Tag Archive | "art"

Landscape Pleasures Offers an Insider’s Look at Southampton’s Ever-Changing Gardens

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The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is one of the homes featured on the Parrish Art Museum's Landscape Pleasures garden tour this Sunday, June 8. Photo by Doug Young.

The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is one of the homes featured on the Parrish Art Museum’s Landscape Pleasures garden tour this Sunday, June 8. Photo by Doug Young.

By Tessa Raebeck

Like a piece of artwork or a writer’s manuscript, a garden is never truly finished. As with all art, gardens can always evolve, changing with the seasons and naturally growing out of plans and designs, developing over time in a never-ending evolution.

Gardening is the art of the Earth, providing the willing and creative with another means of finding beauty in the mundane.

“All I know is, I don’t paint with a trowel or garden with a brush,” the late Robert Dash said in a video by P. Allen Smith Classics filmed in 2011, two years before his death, when asked about the connection between gardening and painting.

“They inform one another in ways that are very mysterious. It’s how the trowel is wielded or how the brush is wielded that informs the canvas or the Earth and there are no rules. And the only way you know how to do something in either of those arts is by doing it,” he added.

Mr. Dash, an artist, writer and gardener who died in September at age 82, “believed very much in gardens taking their time and developing over a period of time,” said Jack deLashmet, co-chair of Landscape Pleasures, which will honor Mr. Dash this year.

Hosted by the Parrish Art Museum, Landscape Pleasures includes three lectures by gardening and landscape design experts on Saturday, June 7, followed by a day of tours of some of Southampton’s most historic and remarkable gardens on Sunday, June 8.

The 2-acre Sagaponack garden of Mr. Dash, the Madoo Conservancy, which is open to the public, is included among the private estates on Sunday’s tour.

Established in 1967, the internationally known organic garden is a testament to Mr. Dash’s belief in the ever-evolving landscape. The grounds offer a tour across history, featuring Tudor, High Renaissance, early Greek, English, French and Asian influences.

Mr. Dash’s horticultural wisdom—and his commitment to the garden as a canvas that is ever changing and organic—will be celebrated and expanded on this weekend.

“We’ve always had excellent speakers,” said Mr. deLashmet of the annual garden tours, who believes this year’s Landscape Pleasures is the best yet. “The theme is the never finished garden, that gardens really evolve—and everybody will have a slight take on that,”

On Saturday, southern landscape design architect Paul Faulkner “Chip” Callaway, “an absolutely entertaining speaker,” according to Mr. deLashmet, will present, reflecting on his experience creating nearly 1,000 gardens, concentrating on period restoration work and designing historically relevant gardens.

Following Mr. Callaway, Martin Filler, the architecture critic for The New York Review of Books, and renowned for his more than 1,000 articles, essays and books on modern architecture,  will celebrate the contributions of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon, the Listerine fortune heiress who was a patron of the arts with a dedicated interest in gardening, landscape design and the history of gardens.

A friend and confidante of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Ms. Mellon redesigned the White House Rose Garden. She died in March at the age of 103.

One of the world’s premiere garden designers, Arne Maynard, is the final speaker Saturday. Known for his large country gardens in Great Britain, the United States and across Europe, Mr. Maynard has the special “ability to identify and draw out the essence of a place, something that gives his gardens a particular quality of harmony,” according to the Parrish website.

Continuing the celebration of the changing nature of gardens, the self-guided tour Sunday features properties with rich histories behind them.

The garden of Perri Peltz and Eric Ruttenberg, an 1892 property originally called “Claverack,” is rarely open to the public.

Although it has evolved, the owners are always mindful of their home’s deep history; the original outhouses, bucolic buildings housing poultry, dairy and the stables, were, in a move that is sadly rare on the East End, married together and allowed to remain.

Designer Tory Burch will open up her home, a 1929 red brick Georgian House and 10-acre garden known as Westerly that is one of Southampton’s grandest estates.

“A great story about both restoring and finding old plants,” according to Mr. deLashmet,  Bernard and Joan Carl, the owners an 8-acre estate called “Little Orchard,” restored original plantings while also bringing in new gardens.

“We did not want to be beholden to the past just for the past’s sake,” Ms. Carl told the Parrish.

The garden of Margaret and R. Peter Sullivan is an American style garden flanked by a new Palladian villa. The landscape offers a modern interpretation on standard ideas of gardening, with fruits and vegetables, an herb garden, and a vase decorated with poetry made by Mr. Dash.

