Tag Archive | "sculpture"

Four Painters, a Sculptor and a Photographer at Sag Harbor’s Grenning Gallery

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A photograph from Sebastiano Vitale's "Raw Horse" collection, which will be shown at the Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor.

A photograph from photojournalist Sebastiano Vitale’s “Raw Horse” collection, parts of which will be shown at the Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor. Photo courtesy of the Grenning Gallery.

By Tessa Raebeck

Sag Harbor’s Grenning Gallery will open its season Saturday with a new show featuring an eclectic mix of artists across several mediums.

The young artist Kristy Gordon, discovered by the gallery last year, will show her surreal paintings of people and water. In “Collective Consciousness,” a man in scrubs, a woman in jeans and other ordinary New Yorkers tread through green water as if it is an urban street.

“Collective Consciousness” by Kristy Gordon.

“Collective Consciousness” by Kristy Gordon.

Maryann Lucas of Sag Harbor will show “Lilies by the Window” and other floral and still life paintings in her second show at her hometown gallery,

Having just completed his first major public commission, a giant bronze statue in Philadelphia of former Flyers coach Fred Shero, Chad Fisher will show his half and full life size “Deadly Sins” bronzes, statues of seven classical figures engrossed in each of the deadly sins.

One of California’s premiere plein air painters, Karl Dempwolf will exhibit colorful paintings of “Crystal Lake” and other Western landscapes. His friend and fellow Californian Ben Fenske will show his paintings of Catalina Island.

Italian photojournalist Sebastiano Vitale is presenting his “Raw Horse” collection, photographs of horses in different capacities across the world, from Spanish clubs to farms in Argentina. Using the categories of wildness, elegance, ritual, game and work, Mr. Vitale has captured horses in the polo clubs of Santo Domingo, the horseback fighting festivals of Indonesia and the nomadic culture of Mongolia, to name a few.

The opening reception is Saturday, April 12 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725-8469 or visit grenninggallery.com.

"7 Sins Group" by Chad Fisher. Photo courtesy of the Grenning Gallery.

“7 Sins Group” by Chad Fisher. Photo courtesy of the Grenning Gallery.

Parrish Art Museum to Install Roy Lichtenstein Sculpture on Montauk Highway

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Rendering: Roy Lichtenstein, "Tokyo Brushstroke I & II." Courtesy Parrish Art Museum.

Rendering: Roy Lichtenstein, “Tokyo Brushstroke I & II.” Courtesy Parrish Art Museum.

By Tessa Raebeck

Beginning Friday, April 18, drivers on Montauk Highway will have some culture added to their commute, as Roy Lichtenstein’s towering sculpture, “Tokyo Brushstroke I & II,” will grace the entrance of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill.

Completed in 1994, the sculpture is part of a series constructed by Mr. Lichtenstein at the end of the 20th century, just before his death in 1997. Similar works are on view in cities across the world, including Madrid, Paris and Singapore. A long-term loan by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, courtesy of Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman and the Fuhrman Family Foundation, it will be the museum’s first long-term outdoor installation at its new building.

“It’s a symbol of something it isn’t and that is part of the irony I’m interested in,” the late Mr. Lichtenstein said of the work, a colorful sculpture of painted and fabricated aluminum that is taller than the museum itself.

A leading figure of the new art movement of the 1960’s, Mr. Lichtenstein is widely credited as bringing pop art to prominence. Inspired by comic book panels and advertising techniques, his work sets social parody against bright cartoon backdrops. In 1964, he became the first American exhibited at the Tate Gallery in London.

After becoming year-round residents of Southampton in 1970, Mr. Lichtenstein and his wife Dorothy quickly developed a relationship with the Parrish Art Museum. In 1982, the Parrish presented an exhibition of 48 of Mr. Lichtenstein’s paintings, including relatively unknown early works, created from 1951 through the early 1980’s. Ms. Lichtenstein remains a trustee of the museum and many of the Parrish’s programs in its new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building are presented in the Lichtenstein Theatre.

“This awe-inspiring work promises to become a cultural landmark, and a beacon that draws visitors to the Parrish,” Terrie Sultan, Parrish Art Museum Director, said of the sculpture in a press release.

“Tokyo Brushstroke I & II” will be installed on the front lawn of the Parrish Art Museum, 278 Montauk Highway in Water Mill, on Friday, April 18.

