‘Down And Dirty’ at Duck Creek

Jeanne Silverthone "Long Fuse with Short Fuse on Crate," installation view at The Arts Center at Duck Creek. Jess Frost photo.

Beginning May 1, the sculptural work of Bonnie Rychlak and Jeanne Silverthorne will go on view at The Arts Center at Duck Creek in “Down and Dirty,” a two-person exhibition running through June 6.

Rychlak and Silverthorne create sculptures that share a tale of disruption and playful decrepitude. When they met in the 1980s, New York was suffering from a historic market crash. Still, the city was teeming with resourceful artists. These conditions shaped both artists’ approach to making art, and as Rychlak put it, “Sometimes an artist has to get down and dirty” to depict a subject truthfully.

Bonnie Rychlak “Yoga Drain,” rubber, 20 x 20 x 1/8 inches. Courtesy The Arts Center at Duck Creek.

In this exhibition, the artists draw on works dating as far back as 1991. They explore the object in everyday lives through an unsettling yet humorous juxtaposition of materials and metaphors. The sculptures are for the most part positioned on the floor, deflated, converted and/or incongruously repurposed into non-functional objects, mysterious objects that solicit interpretation.

Rychlak’s process is quite physical and transformative. She uses mutable materials, such as beeswax and paraffin, to describe objects that conventionally are made from more stable elements, such as steel or wood. Standing above one of her “grates,” Rychlak places the viewer in the precariousness position of relying on a soft wax to cushion an imaginary fall into what lies beneath. In an interview with Katie Geha, Rychlak says, “Objects placed on the floor, my drains anyway, infer something underground, underneath… It’s about culverts that penetrate the surface and you may never know what is at the other end or below.” Placed in a clean gallery or grassy field, the works speak about the archeology of urbanism, industry, and our failed environment.

Since the early 1990s Silverthorne has explored the idea of the artist’s studio as an outdated ruin. “My sculpture has the impulse to push against the heroic and the monumental” she states, but her process is physically intense. Silverthorne models the detritus of her studio in clay, making molds, and finally, casting each sculpture and all its elements in rubber. These objects, which so carefully imitate the contours and textures of reality, are rendered absurd in their rubber form. And Silverthorne invites you to indulge in both the process and the pun.

This exhibition originated at the Dodd Galleries in Athens, Georgia, where a full-color catalog was published, including an interview with the artists and scholarly essays by Terrie Sultan, the former Parrish Art Museum Director, and Katie Geha. The artists will participate in an outdoor talk with Sultan on May 22, at 3 p.m. (rain date May 23).

Also on view from May 1 to June 6 at The Arts Center at Duck Creek is “High Noon,” a solo exhibition of works by artist Elizabeth Hazan.


Jeanne Silverthorne “Poppy Juice,” 2017. Platinum silicone rubber and phosphorescent pigment, 28 x 38 x 19 inches.

Curated by Eric Brown, the show includes three new large paintings and a group of smaller works exhibited for the first time. Hazan’s recent paintings combine memories of the open fields of the East End, where the artist spent summers as a child, with an abstract language drawn from the imagination.

“I want the paintings both to capture memory I have of that time and place and to explore imaginative possibilities that spring from it,” writes Hazan, who lives and works in New York City and on the East End.

Hazan an abstract artist, curator and founder of Platform Project Space, was born and raised in New York City. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Bryn Mawr College and later attended the New York Studio School, where she was awarded a fellowship to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has twice been a resident of Yaddo and has shown in galleries and museums across the U.S.

Eric Brown was co-owner of the Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York for 25 years, and now represents and advises artists, artist estates, and collectors at Eric Brown Art Group. He lives and works on the East End and in New York City.

Installation view “Elizabeth Hazan: High Noon” at The Arts Center at Duck Creek. Jess Frost photo.

In compliance with NY State Covid-19 restrictions, there will be no receptions until further notice. Visitors are limited to 10 people at a time and masks are required indoors. Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, 2 to 6 p.m. and by appointment. The Arts Center at Duck Creek is at 127 Squaw Road, East Hampton. For details visit duckcreekarts.org.