Brian Gayman, 65

Dec. 28, 1948-July 1, 2014

Brian Gayman, an artist who designed and built a Modernist house in Springs, died on July 1 in Melville. He had been ill for five weeks following a heart attack. He was 65.

Mr. Gayman and his wife, Bonnie Rychlak, who survives him and is an artist as well, first came to the East End in 1995, when they rented a house in Montauk. Ms. Rychlak said they “looked around at different areas in which to buy, but Brian just fell in love with Springs. There was its history, but, most important, it felt authentic.” They bought a lot on Neck Path that year.

The house, which was featured in The New York Times, took five years to plan and four years to build. Subcontractors did excavation, poured the foundation, and installed major structural elements, but Mr. Gayman, sometimes with the help of friends, did everything else. He lived on the property in a 20-foot trailer one winter during construction.

“Surfing was an important part of his being here and after the house was built he took up the guitar, which became a passion,” Ms. Rychlak said. She noted that he was exceptionally knowledgeable about music, film, and Modernist furniture, and had an online store, 35modern.com, where he sold midcentury furniture and vintage art books and catalogs.

Mr. Gayman was born on Dec. 28, 1948, in North Hollywood, Calif., to Samuel Gayman and the former Nona Bushnick. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley and attended the University of California at Santa Barbara before transferring to U.C.L.A., where he earned a bachelor’s degree and met Ms. Rychlak in a sculpture class. He received an M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art.

The couple were married on Dec. 23, 1973. Mr. Gayman first exhibited work in New York City at 112 Greene Street, an alternate space in SoHo. He went on to show at galleries and nonprofit venues in New York and California during the 1980s. “He was always making art, but while he was working on the house, he didn’t have the time to promote it,” Ms. Rychlak said.

During the last few years, Mr. Gayman’s work was frequently in exhibitions in New York City and on the East End. Several of his sculptures were in the exhibition “Diversities of Sculpture/Derivations from Nature” in 2012 at the LongHouse Reserve in East Hampton, and his large photographic works were chosen by Keith Sonnier for the Parrish Art Museum’s most recent Artists Choose Artists show. He and Ms. Rychlak were each represented in the Moby Project at the Mulford Farm in East Hampton last summer and, more recently, in an exhibition at the Islip Art Museum called “Redacted.”

A memorial service and exhibition will be held in September at a time and place to be announced.
 


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