“Solo Show by Dalton Portella” at Outeast Gallery
October 18 - November 1, 2014
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 18, from 6 to 10 p.m.
Outeast Gallery, 65 Tuthill Road, Montauk, NY 11954
Dalton Portella is exhibiting new photographic work from his Storm Series plus new paintings from his “Shark” and “Whale” series. Also on view will be art surfboards. Portella is an interdisciplinary artist and musician living and working in Montauk. Born in Miami, raised in Brazil, he moved to New York City to study art. In 2001, he moved to Montauk and has been there ever since.
For the Outeast Gallery exhibition, Portella presents his most dramatic series to date–the “Storm” series.
“The storms are a work of fiction,” explained Dalton. “They are my perfect storm, two storms coming together…I combine images I’ve shot of different storms to create a Turner-esque image. I wanted to use new technology to address a classic theme.”
The “Shark” series began last year. “I was at a client’s house and he had a shark fixation and I thought that I could create something interesting with sharks” said Portella.
The first few sharks Portella painted from Internet reference and then decided to go to the Long Island Aquarium and Research Center in Riverhead to photograph the Sand Tiger sharks there. Watching and photographing the sharks were only the start. Shortly after, Portella went on a cage dive around 15 miles offshore from Montauk and got even more up close and personal.
“I liked the unusual angles I was getting of them swimming away and wanted to emphasize the sleekness and mystery of them,” said Portella. “I used the photos as the basis for some small watercolor studies, and then graduated to painting large watercolors and oil on canvas and surfboards.”
The “Shark” paintings take a minimalistic view so the beauty of the animal is the focus.
“The sharks are so elegant,” Portella said. ‘I wanted to bring attention to their beauty as an endangered species.”
The Whale paintings were bycatch from the same offshore trip from Montauk.
"I had just come up from my last cage dive and was in the cabin when a whale suddenly breached the water and was gone before I had time to grab my camera," said Portella. “In frustration, I screamed “Do it again! Do it again!” and, on cue, the whale did. I was able to do a year’s worth of paintings from one day of photographing.”
To capture the beauty of the whales, a different approach from the “Shark” series was necessary.
“The Whale paintings are very different from the 'Shark' series,” said Dalton. “The way that the sun hit the fins and the water coming off the whale dictated that they had to have background, leaving the fin and spray the white of the paper–I wanted to capture that and the ways the whales moved through and above the water.”
Taking a distinct approach to each of the three series on view at Outeast Gallery was a natural.
“I needed to adapt the work in all three series to focus on the beauty of each,” said Portella. “This is what I do with all my work–I find the best way to put the focus on what’s most beautiful.”