David Slater Explores Dreams, Ghosts & Blue Moons at Peter Marcelle Project

"Jealousy" collage by David Slater
"Jealousy" collage (cropped) by David Slater

Coming just eight months after his retrospective exhibition, Something Old, Something New, in April, Sag Harbor artist David Slater is showing a completely different body of work at Peter Marcelle Project in Southampton. Opening this Saturday, December 12, Dreams, Ghosts & Blue Moons includes works, as the title suggests, inspired by Slater’s subconscious nocturnal adventures and the many ghosts that haunt him, as well as mixed media pieces from his “Blue Moon” series.

David Slater
David Slater, Photo: Oliver Peterson

“Every time there was a blue moon, I’d start a painting,” Slater says, explaining the series. In classic Slater fashion, the works are rich with words, painted imagery and actual collaged scraps and objects that put forth the artist’s unique, stream of conscious narratives built from juxtapositions and the relationships between their many assembled parts.

The newest in the series, “Blue Moon Ghosts,” which Slater only just completed on Wednesday, depicts the apartment building where he lives in Sag Harbor. Standing on what was once called Rum Hill, the Wilson Flats apartments housed workers from Sag Harbor’s watch factory—workers that Slater says now haunt the old building. Taking this into account and using an old photograph from the 1890s for reference, Slater has added the apartments’ former residents sitting on stoops and standing on the streets outside.

"Blue Moon Ghosts" by David Slater
“Blue Moon Ghosts” by David Slater, Photo: Oliver Peterson

“It’s essentially trying to catch the vibration of this building,” he says, describing a time when people drank on their porches and barbershop quartets sang in the hours after work. “I spent the last four months on it.”

Other works in the Blue Moon series—seven works on paper in total with five in the exhibition—show colorful views of landmarks, such as the former Bulova watchcase factory, Sag Harbor’s Municipal Building and the shops of Main Street.

David Slater's 9/11 drawing
David Slater’s 9/11 drawing, Photo: Oliver Peterson

Additionally, Dreams, Ghosts & Blue Moons has two gorgeous paper collages enlarged and printed on canvas, some small notebook drawings painted with watercolor or gouache—including one drawn on the beach shortly after the Twin Towers fell on 9/11—and several mixed media dream paintings on paper and on canvas.

One of these pieces shows a man and a nude woman stuck on a tiny island, its bridge broken and surrounded by hungry sharks. At the top, the letters “S.O.L.” explain their predicament, while the word “dream,” made of individual letter blocks or beads, adorns the bottom, just below a small metal shark.

"S.O.L." by David Slater
“S.O.L.” by David Slater, Photo: Oliver Peterson

“I didn’t want to show anything this time that I showed before,” Slater says, explaining his choices for this new exhibition. Like his last show, the pieces on view span his long career, but Dreams, Ghosts & Blue Moons has a thread of concept throughout, a feeling of the mystic, the subconscious. And as a whole, it feels good.

Open through January 3, 2016, David Slater’s Dreams, Ghosts & Blue Moons is on view at Peter Marcelle Project in Southampton (4 North Main Street). An opening reception with the artist is scheduled from 6–8 p.m. on Saturday, December 12. Call 631-613-6170 or visit petermarcelleproject.com for more info.

Collage print by David Slater
Collage print by David Slater, Photo: Oliver Peterson

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