This week’s cover by Daniel Pollera, “The Radiance of Late Autumn,” has had quite a journey from conception to execution and finally, to fruition. The idea for such a subject started when Pollera, a contemporary realist who has a penchant for houses with architectural “character,” decided he would like to photograph Dick Cavett’s Montauk residence. And who wouldn’t, considering that it was designed by Stanford White, whose company was a frontrunner among Beaux Arts architectural firms.
Pollera brings his signature lighting and compositional elements to the painting.His picture plane is divided by lights and darks (blues), each expressing a different mood and feeling. There are no figures in the work, typical of Pollera, but a hat sitting on a small table suggests human interaction and life beyond what we see.
Q: How did you come to photograph Cavett’s home?
A: I wrote a letter to ask him, and he gave me permission. I was really excited.
Q: As people know, the original 125-year-old house burnt down in 1997, and Cavett rebuilt it, detail by detail, with his wife Carrie Nye. How did the house impress you when you first got there? What do you remember?
A: It was so magical; it had such an aura. I spent three hours photographing it, and I have 90 pictures. I remember the sense of intimacy, looking in the distance and seeing another house; the water moving, the branches moving. What an experience to go to Cavett’s home.
Q: Then you did paintings from the photographs, your usual method.
A:Yes. I gave Cavett one of them this past January.
Q: But that’s not the end of these works. What happened then?
A: I decided to offer one to both The Parrish Museum and Guild Hall for their collections. Both museums accepted them. Just think, two museums in one month.
Q: How are the paintings’ mood expressive of your style?
A: I hope they show warmth, andare peaceful and relaxing. The world is so anxiety-ridden as it is. I want to counterbalance that.
Q: Your use of light is also unique.
A: It’s all about capturing the light and shapes of shadows, creating realism with light.
Q: What do you want people to get from your paintings?
A: Everyone will have a different interpretation, but I want the works to remind people of a place they have been to.
Q: Talk about realism, your new works are somewhat different.
A: My landscapes near Orient Point area will have some Surrealism. I made the images up in my head.
Q: How do your works contribute to the legacy you want to leave?
A: I hope to make a contribution; I am more mature now as a painter. If I were in Boston or Newport, for example, I would paint like everyone else there. But now I am creating differently by following my gut, recording images in an artistic way, having my surroundings documented.
Daniel Pollera’s work can be seen at Southampton’s Chrysalis Gallery (2 Main Street).Call 631-287-1883 for details.