ActivePaper Archive Inner Vision Theme For Two Shows - Southampton Press - Eastern Edition, 3/22/2007

Inner Vision Theme For Two Shows


Don Saco’s “Dolphin Spirits” sculpture is on view at the Lana Santorelli Gallery in Southampton.


Graciela Iturbide’s “Mujer Angel Sonora Desert” is on view at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor.

By Eric Ernst

In considering two exhibitions that opened recently at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor and the Lana Santorelli Gallery in Southampton, I was reminded of the observation by the painter Shirley Erskine that artists “don’t need a view but instead paint from a theme and from their inner emotions and senses.”

This is particularly true of the exhibit at Tulla Booth Gallery, titled “Women By Women,” which, despite consisting almost entirely of photographs, fully reflects the sentiments behind Ms. Erskine’s statement. Further, in the uniform quality and sensitivity of the works displayed, there is the unmistakable recognition, as Georgia O’Keeffe once noted, that “there is something unexplored about women that only women can explore.”

Of notable interest in the exhibition is Jane Martin’s series of video stills, which are both profoundly cinematic and enigmatically mysterious. Featuring images of solitary nude women caught in mid-motion and partially obscured by banks of dense fog, the works are powerfully enhanced by the artist’s use of asymmetrical composition in the placement and posture of the figures.

This serves to underscore the response evoked by the works’ ambivalent narrative, as if viewing a single frame from a film noir mystery, a feeling which is then heightened by the images’ apparitional ambiguities.

This cinematic atmosphere is also present in Graciela Iturbide’s “Mujer Angel Sonora Desert” (silver gelatin print, 1980), which is also emblematic of this photographer’s exploration of Mexican society’s continual evolutionary transition, from the ongoing influence of pre-Hispanic culture to the widespread impact of modern technology in developing countries. Picturing a woman in traditional dress moving away from the camera, the only evidence that the picture is relatively recent is conjured by the boombox she carries.

Also of interest is Ruth Orkin’s rather famous photograph from 1951 titled “American Girl, Italy” (silver gelatin print) that reflects the anxiety and angst of any woman who has ever walked past construction sites in New York to the accompaniment of wolf whistles, catcalls, and other manifestations of abusive male chauvinism.

Marking something of a departure for this gallery, which has always exclusively exhibited photographs in the past, is a series of wire sculptures by Sophie De Francesco. Molded and shaped to represent either the female form or articles of feminine undergarments, the works are imaginative and highly evocative.

Also included in the exhibition are works by Alvarez Bravo, Flor Garduno, Jay Hoops, and Louise Dahl-White. “Women By Women” at the Tulla Booth Gallery in Sag Harbor continues through April 18. There will also be a fund-raising event held at the gallery on April 6 to benefit The Retreat, a local organization dedicated to helping victims of domestic abuse.

Meanwhile, in Southampton, the Lana Santorelli Gallery is presenting an exhibition titled “Spirituality in the Hamptons,” a moniker that some jaded East Enders might see as an entertaining contradiction in terms.

Meant to reflect the idea of spirituality as an ever evolving concept that exists wholly separate from the rigidity of religious dogma, the exhibition features a number of works, abstract as well as figurative, that are both sensitive and thought-provoking.

Of particular note is Daniel Schoenheimer’s photograph, “Morning Dance,” which pictures a young girl, her hair covering her face and her arms akimbo, dancing with ecstatic abandon across a stretch of beach.

Using the figurative form as a means of accentuating the work’s horizontal movement, the photographer has dynamically enhanced this effect by the juxtaposition of the rush of waves in the background, creating a sense of inexorable forward motion.

Don Saco’s metal sculpture, “Dolphin Spirits,” on the other hand, conjures a sense of motion and exuberance through the rhythmic interplay of geometric form and a dynamic use of negative space.

Capturing the acrobatic vaults and twists of dolphins leaping over the waves, the work is memorable for the manner in which it exists as an abstract interaction of form and space, as well as a gestural representation of nature itself.

Other works of interest include Daniel Malisky’s “Chinese Fantasy,” Frank Sofo’s “Earth Prayers,” and David Martine’s “Untitled.”

“Spirituality in the Hamptons” continues at the Lana Santorelli Gallery in Southampton through April 23.