A Three-Pronged Artistic Celebration of Sag Harbor

Posted on 26 August 2014

'Too Early' by Jean Holabird

‘Too Early’ by Jean Holabird

Canio’s exhibit features artists’ local visions

By Sam Mason-Jones

A trio of local artists will present their visions of Sag Harbor for an upcoming exhibition, “Three Views of Sag Harbor,” that will  premiere with a reception on Saturday, August 30, at Canio’s Books.

The show will feature work from Whitney Hansen, Jean Holabird and Bob Wilson. The three artists differ both in approach and the media they deal in, yet provide a complementary span in celebrating the make-up of Sag Harbor.

Kathryn Szoka of Canio’s has curated the exhibit, with the aim of showcasing Sag Harbor’s artistic talent through wider visual praise of the village.

“Canio’s is literally at the heart of Sag Harbor, and holds celebrating the creative energy of the village central to our focus, whether in literary spheres, the visual arts or other artistic endeavors.” said Ms. Szoka.

“It seemed to be the perfect exhibit to have at the end of the summer season, with Harborfest around the corner, to celebrate Sag Harbor—the trees, the buildings, the people—all a part of what makes the village a unique place on the East End.”

The division of Sag Harbor into “the trees, the buildings, the people” is a pertinent one, as each represents an aspect of the village honed in on by one of the three artists.

Jean Holabird’s series of watercolors concentrates on the village’s many trees, and how they are presented within the context and background of Sag Harbor, whether that be an old home or the Five and Dime. The series follows a long trend of work based around the village from the Manhattan-based artist, whose art had previously been occupied with the city’s recovery following September 11.

Buildings dominated the work of painter Whitney Hansen, who in woodwork found a perfect medium for capturing some of the rough hewn edges of Sag Harbor’s construction. Ms. Hansen’s contributions to “Three Views of Sag Harbor” will bring a warm, tactile dimension to the exhibition.

The people of Sag Harbor dominated the photographs of Bob Wilson, who took a succession of images of the village’s residents sitting on its benches. Fascinated by the everyday platform that the benches of Main Street could provide, Mr. Wilson took to trying to capture a wide scope of different activity.

The idea for the series came to Mr. Wilson very simply on a sunny evening last summer: “I was standing in front of the movie theater on Main Street, where there was a couple sitting on a bench under a tree—it looked like some version of ‘American Gothic’,” said the artist. “I took a picture and the idea of photographing residents of Sag Harbor on its benches grew from there.”

In the following summer months, Mr. Wilson compiled a collection of more than 100 photographs, with varying activities and composition. Noting the wide variety of residents that Sag Harbor produced, he was keen to capture each and every aspect and facet of the village.

“I took a photo of three of the older village guys in their work clothes, just watching the world go by. That’s a cool picture,” said Mr. Wilson of one of his favorite shots. “It was an enjoyable project. It was a lot of fun to capture some of that summer energy.”

In putting the exhibit together, curator Ms. Szoka, who is also a photographer herself, found that the three artists naturally complemented each other, and thus in effect picked themselves.

“I selected the three to work together because I thought they were compatible but did not overlap.” Ms. Szoka said to this end. “I knew each of the artists pretty well, and their work captures an aspect of the village that is very intimate and very charming.”

“Three Views of Sag Harbor” will run at Canio’s Gallery from Friday, August 29, to September 29, with a reception on Saturday, August 30, at 5 p.m. Canio’s Books can be found at 290 Main Street in Sag Harbor.

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