As the late Mr. Dash once said, “Gardening is very much like setting a table—and if you can set a good dinner table, you can be a good gardener.”

A two-day event, Landscape Pleasures begins Saturday, June 7, at 8:30 a.m. at the Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For a full calendar and more information, call (631) 283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.

Rothko on Stage: ‘Red’ to Open at Guild Hall in East Hampton

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Left: Victor Slezak as Mark Rothko and Christian Scheider as his assistant Ken. Photo by Brian Leaver.

Left: Victor Slezak as Mark Rothko and Christian Scheider as his assistant Ken. Photo by Brian Leaver.

By Tessa Raebeck

The job of the artist assistant is to stretch canvases, mix paint, grab coffee and, in many cases, serve as the sounding board and mellowing counterpart to the boss’ eccentricity.

Such is the case in “Red,” a Tony-Award winning two-man play by John Logan centered on the relationship between the renowned postwar American artist Mark Rothko and his young assistant, Ken. Produced by Guild Hall in association with Ellen J. Myers, the play, which premiered in 2009, will open on the John Drew Theatre stage Wednesday, May 21.

Directed by Sag Harbor’s Stephen Hamilton, noted for his recent shows at the John Drew Theatre including Martin McDonough’s “The Cripple of Inishmann” and Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanda,” “Red” stars Victor Slezak as Rothko and Christian Scheider as Ken.

Victor Slezak as Mark Rothko. Photo by Brian Leaver.

Victor Slezak as Mark Rothko. Photo by Brian Leaver.

“The discussion that takes place between them, the action between them is a debate about commerce and art, about humanity,” Mr. Hamilton said of the main characters. “It’s about art and humanity, it’s about the importance and meaning of art in our life.”

Of Russian Jewish descent, Rothko, unlike many other artists, rose to prominence during his own lifetime and was at the apex of his career during the play’s two-year span, from 1958 to 1959.

At the time his inventive young assistant Ken comes to work with him, Rothko has just received an unheard of public commission for $35,000, the equivalent of about $2 million in today’s market, from the Four Seasons Restaurant to create murals, now known as the Seagram murals. The entire play takes place in the studio at 222 Bowery in New York City where the murals were created.

Although he himself rejected the term, Rothko was classified alongside his contemporaries Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock as “one of the most famous abstract expressionists in the New York school,” according to Mr. Hamilton.

Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns were just coming into prominence in the late 1950s, much to the chagrin of Rothko.

“All of these artists are just starting to get recognized and that whole movement—it was a big shift between the expressionists and this time,” said Mr. Hamilton. “And its reaction to that—Mark Rothko is a bigger than life character, whose impressions and whose very deep feeling about the meaning of art in the world comes to stark contrast with what he thinks is the complete sort of obliteration of that psyche.”

“There is no such thing as good painting about nothing,” Rothko once said.

Pop artists were critiquing the art world of Rothko, essentially making fun of its gravity.

“It’s on the theme of seriousness,” said Mr. Scheider, a Sagaponack native and a young up-and-coming actor who plays the role of Ken. “Seriousness in art, seriousness in what you say, seriousness in what you live. Meaning Rothko was very much somebody who felt himself to be an outsider in American culture for a long time—until, of course, he became sort of a pillar of that culture, but that happened later—and so, throughout his whole life he dealt with this—I’m not going to say insecurity, because in fact he had a lot of security in himself—but a doubt as to whether there were people that could look at his paintings. He didn’t know if people were going to be moved by them.”

“So, much of what Ken does in the play is through the course of it, he sort of proves it possible that one can develop an appreciation for an abstract painting as a lay person,” he added. “So in a way he’s kind of a foil, but Ken in his own way is an artist.”

Although Ken is a painter, he’s not making art when he works with Rothko. He’s supporting the artist by grabbing food and cigarettes and doing the busy work. Throughout the play, he complements Rothko’s long-winded monologues with one-word, monosyllabic answers.

“What do you see?” Rothko will often ask.

“Red,” replies Ken.

Rothko will rage, stomping around the room, slinging packets of paint at his assistant, who will, in turn, pick up the packets, toss the artist a cigarette and clean up after his rage.

