As the East End art community adds more must-see exhibitions each week, there are dozens of excellent shows just waiting to be enjoyed and explored. We have so many great artists, galleries and museums, it can be difficult to keep up, so narrow your focus to get started and check out these five fantastic offerings this weekend.
1. The Irrational Portrait Gallery at Southampton Arts Center (illustrated above)
A collaborative project by acclaimed Long Island photographer Rick Wenner and artists with the FRESH Art Long Island collective, The Irrational Portrait Gallery features large works by 21 select artists, including East Enders, such as Matt Satz and Colin Goldberg. Wenner photographed each artist and then made large-format prints of the portraits on canvas. Each artist was then given complete freedom to confront, alter and manipulate the image. The results are widely varied, universally stunning and present a thoughtful survey of collaborative expression.
A special opening reception with Wenner, the artists and live music by Multiple Mono is scheduled for Saturday June 28, from 5–9 p.m. The Irrational Portrait Gallery is on display June 26–July 20 at the Southampton Arts Center (25 Jobs Lane) in Southampton Village. Call 631-283-0967 or visit irrationalportraits.com or southamptonartscenter.org.
2. Dalton Portella, Shark Room and Yuliya Lanina, Play Me
Sara Nightingale Gallery in Water Mill is exhibiting two artists with separate shows in one location. First, avid surfer and Montauk resident Dalton Portella presents Shark Room, an installation of found objects, surfboard paintings, watercolors and oil paintings depicting sharks as formal architectural objects whose movements inspire the artist’s lines. The shark paintings are an ongoing project for Portella, who seeks to highlight the beauty of these silent, threatened animals. Several works were inspired by a project for the Natural Resources Defense Council, in which old surfboards that would have otherwise ended up in landfills were repurposed as works of art.
Also opening is Play Me, a multimedia presentation by Russian-born American artist Yuliya Lanina featuring paintings, animations and animatronic sculptures of music boxes, each with original characters and accompanying music. Lanina paints and collages fantastical, mostly female characters that come to life through mechanization, animation and music.
Shark Room and Play Me run through July 22 at the Sara Nightingale Gallery (688 Montauk Highway) in Water Mill . An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, June 27 from 6–8 p.m. A special piano performance by Andrius Zlabys will commence at 7 p.m., Call 631-793-2256 or visit saranightingale.com.
3. Under the Influence at Sag Harbor Whaling Museum
Curated by Peter Marcelle, this exhibition explores the relationship between nine contemporary artists and the artists who have inspired them. Whether friends or teachers, old masters or mentors, it is indisputable that artists are influenced by other artists, and Under the Influence demonstrates and celebrates this fact with a rich selection of East End artists, both past and present. Among them, Terry Elkins hangs with Andrew Wyeth, while Eric Ernst shows his connection to William Baziotes and Cornelia Foss recognizes Larry Rivers. Steve Miller shows with Andy Warhol, Michelle Murphy with Jamie Wyeth, Dan Rizzie with Donald Sultan, Stephen Schaub with Alfred Stieglitz, Mike Viera with Eric Fischl and Gavin Zeigler with William Scharf.
On view through July 8, Under the Influence is located at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum (200 Main Street) in Sag Harbor. Call 631-725-0770 or visit sagharborwhalingmuseum.org.
4. Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) at Guild Hall
Featuring works by some of the United States’ most acclaimed artists from the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies (FAPE) original print, photography and site-specific collections, this exhibition looks at the nonprofit’s artistic partners, whose work is displayed in embassies around the world. FAPE contributes to the U.S. Department of State’s mission of cultural diplomacy by partnering with American artists whose work encourages cross-cultural understanding within the diplomatic community and the international public. Guest curator Robert Storr (Chairman of FAPE’s Professional Fine Arts Committee and Dean of the Yale School of Art) has put together a lovely tapestry of excellent work by top-tier artists, including William Wegman, Lynda Benglis, Ellsworth Kelly, Ed Ruscha, Maya Lin, James Rosenquist, Joel Shapiro and Sol Lewitt, at the Guild Hall Museum.
On display through July 27, the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies exhibition is located at Guild Hall (158 Main Street) in East Hampton. Starr is moderating an artists’ panel on Saturday, June 28 from 3–4 p.m., followed by the show’s opening reception from 4–6 p.m. Additional panels are scheduled for Sunday, July 20 at 11 a.m. and Sunday, July 27 at 11 a.m. Suggested admission is $7. Call 631-324-0806 or visit guildhall.org for hours and additional info.
5. Gina Gilmour at Grand Opening of Weathervane Gallery
The Suffolk County Historical Society’s new Weathervane Fine Art Gallery & Gift Shop celebrates its grand opening this weekend with oil paintings from North Fork artist Gina Gilmour’s “Duets” series and small ceramic sculptures from the artist’s “Embraces” series. Created in response to 9/11, the Embraces works depict couples taking comfort in each other’s arms. Gilmour’s dramatic painting “The Tree Behind Us” and her ocean-scape “Blue Tide,” among other pieces, will also be on view. The artist’s paintings and sculptures are in many private and public collections, including the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, the North Carolina Museum of Art, the Newark Museum and the Weatherspoon Museum in Greensboro, NC.
An opening reception is scheduled from 6–8 p.m. on Saturday, June 28 in the brand new Weathervane Gallery at the Suffolk County Historical Society in Riverhead (300 West Main Street). Call 631-727-2881 or visit suffolkcountyhistoricalsociety.org.