After quite some time off, Work on Monday returns with a brand new painting by North Haven artist Grant Haffner. The muted “Winter in the Hamptons” lacks the bright colors of the artist’s usual work, but it’s rich with a certain bleak pathos born from the hand and heart of a true Hamptons local—and to which many locals can relate.
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.
Winter in the Hamptons
Grant Haffner (b. 1978, Lives North Haven)
Acrylic, marker, pencil on wood panel
18 x 18 inches, 2015
This painting’s faded, greying palette, the cold blanket of snow and the massive home in mid-construction is a carefully crafted and well considered statement. It’s no accident that in a region abounding in beautiful views and vistas, even in the coldest months, Haffner paints a picture devoid of traditional beauty. Instead, “Winter in the Hamptons” offers a snapshot of the rampant development extinguishing so much of what once brought people to build on the East End in the first place.
Nearing the final phase of construction, this behemoth of a house is bookended by a port-a-potty and a large green dumpster—ubiquitous, unsightly objects we now rarely notice on winding backroads and neighboring properties. Of course, the beauty of a painting is its ability to make the viewer truly see what the artist presents, and Haffner’s choices brilliantly put this ugliness into sharp focus, forcing us to stop ignoring the disappointment, even anger, as it rises up, board by board, around us.
His flat, grey sky, icy white ground and sparse, minimal approach put nothing in the way of that which the painter wants us to see. Yet, in spite of all this ugliness and the feelings it inspires, Haffner somehow manages to give us an object of considerable, sophisticated beauty.
And that is no easy task.
Check out more of Grant Haffner’s work granthaffner.com.