“Rothko’s right at the height of his powers right now, 1958-59, there’s nobody painting like him. He has achieved his mature style that you recognize from Rothko and yet he knows that that energy, that life force—right around the corner is the diminution of that force. He’s not in the greatest health and he knows that he’s right at the apex of his career, there’s nowhere else to go,” said Mr. Hamilton.

The youthful energy of Ken collides with the threat of dead-end maturity felt by Rothko, setting off their conflict in moments of both humorous dialogue and pure tension.

“One of the central questions in the play is, ‘What do you see?” Mr. Scheider said. “Which, of course, is whatever you see, I mean there’s no right answer… but for Rothko, he was trying to make people weep, which is hard to do with blocks of color, but somehow he managed.”

Mr. Scheider said the mentorship, intentional or not, of Rothko on Ken correlates to his own experience working with Mr. Slezak, a veteran actor who has been performing regularly on stage, films and television for 40 years.

“He’s a seasoned actor and is bringing a kind of gravitas to this role that is really impressive and inspiring because he’s the kind of actor who can live a character,” said Mr. Hamilton, adding, “He can really bring this character to life and same with Christian [Scheider], they’re both doing a fantastic job.”

“For me, as a young actor working with a much more experienced actor, there’s a lot of overlap between the rehearsal process and the play, it’s actually very useful,” said Mr. Scheider. “As a young person, [I am] honored to be given this responsibility.”

“Ken, over the course of the play, becomes a better artist by having just been with him.” Mr. Scheider said. “They have very different intentions in their work and yet Rothko instilled in him a kind of fearlessness…to take himself seriously.”

In Rothko’s words: “Art to me is an anecdote of the spirit, and the only means of making concrete the purpose of its varied quickness and stillness.”

“Red” runs from Wednesdays through Sundays from May 21, through June 8 at 8 p.m. at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Tickets are $35 for general admission, $33 for members and $10 for students. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 324-4050 or visit guildhall.org.

An “Explosion” of Outdoor Furnishings Comes to East Hampton’s LongHouse Reserve in ‘exteriors’

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Lips loveseat by Colin Selig. Photo courtesy LongHouse Reserve.

Lips love seat by Colin Selig. Photo courtesy LongHouse Reserve.

By Tessa Raebeck

Whether you prefer sitting on leather or repurposed propane tanks, the exteriors exhibit of outdoor furnishings at LongHouse Reserve—the largest exhibit in the foundation’s history—aims to inspire designers and homeowners of every taste.

Opening Saturday, exteriors will display dozens of pieces across the grounds of the 16-acre East Hampton campus from 60 artists and designers both local and international.

“Prices vary widely, so do styles,” said Jack Lenor Larsen, the textile designer, author, collector, owner of LongHouse, founder of the foundation and co-curator of the exhibit. Wendy Van Deusen, Sherri Donghia and Elizabeth Lear are also curating.

R & Company, "Calunga" Chaise, Designer: Hugo Franca. Photo courtesy LongHouse Reserve.

R & Company, “Calunga” Chaise, Designer: Hugo Franca. Photo courtesy LongHouse Reserve.

“We hope viewers will begin to collect art and furnishings for their exteriors—not suites of matching pieces but those which will, above all, personalize their spaces—encouraging users to be more themselves,” Mr. Larsen added.

A number of furnishings, but not all, will be available for purchase after the show and sources such as Design Within Reach, Mecox Gardens and other participants have pieces available in their “great Hamptons showrooms,” Mr. Larsen said.

Globally sourced, the exhibit will display all aspects of outdoor living, with shelters, fabrics, lighting and other furnishings on view.

Local designers like Silas Marder of Springs and Sag Harbor’s Nico Yektai will show pieces, as will international designers and manufacturers from as far away as Colombia, France, Italy and Sweden.

Through exteriors, LongHouse hopes to show all the opportunities for outdoor living, instilling the idea that the backyard, patio or garden can become rooms in and of themselves, natural extensions of the home.

The exhibit is sponsored by Sunbrella, a design firm that encourages customers to channel the style and palette of the nearest indoor room when planning their outdoor space, in order to ensure the transition from indoors to outside is a smooth one, but not be afraid to make bold choices in design.

One such bold choice is the lounger “Fortune Cookie,” shaped like the crescent cookie lying on its side, made by Johnny Swing. The lounger, thick on one side and thin on the other, is made entirely from quarters welded together with stainless steel legs. An attention-grabbing bright red loveseat by California artist Colin Selig is in the shape of lips, with the arm rests making the curve of the mouth. The pouty love seat is made of repurposed propane tanks, but appears comfortable nonetheless.

