonlit night.

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