Scott Farrell, Amanda Kavanagh, and Maxine Jurow will explore comfort through artistic expression at the William Ris Gallery in Jamesport in the show “A Sense Of Place” from Saturday, February 15, through March 25, coinciding with the gallery’s fourth anniversary. The gallery will host an opening reception on February 15 from 4 to 7 PM and an artists’ talk on February 29 from 1 to 3 PM.
What is your connection to owner Mary Cantone and William Ris Gallery?
Scott Farrell: Mary’s gallery truly is one of the best-kept secrets on the North Fork. Many people seem to end up discovering her beautiful space as an added, surprise bonus when making a wine-tasting stop at her neighbor, Sherwood House Vineyards. As soon as I walked into William Ris Gallery, I found Mary to be one of the most approachable, open, and genuinely kind people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. Since that initial meeting in August 2017, Mary has not only become a true friend but one of my most important and valued supporters.
What does ‘a sense of place’ mean to you?
SF: “A Sense of Place” has two interpretations for me. On one hand, it represents an attempt to capture and convey the feeling of an existing, physical place. On the other hand, a sense of place can be the pure product of my imagination as I examine an object or space and use abstraction to propose something entirely different. As a photographer, my primary passion is landscapes, whether they are representational in nature or what I refer to as “alternative landscapes.” Examples of both can be seen in this exhibit.
Amanda Kavanagh: Although I do enjoy painting plein air, I prefer to work in my studio because much of what I’m trying to capture is my own sense of the place rather than an accurate representation. I tend to get distracted by reality and local color. I’d rather go with my gut. I’m fascinated by how the brain imprints images and memory and how our individual experiences often overlap with each other. Scott, Maxine, and I work in different mediums but there is an almost eerie similarity in our styles, our sense of color, composition, and mood. That universal connection, usually through nature, is what interests me most.
Maxine Jurow: While my paintings are non-objective, they are always inspired by the particular. Most of my paintings are done in series with a particular color palette, often inspired by travel, whether it be to Australia, Tuscany, Morocco, or simply locales here on Long Island. My paintings are meant to be visited over time. They are meditations on what resonated for me within that location. In the same way that the ocean, a field, or a sunset is something we continue to find beauty in, I hope that these paintings resonate in a fresh way each time they are read by the observer.
Describe your work.
SF: [One] image is a photograph from Nebraska. It’s part of a series I call “Great Plains Genesis.” The scene of turbulent weather conditions in a vast, inhospitable space was actually captured on a sunny, hot August day in Columbus, NE in a flat area about three feet wide by five feet high. There are additional pieces from this series on exhibit in “A Sense of Place” and they represent the origins of my “alternative landscapes” work.
AK: Many of the landscape pieces in this show came out of an artist’s residency I did a few years back in Watch Hill, Fire Island. I essentially had the whole place to myself for two weeks in early October and spent much of my time out on the boardwalks in the salt marshes studying the colors. It’s a gorgeous time to be out there, especially in that late afternoon magic hour when the light explodes on the grasses.
MJ: Orange/yellow is primarily a balancing act of color volume, but it is also a study of movement. In the top section, I use translucent free brush strokes. Towards the middle, the paint is more dense, creating texture and focus at the perceived horizon line. Lastly, there is a gray ribbon of paint at the base of the painting. It anchors the eye, and serves as a reality check — the canvas is only a canvas, a flat painted surface.
Why did you choose this medium to express your perspective?
SF: As much as I’d love to learn, I don’t know the first thing about painting. Photography is just so spontaneous and instantaneously gratifying to me. I love being able to capture moments and scenes that are often gone in an instant.
AK: I’m most comfortable working in oils because it’s very versatile and I can work and rework back into it. I did go back to charcoal for a few of the pieces in this show, and that was fun to revisit after many years of working in color. The thing I do like to change up is the surfaces I work on. I like to experiment with various effects.
MJ: Acrylic paint has been the perfect medium with which to explore a wide color palette. Water based acrylic dries quickly, which means I can put down layers of colors — thick or thin — quickly and easily. It is the buildup of color undertones, sometimes peeking through, that creates depth in the surface. At times, I add color pastel lines to enhance an existing composition or create an additional dimensional element.
William Ris Gallery is located at 1291 Main Road in Jamesport. Visit www.williamris.com.