This week is your last chance to see the “long-lost” works of an important figure from the early years of the East End’s arts community. In a story line that feels plucked straight from the script of “National Treasure,” the Arts Center at Duck Creek in East Hampton is show-casing a set of noteworthy paintings by late Springs resident Elizabeth Ashton Parker that might never have seen the light again if it weren’t for an expedition to the attic of the Springs Library, where restoration is under way.
Parker was the founder, with artist Alfonso Ossorio, of East Hampton’s first commercial art space, Signa Gallery, in 1957, where they displayed works by de Kooning, Franz Kline, Agnes Martin, and Philip Guston. She donated her own abstract, dynamic oils on canvas (along with her home, the 168-year-old Ambrose Parsons House on Old Stone Highway), 44 years ago to the Springs Library. “Elizabeth Parker: Library Paintings” is the first show to be mounted at the historic John Little Barn, newly reopened
as an exhibition space on the Duck Creek grounds.
“The town was storing the paintings at the library and asked us to hold on to the work while they sorted out the building restoration,” Jessica Frost, the Center’s founder and director, said. “When we realized they were Parker’s, and remembered her connection to Signa Gallery and John Little, we decided to do a show. The exhibit highlights local history and hopefully will raise awareness of the plight of the library, and the need to restore that structure.”
“Elizabeth Parker: Library Paintings” is free and open the public, and will remain on view through Sunday, May 26.