Art Commentary: North Fork Art, South Street Gallery

Both old and new art spaces make their presence known on the North Fork, including Greenport’s South Street Gallery. Owned and operated by husband and wife team, Amy Worth and Tom Payne, the six-year-old venue sits in the middle of town, complementing the area’s historical character. The structure gives off a welcoming vibe with its colorful flag waving in the breeze, declares “OPEN.”

Inside, the ambiance is light and airy with soft music playing in the background. Worth (who is an art teacher and textile designer) evokes a comforting and calm sensibility, and so do most of the paintings on display. More importantly, however, the works capture the essential qualities of the North Fork: pride in the past, gentle fields, abstract designs on the beach, lush and lovely farmland.

The pieces convey a style that’s salient as well, a kind of otherworldliness that characterizes the area. Regardless of the trucks, barns and boats, each object and scene possesses an impressionistic quality, communicating a feeling of being in a special place where things are serene and meaningful. Simply put, the exhibit allows us to experience the North Fork without leaving the gallery.

Works made of casein and beeswax by Charles Winheld are both abstract and impressionistic; the artist’s rendition of a truck is a good example of the fantasy-like quality that distinguishes the exhibit. His abstract “Co-op” featuring what appears to be buildings offers another view of the North Fork complete with a mythic setting. Oil pastels and graphite contribute to a similar setting in the landscape paintings by Marion Jones where abstraction plays an important part. Ty Stroudsberg’s oils on linen also add to the combination of abstraction and impressionism. The artist’s use of diagonal composition gives fields a three-dimensional depth that is truly arresting, placing the viewer in the image itself. William Porter’s oils on panel provide another kind of abstraction, where rocks become sculpture pushed to the point of Surrealism.

Doug Reina’s scenes take us away from landscape and abstractions, giving us instead local color. Consider the carnival rides that Reina captures reminding us of bygone days. A truck parked in a boatyard by the water also recreates the past and the idea of a fantasy coming to life. Amy Worth’s still lifes with impasto represent another medium which creates fantasy, like her “Thanksgiving Blooms.” The texture produced by the artist seems fitting for a textile designer; we can’t help but be tempted to touch the works. That’s really experience at its best.

 

This show will be on view until May 22, 2013. The South Street Gallery is in Greenport at 18 South Street. Call 631-477-0021.

 

In last week’s Art Commentary column, a digit was lost from the phone number for the Alex Ferrone Gallery. That number is 631-734-8545.

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