The art world is a competitive place and the East End exhibition scene is no exception. There used to be a time when every gallery on the South Fork (before it was "the Hamptons") had their walls filled with local artists. Not so these days, not even close. The NYC art world is a player here and has brought with it a whirlwind of change to this art making community.

Hamptons Art Hub has decided to zip back to the past and bring it forward through a new monthly column that illuminates where to find art by East End artists or insider stories on what it's like to make art in our artist colony. Whether the art is being made in studios in a spare bedroom, in upstairs garage spaces, in divided commercial warehouses or in magazine-ready studios tucked behind lush hedgerows, The Floodlights will cast its beams upon artists who make art from the East End (defined as Riverhead, NY and eastward).

[Note: Living on the East End and NYC does not mean an artist isn't based on the East End, if they have a studio here and are making work on the East End.]

For the first installment, we present a list of five exhibitions that showcase works by East End artists. In addition to geography, these exhibitions each present art that's worth seeing. Further, each exhibition is curated or designed to let the strength of individual works be evident and enhanced by the artworks around it.

The exhibitions selected are the weekend-only "NATURAL ELEMENTS" at Ashawagh Hall; “Pond Studies" at Alex Ferrone Photography Gallery; "Tactility"at Southampton Cultural Center; "Intimate Connections" by Dan Welden and the "Artists of the Springs Invitational" at Ashawagh Hall.

Continue reading for details.

"NATURAL ELEMENTS” at Ashawagh Hall:  July 25 - July 27, 2014

"Natural Elements" gathers together 11 artists with a range of styles who each have nature as muse. Inclusion in the show is by invitation only and is curated by Landscape painter Mary Laspia. But don't expect to find a landscape show. Instead, abstraction, impressionism and figurative are strong contenders in this now-annual show. Ceramics, painting, sculpture, prints and works including ink or fabric are all part of the mix.

Exhibiting artists are Barbara Groot, Rosario Varela, Mary Laspia, Kirsten Benfield, Susan Burr Carlo, Judy Clifford, Anne Holton, Richard Udice, Katherine D. Crone, Annie Sessler, and Lisa Weston.

An Opening Reception takes place tonight (Saturday) from 5 to 8 p.m. The show is viewable today from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.mAshawagh Hall is located at 780 Springs Fireplace Rd, Springs, NY 11937, at the corner of Fireplace Road and Old Stone Highway. www.ashawagh-hall.org.

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"Untitled" by Rosario Varela. Stoneware, 12 inches (diameter) x 10 inches (height).

"Untitled" by Rosario Varela. Stoneware, 12 inches (diameter) x 10 inches (height).

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"Turbulance" by Katherine Crone. Acrylic, plastic, usuyo, gampi, nylon, monofilament, archival ink-jet printing, 16 x 5 x 5 inches.

"Turbulance" by Katherine Crone. Acrylic, plastic, usuyo, gampi, nylon, monofilament, archival ink-jet printing, 16 x 5 x 5 inches.

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“Pond Studies": Photography by Nijole Kudirka and Katherine Liepe-Levinson at Alex Ferrone Photography Gallery: July 26 to August 31, 2014

"Pond Studies" presents photography with local East End waters as muse. Nijole Kudirka's work will include delicate photo encaustic collages. Katherine Liepe-Levinson's photography studies focus upon glassy water surfaces. Kurirka's studio is located in Southold and Liepe-Levinson is based in Riverhead.

A portion of sales will be donated to Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County Marine Program – an integral non-profit community education agency whose mission is to protect our waters and eco-systems, providing a clean environment for our fish, fowl and plants.

An Opening Reception takes place tonight (Saturday) from 6 - 8 p.m.

Kudirka travels internationally to make her photography images. Her work has been exhibited internationally include Mark Miller Gallery in New York City, The National Museum of Prague and Ecco Espace Cultural in Brazil. To make the image based on East End for "Pond Studies", Kudirka focused on vernal ponds and ephemeral tide pools in the seashore dunes.

"The play of light on the water and the reflections of trees, whose shade they need to survive, was a particular visual focus for me," she explained in an exhibition release. "I wanted to highlight this fragile, vulnerable phenomenon of nature. Using the photo encaustic media with thin handmade rice papers seemed like the perfect materials to express the transparent light.”

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Artwork by Nijole Kudirka.

Artwork by Nijole Kudirka.

