The Art Scene: 04.03.14

Local art news
The Eastville Community Historical Society board celebrated the installation of a new quilt show on Saturday in Sag Harbor. From left, Kathy Tucker, Jackie Vaughan, Gloria Primm Brown, Michael Butler, Beryl Banks, Audrey Gaines, and Elinor Fendall stood in front of two quilts made by Patricia Turner, the curator of the show. Durell Godfrey

New at Halsey Mckay
    Two new exhibitions will open at Halsey Mckay in East Hampton Saturday with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. “Still Life With Woodpecker” is an interdisciplinary group show that looks beyond traditional definitions of still life to find new meanings in the specific and ordinary. Participating artists are Sarah Dornner, Paul Gagner, Ugo Rondinone, David B. Smith, Ryan Steadman, Torey Thornton, Lisa Williamson, and Kevin Zucker.

    “As the Crow Flies” is a solo exhibition of paintings by An Hoang, an artist based in Brooklyn. Using various techniques, Ms. Hoang’s abstract paintings evoke the spirit and atmosphere of primordial landscapes. Both shows will remain on view through April 30.

Matt Vega at Ille Arts
    Matt Vega, a longtime photographer who has returned to painting, will have a solo show of recent work at Ille Arts in Amagansett from Saturday through April 21. Mr. Vega, who lives in Amagansett, has a B.F.A. in painting from Boston University and an M.F.A. in photography from the Yale School of Art.

    Mr. Vega has concentrated on photography for almost 30 years, focusing, in both black and white and color, on people and places, including the East End. The graffiti-covered subways of New York, where he grew up, have inspired his new paintings. They consider letters as line and shape, symbol, and meaning. An opening reception will be held Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Art and Furniture
    “The Art and Furniture of Mark Larson and Dan Cramer” will open tomorrow at Pritam & Eames in East Hampton and remain on view until July 8. Both based in Minnesota, Mr. Larson, a furniture designer, and Mr. Cramer, a figurative painter, began collaborating on furniture pieces three years ago.

    “This is not simply painted furniture,” according to Bebe Pritam Johnson, a partner in the gallery, “but rather paintings on furniture.” Mr. Cramer, who studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, designed all the furniture, while Mr. Larson, who has an M.F.A. in studio art and art history, created the artwork. In addition to the furniture, the show will include paintings and bowls by Mr. Larson.

Lambrecht in the Jungle
    Those familiar with Laurie Lambrecht’s photographs of Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Wilson, and Esteban Vicente in their studios might be surprised by the images in “Jungle Road,” an exhibition that opens today at Rick Wester Fine Art in Chelsea and will remain on view through May 31.

    In 2012, Ms. Lambrecht, who lives in New York and Bridgehampton, was invited by Christopher Rauschenberg, whose father was Robert Rauschenberg, to photograph at the Rauschenberg Artist Residency program on Captiva Island, Fla., where his father had a studio compound that became an artists’ retreat after his death.

    In addition to fulfilling the commission, Ms. Lambrecht turned her camera on the light, color, and texture of the vegetation surrounding the compound, resulting in images of the brilliantly colored hanging vines and greenery that bring to mind her earlier career as a designer of hand-knit sweaters.

Li-lan Retrospective
    “Li-lan: Five Decades” opens today at the Jason McCoy Gallery in Manhattan with a reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The retrospective coincides with the Hudson Hills Press publication of “The Art of Li-lan: A World Achieved,” a monograph by Carter Ratcliff, a poet, art critic, and lecturer.

    Over the years, Li-lan, who lives in New York and East Hampton, has depicted letters, envelopes, postcards, and stamps to express her personal voyage and growth, as well as everyday objects, animals, and ghost-like creatures drawn from Japanese folktales of the Edo period.

    Li-lan has exhibited worldwide, and her work is included in numerous public and private collections in the United States and abroad, among them the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Ohara Museum of Art in Kurashiki, Japan, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, N.C.

Alice Hope’s Pull Tabs
    Last year Alice Hope, an artist from East Hampton known for her compositions and installations utilizing magnets, metal chains, steel shot, and other materials, discovered 700 pounds of aluminum pull tabs in a recycling bin. Not surprisingly, her new exhibition, which opens today at Ricco Maresca in Chelsea, is titled “Tab.” A reception will take place today from 6 to 8 p.m.

    Ms. Hope’s own words hint at what visitors to the gallery might expect: “Since acquiring the collection, my studio has been a tab lab. I’ve been sorting and attaching hundreds of thousands of them, tributizing the hundreds of thousand plays of that one very specific quenching sound, exploiting its cultural and aesthetic references, and transforming its obsolescence into forms that weave in and out of tab’s iconic meaning.”

    The exhibition will be on view through May 24.

Early James Brooks
    “James Brooks: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1945-1949” is on view at Van Doren Waxter in New York City through April 25. Brooks, who lived on the East End with his wife, Charlotte Park, also a painter, from 1949 until his death in 1992, was a first-generation Abstract Expressionist.

    Brooks’s work from the mid-1940s reflects the evolution of his style from realism — he was a Works Progress Administration muralist before World War II — to abstraction. After the war, he renewed his friendships with Jackson Pollock and Philip Guston, whom he had met while working for the W.P.A., and developed an abstract style influenced by the synthetic cubism of Picasso and Braque. By 1948 his style had become more fluid, and he subsequently executed a series of stained and dripped canvases.

    Brooks’s work is in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and many more. Van Doren Waxter will contribute 5 percent of the profit from every sale from the exhibition to the Brooks Park Heritage Project, whose mission is to save the Springs house and studio shared by Brooks and Park and use the property for public art purposes.

Allan Wexler Breaks Ground
    “Breaking Ground,” an exhibition of work by Allan Wexler, is on view at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts in SoHo through May 3. Mr. Wexler, who has studios in New York City and Southold, has worked in the fields of architecture, design, and fine art for 45 years. He makes buildings, furniture, vessels, and utensils as backdrops and props for his exploration of everyday, ordinary human activity and the built environment.

    The exhibition includes a series of hand-worked, photo-based digital prints of landscapes containing basic building shapes and “landscape interventions.” Two sculptures that include actual six-foot-tall trees explore how trees become architecture. Another work, from 1975 and never before exhibited, is a collection of tree twigs, catalogued and showcased, that undergo transformations from their natural forms.

    In collaboration with Ellen Wexler, his wife, he has received numerous public art commissions, including two permanent installations in New York City.

Quilts in Sag Harbor
    The Eastville Community Historical Society is presenting “Warmth,” an exhibition of quilts featuring Californian heritage, Southern, and regional quilters now through July 30 at the Heritage House in Sag Harbor. Patricia Turner, a folklorist and scholar from Long Island who is dean and vice provost for the Division of Undergraduate Education at U.C.L.A., has organized the show, which will have an opening reception Saturday from 2 to 5 p.m.

    The mission of the Eastville Community Historical Society is to preserve historic buildings and research, and collect and disseminate information about the history of the Eastville area of Sag Harbor, one of the earliest known working-class communities composed of African-Americans, Native Americans, and European immigrants.