Swimmers Highlighted in ‘Immersion’ Exhibition

Art from Immersion by Carol Bennett, Matt Story and Jeffrey Palladini
Art from Immersion by Carol Bennett, Matt Story and Jeffrey Palladini, Photo: Courtesy Elisa Contemporary

Riverdale’s Elisa Contemporary Art has opened a new exhibition, Immersion, at The Design Studio in Bridgehampton. Billed as “a deep dive into the summer season,” the show features swimmers by Kaua’i artist Carol Bennett, New Orleans Hyperrealist Matt Story and San Francisco Minimalist, Jeffrey Palladini.

Immersion is Elisa Contemporary’s exhibit debut of their newest gallery artist, hyperrealist Matt Story. The gallery will also be debuting a traditional and video “painting” by Jeffrey Palladini.

The exhibition, which opened June 15 and runs through July 27, examines each artist’s relationship with water, their focus on water and underwater movement, and the element’s significance to them.

For Story, water serves as a metaphor for “a deeper self-birth, cleansing and baptism.” His paintings draw their inspiration from underwater photographs, including a recent shoot in an outdoor pool in New Orleans—in 45-degree weather.

Bennett uses water as a meditative journey through space and life. Her fascination with the swimmer imagery began when she was living in Los Angeles and swimming at the LA Athletic Club. According to Bennett, “The floor beneath the pool, with its ethereal skylight, was an underwater observation room…used by Olympic coaches in the 1920’s. I would feel like a voyeur, watching the swimmer’s private time and drawing in their beauty. I became the swimmer I observed in the images I later created.”

Water and swimming pools specifically, have been featured in Palladini’s work for years, initially developed as part of his Hotel Series. According to Palladini, “In addition to reflecting the work of influences like David Hockney and Eric Fischl, these works also originate from my youth in Southern California, and have come to symbolize for me not only the calm normally associated with water, but also a deep sensuality and intimacy.”

Palladini is also using the water in his new series of work—combining painting and video to focus on the duality between stillness and motion, the passive and the active, and the tension created between the two. The painted figures in the foregrounds physically occupy our tangible world, but are inert, motionless while the world and water in this case, moves on without them. They are passive in the truest sense, helpless or unwilling to effect events unspooling around them.

A special Opening Reception will be held next Saturday, July 11 from 2:30-4 p.m. at the Design Studio, 2393 Main Street, in Bridgehampton. Visit elisaart.com for more info.

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