By the fifth iteration “East End Collected,” artist and curator Paton Miller has learned one major lesson: the group show is nearly impossible without three-dimensional sculpture.
And this year, it couldn’t happen without Arden Scott.
“Arden Scott is an artist who’s had a long, long career, but I was unaware of her work. And this is part of the delight of my job as curator — you can’t know everybody,” Miller said. “Even though you think you do, because it’s so small out here, you don’t.”
Inside the Southampton Arts Center, work by nearly three-dozen fellow artists will revolve around a 20-foot-long rebar boat sculpted by the octogenarian — a lifelong sailor and Greenport resident whose work often reflects conditions on the open sea.
“On the ocean even the most brain-dead nincompoop gets the idea that you’re not safe anymore, you’re totally out of control,” Scott has said. “The weather and the water are in total control and you have to work with them to survive. I like that, that edge.”
Scott stands as the most seasoned of her compatriots in the group show — which will open on Saturday, April 20 — juxtaposed, for the first time, against artists with little to no experience.
After all, half of them have just graduated high school, the other half only finishing this spring.
“The thing is, student artists don’t really have a chance to exhibit their work. Galleries won’t show them because they don’t have a track record yet — and, yet, how do you get a track record? It’s a Catch 22,” Miller said. “The galleries are full of old fossils like me, and we’re not getting out of the way. The Southampton Arts Center is doing a good job of inclusion. They may be the most interesting aspect of this year’s show, and I have a feeling we’ll do it again next year.”
Through his short documentary, “Just A Teenager” — which will screen at the Southampton Arts Center — Kai Diego Parcher-Charles is flipping the connotation on the label, he explained, as does “East End Collected5” itself.
And for the 19-year-old filmmaker, this group show is his first.
“I love creating and making films and art, in general, and it is not something I ever want to stop,” explained Parcher-Charles, who graduated from The Ross School last year. “Ideally I’ll be able to make my living doing this kind of stuff, even if my main income isn’t just from my art. All my creative outlets are not things I’m going to stop doing.
“I don’t feel I can predict where it will take me,” he continued. “It has already been surprising in a very positive way, so I’m mainly hoping it keeps doing that, surprising me, taking me places I didn’t expect and places where I express myself and help others express themselves.”
Looking back on the 10-year-old version of himself — a boy fascinated by the Atlantic Ocean and the way it moved — Parcher-Charles found his love of photography with a GoPro in hand, capturing every barrel, sunset and sunrise he could.
“What resonated with me most was just being able to capture those beautiful moments that usually only lasts for a quick second in the water,” he said. “With the camera you could slow it down, or with the right timing get a great photo of it.”
“As I look back on the previous films I made, I notice that they do evoke specific thoughts and emotions, which was my goal, and that’s very cool to me,” he added. “As I become more confident with myself as a filmmaker and my filmmaking skills, I am definitely getting more comfortable in putting more of my raw emotions and perspectives into what I make.”
As a teacher, Miller has watched his students come into their own time and time again — among them J.B. Riffaud, Finn Pilaro and Emily Esposito, who are also included in the group show.
“It’s not nepotism, it’s just that they’re so good,” he said with a laugh. “All these kids are very focused at a young age and it’s very impressive, really, how good they are. They’re gonna have nice, long careers. And for those of us on the older side, most of us will be forgotten, but shows like this help you be remembered.”
“East End Collected5,” curated by Paton Miller, will open with a reception on Saturday, April 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Southampton Arts Center, located at 25 Jobs Lane in Southampton. Admission is free. The show will remain on view through June 9.
Participating artists include Casey Chalem Anderson, Michael Cardacino, Sylvia Channing, Jeremy Dennis, Madison Fender, Francine Fleischer, Lori Hawkins, Carol Hunt, Anna Jurinich, Christine Keefe, Suzanne LaFleur, Geralyne Lewandowski, John Margaritis, Alexis Martino, Lauren Matzen, Eric Meola, Oscar Molina, Joan Lee Montefusco, Nika Nesgoda, Cindy Pease Roe, Jay Schneiderman, Arden Scott, Ty Stroudsburg, Trina Tozzi Michne and Isabel Turban.
The student artists are Harlan Beeton, Emily Esposito, Kyle McNamara, Cian O’Neill, Kai Parcher-Charles, Finn Pilaro and J.B. Riffaud.
For more information, call (631) 283-0967 or visit southamptonartscenter.org.