"Fortune Cookie" by Johnny Swing. Photo courtesy LongHouse Reserve.

“Fortune Cookie” by Johnny Swing. Photo courtesy LongHouse Reserve.

Fitting for the springtime, the furnishings at exteriors allow one to be closer to nature and spend time within it, while still maintaining the comfort and style of the indoors. The outdoor furniture relates to the environment surrounding it, enhancing its natural beauty and allowing the viewer to enjoy nature without disrupting it.

One way the pieces relate to and work with the nature surrounding them is through “fire and water,” Mr. Larsen said. Items like fountains, showers, stoves and outdoor bonfires and fire pits recreate the natural elements without overshadowing them.

The “bench place” on site has up to 20 benches and there will be a dozen sun beds to choose from at the “lap pool.” There will be 12 sites at the exhibit, each with a distinctive style. Two of the rooms, the garden rooms, are under cover.

LongHouse encourages visitors to design their outdoor space at “a fraction of the cost” of furnishing an indoor room—or to splurge.

“There are such blockbuster pieces as a giant leather and steel hammock from Ralph Pucci for a tasteful 1-percenter,” Mr. Larsen said.

Lounge pieces from Brazil, which Mr. Larsen called “heroic,” are carved from heavy hardwood roots. Dozens of Pet Lamps, colorful, woven lampshades, will also be on display. Always unique, Pet Lamps are created by artisans in Colombia, Spain and Chile, complemented by cylindrical adornments made of mechanized iron and colorful textile cables designed by Alvaro Catalán de Ocón. From the American branch of the Italian design company Moroso, two dozen “wildly flamboyant” chairs will adorn one of the LongHouse lawns, Mr. Larsen said.

Likewise wild, the quartet SOUNDWALL will play during the opening reception. An extension of the sonic architecture company of the same name created by artist/musicians John Houshmand and Edward Potokar, the musicians play on inventions that are “sound architecture,” essentially pieces of furniture that function as instruments.

The SOUNDWALL drum wall is a wooden partition with 11 tuned drums of various shapes and styles incorporated into it. A triangular harp coffee table of cherry wood and steel also functions as a three-person stringed electric instrument, and psychedelic “thunder panels” made of aluminum and Mylar serve as a percussion room divider.

The exteriors exhibit opens Saturday, May 17, and runs through October 11. The LongHouse Reserve at 133 Hands Creek Road in East Hampton is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 per person. For more information, call 329-3568, or visit longhouse.org.

Art and War: Alexander Russo Shares His Experience as a World War II Combat Artist

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“Combat Artist: A Journal of Love and War” by Alexander Russo cover.

“Combat Artist: A Journal of Love and War” by Alexander Russo cover.

By Tessa Raebeck

Art and combat don’t often go hand in hand, but for Alexander Russo they are forever linked.

Mr. Russo will visit Guild Hall Saturday to sign and read from his book, “Combat Artist: A Journal of Love and War,” a straightforward account of his time spent in the Naval Reserve, serving with Naval Intelligence as a combat artist during World War II.

The first and youngest personnel to volunteer and engage in the Naval landings in Sicily and Normandy, Mr. Russo is now Professor Emeritus at Hood College in Maryland and is the former Dean of the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C.

The graphic results of Mr. Russo’s time spent in combat form part of the navy’s Historical Records of World War II. In the book, the veteran also explores the growth of the artist following the war, in his struggle to continue a career in fine arts.

A reception with the author is Saturday, May 17 at 1:30 p.m., followed by a reading and book signing from 2 to 3 p.m. at Guild Hall, 158 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 324-0806 or visit guildhall.org.

Here Comes the Sun at East End Arts

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"Luncheon Al Fresco," 24 x 36 oil painting by Leo Revi of East Hampton. Photo courtesy East End Arts.

“Luncheon Al Fresco,” 24 x 36 oil painting by Leo Revi of East Hampton.

By Tessa Raebeck

This weekend at the Remsenburg Academy, East End Arts will celebrate the long-awaited arrival of summer with an invitational art show featuring five artists from the East End.

Leo Revi of East Hampton, a self-described painter of light, captures the effects of sunlight in his paintings, drawing inspiration from impressionist painters such as Claude Monet and Winslow Homer.

