Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jill Krementz covers E.L. Brown's "Monday Paintings"

Eric Brown standing in front of several of his abstract oils on view at Ille Arts.
E.L. Brown
Monday Paintings
Ille Arts, Amagansett, NY
August 24-September 16, 2013

Sara De Luca, owner of Ille Arts.
Eric Brown is the well-known and highly respected co-director of Tibor de Nagy Gallery on Fifth Avenue in New York — one of my favorite galleries. I have covered two major exhibitions at Tibor for NYSD: Painters & Poets and, more recently, Jane Freilicher, Painter Among Poets.

A graduate of Vassar where he majored in fine art, Brown now has the first showing of his own paintings on view at Ille Arts in Amagansett.

Brown calls his exhibition Monday Paintings because like all gallery owners, that is his day off — the day he can concentrate on his own work in his New Paltz studio.

“Mondays are blissful,” says the artist, referring to his life in the studio. “Things are quiet in the village and my neighbors are working. A church bell rings each hour and the school bus brings the children home at three. No wonder it's my favorite day to paint.”

It was a pleasure for me to finally visit Ille Arts where I've heard so much about its innovative owner, Sara De Luca.  In addition to showing well-known artists, Ms. De Luca has been presenting the exhibitions of many painters and sculptors who are making their debuts. Such is the case of Eric Brown aka E.L. Brown.
My Sagaponack neighbors Perry Sayles and Steve Harvey gave me a ride to Amagansett. Perry is a finance lawyer and Steve is a world-renowned Egyptologist. Steve and I hang out on a daily basis at Marylee Foster's farmstand on Sagg Main.
Ille Arts is located in back of an old farmhouse in Amagansett at 216 Main Street.
The gallery is approached by a long driveway to the rear of the house.

Now in its second season, Ille Arts specializes in showing the work of both established and emerging artists.
Joan Odes and her husband Stuart Odes. They are the parents of Rebecca Odes, a close friend of Eric's (his classmate at Vassar).
Allegra Leguizamo (13) and Julia Adams (14). They are students at Grace Church and Nightingale. Artist Mary Heilmann lives near me in Sagaponack. Represented by Hauser and Wirth, Mary has shown at Ille Arts. In addition to being a painter, a sculptor, and a ceramicist, she's a poet. Her greeting never changes: "Hi Honey."
Sara De Luca and Eric Brown.
Poet/collagist Star Black with painter/poet Gregory Botts. Botts has recently published a book of poems praised by Harold Bloom. Sarah Trujillo and her fiancé, David Joel. Sarah, from Madrid, teaches Spanish at South Hampton High School; David is a painter and also the Director of the Larry Rivers Foundation.
Ian Spencer Bell, Eric's boyfriend, is a dancer, choreographer, and writer. He is performing a solo show at Ille arts Sunday September 1. The dance is an excerpt from a long piece that he will develop while in residence at Jacob's Pillow in October.
Pat Peterson, now retired from the Times, was their chief fashion editor. Her husband Gus Peterson is a great photographer whose work I admire. He and Pat often collaborated on layouts for the Times Sunday Magazine.
Jan Peterson (son of Pat and Gus) with his Blue-fronted Amazon from Brazil.
Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. Matthew's mother, Patricia Broderick (1925-2003) , is represented by Tibor de Nagy where she has had three solo shows.
Sara De Luca, Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew Broderick, and Eric.
Star Black is flanked by her good friends Frank Polach and Doug Crase. Frank and Doug did a round-tripper by car from NYC to attend the show. Mr. Crase is an essayist and poet; Mr. Polach is a botanist. Crase wrote the introduction to Eric's exhibition catalogue.

They told me that earlier in the day they had visited an increasingly frail Bob Dash at his Madoo Garden behind my house. It is the most beautiful garden and one you must see if you have not. Open on Saturdays and Sundays, the admission fee is $10. (Unless you visit me and peek through my hedges.)
Perry Sayles, Eric, and Steve Harvey.
Manhattan gallerist Joan Washburn with Eric. The Joan Washburn Gallery (at 20 West 57th Street) has exhibited Jackson Pollock in the past. Next up: Doug Ohlson show opening September 12th.
Painter Cornelia Foss with her daughter, Eliza, who is an actress.

I have one of Cornelia's
paintings in my Sag House. She recently showed at Peter Marcelle Gallery in Bridgehampton.

