Montauk Art Scene

"Under Nirvana III" by Farrell Brickhouse, courtesy of Outeast Gallery & Goods

“Under Nirvana III” by Farrell Brickhouse, courtesy of Outeast Gallery & Goods

The Art Barge 

Also known as The Victor D’Amico Institute of Art, the Barge is an art education center for all ages. It was started by Victor D’Amico, founding Director of the Education Department at the Museum of Modern Art from 1937–1970, who brought summer painting classes to Ashawagh Hall in the mid-50s. In 1960 he, with the help of local baymen, turned a retired World War I Navy Barge into the new home for his summer classes. His wife, Mabel D’Amico (1909-1999), and other artists, also taught, as the program continued to expand. Today, under President Christopher Kohan, the Art Barge offers classes and workshops in watercolor, pastel, collage and much more in a setting that thrives on the light and atmosphere of Napeague. The Artist/Speak series will be held in evenings throughout the summer and most recently included a conversation with Keith Sonnier. For classes and the full schedule, visit theartbarge.com. The Art Barge is located at 110 Napeague Meadow Road, Amagansett. Call 631-267-3172 or visit theartbarge.com.

Depot Art Gallery and School 

Located in the original waiting room of the Montauk Railroad Station, the Depot Gallery is run by The Montauk Artists’ Association, a nonprofit organization. Funds raised go towards education (they offer classes and workshops for adults and kids) and towards restoring the building acquired from the MTA. Every spring, a Montauk High School graduate is awarded the Percy Heath Arts Scholarship, in honor of founding member Percy Heath. Coming up is an exhibition of work by Anne Weissmann and others (June 26–July 7) followed by a group show with Catherine B. Silver, JoAnn Zambito and Martha Ferraro (July 10–21). August 15-17 marks their 20th Annual Juried Fine Arts Show on the Green. To see the full summer schedule, visit montaukartistsassociation.org/depotschedule2014.

Outeast Gallery & Goods 

Outeast Gallery is, technically speaking, one of the only true art galleries in Montauk. Owned and directed by Scott Pitches, the gallery puts on shows throughout the year, including a solo show forDan’s Papers cover artist Scott Bluedorn, “Scott Bluedorn: Theo Blue,” this past winter. Currently on view (through July 7th) is FMSR14—an exhibition of work by artists Farrell Brickhouse, Mason Saltarrelli, Sydney Albertini, and Eric (Randy) Johnson. Outeast Gallery is located at 65 Tuthill Road, Montauk.  Call 631-668-2376 or visit outeastmontauk.blogspot.com.

Montauk Brewing Co. 

Not just a great spot for craft beer, the Montauk Brewing Co. Gallery Taproom will be exhibiting two well-known surf photographers this summer. The first, Daniel Russo, will begin on June 27. The next one, Justin Burkle, begins on August 1. Both shows will be on view for the month, with works available for purchase. The Montauk Brewing Co. is located at 62 S. Erie Avenue, Montauk. Call 631-668-8471. Visit montaukbrewingco.com for more events year-round.

The Surf Lodge Gallery 

This summer The Fireplace Project is presenting exhibitions at The Surf Lodge Gallery. The first, “ExSanguiNatio_N,” a solo exhibition for artist Michael Bevilacqua, is on view through July 13. The next show, “Wet Denim Daydream,” a solo exhibition for Jeremy Everett, will be on view from July 18 through August 11, with an opening reception on Saturday, July 19, 6–8 p.m. Stay tuned for August exhibitions. The Surf Lodge Gallery is located at 183 Edgemere Street, Montauk. Visit
thesurflodge.com.

A version of this article was published in Dan’s Papers, Print: June 16, Online: July 3.

 

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Interview with Artist Scott Bluedorn in Dan’s Papers

scott bluedorn, whale

“House of the Whale,” 2013. Courtesy scottbluedorn.com

A version of this interview was published in Dan’s Papers, June 20, 2014 (print).