Also using the area’s unique light quality, Riverhead’s Michael McLaughlin, a research analyst by trade, turned to photography when he found the East End and felt compelled to capture its natural beauty.

Sag Harbor’s Linda Capello, a figurative painter, will also show her work, which focuses on the body’s natural movement.

“What I am drawn to—what I draw—is the lyrical, sensual form; the body as icon of power and grace. I try to capture the body in that split second as movement stops—the turn of the head, flex of the arm, movement for the sake of movement, line for the sake of line,” Ms. Capello said.

A sculptor and mixed media artist out of East Quogue, Jonathan Pearlman transforms everyday objects into a new, imaginative form in his sculptures, with the goal that the viewer will discover the intrinsic beauty in the mundane.

Lucille Berril Paulsen of Water Mill will share her figurative paintings, which aim to create visual personality and capture “the attitude behind the face,” she said in a statement.

Here Comes the Sun will open on Friday, May 16 and run through Sunday, June 1. An artists’ reception is Friday, May 23 from 5 to 7 p.m.

Parrish Art Museum Celebrates 40 Years of Jennifer Bartlett’s Work

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"Atlantic Ocean" Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

“Atlantic Ocean,” made in 1984 from 224 baked enamel steel plates, is on view at the Parrish Art Museum as part of its “Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe” exhibition. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

Using the images of house and home to convey not comfort but impermanence, subversion and abstraction, veteran artist Jennifer Bartlett has continually revisited the theme—and the contradictions therein—over her 40-plus year career.

In “Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe,” the Parrish Art Museum presents Ms. Bartlett’s work, from 1970 through 2011, in three galleries of massive enamel steel plates and colorful paintings, on view now through July 13.

“It explores the symbolism and themes that she works with over time, centering on the home and house and the relationships she has with her friends, motifs she explores routinely throughout her work,” Curatorial Assistant Michael Pintauro said of the exhibition.

Young artist Virginia Briggs draws inspiration from Jennifer Bartlett's work at the Parrish Art Museum Sunday, April 27. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Young artist Virginia Briggs draws inspiration from Jennifer Bartlett’s work at the Parrish Art Museum Sunday, April 27. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

 

Originally from Long Beach, California, Ms. Bartlett emerged in the mid-1970s and quickly earned commercial success and critical acclaim for her work, which combines figurative and abstract art. The artist often melds together deep blues and greens in her paintings, delineated by harsh lines, panels and grids.

Jennifer Bartlett, "House: Lines, White, 1998." Enamel over silkscreen grid on baked enamel, steel plates. Photo courtesy of Parrish Art Museum.

Jennifer Bartlett, “House: Lines, White, 1998.” Enamel over silkscreen grid on baked enamel, steel plates. Courtesy of Parrish Art Museum.

Ms. Bartlett first used the house image in “House Piece” in 1970, and the hearth has been a recurring theme in her work ever since.

“A house is basically a square and a triangle within a rectangle,” Ms. Bartlett observed in a conversation with Leisa Austin from the publication, “Jennifer Bartlett: Earth.” “It shows a human presence but it is totally abstract.”

In “237 Lafayette Street,” the title representative of Ms. Bartlett’s address in 1978 when the painting was completed, the traditional home image is distorted across three panels, representing the impermanence of a house. The geometric blocks remain the same, but the colors and designs surrounding it transform from muted to chaotic.

Ms. Bartlett’s friend Joan Didion, a writer and fellow Californian, said this notion of a chaotic “sense of place” stems from coming of age in the Golden State, where “children grow up aware that any extraordinary morning their house could slip its foundations in an earthquake, implode in a brushfire, [or] slide from existence on a suddenly unstable slope,” the author write in an introduction to “Jennifer Bartlett: Earth.”

Ms. Bartlett has been spending time at a cottage in Amagansett since the early 1990s, where, like many artists before her, she has enjoyed the natural inspiration of the many landscapes on the East End.

A massive piece on view at the Parrish, “Atlantic Ocean” is made of enamel laid over a silkscreen grid on 224 baked enamel steel plates. Completed in 1984, the work is obviously locally inspired, with off-white frothy waves melding into deep blue waters, a dune-lined island in the background.

Jennifer Bartlett, "Air: 24 Hours, Eleven P.M.," 1991–92. Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Parrish Art Museum.

Jennifer Bartlett,
“Air: 24 Hours, Eleven P.M.,” 1991–92.
Oil on canvas. Courtesy of Parrish Art Museum.

