11.18.2006

Art With a View

This is my work: a painting from the Quadrate series (acrylic on canvas, 34 by 34") above the mantel; an installation of Silk Road paintings (encaustic on panel, each 12 x 12") at rear

At the moment I’m in a show at a unique gallery, DM Contemporary, on Long Island. The gallery is in Mill Neck, in an architecturally compelling modernist home that overlooks a pond and small island that in turn overlook the west end of Long Island Sound. It’s a beautiful setting for art.

The art hangs throughout the public areas of the home. My paintings are installed in the large living area—over the fireplace, on a long wall catty corner to the pond-facing windows, next to the large dining table, and in a light-infused hallway. When you’re used to viewing art in the classic white cube, a domestic environment requires you to adjust your perception of “gallery.” But of course we all live with art, so it’s a minor adjustment. And let me say that I love seeing my reductive work in setting that is so beautifully reductive itself—just white walls, light wood and modernist furniture.

A Quadrate in the hallway and Silk Road installation near the table

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The outdoor environment is different but just as spare: sky, water, trees and pond grasses, with a strong horizontal between water and sky. A modernist landscape. The home’s double-height panes and oversize skylights mediate the transition between indoors and out.

Room with a view: Quadrate 3 (acrylic on canvas, 46 by 46 inches) on the wall; and a pond-and-island landscape outside the windows

While gallery lighting maintains an appropriate level of illumination inside, the outdoor light changes dramatically throughout the day. Inevitably the landscape reflects these changes, creating subtle shifts in the light indoors. The art absorbs and reflects all of this.

The two other artists showing at the gallery are Nancy Manter and Babe Shapiro. The eponymously titled show, Nancy Manter, Joanne Mattera, Babe Shapiro, is up through December 15. Doris Mukabaa Marksohn, director of the gallery and owner of the home, has conceived and installed the exhibition as three discrete solo shows.

Manter’s work records her interaction with her environment. She photographs her footprints in the snow or tire racks on the road, for instance, and these images become the reference for her paintings. Manter works in distemper, paint made from pigment suspended in hide glue. She paints in layers, so her whites are sensuously milky and her colors deeply luminous. Here, take a look:

Paintings by Nancy Manter at DM Contemporary

Shapiro is best known for his geometric abstractions throughout the Sixties and Seventies. Here he shows small-scale watercolor-like paintings, a series of lighthanded organic forms, made with transparent dyes and pigments on paper.

Works on paper by Babe Shapiro. Below: closeup view of the two paintings at the far end of the gallery wall. Manter and Shapiro photos courtesy of DM Contemporary


DM Contemporary is open by appointment. You can e-mail or call the gallery to arrange a visit.

For the rest of my Fall/Winter schedule, visit my schedule blog, www.jmschedule.blogspot.com. And of course I’ll be writing about many of the shows here.