Although the Hamptons and the South Fork tend to get most if not all of the attention on the East End, it’s important to remember that there are two forks and not just one. Based on the strength of a handful of appealing shows ranging from photography to painting to digital art, including one at the region’s original winery, this critic suggests a visit to the North Fork to savor the warm welcome from its tight-knit community of galleries and studios. 

The shows I’ve picked can be found at South Street Gallery in Greenport and East End Arts satellites Rosalie Dimon Gallery at the Jamesport Manor Inn; Peconic Landing in Greenport and Borghese Vineyards in Cutchogue.

As a resident of the North Fork, I have been able to watch a few of these artists develop, often under the aegis of such invaluable organizations as the non-profit East End Arts and the extremely supportive South Street Gallery. Both are centers of studio instruction as well as terrific places to view new work.

For those who’d like to get a feel for the Greenport Village art scene in particular, there are monthly Greenport Gallery Walks held on the first Friday of each month through December. Held from 6 to 9 p.m. along Front and Main Streets, click here to get a sense of the art and design you'll see while walking from gallery to gallery and place to place.

Jim Sabiston and Mike McLaughlin at Rosalie Dimon Gallery in Jamesport

I have had my eye on Jim Sabiston’s photography for a few years, and also enjoyed some intense conversations with this renaissance man ranging from epistemology to the minutiae of printing photographs—he is a connoisseur of paper textures. So I was thrilled to see the breakthrough he has made from intimate close observation to a painterly grandeur in the pageant of large-scale works that glide in a stately pavane along the walls of the Rosalie Dimon Gallery, where East End Arts is presenting his work together with the photographs of Mike McLaughlin.

Although the impact of the scale is expansive—the march of the plovers is completely irresistible—the most rewarding moments for me were found up close to tiny swirls of delicately marbled blues and greys within the forms at the shore’s edge in Island Winter’s Edge. Sabiston makes these broad gestures work on both the macro and micro level. 

 

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"Island - Winters Edge" by Jim Sabiston. Photograph, Print Size: 14 x 35 inches, Frame Size: 23 x 44 inches. Courtesy of the photographer.

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McLaughlin, whose photographs are presented in a solo show in the hall, nails the often overlooked architectural charms of Manhattan with color photographs using to great advantage the shifting and dramatic daylight that makes the city such a challenge for the lens.

Photographs by Jim Sabiston and Mike McLaughlin are on view May 5 to July 26, 2017 at the Rosalie Dimon Gallery at Jamesport Manor Inn, 370 Manor Lane, Jamesport, NY 11947. The Rosalie Dimon Gallery presents curated shows year-round as part of East End Arts gallery programming. For details, click here.

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“Manhattan Bridge” by Mike McLaughlin. Photograph. Courtesy of the photographer.

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East End Art Exhibitions in Alternate Places

Peter Beston at Peconic Landing, Greenport / Patricia Feiler at Borghese Vineyards, Cutchogue

Works by Peter Beston can call to mind David Hockney, complete with echoes of the English master’s insouciance and brash love of color. Beston, also English, has painted up a whirlwind just in time to present the complete cycle of his enigmatic “Palm Beach Stories” in the vast auditorium of Peconic Landing, an exhibition presented under the auspices of East End Arts, where Beston has shown previously in their galleries.

Beston has an impressive curriculum vitae in documentary filmmaking and BBC productions. Starting with photographs, and constructing a scenario as carefully plotted as a Hitchcock storyboard, these six-foot-wide canvases are elegantly painted—just the play of sunlight and shadow alone reward the admirer of fine brush work—and archly suggestive. Who will emerge from the abysmal black door to the deserted street in When Worlds Collide? While the street scenes may invoke comparison with Edward Hopper, I also found in Beston’s work a whiff of what the poet and critic John Ashbery called the “life-sustaining air” of Fairfield Porter’s realism.

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"When Worlds Collide" by Peter Beston. OIl on canvas, 42 x 72 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

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At the cavernous Castello di Borghese Vineyard gallery space—an artist's dream with tons of sunlight and vast new white expanses of wall for hanging colorful canvases—I found myself riding along on a wave of blues from painting to painting as I thoroughly enjoyed the sun-drenched work of Mattituck Impressionist Patricia FeilerPerhaps most art historically resonant, there are two views of the landscape at Marfa, Texas, not far from the vast Donald Judd complex at Chinati, that are a fascinating contrast to the seaside scenes. 

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"Vanishing Point" by Patricia Feiler. Photo by Gary Mamay. Courtesy of the artist.

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Both the Feiler and Beston shows are welcome extensions of the exhibition program of East End Arts, based in Riverhead, and a tip of the hat is due here to the hardworking Jane Kirkwood, who worked on both shows, and Dominic Antignano, who worked on the Peconic Landing exhibition. The two curate these shows with alert sensitivity to the sites. 

“Peter Beston: Palm Beach Stories” is  on view June 2 through September 29, 2017, at Peconic Landing Auditorium, 1500 Brecknock Road, Greenport, NY 11944. peconiclanding.com

Paintings by Patricia Feiler are on view June 10 through October 1, 2017 at Castello di Borghese Vineyards, 17150 Rte. 48, Cutchogue, NY 11935. castellodiborghese.com

Digital Art at South Street Gallery

“Imagined: New Dimensions in Digital Art” challenges viewers to consider the computer as “another kind of paintbrush.” At its best, the show reminds me of the cognitive and perceptual aperçus offered by Richard Hofstadter in “Godel Escher Bach,” the seminal text on recursive picture-making and thought: Any tool is fair play.

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"Kozo" by Colin Goldberg, 2017. Courtesy of The South Street Gallery.

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Colin Goldberg whirls geometry into a helix in Kozo, then lightly accentuates the motion with painterly passages of blue and green. Alan Richards uses the computer to mimic collage in After the Ball, which floats hazy photographs he has taken or found (in a 1909 magazine) on a “fabricated” (his word) field. The most compelling component here is a dazzling checkerboard floor. The artist noted in his artist statement that that he builds “...upon the image with others, clips, and digital drawing. The whole thing is built as a traditional picture where all the elements are on one canvas (i.e., screen).” 

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"After the Ball" by Alan Richards, 2017. Courtesy of The South Street Gallery.

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The show also features works by Ron Barron, Roz Dimon, and Kasmira Mohanty“Imagined:  New Dimensions in Digital Art” is on view June 29 through July 31, 2017 at South Street Gallery, 18 South Street, Greenport, NY 11944. thesouthstreetgallery.com

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