Peering Into the Reutershan Trust

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Hobie Betts

By Claire Walla


What is the Reutershan Trust and how does it work? That was the discussion at Monday’s Sag Harbor Board of Education meeting which focused on the nature of the trust and was initially spurred by questions stemming from board members. Specifically, board members wanted to know what role does the school plays in overseeing costs related to the trust.

In the end, however, the presentation — given by Reutershan trustees Bob Schneider and Peter Solow — had little to do with funding. Schneider and Solow instead spoke at length on the merits of the privately funded art program created by Sag Harbor resident and architect Hobart “Hobie” Betts.

But it was just as well, said school board member Walter Wilcoxen, who in a follow-up interview noted that, coincidentally, Betts passed away Monday, the same day the trust was being presented to the school board. Wilcoxen felt it important to point out the program’s merits.

“Our art program would be decimated without it,” Wilcoxen said. “It’s so important that Hobie stepped up [to create the trust].”

The Reutershan Trust — named for Betts’ close friend Donald Reutershan, who until his death had been actively involved in the Sag Harbor School District — was established in 2000 with an endowment of $1.8 million. Each year, the fund generates somewhere between $40,000 and $80,000 in interest which is used for the sole purpose of fostering artistic programs within the Sag Harbor School District.

According to Solow, who administers the program for the district, “The thing that makes the program effective is that, from the very beginning, there was a vision provided by Hobie of what art education should be — and that vision was connected to the idea of bringing professional artists into the district. The program was really designed to create authentic artistic experiences for kids.”

Solow proceeded to run through 60 slides featuring images of Pierson students making, presenting, or discussing artwork — from photography projects like “Me By the Sea,” in which students documented their lives in Sag Harbor; to drafting projects, like the Bell Monument; discussions with professionals in the art world such as Vogue editor Andrew Leon Talley and workshops with world-renowned Spanish painter Perico Pastor and Condé Nast photographer Francine Fleischer.

Earlier this year, board members discussed the program’s financial structure, questioning whether or not the program met state regulations and how the trust should be classified under the purview of the school.

“In a sense, it’s a little similar to Y.A.R.D. [Youth Advocacy and Resource Development],” Wilcoxen explained. “If the money is run through our accounts at the school” — as had been the case with Reutershan until this year — “then the purchasing policies have to follow our purchasing guidelines, and they’re pretty strict.”

For example, Wilcoxen noted that the school requires administrators to go out to bid before purchasing any goods or services. But for a service like the Reutershan Trust, which uses money to bring artistic professionals to the school to work with students, Wilcoxen said it simply doesn’t make sense to bid-out services.

“How do you put out three bids for an artist,” he asked.

In the end, the board decided to keep all financial transactions with the trustees themselves, rather than with the school’s business office. Trustees Bob Schneider, Greg Ferraris and Marsha Heffner now have the authority to sign-off on all expenditures, with financial decisions guided largely by Ferraris who is a certified accountant.

“With regard to the trust, that’s not really our money, so we didn’t feel that we should have to oversee that money as closely as the money that the taxpayers give us,” Wilcoxen continued. “We suggested that the fund itself approve the money [it spends], and in that way they can act however they see best.”

As Schneider pointed out, the program functions according to the vision and the values initially set forth by Betts: “Pride of Place, Service, Commitment to Community, Citizenship, Good Works, and Engagement with the Greater World.” And in the wake of Betts’ death, Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Dr. John Gratto said he didn’t see the trust functioning any differently in the future.

For Schneider, the value of the trust is clear. He noted the courtyard at the middle/high school — which took four years to construct and is still an ongoing project — and the fact that students can do photography, printmaking and drafting work as examples of opportunities the trust has provided.

“Students get to work with materials that would otherwise be too expensive for the school district to get,” explained Schneider, who was principal of Pierson Middle/High School when the Reutershan Trust was founded. He continued, “The art program without the benefit of the trust would not be the vibrant program that it is today. It really has distinguished the Pierson art program from any other art program that I know of.”

Forming Expressions

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web horses

From sailing single-handed across the Atlantic to serving as a Navy captain in Vietnam, local sculptor Robert Hooke is a consummate observer of life. Hooke is also an artist, and as he explains it, his many and varied experiences in nature and abroad provide the substance of his sculptures. By exposing himself to diverse species and cultures, Hooke seeks to capture emotion and expression in raw form.