This week’s cover artist, Scott Bluedorn, was born and raised on the East End of Long Island. After studying art at both Savannah College of Art and Design and of School of Visual Arts, he started an artist collective that later became a gallery, Neoteric Fine Art, in Amagansett. He has been in solo and group shows on the East End and in New York City. Whether crafted from driftwood or found objects on the beach, or drawn with an expertly-skilled hand, his work reflects a deep connection to the sea, with a touch of mysticism and other-worldliness. True to his local roots, he continues to live and work in East Hampton.

Your work, and particularly “House of the Whale,” 2013 (ink on paper) seems very surreal, does some, or any, of your imagery come from dreams?
Surrealism as a genre has greatly influenced me. The work of Salvador Dali and Magritte, in the way their images are immediate and impactful through realism and yet rooted in the upwelling of the subconscious, is something I strive for in my work. I wouldn’t say my images come from actual dreams but they come from dream-feelings. The act of levitation in particular, which is very dream-like, plays a large part in the atmosphere of these drawings.

There’s something nostalgic about “House of the Whale,” as if we’ve been here or seen this. I’m somehow reminded of old postcards from the Whaling Museum in Sag Harbor and the shingled house looks like one of the backyard sheds you might see at Home Sweet Home in East Hampton. To what do you attribute the historical vibe?
“House of the Whale” was initially inspired by old weathered fishing shacks I saw on a trip to Nova Scotia. Old shingled houses, which we have plenty of in East Hampton, are very beautiful to me and have actually spawned a new direction in my work. I’m very interested in our colonial history here and the austere puritan architecture that accompanied the period that has become a symbol of our local heritage.

A lot of people miss your gallery, Neoteric Fine Art, but has this given you perhaps more time to focus on your own artwork?
I see Neoteric as ongoing collaborative project that will pop up from time to time. Indeed it started in 2006 at East Hampton Studios in a gigantic soundstage space for one night, later I had the opportunity to realize it in a more permanent location at the Balasses House on Main Street in Amagansett. It remains to be seen in which form it will pop up again, but the driving force and underlying concept behind it is to show contemporary work by young, local and emerging artists, of which I count myself a part of. Having closed the gallery in its former location, yes I’m getting back to focusing on my own work.

For your recent show at Outeast Gallery in Montauk you went by the name Theo Blue. Is this to differentiate between the various hats you wear, as an artist, writer, illustrator, etc.? How did you come up with it?
“Theo Blue” is an alter ego that I came up with to A) Differentiate the assemblage based abstract sculptural work I started doing out of a pure exploratory need from my more traditional and illustrative based work, and B) To create a “character” that is in a way enigmatic. Theo Blue is a hermit that lives in a little rogue shack built into the cliffs of Montauk, he is a wild man, primitive, noble savage, and outsider artist who collects the flotsam found in the coves and makes idols and effigies from it, much in the way the “cargo cults” of the South Pacific did with the material they found or were given in World War II. It is an updated cross-cultural reference, and a lot of fun.

Based on your Instagram shots, it seems like travel is an important part of your life and that you embrace the local culture of wherever it is you are. What was the most inspiring place you visited this year and why?
Yes, travel is one of my great loves. I started relatively late, but I definitely have the bug. Travel has opened my mind to anthropology, culture, history and geography that goes directly into my work. I find the world infinitely fascinating; especially in the way things can be both banally universal and strikingly different from place to place. Last winter I travelled through Ecuador, a beautiful small country with amazingly diverse landscape and peoples. I surfed some world-class waves, trekked through the Andes, visited the heart of the Amazon, explored Incan ruins and stayed with a local family. I would say Ecuador has it all.

What upcoming projects are you working on? Where can we see your work next?
I’ll be in a big group show put on by the Bonac Tonic collective called “Grand Royale” that is happening at the Amagansett Historical Association on Saturday, June 21st. Then I’ll be in Sag Harbor at Dodds and Eder’s “A Different Kind of Home Show,” curated by Kathy Zeiger, which opens on June 28th with a reception on July 12th, and then I’ll be showing at Art Market in Bridgehampton from July 10th – 13th. Busy summer!

For more on the artist, visit scottbluedorn.com.

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