By Tessa Raebeck
On Saturday, the Tripoli Gallery of Contemporary Art will unveil “Two Weeks in Umbria,” a series of 25 paintings by Sag Harbor artist Darius Yektai. The artist’s third show in the gallery, the exhibition features small paintings created over a two-week period in Montecastello di Vibio, a medieval hilltop fortress town in Umbria in central Italy.
Accustomed to working in his East End studio, Yektai used the seclusion of the small village to allow him to focus exclusively on painting. He hiked up and down the mountain, using the green, hilly landscape to paint “en plein air” in the summer sun.
“Fields laid on top of each other like bricks and mortar,” Yektai said, “so when you look at the landscape there’s a brickwork pattern. The landscape lends itself to abstraction.”
Yektai painted five to six paintings each day during the two-week period with no intention of having them be shown. The paintings have pencil marks and rough edges, “in adherence to their initial integrity and honesty,” according to a gallery press release. The seclusion and open setting of the space, as well as his desire to paint for himself, rather than for profit, lend to a sense of freedom and inhibition in the show that is sometimes rare in contemporary art.
Although he studied in California and Paris, Yektai’s work has been exhibited exclusively in New York and on the East End. His professional relationship with Tripoli Patterson, owner and director of the Tripoli Gallery, started in 2010 with his solo exhibition, “Not Everyone Gets a Unicorn.” The artist returned to the gallery in 2013 with “On Country Ground.” He is featured in the permanent collection of Guild Hall in East Hampton and in private collections around the world.
“Two Weeks in Umbria” will be on display February 8 through March 17. The opening reception is Saturday, February 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Tripoli Gallery of Contemporary Art, located at 30A Jobs Lane in Southampton. For more information, visit tripoligallery.com or call 631.377.3715.