I often share a Christmas dinner (the best roasted duck) with Cornelia and her family, with me contributing a Buche de Noel from William Pole. Cornelia is a great cook in addition to being a talented portraitist and landscape artist.
Pat Rogers, publisher and writer, is considered to be the best art blogger out here. Mark Levine, a photography collector, is a former trustee of Aperture. Mr. Levine serves on the Committee for Photography at MoMA.
Pat Rogers and Sara De Luca.
Joan Washburn and her grandsons, Theo, age 6, and Gus, "going on ten."
A photograph of Gus was recently on the cover of the East Hampton Press holding a porgi he reeled in on a fishing expedition. And he'll be featured soon in The East Hampton Star.
Joan Washburn, Gus, Joan's son Brian Washburn, Theo, and Joan's daughter-in-law, Kerry Greene Washburn. Kerry works for the Third Street Music School Settlement on fundraising, development and communication.
Installation photo:

Top: Americana.
Second row, l. to r.: Whatcha Say, Little Yellow, Little Chance.
Bottom row, l. to r.: Interrobang, Small Hunch.

Excerpt from catalogue essay by Douglas Crase: Brown's compact yet expansive oils will come as a surprise even to those who know him well. They are a surprise such as poet James Schuyler liked to describe: a break in the weather, 'as lovely as though someone you knew all your life / Said the one inconceivable thing and then went on washing dishes.'

The artist returns to his accustomed routine. The rest of us won't see the world quite the same again.

Installation photograph with Green and Orange on the far right.
Top: Blue Ribbon.
Middle row: Three Yellow Stripes, Circles, Hiding a Stone in Grass (The title was taken from a James Schuyler poem).
Bottom: Cadenza.

James Schuyler is among Eric's favorite poets. The New York School poet (1923-1991) has been featured in two exhibitions at Tibor de Nagy: "Painters & Poets" (in 2010) and earlier this year in Jane Freilicher's show: "Painter Among Poets."
Steve Harvey, Perry Sayles, David Joel, and Sarah Trujillo.
Artist Rafael Ferrer.

In 2010 Mr. Ferrer, out of the limelight for years, was honored with a retrospective at El Museo del Barrio in New York as part of its series for mature and under-recognized artists. "Mr. Ferrer is finally having his moment," Roberta Smith wrote in The New York Times, praising his "instinctive facility for color and materials of all kinds." The retrospective, she wrote, was "almost criminally overdue."

In 2011 Guild Hall in East Hampton honored the artist with "Rafael Ferrer: Contrabando," an exhibition of paintings, sculptures, and assemblages from the 1970s to the present.
Actor John Leguizamo, Françoise (known as Bunny) and her husband Rafael Ferrer, and Eric Brown.

Mr. Ferrer was profiled in The New York Times on December 16, 2011 by Karin Lipson. This is an excerpt from Ms. Lipson's article:

Born in 1933 in San Juan, P.R., to a well-to-do family, Mr. Ferrer was sent to the mainland for his education. The summer after his freshman year at Syracuse University, he stayed with his half-brother, the actor José Ferrer — more than 20 years his senior — and José Ferrer's wife Rosemary Clooney in Hollywood.

"I used to drive Rosemary to the studio, where she was making 'White Christmas.' And Joe was filming 'The Caine Mutiny,'" Mr. Ferrer recalled. "And one day he said to me, 'You know, fame — it's an empty shell; there's nothing to it.'"

Not that Mr. Ferrer was interested in acting. Music, specifically Afro-Cuban percussion, had fascinated him since he began playing the drums while attending a military academy in Virginia. As an adult, Mr. Ferrer was a professional drummer before turning full time to art.
John Leguizamo and Rafael Ferrer having a conversation entirely in Spanish.
A very happy artist surveying the crowd. Courtney Brown, sister of the artist. Ms. Brown is a Professional Development Advisor, Center for the Professional Education of Teachers.

On the wall is Red Cord, oil and pencil on paper.
Sameh Iskander and Steve Harvey.

How many times do you find two famous Egyptologists in the same room in Amagansett?

Dr. Iskander, whose surname is the Arabic version of Alexander, is an Egyptologist associated with New York University. He is also the President of the American Research Center in Egypt where he is currently working on the restoration of the temple of Pharaoh Ramesses II in Egypt.

Dr. Harvey has been doing groundbreaking work which may eventually provide us with invaluable information about ancient Egypt's transition from the Second Intermediate Period and the founding of the New Kingdom by King Ahmose.

"Since 1993, I have directed excavation of Ahmose's monuments at Abydos. Our work suggests that the holy site, and not his home town of Thebes, was the primary focus of Ahmose's builders and artists following his conquest of the Hyksos capital of Avaris (modern Tell el-Dab'a) ... The Ahmose complex in its entirety presents a unique combination of monuments that must have been extremely impressive in their day, reminding visitors of the achievements of this dynasty's founding men and women."
Jane Freilicher arrives at the show entering Eric's gallery with her friend Frank Polach. Steve White and Bob Fitzsimons. White is a surfer and an artist; Fitzsimons is a musician and former music producer.
Don Christensen's In the Color Pocket is on view in the adjacent gallery.

Christensen, a musician and composer as well as a visual artist has exhibited work numerous times over the last 20 years in New York, Brooklyn, and Miami.