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Liepe-Levinson concentrates on single exposure photography with minimal post-processing. All her photographs in this series are digital and artist-printed using archival pigment inks and papers.

“I make a practice of pond-gazing in all seasons, meditating on our precious, irreplaceable natural resources," said Liepe-Levinson  about the photographs in the show. "By watching the ever-changing effects of wind, light, flora, and fauna of the water, I catch some unusual effects that are produced by the camera angle and lens, the play of light on the subject and background, and by reflective surfaces.”

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"Spring Prelude" by Katherine Liepe-Levinson.

"Spring Prelude" by Katherine Liepe-Levinson.

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In conjunction with the exhibition, photographs by Alex Ferrone's new "Winter Aerial Observations" will be presented. Ferrone is the gallery director and a commercial and fine art aerial photographer based on the North Fork of Long Island.

An Opening Reception takes place tonight (Saturday) from 6 - 8 p.m. On Sunday, August 3, at 1 p.m. the pair will give a Gallery Talk with light lunch to discuss their work. Reservations are required. The Alex Ferrone Photography Gallery is located on the North Fork at 25425 Main Road, Cutchogue, NY 11935. www.alexferrone.com.

"Tactility" at Southampton Cultural Center: July 15 - August 16, 2014

The exhibition theme refers to that which is tactile: real or suggested. Each of four artists presents abstract works which leads the theme is a direction clearly informed by material. Exhibiting works are Darlene Charneco, Carol Hunt, Dennis Leri and Will Ryan.

Darlene Charneco uses nails, enamel, and polyurethane on wood to create wall panels, primarily inspired by personal philosophy and experience. Carol Hunt, who's also well-known as a painter, is exhibiting a series of loom woven works. The weavings are created on a continuum, without a preset design; abstract motifs, inspired by nature, with an Asian flavor.

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Artwork by Carol Hunt.

Artwork by Carol Hunt.

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Dennis Leri combines wood, paint, and strips of metal, with metal strips overlapping, or interspersed with other material for strong sculptural effect.Will Ryan is a painter who builds up with layers of encaustic, leaf on board, and sometimes mixed objects with other media to create vivid references to natural phenomena.

An Opening Reception was held on July 24. The exhibition remains on view through August 16. Southampton Arts Center is located at 25 Pond Lane, Southampton, NY 11968. www.scc-arts.org.

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Artwork by Will Ryan. Courtesy Southampton Cultural Center.

Artwork by Will Ryan. Courtesy Southampton Cultural Center.

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"Intimate Connections" at South Street Gallery: July 30 to September 1, 2014

A solo show by master printmaker Dan Welden of Sag Harbor will be featured at the South Street Gallery on the North Fork. Featuring recent works, the exhibition will allow a look at what the artist is up lately, on his home turf. Welden may be best known for his solar-plate etching and for developing a unique printing system that includes harnessing the sun.

His work has been the subject of 78 solo shows include four museum exhibitions. Welden's work has been included in over 700 group shows worldwide including U.S., China, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Japan, Peru and Switzerland.

An Artist Reception will be held on August 30 from 5 to 7 p.m. 

"Intimate Connections" will be presented from July 30 to September 1, 2014 at South Street Gallery, 18 South Street, Greenport, NY. www.thesouthstreetgallery.com.

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"Fairly Squarely" by Dan Welden. Etching, 32 x 42 inches.

"Fairly Squarely" by Dan Welden. Etching, 32 x 42 inches.

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"47th Artists of the Springs Invitational" at Ashawagh Hall - August 1 to 17, 2014

This annual Invitational has grown from only exhibiting artists living in Springs (outside of East Hampton Village) to widen their inclusion to artists of the Hamptons. Each year, a curator is secretly selected by committee and whose identity remains cloaked until the show is a few days away from opening. The competition for inclusion is that fierce that the masked identity is for the curator's peace of mind so selections can be made without undue influence.

This year's curator is Sue Ferguson Gussow, according to the exhibition's Facebook Page. The artist list hasn't been released yet but check in on the Springs Invitational's Facebook page to keep up to date.

So far what is known are the receptions and events. An Opening Reception takes place on Friday, August 1, from 5 to 8 p.m. A Curator's Tour will be held on August 16 from 4 to 5 p.m. The exhibition will be viewable Sundays to Fridays from 1 to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ashawagh Hall is located at 780 Springs Fireplace Rd, Springs, NY 11937, at the corner of Fireplace Road and Old Stone Highway. www.ashawagh-hall.org.

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