William S. Heppenheimer at Guild Hall


William S. Heppenheimer, “Cryptoglyphs, Panel V,” 2015. 30 ½ x 40 ½ x 2 inches. Image courtesy of the artist, photo by Gary Mamay.

W.S. Heppenheimer was the Top Honors recipient of the Guild Hall Museum 76th Annual Artists Members Exhibition in 2014, an award selected by Robert Storr, Dean of the Yale School of Art, which led to the current solo exhibition and my first meeting the artist. Walking into his Sag Harbor studio in Spring of 2016 was like entering another time and space; from floor to ceiling and spread out on his working tables were millions of intricate segments and bursts of color—some already arranged into finished works, others in various stages of production. The unused pieces had fallen to the floor, creating their own haphazard compositions. Mesmerizing and kaleidoscopic, Heppenheimer’s works play with our notions of abstraction and representation. Faces, figures, anthropomorphic creatures, even a Storm-Trooper mask, I thought, began to appear, further questioning perception versus intention.

To describe the work as mosaic would be accurate to an extent, but instead of each tesserae being a solid color, they are made up of a multitude of hues. Heppenheimer’s process is unlike any other. He pours acrylic paint into Pyrex dishes, swirls it to achieve various marbleized effects, a blue mixed with a neon pink or a green with a glow-in-the-dark pigment. Once dried, he cuts small cross sections which he can then arrange into geometric forms and totems. He plays with symmetry and then throws us off course—seesawing between order and chaos—all with a keen sense of humor. Downplaying the visual complexity, Heppenheimer said, “I always liked to put things together, the more the merrier.”

Heppenheimer was born in New York City in 1954 and lived in Paris and London before returning to NYC. He studied at Colorado College, Pratt, and Florida State, where he graduated from in 1980. He spent summers on the East End with his family, before becoming a year-round resident. As an art student, he always had an affinity for the properties of color—he was inspired by Op Art and artists like Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley—and started out making Hard-edge paintings. Over time, experimenting with painting and sculpture, at times merging the two, his style took shape. He first entered Guild Hall’s Artists Members Exhibition in 2009 and was awarded Best Sculpture. This is his first solo museum exhibition. Heppenheimer lives and works in Sag Harbor, New York.


Stephanie deTroy Miller
Curatorial Assistant/Lewis B. Cullman Associate for Museum Education
Guild Hall Museum
East Hampton, New York


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Charles Ly: Humans and Hides at Guild Hall


Charles Ly, Wild, 2015. Pen and ink on paper, 36 x 24 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

New work by Charles Ly is on view in the Guild Hall Education Corridor. Selection of paintings and works on paper inspired by design and patterns, including a series of small meticulous, intricately-illustrated narratives and quietly evocative paintings. Large-scale works featuring the fantastical as well as surreal, imaginative compositions focused on natural forms. Ly grew up in East Hampton and studied graphic design and illustration at Laguna College of Art & Design.

On view: September 15 through December 31, 2016 at Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, New York.

Charles Ly, Hair Study, 2015.

Charles Ly, Hair Study, 2015. Oil and linen on wood, 5 x 7 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

I first came across Charles Ly’s work at Scott Bluedorn’s former Amagansett gallery, Neoteric Fine Art. On display was a series of small paintings, illustrative but also very imaginative. Moreover, they captured an essence of our generation which is hard to put into words; which is in many ways one of the mysterious functions of art, to express that which can’t be said. Fall of 2016 presented an incredible opportunity at Guild Hall to curate what is now dubbed the Education Corridor. A small space within the Museum, but a space nonetheless, the Corridor’s would function as a place to showcase an emerging, local artist in conjunction with a workshop led or taught by said artist; thus connecting the exhibition to the community through Education and enhancing the overall experience. Ly’s work, intimate in scale, works beautifully in the space, and his workshop on Plant Patterns was an enriching and enjoyable one. Each participant collected leaves, flowers, twigs and stems from a nearby field, rendered them in watercolor and colored pencil, and then they were brought in as digital files to create both individual plant patterns as well as this group one show below.

Charles Ly & Plant Patterns Class, Collaborative Digital Assemblage, 2016.

Charles Ly & Plant Patterns Class, Collaborative Digital Assemblage, 2016.


Reviews, Mentions & More:

Charles Ly’s ‘Humans And Hides’ Hangs At Guild Hall

Charles Ly: Hamptons Best Art Instagram Accounts

New at Guild Hall: Guild Gatherings & An Exhibition Series

Please visit the artist’s website, CharlesLy.com, and GuildHall.org for more.

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