RJD Gallery’s ‘Believe’ Fosters Hope

Jackie Gordon's "Superstar."
Jackie Gordon’s “Superstar.”

The 10th annual Hamptons juried art show “Believe” at RJD Gallery in Bridgehampton will open with a public reception on Saturday, April 13, from 6 to 8 PM. The submission-based exhibit donates 100 percent of the fees collected to The Retreat, an East Hampton not-for-profit that provides support, shelter, and safety to victims of domestic abuse and violence.

The Independent caught up with three artists included in the show: Dana Hawk, a returning juried art show exhibitor, and Jacqueline Gordon and Larry Reinhart, both of whom are participating with the gallery for the first time.

What’s your connection to the East End?

Jackie Gordon: The East End has been such a special and significant place for me. From escaping the hustle and bustle of the city each weekend, to getting engaged at Wölffer vineyard, and getting married at East Hampton Point, it has served as the backdrop to so many of my life’s biggest milestones.

Describe your artwork that will be featured in the show.

Dana Hawk: My small painting “If Found Please Call” was inspired by a tweet that I read during the wildfires in California last year. The fires were encroaching on properties so quickly that horse owners didn’t have time to trailer their horses for escape.

The tweet instructed people to remove any halters that could catch fire or hinder their movement, spray paint their phone numbers on the horses, and let them go. The reality of having to do this struck me and produced a visual of desperate survival that I couldn’t get out of my head.

JG: My piece “Superstar” depicts my four-year-old daughter while aboard a boat (in Sag Harbor bay) and captures her in a moment where she appears aloof and somewhat unamused by the experience. Her curious gaze behind her star-shaped sunglasses playfully suggests a yearning for independence and maturity, while subtly blurring the line between childhood and adulthood.

Larry Reinhart: I’m showing one of my nautical paintings. The painting for this show depicts a dog with a yellow scarf riding in the bow of a boat. This dog is accompanied by a younger pup. The painting is titled “Homeward Bound” and is about the feeling of traveling to our childhood home after we have been away for many years.

We naturally return home with more experiences, we are generally more dignified, we just know a bit more about the world than when we left. But, deep down inside, our bellies have butterflies because the kid in us just can’t wait to be back home and revisit all our old stomping grounds. This fleeting sense is what I am playing with in this painting.

What is your emotional tie to The Retreat?

DH: My undergrad degree is in Cell and Molecular Biology, which although was not focused on forensics, we did cover a fair amount of techniques. Because of this, I found the show “Forensic Files” to be compelling and have a watched quite a few episodes.

What I didn’t expect to learn is the frequency with which women are murdered trying to leave boyfriends or in the process of trying to divorce a husband. I now know that efforts of organizations like The Retreat are not just about giving aid, but literally saving lives.

In what ways is artwork healing?

DH: I was a health care professional for over a decade, directly dealing in physical rehabilitation. The body and mind are absolutely connected and one. You can’t neglect the mind/spirit component of healing that art addresses and inspires. Good hospitals understand this and hire talented art directors.

JG: I believe the visual arts can elicit thoughts, memories, and different emotions and responses that are entirely unique to each person. The act of painting for me is personally cathartic, allowing me to create and enter a world that is solely mine.

LR: I think art heals in a variety of ways. Whether it’s the act of making it, viewing it, or being present with it around you, it changes you. Making art generally calms me, makes me more observant, and helps me bring focus to things I am dealing with.

Viewing art can transport me to new places I long to visit. It makes me remember old places I have been. It reminds me to look at things from another’s perspective, and I often find a connection with others when we share our similar or abstracted views of various art works.

What does the word “believe” mean to you?

JG: The word “believe” symbolizes that there is hope. That with true conviction, perseverance, and optimism, there is always a new possibility and a new obtainable reality. The word alone elicits a positive, uplifting concept that we, as individuals, can play a role in what comes next in our future. With believing, we place a goal or vision of what can be, which is the first step in achieving our goals.

LR: “Believe” is to have trust, faith, and caring in something or someone. If I find myself depressed, I must trust that I can reverse my negative feelings. Believing in myself requires this. Believing in others requires the same.

RJD Gallery is located at 2385 Main Street in Bridgehampton; its website is http://www.rjdgallery.com. To support The Retreat, visit http://www.theretreatinc.org.

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