Also a multi-plate work, “Amagansett Diptych #1,” oil on two canvases made from 2007 to 2008, was just gifted to the Parrish’s permanent collection in April. Promised by Michael Forman and Jennifer Rice, it will add another Bartlett work to the permanent collection.

In both “Atlantic Ocean” and “Amagansett Diptych #1,” Ms. Bartlett used “graining brushes” resulting in an effect that Curator Klaus Ottman described as a “lush sensuality that still manages to meet her desire for grids and order.”

Made between 1991 and 1992, the series “Air: 24 Hours” has 24 paintings at 84 by 84 inches each, each representing an hour of Ms. Bartlett’s day. In “Eleven P.M.” on view at the Parrish, a cluster of handwritten notes and a pile of loose change converge sloppily on top of a desk in a scene evoking the stress of late night planning. Underneath the colors and haphazard scene is Ms. Bartlett’s familiar grid motif, constructing a sense of order after all.

Created in her Amagansett home in 2005 and 2006, “No One is Home” and “Something is Wrong,” paintings overwritten by the words in their titles, further demonstrate Ms. Bartlett’s distrust of the home as a place of undisturbed sanctity and refuge.

“Jennifer Bartlett: History of the Universe” is on view through July 13 at the Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call 283-2118 or visit parrishart.org.

Jennifer Bartlett, "Amagansett Diptych #1," 2007-08 oil on 2 canvases. Courtesy of Parrish Art Museum.

Jennifer Bartlett, “Amagansett Diptych #1,” 2007-08 oil on 2 canvases. Courtesy of Parrish Art Museum.

Artists as Babysitters: Gabrielle Selz Unveils Memoir on New York City Art Scene of the Sixties

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GabrielleSelzCover

By Tessa Raebeck

GabrielleSelzHeadshot

Gabrielle Selz.

Gabrielle Selz of Southampton will release her new memoir. “Unstill Life” at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill Friday.

The writer recounts her childhood growing up in the 60’s and 70’s in New York City, among art and artists during the peak of Abstract Expressionism. Ms. Selz’s father, Peter Selz, became the chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art shortly after her birth.

The family home was filled with artists like Mark Rothko and Willem De Kooning, and Ms. Selz recounts both the excitement and the ruin of the day.

Starting Friday, May 2 at 6 p.m., the evening includes a short film screening, a reading from “Unstill Life,” a book signing with Ms. Selz and a question and answer session with special guest Peter Selz.

For tickets and more information, visit parrishart.org/programs/662 or call 283-2118.

Sara Nightingale Gallery Presents Fourth Edition of #Blinddates/MusicLab

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Ryan Messina on trumpet, Will Jhun on tenor sax and Nick Lyons on alto sax will perform improvisational music together at the Sara Nightingale Gallery Thursday. Photo courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

Inspired only by each other and the energy around them, tonight three friends will present an evening of improvisational music at the Sara Nightingale Gallery.

"Drumming Circle" by Gus Yero, acrylic on canvas. Photo courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

“Drumming Circle” by Gus Yero, acrylic on canvas. Photo courtesy Sara Nightingale Gallery.

The show, MusicLab edition #4, is part of the #Blinddates series that pairs two musicians—and strangers—together for a concert. Tonight’s performance gives the evening a new take; the artists are all friends, having met in Brooklyn through a shared connection, pianist Connie Crothers.

Playing his trumpet, Ryan Messina will be joined by saxophonists Will Jhun on tenor sax and Nick Lyons on alto sax. The trio will feed off each other, developing the performance as it goes along.

While listening to the show, guests can view the gallery’s exhibition, including works by Malin Abrahamsson, Bill Armstrong, Eric Dever, Cara Enteles, Glenn Fischer, Brian O’Leary, William Pagano, Ross Watts and Gus Yero.

Refreshments will be served at the event, Thursday, April 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Sara Nightingale Gallery, 688 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For more information, call 793-2256 or visit saranightingale.com.

Fish Eye View Highlights Long Island’s Life Underwater

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A photo of a seahorse by Chris Paparo.

A photo of a seahorse by Chris Paparo.

By Stephen J. Kotz

From the surface, the teeming ecosystem of an East End bay reveals itself in glimpses: a bluefish breaking the surface; a school of silversides darting through the shallows; or a spider crab moving slowly along the edge of the eelgrass.

