The William Ris Gallery in Jamesport welcomed over 100 guests for the opening reception of “Chinese Inspiration/North Fork Creation,” a solo art show by local artist Dr. Robert Oxnam, on July 14. The exhibition displays more than 40 sculptures, color photography, and ink paintings by Oxnam, an international specialist in Chinese history and culture. It is on display until August 12.
Organized and curated by the artist and his wife, Dr. Vishakha Desai, a scholar of Asian art, the exhibition concentrates on Oxnam’s wood sculptures. Inspired by “Chinese Scholars Rocks” that highlight natural shapes in ancient stones weathered in riverbeds and mountains, Oxnam’s sculptures also pay tribute to the beauty and spirit of the North Fork by utilizing weathered wood found on the shores of the Long Island Sound, from Port Jefferson to Orient Point.
“As I work, I am moved by several Chinese philosophies (especially Taoism) and by the notion that I am taking an old Chinese aesthetic approach and applying it to a fresh medium. I even share the Chinese preferences for certain tactile qualities in rocks — balanced, but unusual shapes, deep indentations, bumpy surfaces, intriguing holes,” Oxnam explained.
On Saturday, sculptures were clustered in groups of three and four to allow for a dialogue within the space. Three splashed ink wash paintings welcome visitors while large abstract digital photographs of glacial rocks further invited them into Oxnam’s world. In attendance were North Fork artists Scott McIntire, Allan Wexler, and film director and author Amie Wallach.
“What a pleasure to share my twin interests, Chinese culture and North Fork art-making. Great turnout and enthusiasm all around,” Oxnam said.
The William Ris Gallery is owned and directed by Mary Cantone and exhibits an extensive selection of original contemporary works by East Coast artists, particularly those from Long Island. The gallery is open daily from noon to 5 PM and by appointment and is located at 1291 Main Road in Jamesport. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
The gallery will host an artist talk with Oxnam on Saturday, July 28, from 4 to 6 PM.