Painting on canvas, wood, table tops, step stools, and incorporating a miscellany of found objects, it is obvious that Christensen believes that the world would be a better place enlivened by a coat of many colors.

The sense of play in Christensen's work is contagious. The work gives rise to the notion that it is perfectly okay to let yourself run wild and not worry about the outcome. Christensen makes it seem like everyone, inherently, has the ability to do so. The experienced eye knows though, that this 'Look Ma, no hands!' effect is, in fact, hard won. — Joan Waltemath, artist and writer
Eric and Ian.
Eric, Jane Freilicher, and Jane's daughter, Elizabeth Hazan, an abstract painter. Ms. Freilicher has a house and studio in Watermill where she spends the summer (her daughter is visiting her). During the winter they are both in NYC.
Eric with Vassar schoolmate (both class of 1990) and close friend, Kerri Green. Eric and Kerri were both studio art majors.

Kerri Green is a figurative painter who had a recent solo show in Nyack, New York. She's a former actor best known for the movies "Lucas" and "The Goonies."
Artists Rebecca Odes, Eric's Vassar classmate. Rebecca paints clothing and is wearing one of her pieces.
Trio of Vassar grads, class of 1990.
The party was "catered" by Montaco Food Truck serving Mexican food.

Justine Leguizamo, Eric's close friend (and former Vassar classmate) is in the green shirt, waving.
Carol and Eric greeting guests.
Eric's twin brother Nathaniel Brown and Virva Hinnemo. Nathaniel is Vice President of Corporate Affairs & Communications News Corporation.

Ms. Hinnemo was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1976. She graduated from the Music Academy of Stockholm and in 2000 she received her BFA from Parsons School of Design. In 2011 Hinnemo was awarded the Young Artist of the Year Award from the Association of Finnish Artists in Sweden.

This year her abstract paintings were exhibited in a one person exhibition at Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton NY.

Her artist statement: My work has always been grounded by perception and for many years I worked from life. While my work has become more abstract, I still feel that strong connection to all things real. I don't paint from life anymore but the memory of working with those kinds of elements feels very much alive. My mind sifts through all kinds of familiar associations fueling the work with a lighter subject some of the time and with more weight at other times. I'm driven to make something that can stand on its own.

Using my hands to make things has always struck me as constructive. To this day I devote pleasurable time making a variety of things/objects that are useful in my life and to my family. But painting is different and occupies such a different space in my mind. Joy, disappointment, agony, determination, willfulness all wrapped up in the minutes and hours."
Five large picnic tables were set up in the backyard.
Nathaniel Brown with Claudia, a Great Pyrenees rescue dog from Alabama. Claudia is sporting her summer hair cut.
Carol Brown, Sameh Iskander, his wife Sylvia Iskander, and sister Mary Iskander.
Brothers Dana, Eric, and Nathaniel Brown.

Dana Brown is the Deputy Editor of Vanity Fair.

Given VF's financial woes, Graydon might want to try some food trucks at the next Oscars.
Family portrait: Ian, Eric, Dana, Carol, Courtney, and Nathaniel Brown. And Claudia.
Maia Lafortezza, Eric's niece, with Eric's Shih Tzu Lucas. Lucas can be found hanging out at Tibor most days. He has a pillow on the floor beside Eric's desk. Three-year-old Olly in his pinstripes shares a Good Humor with his father, Dana Brown.
Amanda McGowan, an acupuncturist, with Eric. Ms. McGowan owns a house in East Hampton.
Robert J. Anderson, a painter, and Max Freeman, poet and photographer, sitting with Eric. Steve Harvey and Perry Sayles.
Cynthia Rowley, a well-known dress designer based in the West Village, with Eric. Eric with gallerist Bill Powers, Cynthia Rowley's husband. Powers' gallery, Half Gallery, just moved from the Lower East Side to East 78th Street.
Dana Brown and Lucian Truscott IV, a former writer for The Village Voice and the author of Dress Gray (1979), which was adapted by Gore Vidal for a 4-part mini series starring Alec Baldwin.

Lucian's memoir Dying of a Broken Heart can be read on his Wordpress blog. In the tradition of Dickens, it is being written serially.

Charles Dickens began his writing career as a journalist. Sixteen of his major literary works were serialized, either weekly or monthly, beginning with Sketches by Boz (1836) and concluding with the unfinished manuscript of The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870).

As you know, Dickens' followers had to line up on a weekly basis to read his saga. All you have to do to keep up with Truscott is to log on to his website.
Jonas and Maia Lafortezza, Eric's niece and nephew, were the bartenders serving margaritas, beer, and wine.
Brian Harding, Mars Ostarello, and Harry Reeder say "Buenas Noches." It was a very good night.
Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved. Contact Jill Krementz here.