From Pollock and de Kooning to some as-yet-unknown artist, toiling away in a cramped and expensive studio somewhere, the East End has long been a haven for artists, bathed in the peculiar and unequaled light. The current exhibition at the Southampton Arts Center (SAC), East End Collected4 (EEC4), celebrates the current crop of local artists. Thirty artists in total—some whose names you’ll recognize, others who might be new—are featured in the exhibition curated by yet another East End artist, Paton Miller.
There’s hardly enough space in this magazine to note each piece that caught this writer’s eye, but let’s try anyways (in alphabetical order): Mary Abbott’s abstracts; “Alien Bloom,” a collaborative installation by Eteri and Gocha Chkadua, especially when paired with Eteri’s “If I Could I Would I Should” pieces which hang above; Gregory De La Haba’s two “Totem Wave” pieces will get you in the mood for summer, and his “The Tarp” is stunning and sort of meta in that the characters on the large-scale, unmounted canvas are covering themselves in their own tarp; James Demartis’s perfectly titled “Pipe Dream, 2008;” Michael Ferran’s pieces made of shells; Sophie Howell’s cloth maché masks; Ellen Frank’s “Enameration of Wonders, 2018;” Lindsay Morris’s Rorschach-esque pieces; Liz Sloan’s “Blue Dab.” See, not enough space.
It’s something subtler that stood out most of all, however. Kudos to the curator, Paton Miller, for not only for finding this amazing work, but also for the presentation of it all. Perhaps the most visually stunning pieces, in the context of the exhibition as a whole, are the sculptures by Hal Buckner—“Peace, 2015” up front and “Puberty #3, 2013” in the back. Buckner’s sculptures are cut from a single piece of aluminum, creating a single, fluid line as if a thick permanent marker had left its stain suspended in mid-air. Mary Mattingly’s “Swimmer, 2014” also stands out, so to speak. The piece is 82” x 25”, but under the light, the shadow it casts give the single wavy piece of automobile aluminum a different meaning entirely, one which an observer is forced stop and ponder.
As it will most likely be impossible to visit EEC4 and not feel newly inspired, SAC has organized a handful of related programs for us aspiring-artist types to take part in. Paton Miller will instruct a drawing workshop for adults on Thursday, April 19 at 6 p.m. and another for kids, ages eight and up, on Saturday, May 12 at 3 p.m. Educators from the Children’s Museum of the East End will host a free interactive mixed-media drop-in art workshop for families with children on Saturday, April 28, from 1–3 p.m. and again on Friday, May 18, from 4–6 p.m. Artists Perry Burns, Gregory Delahaba, Micky Paraskevas, Abigail Vogel and Dan Welden will give a free talk on Sunday, April 29 at 4 p.m.
May 5 at 11 a.m. offers a rare opportunity to receive an amazingly meditative sound bath and deep relaxation mindfulness meditation that will melt away your stress and leave you feeling calm and recharged—surrounded by art. The meditation is led by Bowl Master and Meditation DJ Daniel Lauter, who uses crystal bowls, crystal gongs, Tibetan and Himalayan bells, rain sticks, Ocarina, ambient soprano saxophone and other objects d’sound during this one-of-a-kind experience. The closing weekend—May 19 and 20—will see a concert by Mambo Loco and a Curator and Artists Gallery Tour and Toast.
EEC4 continues to reflect Miller’s vision of the East End as an ideal environment for artists to create work and it marks the Southampton Arts Center as a home where the East End arts scene can continue to thrive. Simply to enter the SAC and take a stroll around this assemblage of local art is totally free. That’s right, there’s no charge to immerse yourself completely in this smorgasbord of art and see just what your artistic East End neighbors have been up to.
East End Collected4 is open through at May 20 at the Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane Southampton. 631-283-0967, southamptonartscenter.org.