“I have two passions: the outdoors and art. I always wanted to expose myself to animals and people in a multicultural sense,” explained Hooke in his new Washington Street gallery space, which occupies the second floor space above the Grenning Gallery. “One thing I have observed is that positions reflect how people feel. A different culture handles life differently in the way they behave. [But] I want to show positions that transcend cultural differences,”

This Friday, November 27, the Hooke Sculpture Gallery opens its first exhibition — “Stance” featuring Hooke’s sculptures.

“To me the definition of stance is the body position and it is assumed by instinct or purpose,” explained Hooke. “For animals, often their position is for purpose. With people it is instinctive.”

Hooke’s understanding of universal forms, gained through his travels around the world, including over 40 trips to Africa, are transposed into his bronze-cast pieces. His human figures are almost always nude with the face smoothed over. His animal subjects are reduced to their most basic features. Because the details of his sculptures are scaled back and the figure is simplified, a wealth of feeling can be contained in the position of a hand or the flair of a nostril.

For instance, “Rendez-vous” is at first glance a straightforward sculpture of a nude man and woman, who appear intimate with each other. Upon closer inspection, it seems the pair are more unsure of one another. The couple isn’t touching, though the man’s hand hovers over the woman’s elbow. Her gaze is cast downward and away from his eyes.

“The idea behind this piece is the first potentially intimate moment. There is some hesitancy. There is a shyness. He hasn’t quite touched her yet. She hasn’t quite given herself to him,” remarked Hooke as he looked at the ochre work stationed on a table. “It really is the subtle movement and the position that gives people away. It is instinctive and we can’t resist it. Something subtle can show a woman is still in love with someone, but capturing that subtlety is the biggest challenge.”

Before Hooke’s own hands begin working to mold these figures into plaster, which are then cast in bronze, he first begins with an idea of the relationship between the subjects or a situation that he wants to express. Without working from a sketch or photograph, Hooke then tweaks this idea in the plaster model until it is perfected.

The intuition that dictates the positions of his animal figures has similarly guided Hooke throughout his professional artistic career. After earning a masters degree in economics from Columbia University and serving in the Navy, Hooke woke up one morning with an unexplained desire to become a sculptor.

“I knew I had to study sculpture. I went to the School of Visual Arts and the sculpture teacher there was Herbert Kallem. He asked if I had ever made anything. I said, ‘no, not really.’ He handed me a fairly soft stone and he said, ‘You don’t need to study a life drawing. Let’s see what your artistic instincts are,’” remembered Hooke. “I made a runner in alabaster. He said I had a good feel for proportion and form. Then he basically opened up the school for me and said, ‘You can come here anytime you want.’”

After a stint at the School of Visual Arts, Hooke moved to London where he divided his time between sculpture and working with an investment business. Soon his home was spilling over with pieces and a friend suggested he display his work in an exhibit.

“I was later introduced to a gallery owner. He asked me how long it took to create a sculpture and I said, ‘three months. He said, ‘That won’t work for me. If you are going to be with my gallery you have to show every two years. If you can translate this imagery into bronze, then we can do something.’ That is when I made the decision to use plaster blocks,” said Hooke, remembering his transition from marble to metal. Hooke soon devoted much of his time to art and later purchased the gallery.

Although he denies that a background in economics has served him as a gallery owner, Hooke is certainly realistic about the art business.

“In a gallery, you basically have to realize that not everyone is going to like what you like. You have to have an open mind about art,” he explained. “And you have to make sure you have a cross section in the type of art you are showing. Even if there is a certain niche you are filling, there has to be a variety. It increases the universe of potential buyers.”

After 30 years in London, Hooke decided over the summer to return to his stomping grounds in Sag Harbor. Hooke’s family had long summered in the Northampton Shores neighborhood and he purchased a house in the residential community several years ago. So in July, Hooke closed his London gallery and moved back. At first, he hadn’t planned to open a new business. But when the opportunity came knocking, in the form of a second floor space above the Grenning Gallery, Hooke gladly accepted the invitation.

Of his foray into the local arts scene, Hooke said, “It was out of the blue, but it made a lot of sense to me.”

The Hooke Sculpture Gallery will host an opening celebration and a reception for “Stance” on Friday, November 27, from 5 to 7 p.m. at 17 Washington Street, Sag Harbor.