The Parrish Art Museum presents artist Alexis Rockman and Museum Director Terrie Sultan in a casual, informative gallery talk on the exhibition, Alexis Rockman: East End Field Drawings, currently on view. The conversation, which will take place in the Lilian and Norman Peck/The Peter J. Sharp Foundation Lobby on Saturday, December 19, at 2 p.m., is part of the Artist’s View program and is open to the public.
Alexis Rockman: East End Field Drawings features 93 works on paper by the American artist who adapts an unconventional, ancient technique of depicting images of flora and fauna, while referencing the straightforward approach of a naturalist’s field guide, to explore humanity’s impact on nature. Created with organic matter such as soil and sand gathered at ponds, parks, beaches, and farms on the East End of Long Island, the drawings depict the plants, insects, birds, and animals specific to the area, emphasizing the endangered species that are rapidly disappearing from our world under the pressure of development and construction.
“The Parrish continually seeks out new ways to illuminate the creative process and demonstrate how art and artists can transform our experiences and understanding of the world and how we live in it,” Sultan said. “Rockman’s East End Field Drawings are visually seductive and intellectually compelling, providing opportunities for visitors to see and experience a key aspect of our surroundings in the context of what should be our overarching concerns about the future.”
For East End Field Drawings, Rockman researched the region’s ecosystems and met with local environmentalists and ecologists before choosing 18 specific sites. He gathered soil and sand samples from farm fields and Poxabogue Pond in Sagaponack; Hither Hills State Park and Kirk Park Beach in Montauk; and Hook Pond, Cedar Point, and Northwest Harbor in East Hampton, among other locations. Rockman created delicate yet richly dimensional drawings of wildlife, insects, and plant life in his Tribeca studio, naming them, field-guide style, with their English and Latin titles like Mile-a-Minute Vine (Polygonum perfoliatum), Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias), and Guineafowl (Numididae). A 72-page fully illustrated color catalogue, designed in the style of the 1950s Golden Nature Guides, accompanies the exhibition and features the images on view and an interview between Sultan and Rockman.
In addition to presenting the exhibition, the Parrish selected Rockman as the museum’s second artist-in-residence, a program that was launched last year with William and Steven Ladd. Beginning December 14, Rockman will lead more than 400 students in hands-on workshops to create original field drawings based on his unique approach to art making. Students from Project MOST and Riverhead Charter School, as well as Bridgehampton, Southampton and Tuckahoe public schools, will experience first-hand how an artist transforms ideas and insights into works of art. Paintings created by participants during the residency will be featured in the Parrish 2016 Student Exhibition, on view throughout the month of February. The residency will extend beyond visual art to incorporate biological and ecological studies, grounding the students in a deeper understanding of their environment.
Space is limited and reservations are encouraged.