Artists & Galleries

Meet SAC Takeover 2020! Artists Kerry Sharkey-Miller & Melinda Hackett

See "Takeover 2020!" at Southampton Arts Center through April 12.

In the fifth installment of our Meet SAC Takeover 2020! Artists series, we get to know printmakers Kerry Sharkey-Miller and Melinda Hackett and learn about their creative processes and East End inspirations. While this is the last installment in the series, Takeover 2020! will continue to display breathtaking art at Southampton Arts Center through April 12.

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Kerry Sharkey-Miller demonstrating how she lays prints on aluminum panels
Kerry Sharkey-Miller demonstrating how she lays prints on aluminum panels, Photo: David Taylor

Sag Harbor photographer Kerry Sharkey-Miller has an impressive background in fine art and media production—formerly owning an art gallery that showcased Native American art and teaching photography, digital printing and stop-motion animation. She is consistently experimenting with new printing and photography techniques, resulting in a portfolio of truly unique and inspired works.

What are your plans or goals for your Takeover 2020! residency?
I’m going to be working with some new experimental, alternative processes for photography. What I have here are some images I’ve already done, but I’m going to be working with other substrates. This is a process where I oxidize aluminum panels—I set them in a bath of OxiClean for a few days to let them get tarnished and polish out certain areas of them, then I print images on an Inkjet printer with pigment inks onto film. I use a special solution to transfer the images from the film to the aluminum plate, and then I finish them with Renaissance Wax. The nice thing about it is that the substrate is always unique—no two plates ever come out the same. Each individual print is a unique piece.

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I’m also going to be experimenting with using other types of substrates—like birchwood and plexiglass. I’m going to be doing some prints on vellum that I back with gold leaf or silver leaf, then varnish for a translucent quality. Those are my goals—to spend some time to really focus on seeing how these techniques work out for me.

Kerry Sharkey-Miller's prints on display at Southampton Arts Center
Kerry Sharkey-Miller’s prints on display at Southampton Arts Center, Photos: David Taylor

How did you select the works to display in your Takeover 2020! gallery space?
I have so many images that I’ve never shown. I’ve been doing this for a very long time, but I don’t show my work that often. I decided to focus on flora and fauna for this show. I love to photograph the details in the landscape. I love botanicals, and I love wildlife. Those were the two elements that I decided to focus on thematically for the show.

How has the East End influenced your work?
I grew up here, so I’m born and raised out here. It’s my home. It’s where I’m comfortable—what I know. I’ve traveled a lot, but I love the East End.

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Melinda Hackett working on a large-scale painting
Melinda Hackett working on a large-scale painting, Photo: David Taylor

Southampton painter Melinda Hackett works primarily in oil but also has experience working in colored pencil, watercolor and monoprinting. Her gorgeous abstract art can be found in many public and private collections and at the Parrish Art Museum. 

What are your plans or goals for your Takeover 2020! residency?
I’m going to be working on some canvas pieces. I usually work in oil, but because of the nature of the space and the toxicity of oil, I’m working in acrylic. That’s kind of a new learning curve for me, but I’m trying to make them look like my oil paintings…. I don’t want to use big canvases for acrylic—I usually reserve those for oil—but I’m going to have some fun with these. This is the first one (pictured above), and I’ve got some ready to go at home.

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I also have some watercolors I can work on and some pencil pieces for smaller stuff at my desk. These are oil on Benjamin Moore paint chips (below, on right)—the strips from the hardware store that have all the colors—I cut them up into to 2 x 2 inches, so I can put them in little boxes. They’re kind of fun. I think I’m going to do that for the workshop that I’m leading on March 14. I can chop up a bunch, and people can use some paint and boxes. It’s kind of fun. You can put a magnet on the back and stick it on your refrigerator or put them on the bookshelf. The background colors are there, and the titles are there, so they become little paintings in their own right. 

Melinda Hackett's colorful large- and small-scale paintings
Melinda Hackett’s colorful large- and small-scale paintings, Photos: David Taylor

How did you select the works to display in your Takeover 2020! gallery space?
Amy [Kerwin] wanted something super big for the wall, so that was an easy idea, and I think they (pictured above, top left) look nice together because they’re two of a piece. This guy (pictured above, bottom left), I had rolled up in my studio for 10 years, and I wanted to bring it out for some fresh air. It’s a little bit wrinkled, but it’s kind of a cool piece. It’s old, so it’s more involved than I usually do now, but it’s nice to see it.

RELATED: Meet SAC Takeover 2020! Artists Isadora Capraro & Erica-Lynn Huberty

How has the East End influenced your work?
[The East End] is a great place to work. It’s easy to get around; It’s easy to go to other people’s studios, and there are a lot of shows. The season lasts all year-round, I feel. It’s super busy in the summer, but there’s always something to see and do out here. It’s a great community. You could say, “the light, the light, the light,” but I paint abstractly, so I don’t know if I’m that influenced by the light. But I just love it here—it’s a great place to live and work!

Visit southamptonartscenter.org for more information about Takeover 2020!

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