January 2020 is a surprisingly vibrant one for art exhibitions in The Hamptons. Many galleries have opened new curated shows this month with the quality of works selected just as strong as shows mounted in higher populated seasons. After visiting galleries across The Hamptons over the last few weeks, I've picked three shows that caught my interest.
1. "Winter Landscapes" - MM Fine Art
December 14, 2019 - Extended to January 26, 2020
"Winter Landscapes" grabbed my interest as soon as I saw the figurative painting of two weather-worn men by Daniel Sprick hanging in the gallery's front window. From this choice alone, it seemed apparent that this would be no ordinary landscape show. After walking around the gallery (and returning twice), the exhibition never ceased to intrigue. The paintings selected demonstrate that winter doesn't have only one face and that there's more color to be seen in the natural world than you'd imagine in the cold months of the Hamptons. Not every artwork draws upon local farm fields and beach scenes for inspiration and that's another draw of the show. There are city streets, an iceberg-like abstract painting by Michael Meehan that is minimal, texture-enriched and sublime, and a dark toned painting with aggressive paint strokes by Cornelia Foss that surprised.
One of my favorite paintings (beside Daniel Sprick's Souls in Purgatory) was the watercolor on paper Pickup Sticks by Andrew Wyeth, 1994. The painting is now on view at Forum Gallery in New York as part of the exhibition "Andrew Wyeth Five Decades." According to the Forum Gallery website, the painting is now sold.
Head to MM Fine Art to see the rest of the show as it heads into its final weekend. There are works by Rainer Andreesen, Stephanie Brody-Lederman, Terry Elkins, Cornelia Foss, Susan Grossman, Bruce Lieberman, Michael Meehan, John Mulhern, Daniel Sprick and others.
MM Fine Art is located at 4 North Main Street, Southampton, NY 11968. www.mmfineart.com.
2. "Nina Gillman: Paintings, Collages and Prints" - Elena Prohaska Fine Arts at Kathryn Markel Fine Art
January 11 - 27, 2020
For a breath of warm spring air, head to Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Bridgehampton for a solo show of florals that will conjure the sensation of happy hours in a garden no matter what the weather. This is Nina Gillman's first solo show and it's a wonderful one. Made up of oil paintings on linen, collages on paper and aquatint etchings, there is plenty of art to ponder. The etchings of bunches of tulips or irises or southern magnolias felt like portraiture with each floral subject manifesting subtle but distinct personality. Collages of patterned paper layered into still life compositions and set on board were particular favorites. Overall, a strong show for an emerging artist who has come into her own.
Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is located at 2418 Main Street, Bridgehampton, NY 11932. www.markelfinearts.com.
3 "15th Annual Thanksgiving Collective" - Tripoli Gallery
November 30, 2019 to January 30, 2020
Tripoli Gallery vacated its Southampton Village location late last year and has now popped up in a cavernous space in Wainscott to present the 2019 edition of its annual Thanksgiving Collective. Set to the curatorial theme of "What Have We Done?," the sprawling exhibition features artists who have exhibited with the gallery over the years. In a nice twist, the show contains many examples of art that's not easy to assign to its artist while providing plenty of art that is easy to pair with a name, without cheating from the price list.
There's so much art that it's easy to get lost. I did spend some time with Ashley Bickerton's sculpture Seascape: Floating Ocean Chunk No. 1. The fact that the work was numbered (as part of its official title) made me wonder about possible other floatation devices that might exist and whether the sculpture would actually float in the water (The work is actually designed to float!). A price tag at 1stdibs placed the work at $145,000 so perhaps it's not really meant for splashing around. The sculpture did make me wonder about ocean-related ways the sculpture could come in handy (and if I could lift myself from bobbing onto the ocean onto its smooth platform surface) so the work does live up to the artist's intent of encouraging the viewer to consider the artwork and its role.
In addition to seeing the art show, checking out the space was worth the visit. Whether Tripoli Gallery will stay or this is a pop up show, the tall ceiling and plywood walls make it an interesting space to see art with only a smattering of white gallery walls in sight.
Tripoli Gallery is located at 26 Ardsley Road in Wainscott, NY 11975. The cross street is East Gate Road (yes, there is a West Gate Road and it won't get you to the gallery). The gallery is open Thursday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and by appointment. www.tripoligallery.com.
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