But for Chris Paparo, who has been taking underwater photographs for more than 25 years and is better known as the Fish Guy, the view is decidedly more detailed.

This Saturday, Mr. Paparo will present a free slide show and lecture, featuring his underwater photography, “An Underwater Journey of Long Island Through the Eyes of a Fishing Biologist,” at the office of the Concerned Citizens of Montauk from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

CCOM executive director Jeremy Samuelson said he first learned about Mr. Paparo from his Facebook page, Fish Guy Photos, and was eventually intrigued enough to invite him to speak as part of CCOM’s environmental education outreach efforts.

“We all suffer a bit from this National Geographic thing in that we think the only beautiful things worth saving are halfway round the world,” said Mr. Samuelson, “but his photographs show you find them right here in our backyard.”

By day, Mr. Paparo, who received a degree in marine biology from Southampton College, manages the marine sciences center at the Stony Brook Southampton campus. “It’s exciting to have gone to school here as an undergrad and be back here for the next phase of the college’s life,” he said. Besides overseeing the facility’s operations, Mr. Paparo leads tours and field trips for visitors to the marine science center from local schools, museums and other community groups.

Before joining the university’s staff, he worked for four years at the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation and another 13 years at the Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center in Riverhead as its educational coordinator and one of its rescue techs.

“The reason I went into marine science is my dad took me fishing when I was six, and I’ve been hooked ever since,” he said.

Besides giving lectures on his underwater photography, Mr. Paparo finds time to write a naturalist column for On the Water magazine and contribute to Fisherman magazine.

Mr. Paparo, who said he was certified as a scuba diver in 1993, first took up underwater photography as hobby. In recent years, “it’s snowballed a bit” with the advent of first the internet and later Facebook. Today, he said, every chance he gets he grabs his scuba gear and his Canon underwater camera rig, to explore beneath the surface of local bays.

Those who attend his lecture will see photographs of fluke, striped bass, porgies, puffers, winter flounder, sea bass and many other fish species. “Now you are going to see it from their point of view,” he said.

“I start with all the important game catch and then show the by catch, the crabs, snails, clams and end with the exotics, the tropical fish that come up in the summer time,” he continued.

Over the years, Mr. Paparo has photographed everything from tiny seahorses, which frequent the bays—“you have to know where to look for them,” he said—to sharks out in the ocean, although the latter he photographs from the safety of a boat.

“I haven’t seen any sharks diving, but I haven’t ventured out in the ocean to do any ocean diving,” he said. But he goes out with a friend and they tag and release sharks. “One of the makos we tagged off Shinnecock in 2012 was found 2,200 miles across the Atlantic,” he said. “It’s neat when you get a recapture like that.”

But Mr. Paparo said he has seen his share of sharks close to shore. “They are very abundant around here,” he said. “I’ve seen makos in the inlet. It’s just a matter of being out there and if you are out there the amount of time I am your chances of seeing them go up.”

Last year, Mr. Paparo said he was thrilled to see a string ray he estimated at 3-feet in diameter swimming around Ponquogue Bridge in Hamptons Bays. Although he was unable to photograph the fish, he caught it on video.

“I still get excited when I find an octopus,” said Mr. Paparo, who added that he has never seen one while diving, because they are very elusive creatures. “We collected two last fall, little guys,” he said. One was in a net, another came up with the anchor. “The first one was about the size of a gum ball, and the other one was even smaller, about the size of my pinky nail. If you didn’t know what you were looking for you would have missed them.”

Mr. Paparo said many amateur photographers fail to recognize how much work goes into capturing images of wildlife. “If you only go once, you won’t necessarily get the chance,” he said. “You never know what you are going to come across. And just because you saw it doesn’t mean you are going to get the picture.”

Mr. Paparo’s talk takes place at CCOM’s office at 6 S. Elmwood Avenue in Montauk. Admission is free and reservations are not required. For more information, call CCOM at (631) 238-5720.

 

Surfrider Foundation to Host Paddle-Building Workshop with Master Craftsman Barry Walz in East Hampton

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A canoe and paddle crafted by Barry Walz. Courtesy of Mr. Walz.

A canoe and paddle crafted by Barry Walz. Photo courtesy of Mr. Walz.

By Tessa Raebeck

For one week last fall, Barry Walz navigated the rivers and streams of the Canadian wilderness, with only his dog, his canoe and his paddle for company.

