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13th Jun 2008

Annual Hamptons Show Kicks Off the Art Season at the Springs Fireplace Project

Aside from the warm weather, various events signal Hamptonites that the summer season has begun. This year’s annual show of artists who live in the Hamptons held by Edsel William’s Springs Fireplace Project gallery signals that a wonderful summer is unfolding for us.

The show is curated by Klaus Kertess, who is also an art writer, former art gallery owner and past curator of the Whitney Biennial. Amazon has three pages of books and catalogs on some of the best artists around that are written by or contributed to by Klaus Kertess. As a gallerist he introduced and showed artists who are now renowned. Already impressed by the show, in preparation for this article I Googled “Klaus Kertess” and discovered all this. Now I am even more impressed.

Not quite two years ago I set out to discover the current contemporary art world of galleries and people beyond artists. As a then preparing-to-emerge artist who stumbled into what has became a new theory of art, I was finally returning to my first training and love: painting. I continue to stumble up into discovering galleries, artists, and the many good and talented people who inhabit the art world in various roles.

I only write about shows or what I see at fairs that I especially appreciate, which is what I did as a journalist covering independent film. There is more that I want to write about than I have time for considering the weekly blog deals with topics other than shows and my basic work is painting. I have a kind of ongoing list of artists I am waiting for the opportunity to cover, when their shows collide with my time and blog space. On that list was the artist Billy Sullivan, whom I have mentioned twice before.

Last summer I discovered Billy’s workat Scope Hamptons and gave him a brief good mention. Next, when he was the artist who created last year’s Hamptons International Film Festival’s annual poster. Billy was at a signing at the same gallery that simultaneously had a reception for my friend, photographer Pat Field, whose work covering the film festival was featured in Autumn 2007 edition of the local magazine Vox. Billy had left by the time I arrived, but I gave both him and Pat brief good mentions, in the side column that existed on my former blog software.

One of my other discoveries last summer was Edsel Williams and his gallery, so when I saw that Billy Sullivan was going to be in this show, I headed to the opening as I was hoping to write about Billy’s portraiture. The catch was that I needed to be able to especially recommend this show, beyond Billy Sullivan, and I had no idea what to expect. Plan B was to wait the time when Billy Sullivan had a solo show the Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery.

Today, Googling along, I discovered that Billy and Klaus share a home in East Hampton during summers. This came from a NY Times article about the 1995 Whitney Biennial.

Covering this show became a sure thing the moment I entered the gallery when the first work I saw was one I had hoped to find from a year ago March, when I wrote the first version of “The Manifesto of Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art – a Painting’s Meaning is Inherent in its Stroke.” Only James Nare’s work is far better than what I envisioned as possible.

The manifesto, from the initial scribbled draft to the new revised version has always begun: “The only essential material element of any painting or drawing is a stroke . The stroke is made to show the intention(s) of its creator. An artist can only physically make one stroke or part of a stroke at a time.”

James Nare creates one long sensuous, undulating, seductive and joyous stroke across his canvas. When I was a preteen and teen, somewhat hiding out and growing up at the Met, I would rush through the galleries comparing a stoke stared at and memorized by Rembrandt to one by Velazquez and then Monet, or others. I spent a lot of time comparing the strokes of painters.

Well, James Nare’s work has me at “Hello” as I entered the gallery. I have waited all my life for such a glorious stroke! For me, James Nare’s work is a visual gift. Thanks!

JAMES NARES

Delete All Gaps, 2008

Oil on Linen

60 x 60 inches

There is much more wonderful work to discover in this show.

Divided Light a work by Cynthia Knott does not easily reveal its strokes (neither does Vermeer) but the atmospheric effect is lovely.

Mary Heilmann has two pieces in the show, and her work intrigues me and is worth another article one day. My list of artists’ work to write about continues to grow

Last autumn after spying a portrait of Queen Elizabeth in a group show being hung at Luhring Augustine, I was inspired to return and write the article, “Questioning What is a Portrait — in Chelsea.” Although I do frequent Billy Sullivan’s’ gallery, I was hoping at that time that I would find work from him there to include in my article, but that is how I discovered Elaine Reickek’s work.

Billy Sullivan’s portraits are for me a continuation of the portraiture work by Andy Warhol. This is a high complement when as my own first portrait I my Essence series was Psalm 19 (Andy Warhol) in tribute to his work. Like Andy, Billy has an exceptional ability to simultaneously show a person’s mask, plus the vulnerability that lies beneath it. While Warhol dealt more with a media representation type of mask, Billy Sullivan paints the mask we project to the world while peeking beneath it.

Billy Sullivan’s painting is an elegant, sophisticated presentation of a woman who presents herself, in make-up, dress and demeanor as elegant and sophisticated. The painting is at once sumptuous and lush but hard edged and slightly abstracted and in places almost raw and unfinished. Thus the painting itself not only depicts but becomes as vulnerable and not-quite-complete-and-perfect as its subject. These people are engaged in living and socializing, and we sense that if the artist’s focus panned to the left or right other people would be revealed. In Jane 5.20.08t the subject appears to be riding in a vehicle, unaware that the back of her hair, blowing uncontrolled in the wind has turned into colorful waving ribbons, her demeanor remains smartly poised, with a tight bright red lipsticked smile that matches her stylish dress. It seems that many of Billy Sullivan’s subjects are his friends, and he reveals both what they want us to see and admire as well as their vulnerability and humanity that really makes them likable.

 

BILLY SULLIVAN

Jane 5.20.08,2008

Oil on Linen

30 x 20 inches

Speaking of friends, it was good to see Edsel Williams again. I look forward to the shows he is curating, too. Aside from finally meeting Billy Sullivan, and then Klaus Kertess and James Nares, it was a pleasure meeting the lovely Lisa Phillips, who I recognized from her pictures at Art Forum online.

Time and space prevent me from doing more than mentioning the other artists in this well curated show,who all deserve a good mention. They are: Robert Harms, Judy Hudson, Tony Just, Jake Patterson, Michael Theterow, Darius Yektai, and Joe Zucker.

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Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory is based at the intersection of ancient spiritual wisdom and cutting edge contemporary science. It shows us a new and enhanced spiritual and science based way to see the world. It is a life changing vision that can even become an actual new way of seeing that is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Can this be true?  See for yourself. See more. Read:  In the Beginning

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at ungravenimage.com.

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