Long before the Hamptons became a stomping ground for the moneyed, the area served as a peaceful refuge for visual artists, among their ranks Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, April Gornik, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Paul Morrissey and David Salle. Transforming barns into studios and homes, these artists began a tradition that continues today despite—and, in fact, encouraged by—the growth of the area. The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton has been exploring this relationship between artists and the East End since its inception in 1897.
Kryn Olson, Dream House, 2010
For “Artists Choose Artists,” the Parrish’s second juried exhibition that celebrates these area talents, the museum invited seven accomplished artists to make selections from approximately 200 portfolios submitted online. The multigenerational network of applicants was asked to submit four slides and an artist’s statement, which the jurors then reviewed, narrowing their choices to two or three with whom they conducted studio visits over the course of a month. Each juror chose two artists whose work would be exhibited alongside their own. “Some work [the jurors] chose had an affinity to their own work, and others chose work that had no obvious formal relationship to theirs,” said Parrish Art Museum associate curator Andrea Grover, who over saw the selection process. This type of engagement between the community of artists living on the East End, she adds, “engineers introductions between emerging, mid-career and well-known artists, with the goal of generating conversations, mentorships, collaborations or future exhibition opportunities.”
According to Grover, the commonality between the 21 artists included in the show is that they “have chosen the East End of Long Island for full- or part-time residence because of the contemplative nature of life here and access to the natural environment, which is reflected in some of the work, either directly in images of the landscape, or indirectly—abstraction that deals with light.”
The exhibit, opening this weekend with a special preview party on August 20, includes works by painter Ross Bleckner, who chose to show with photographers Renate Aller and Mary Ellen Bartley; mixed-media artist Dan Rizzie, with painter Tad Wiley and mixed-media artist Ross Watts; painter Matthew Satz, showing with painter Terry Elkins and performance artist Liliya Lifanova; painter and installation artist Gary Simmons with painters Perry Burns and Melinda Hackett; mixed-media Agathe Snow alongside painter Nella Khanis and mixed-media artist Alice Hope; and painter Frank Wimberley with mixed-media artist Julie Small-Gamby and painter Fulvio Massi.
Juried artist Alice Aycock—whose outdoor land sculptures and installations deal largely with the surrounding environment, like A Simple Network of Underground Wells and Tunnels, Low Building With Dirt Roof (For Mary) and the Williams College Project, all situated on farms in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Massachusetts—chose to show her work alongside Kryn Olson and Mike Solomon. “I had seen their work before, and I was pleased that they had decided to submit,” says Aycock. “The evident relationship with the ocean in Mike’s work is, not surprisingly, of interest to me given my own work with fluid dynamics and wave motion. What I admire in Kryn’s paintings are the imagery and the introduction of disparate and often contradictory elements that find an uneasy equilibrium in her compositions. I think most artists respond to what’s interesting to them in other artists’ work.” “Artists Choose Artists” runs August 21 through October 9 at the Parrish Art Museum, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton, 283-2118