“It was a bit lonely at times, I found myself talking to myself—but I didn’t answer,” he joked about his first solo canoe trip.

Not only did Mr. Walz manage the trip on his own, it was also entirely self-supported: He built his canoe and paddle by hand.

A master craftsman on the East End for nearly 30 years, Mr. Walz will teach a paddle-building workshop this spring at his East Hampton shop in conjunction with Surfrider Foundation.

“Barry has many years’ experience building beautiful and functional paddles and canoes, and is an excellent teacher,” said event organizer Mike Bottini, chair of the Eastern Long Island Chapter of Surfrider Foundation.

After coming to Shelter Island in 1985 to remodel the house of his brother, internationally known designer Kevin Walz, Mr. Walz decided to stay, making a name for himself on Shelter Island first in general construction. Later, after finding himself happiest doing detail work, he began to focus primarily on cabinetry and custom furniture. He moved Walz Woodworks to East Hampton in 2013.IMG_0022 paddle

The Walz brothers share two lines of furniture, as well as a patent for a technology that enables them to build graceful, lightweight, but very strong, furniture.

“It’s just a way to put things together so it can be very, very light, but very, very strong,” explained Mr. Walz. “We made a chair that weighs about two pounds—pretty cool.”

“I like being able to put things together so they fit well and they make sense to me,” continued Mr. Walz. “When you build cabinets or furniture, you have to be able to see things in three dimensions, so as they go together, you kind of anticipate certain joinery. I just like the way things fit. It’s like putting a jigsaw puzzle together, but you’re actually creating the pieces.”

After seeing Mr. Walz’s work, Mr. Bottini decided to pursue a collaboration between the craftsman and Surfrider Foundation, coming up with the idea for a paddle workshop. Participants in the workshop will be able to choose between canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddleboard paddle designs. Mr. Walz, who will guide each participant through the entire process of constructing their custom-made paddle, will provide all materials.

An avid adventurer, Mr. Walz started building paddles in the late 1980s for his own use. “I was doing research, development so to speak,” he said. “I would take them down the rivers and say, ‘Oh this works’ or ‘This doesn’t work.’” He sent his paddles to experts to have them critiqued and took lessons to fine tune his craft, all the while using friends and his own wilderness canoe trips to test out his creations on the water.

“The first thing is function and then the next thing is the beauty of it,” he said. “Wood is a gorgeous way to build things. It talks to me, I guess, a little bit. That’s where you get a choice—to have it talk to the individual that’s designing it. Whether it’s the blade design or the key grip, it’s all custom; it’s all shaped to the individual hand and the person, so, really, the individual’s going to get a completely custom paddle that they like and talks to them.”

“There is a bit of a science and there’s a balance in everything,” he added. “Some people are talented in one way and you lean toward that and other people are the opposite. But there’s a science and that’s half the fun of it all—the functionality and the beauty of it all—being able to put something together and make it very functional and beautiful.”

People have been calling Mr. Walz’s work “functional art,” he said, but the craftsman is always focused on function first. He gets frustrated when he visits a client’s house to find one of his paddles hanging on a wall, rather than lying outside next to the canoe. “Although they’re very beautiful, I make them to be used. You can always refinish them and make it look pretty again if it gets scratched up,” he said.

The function sustains his love for his craft, as creating a paddle or canoe is a way for Mr. Walz to experience his true passion, wilderness canoeing, from home. “When I’m building a paddle, it kind of takes me there. I’m in the back of my mind as I’m constructing a blade; it kind of brings me back to that spot I love so much,” he said.paddle pics-0

In his younger days, he would do 100-mile loops through northern Minnesota and Canada. “It’s a million acres of anywhere you want to go,” he said of the region, called the Arrowhead. Today, his custom-made canoe has over 1,600 wilderness miles on it and will earn even more this fall, when he guides six novices on a trip up north.

Throughout it all, he always has his dog, his canoe and his paddle. He hopes to share that connection with others through the workshop, creating paddles that are “a special thing for them—something that means something to them,” he said.

With times and dates to be arranged with Mr. Walz, the workshop is limited to five participants and will be held evenings at Walz Woodworks, 216 Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton. The fee is $400 for Surfrider Foundation members and $425 for non-members, with a one-year membership included. For more information, contact Barry Walz at 767-8838 or bwcanoe@gmail.com.