ActivePaper Archive Opening Is a ‘Who’s Who’ of Art Scene - Southampton East, 5/4/2006

Opening Is a ‘Who’s Who’ of Art Scene

Guild Halls 68th Members Exhibition is all about, and for, local artists


Award winners Jane Martin (Best in Show), Jason Poremba (Best Mixed Media) and Fazzaa Fezza (Best Photograph) at the 68th annual Members Exhibition at Guild Hall. PAT ROGERS

galleries were so thick with people on Saturday that itwasdifficulttomaneuverthrough them. The lobby was no different: breathing room was hard to find in the open air foyer leading into the EastHamptonmuseum.

The reason? The opening of Guild Hall’s 68th annual Members Exhibition.Andjustlikethe67exhibitionsthatprecededit,theopening waschockfullofareaartistswhowere exhibitingapieceofartandcatching up with colleagues and friends who mighthavebeenlyinglowallwinter.

“If you’re an artist out here, that’s whatyoudo,”saidSouthamptonartistJeffMuhs.“Yousubmitworktothe Members Exhibition and you go to theopening.Everybodyshowshere. There are some painters who work on Sundays and others who show at the Met. You see everyone who youhaven’tseenallwinter.It’smuch more of a social event—that’s what makesitfun.”

This year’s exhibition features 352 pieces of art created by artists and photographers who are members of Guild Hall. Members are allowed to submitoneartworkeachinthenonjuried,all-inclusiveshow.

“Thelevelofworkgetsbetterallthe time,”saidMauraDoyle,showorganizer and assistant curator for Guild Hall. “We have sucharichpoolof artists here. This show really shows all the talents that are here in our community.”

Prizes are awardedforBestinShow and Best Abstract, Representational Work, Photograph, Work on Paper, Sculpture, Mixed Media and Landscape. Honorable Mentionsarealsotypicallybestowed. Awards are selected by an art expert brought in for the occasion. This year’s judge was Magdalena Dabrowski, a special consultant to theMetropolitanMuseumofArtfor 19th-centuryandcontemporaryart. The2006exhibitionbroughtoutthe typical mix of first-time submitters andlongtimeparticipants.Departing fromyearspast,thisshowsawasurge of submissions of digital art and reprocessedphotos,saidMs.Doyle.

“There’s a lot of new work that’s cutting edge,” Ms. Doylesaid.“We’ve notyethadavideo submittedandI’m looking forward towhenthathappens. There are morephotographs and retouched photographs this year.OutBestinShowisavideostill that’sbeenprocessed.We’rereaching intowhat’snewandinnovativeinthe show.”

The Best in Show was awarded to Jane Martin of Shelter Island for a resin-coated video still. She wins a solo show to be held next year at Guild Hall. Her winning artwork is similartoapieceincludedinasolo show held at the Boltax Gallery on Shelter Island last fall. Ms. Martin said she was pleased with the exhibition and with her win.This is the secondyearshe’ssubmittedworkto theMembersExhibition.

“It’ssweet;verysweet,”Ms.Martin saidoftakingBestinShow.“I’mlookingforwardtotheone-personshow nextyear.”

Also pleased was Fazzaa Fezza of Water Mill. His side-by-side black and white photos won Best in Photography.Thisisthefirsttimehe hassubmittedworktotheMember’s Exhibition.

“Friends kept saying that I should submitandthisyearIfinallydecided toputinonework,”Mr.Fezzasaid. “It’s a beautiful show. It’s great that Iwon.I’vebeenworkingforthelast 20 years, so I was sure that I could win.Bythat,ImeanIfeltconfident that the work was quality and was worthit.”

Ontheotherhand,JasonPoremba of Southampton was taken by surprisethathispiecetookBestMixed Mediawork.Anarchitectandartist, thisisthesecondyearMr.Poremba submitted his art which is influencedbyarchitecturalandgeometric forms.

“Iwastotallysurprised—I’mblown away,”Mr.Porembasaid.“I’venever madeanyworkwiththeintentionof selling…It’sagreatfeelingtowin.”

Other winners are Claire Heimark for Best Abstract; Joy Goldkind for Best Representational Work and AndreLaporteforBestWorkonPaper. MicaMarderwonBestSculptureand AnneSagerwontheTheoHiosBest LandscapeAward.

Honorable Mentions were given to Claire Watson, Pat Moran, Jim Hayden and Ennid Berger. Also singled out were Alice Nancy Marcel, Iris Weinstein, Jeannette Martone, EleanorErhardtandJohnPicker.

Thisyear’sMembersExhibitionwas dedicated to David Porter, who was honored with a memorial service immediately preceding the show’s opening on Saturday. Ordinarily a MeettheWinnerspanelisheldbefore theshow’sopening.

Alsoalittledifferentwastheshow’s layout.Insteadofwalkingfromalarge galleryintothesmallerSpigaGallery, visitors were met with a white wall. TheSpigagalleryhasbeenblockedoff andisbeingusedforstorageduring Guild Hall’s renovation. In its place, artwasexhibitedinaroomlinkedto thegallerybyashorthallway.

Next year’s show will also be a departure from the norm.The John Drew Theater and lobby will close in the fall for renovations. It will reopen 18 months later. Ms. Doyle and Guild Hall curator Christina Mossaides-Strassfieldsaidseparately theMembersShowwillbeheldnext year. The mystery lies in its location—whether the show is held at GuildHalloratanalternatesitelike theLTVstudiosinWainscott.

Regardless, participants were all smilesattheexhibitionthatbrought artists out in droves. Every artist interviewedsaidtheyadmiredmuch of the art and expressed admiration for the Herculean effort of hanging over300piecesofartsotheyforma visualflow.

Attending the opening itself is anotherartform—theartofconversation, renewing connections, jockeying to see the art and discovering what other artists have been up to sincetheflurryofgalleryshowspeters outaftertheleavesfinishfalling.

“It’slikeaparty—alltheartistsare here,” said photographer Renate Pfleiderer of Sag Harbor. “You see people you haven’t seen all winter and you get a chance to see what they’ve been up to. It’s fun … It’s a waytosupporttheartistsandorganizationsthatsupportthearts.”

ShelterIslandartistRozDimonsaid sheenjoyedtheshowandtheopening. She likes the fact that everyone who’samemberhasachancetoshow their work. The Members Show is theoldestnon-juriedshowonLong Islandandoneofthefewremaining non-juriedshows,accordingtoGuild Hall’swebsite.

“It’s a great show because of the inclusivenessandthefunofit,”Ms. Dimon said.“It’s a blast—a big, fun summer blast. There’s some gems and some bummers.The wonderful thing is they’re all a form of selfexpression.”

Separately, Ms. Doyle said the fact theMembersExhibitionisnon-juried isexactlywhyit’sacalendar-marking event.

“It’s a fabulous show—we love it here,”Ms.Doylesaid.“It’sverydemocratic.Anyonewhopaystheentrance feeandisamembergetstobeinthe show. We have a tremendous artist communityhereandit’spartofGuild Hall’s mission to support the artists in the community. The Members Exhibition and our collection are importantstepstosupportartistsin ourcommunity.”

The 68th Annual Member’s Exhibition will remain on view throughJune3.AMeettheWinners talkandgallerytourwillbeheldon Sunday at 2 p.m. The museum is openThursday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noonto5p.m.Forinformation,call