ArtHamptons 2014 – The First, the Biggest, and Still Great

After passing cornfields and horse farms, making a turn at a pen filled with grazing sheep, and wending through a maze of finished or in-progress monumental sculptures at Nova’s Ark Sculpture Field, the first sounds heard were the thwack and thrum of a polo match in full swing. That’s when you knew you’d arrived at ArtHamptons, 2014, in Bridgehampton once again.

The 2014 fair, held from July 10-13th was just as spectacular as the previous six, which is why more than 15,000 visitors made their way to the off-the-beaten-path 95 acre field. Of course, visitors weren’t the only ones who made the trek. There were 87 galleries representing 12 countries on hand bringing their work to art lovers on Long Island’s East End.

Photo_InteriorInside ArtHamptons

They were catering to a sophisticated upscale market, so, as usual, they brought top-notch works of art.

Photo_FreilicherJane Freilicher, Light Blue Above, 2010, Lithograph, 26.5 x 26 in., ed. of 54

There was a mini-retrospective exhibition of the work of ArtHamptons’ Lifetime Achievement Award honoree, Jane Freilicher. Manhattan’s Tibor de Nagy gallery filled a booth with cheerful landscapes and still-life paintings and prints that perfectly reflected the sunny mood of the day.

Photo_Moon1Hyeongtae Moon at Seoul’s Gallery Now

A fair-within-the-fair was presented by the inclusion of fifteen contemporary art galleries from South Korea. They brought a fresh perspective and a lot of strong work, largely unknown to American audiences. Some had distinctly Asian flavor, but, since good art speaks without words, most of it was universal in appeal.

Michelle Yu, director of Chelsea’s Able Fine Art, one of the top galleries in New York for Korean and American Contemporary art, said, “There’s such an affinity between contemporary American art and contemporary Korean art, right now. And the Korean art market is just starting to take off globally. It’s an opportunity to get in on the ground floor. The interest has been amazing.”

Photo_MattaRoberto Matta at Salamantina Gallery

A very welcome surprise was at Salamantina Gallery’s booth. It featured museum quality paintings by Chilean artist Roberto Matta, whose work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, and top collections around the world.

An interesting pattern of unusual media emerged, as you made your way from booth to booth. There were works composed of hay, works composed of metal gears and wire screen, even works printed on feathers.

Photo_JewellRebecca Jewell, Blue and Red, Blue and Green Parrots, 2013, printed feathers

Rebecca Hossack Gallery brought a collection of small, beautiful, and astonishing, when you think about it, prints of birds on feathers. Rebecca Jewell, who has a Ph.D. in Natural History Illustration, is a skilled printmaker and an avid naturalist. Her feather prints are remarkable.

Photo_SorelleSorelle Gallery presented Stanley Bate’s work

It was nice to see some smaller galleries holding their own amidst the big names. Sorelle Gallery, from Albany, New Canaan, and Saratoga Springs filled their booth with strong, elegantly rendered abstract paintings by Stanley Bate, a contemporary of artists like Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman.

Photo_BeryRobery Bery, Find Your Dreams, 72 x 48, Mixed Media on Glass

Young, local galleries also put some outstanding work on display. Bridgehampton’s own Chase Edwards Fine Art brought complex, challenging mixed media works by artist Robert Bery, and Gallery 125, from Bellport and Water Mill presented works by a group of artists they’ve dubbed “The Horizontalists” due to their sharing a method of working flat on the floor to create their paintings. Daniel O’Keefe presented evocative Venetian plaster on aluminum abstractions.

Photo_OkeefeDaniel O’Keefe, No. 66, 2011

As in the past, there were photos of movie stars, and lots of things with rhinestones, catering to a wide range of artistic tastes, but once again, ArtHamptons, the original art fair in the Hamptons, succeeded in bringing more terrific blue-chip works of art than one could absorb to a beautiful, fun-filled fair.

Photos courtesy Mary Gregory, Chase Edwards Fine Art, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, Gallery 125, Tibor de Nagy Gallery.