Work on Monday: House of the Whale by Scott Bluedorn

The whale is enduring East End symbol harkening back to our whaling roots, most notably in Sag Harbor and Greenport. Despite the bloodbath in those days and eventual near extinction of the sea mammal, we all love a good relic of the era, or art that brings it to life. This week, Work on Monday looks at a more contemporary sort of whale image, yet one that is made by quite traditional means.

House of the Whale
Scott Bluedorn (b. 1986)
Ink on paper
12 x 16 inches, 2013

East Hampton artist and owner of Amagansett’s Neoteric Gallery, Scott Bluedorn has created something wonderfully surreal with “House of the Whale.” The animal in question hovers above the sea, casting a large shadow on the chop below. What first appears to be a beast from nature with a house mounted on its back is, upon closer inspection, more likely a fantastical flying machine.

The small, single-door sea shanty is covered in cedar shingles—like so many Hamptons homes—and they continue down from its outer walls to become scales covering the entirety of the whale. A tiny window looks out onto the sea from its midsection, and a flock of shore gulls flies overhead.

Bluedorn’s pen and ink work is compulsively detailed, from the whales fibrous baleen to the grain of each wooden shingle. The sea is made totally tactile, as much by fine textural lines, as the  highlights left blank. His shading creates weight and density—conveying something aged and craggy. Something born of myth.

“House of the Whale” recalls the work of West Coast artist Andrew Schoultz, best known for his equally detailed Trojan horses, but this drawing is clearly a product of the northeast. Bluedorn accomplishes much, creating something totally beyond this world, yet relatable to everyone in our corner of it.

See more of Scott Bluedorn’s varied works at scottbluedorn.com.

Work on Monday is a weekly look at one piece of art related to the East End, usually by a Hamptons or North Fork artist, living or dead, created in any kind of media. Join the conversation by posting your thoughts in the comments below and email suggestions for a future Work on Monday here.

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