Artist transforms Arts Center into interactive marine world

Light Of The Ocean

Artwork by Francisco Alvarado-Juarez

Southampton Arts Center presents its final exhibition of 2018 with “Light Of The Ocean,” featuring work by Honduras born artist Francisco Alvarado-Juarez. An interactive exhibit unlike any other, it transforms the gallery space into a majestic marine world, with a public opening reception on Friday, November 2, from 5 to 7 PM. It will remain on view through December 31.

“Light Of The Ocean” is the latest installation by Alvarado-Juarez. He has traveled to several galleries worldwide and, using organic materials native to each area, turned them into inspiring, breathing displays. Though he’s been working on environmental conservation since the 1980s, long before the concept was fashionable, the idea began in 1992 with the show “Reefs: Song of the Ocean” at the Islip Art Museum where he incorporated 800 paper bags that have been recycled and reused.

“The theme is recycling. Those paper bags are supposed to go from the supermarket to home and then thrown out. But now they’re still used after all these years. They’ve traveled quite a bit,” Alvarado-Juarez explained. He returns to Long Island with an accumulation of more than 5000 of those same bags, that are individually painted and cut by hand. Each show carries its own, unique allure but the paper bags remain a unifying element.

Through the use of sand, seashells, and other materials found right here on the East End, Southampton Arts Center will be reimagined. Video projections of water and marine life will be installed to give it a true under-the-sea impression, along with 30 large scale acrylic paintings. A true community project, volunteers will aid in design and creativity prior to opening. Local artists and experts from the Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program will be on-site with educational programs related to the exhibit.

A self-taught artist, Alvarado-Juarez originally began as a photographer. He spent time in New York City museums pondering the composition of images and why a particular photograph made it into a collection. When he moved to Washington, D.C. he recalls spending hours in the National Gallery of Art studying individual artists in-depth, digesting the various skill types.

Alvarado-Juarez recalled, “As a young and poor artist, it was easy to go into the museums and be there for an hour or an entire day. I’d study the collections and go through the different centuries of art. I have a very rounded education in the arts, all of my own. As a creative person, the deeper you go into yourself the more universal they are.”

From museums in Spain to covering a 4000-square-foot space at the Everson Museum in Syracuse, each location pushed his limits as an artist and contributed to an evolving style over the years, he said. He stated that each installation had “its own flavor.”

“Every creature has its place. We, as humans, have inherited the planet. It’s our responsibility to hand it over to the next generation in better shape than we received it. It’d be sad if children and grandchildren don’t know the animals we do today. The balance in nature is very important and we have to do our best to preserve it,” he said.

Southampton Arts Center is located at 25 Jobs Lane. Call 631-283-0967 or visit http://www.southamptonartscenter.org. To see more of the artist’s work, visit http://www.franciscoalvarado.com.

nicole@indyeastend.com