Two Men, photographs and a book signing by John Jonas Gruen and recent paintings by Gus Yero, is opening at Sara Nightingale Gallery in Water Mill on Saturday, May 4th from 6 – 8 p.m. As part of the ongoing #blinddates/musiclab series, Erez and Jonah Kreitner, aka Fiddle N Bones, will provide musical entertainment with artist Dalton Portella on djembe and conga.
Nightingale‘s #blinddates/musiclab series introduces a fun new concept of putting two musicians together who have never met, and who don’t know who they’ll be playing with, together for an impromptu jam session.
One likes to hope that an art object transcends gender, or at least conceals the gender of its maker. But the photographs from Gruen‘s new book, Two Men, do not aspire to this. Specifically about gender, they explore relationships of intimacy between men, some of whom are lovers and some who are not. ”From the first, men have been assigned the role of leader, provider, decider, protector, instigator, fighter and wooer,” he writes in the forward to the book. “All of us will continuously and forever be subjected to what the world…thinks a man should be.” In American culture this includes eschewing same-sex public displays of affection.
Each of the images in Two Men, 30 of which will be on display, depicts two men interacting in an intimate way. American construction workers, Italian waiters, prominent artists and fathers and sons are among the characters found in these small black and white photographs, which date from the 1960s through the present and include several images taken in Water Mill.
The collection includes both candid and posed shots of couples and nudges traditional portraiture toward storytelling. The images serve as narratives whose subtexts can be deciphered by the subjects’ surroundings, their attire and their expressions. Only a lit cigarette, a wedding band or a twisted tie serve as clues as to what might have transpired before the shot was taken, what may happen next and what nuance, erotic or otherwise, exists in the relationship between the two men pictured.
Gruen, who is also a playwright, journalist and composer, will be in attendance with his editor and archivist, Sam Swasey, to sign and sell copies of the book. “This is not a gay book or a straight book but something you’ve got to do a little thinking about,” he said.
Gus Yero is an abstract painter who pushes boundaries and experiments with formal composition. A natural colorist, he continuously plays with shape, scale, and pattern, inventing images that challenge and arouse questioning in the viewer. “When I was traveling this year in Sedona, Arizona I was inspired by what I saw there,” he said. “The architectural landscape of the red rocks, their layers and flat surfaces, as well as the influences of Navajo weavings and the artisans of the Hopi Indians, have all found their way into these paintings. I see everything as color and shapes. When painting I use color as my vocabulary to create and inspire stories.”
Erez and Jonah Kreitner are a father and son musical duo from New York City. Jonah K “Bones“ is a multi-instrumentalist who focuses on the violin. He is 10 years old and has been studying violin and improvisation with Regina Sadowski since age five. He has performed internationally in Israel and Italy and most recently at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Erez K “ZZ” is a New York City-based singer-songwriter and guitarist. He has performed with numerous bands over the past two decades, most notably as an original member of Pleasuredog. Dalton Portella is an artist, surfer and musician from Montauk.