‘Local Abstraction’ at Home

The show is nicely focused, rich with color and movement, and surprisingly balanced
Giancarlo Impiglia’s “Nature Fallacy” includes gold leaf among its acrylic paint on a camouflage canvas.

When first confronted with the hodgepodge of artist names from the South Fork’s past and present on view at Peter Marcelle Project in Southampton, one cannot be faulted for assuming the exhibition might be a bit of a visual mess.

Instead the show is nicely focused, rich with color and movement, and surprisingly balanced. There are old stalwarts of the midcentury artists colony such as Jackson Pollock, Elaine de Kooning, and Alfonso Ossorio, all well represented. A Pollock gouache from the late 1930s hints at mural designs and is struck at a pivotal moment when he turned away from his early mentor, Thomas Hart Benton, and followed a more inward path inflected with Mexican influences. Those years were highlighted in last year’s “Men of Fire: Jose Clemente Orozco and Jackson Pollock” exhibition at the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in Springs.

De Kooning’s work is undated but is a nicely tangled abstraction full of energy and strong brushstrokes. Ossorio’s piece, “Blue Dancer” from 1962, looks like an ornate royal brooch designed by the court jester. It is encrusted with baubles and shells, evil eyes, and what looks like tar. It is a tribute and provocation all at once.

Except for a Miriam Dougenis watercolor of a rubber tree plant from 1977, the show takes an abrupt turn in the time machine to the present day with recent examples from Jennifer Cross, Christopher Engel, Eric Ernst, Kimberly Goff, Tracy Harris, Giancarlo Impiglia, Dennis Leri, Jon Mulhern, Jacob Ouilette, Amy Pilkington, Barbara Press, Frank Wimberly, and Gavin Zeigler.

Mr. Zeigler is represented with both bronze sculptures and a two-dimensional work. There is a certain cohesion between the pieces, all of which hint at motion and stasis with a roughly hewn geometric orientation.

“Arbor,” an encaustic and oil on panel by Ms. Harris, is predictably luminous but wonderfully Fauvist in its coloration, a piece that alludes to a thing and still filters it through the mind’s eye.

Mr. Wimberly’s “Red Shoes” is reminiscent of Franz Kline’s experiments with color, and the bold patches are monolithic and fierce.

An acrylic on wood sculpture, “There Is No Rebellion Against Physics” by Mr. Ernst, has a pleasant conversation with the Ossorio work. A similar kind of piling-on aesthetic that is joyful and fun interweaves both.

The Ross School in East Hampton is represented by paintings from Ms. Cross and Mr. Engel. Mr. Engel joins Ms. Dougenis in bringing a stronger figurative element to the exhibition. Although others allude to things in nature, they include recognizable objects or figures that, while not exact representations, still color outside the lines of non-objective art. In Mr. Engel’s case, it is “Shiva Holds a Candle,” a flat and blockish figure holding what looks more like a book or icon than a candle, and wearing a party-hat crown.

Ms. Cross’s “Ancient History” includes some representational elements such as a collection of lines that looks like foliage and perhaps a ruin or two, but the oil on wood painting is misty and ethereal. What is seen could easily be a mirage or a dream.

The brass piece by Ms. Pilkington, in shades of blue and green formed by a heat and chemical process, could be a blown-up detail of a late Monet “Waterlilies” painting, and it has the same fluidity. Mr. Impiglia’s “Nature Fallacy” in acrylic and gold leaf on camouflage canvas shares a similar use of unconventional materials.

There are strong works by Ms. Goff, Mr. Leri, Mr. Mulhern, and Mr. Ouilette as well. The exhibition remains on view through Monday. Hours for the gallery, which is in the old 4 North Main Street space, are irregular. It is best to call ahead for an appointment.