‘Encounters’ Features Nine Artists with East End Roots

Barthélémy Toguo  “Homo Planta A,” 2018. Watercolor ink on canvas, 68" x 68." Photo by Gary Mamay. Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill, N.Y. Museum purchase with funds provided by Dorothy Lichtenstein.

The Parrish Art Museum has opened “Encounters: Recent Acquisitions to the Permanent Collection,” featuring work by nine living artists with deep connections to the region and to the museum. The show opened November 18 and will remain on view through February 27. Organized by Corinne Erni, senior curator of ArtsReach and special projects, these new additions to the museum’s collection bring together paintings, sculpture, and works on paper by a diverse group of artists who have lived, worked, or participated in artist residencies in the region. Seen together, their art shines a light on the vibrant, varied creativity of the East End.

Each artist demonstrates a personal engagement with the local environment and community. Darlene Charneco, Laurie Lambrecht, Barthélémy Toguo, and Sara VanDerBeek explore the particular flora and fauna, water, and light of the East End. Tomashi Jackson brings the history of communities of color to the fore, while Candace Hill Montgomery weaves together personal narratives and social commentary. Esly E. Escobar evokes an alter ego in abstract drip painting; Frank Wimberley communicates through his own language of abstraction; and North Fork-based artist Rachel Feinstein merges characters drawn from oppositions and tensions in sculpture.

The new works from Toguo and Jackson were created for their solo exhibitions at the Parrish during residencies as Inga Maren Otto Fellows at The Watermill Center. Toguo’s “Homo Planta A,” 2018, which he describes as “a choreography with moving lianas, touching leaves, extending bodies,” reflects the artist’s deep interest in nature and sustainability. Jackson’s “The Three Sisters,” 2021, incorporating images of intergenerational groups of women, was inspired by interviews with members of Indigenous, Black, and Latinx communities on the East End.

Work in the exhibition by Charneco, Escobar, Lambrecht, and Hill Montgomery was developed for their Parrish Road Show off-site exhibitions. Charneco’s “Mutual Medicine Flower,” 2020, created for “Symbiosome Schoolhouse” in Orient earlier this year, considers the symbiotic coevolution of insects and plants. Escobar dripped paint on a canvas placed on the floor until a character was revealed for “Goofie Goo,” 2018, featured in his exhibition “Playground in Remsenberg.” For “Limn to Limb” at the Madoo Conservancy in Sagaponack, Lambrecht’s “Bark Cloth, Long House, East Hampton 2016 #2,” 2019, continues a series of print and fiber pieces inspired by the nuances of bark. Hill Montgomery’s “The Pink Pussyhatted’s Dark Blue Cambridge Mysteries,” 2017-18, which examines the #MeToo movement through cozy material to tackle uncomfortable topics, was included in “Hills & Valleys” at the Whaling Museum in Sag Harbor in 2019 — the first ever presentation of the artist’s weavings.

Feinstein’s career-long interest in the Rococo was the impetus for “See You Soon,” 2001 — a life-sized plaster sculpture that evokes the dark side of the period’s aristocratic origins. VanDerBeek’s semi-abstract photographs “Lightning Strike I & II,” 2016, which consider the historically feminist dialectic of so-called women’s work, were motivated by the weavings of female members of the Bauhaus weaving workshop, American quilts, and Pre-Colombian textiles and ceramics. “Wimberley’s Wrinkles,” 1994, is among the artist’s tactile, multilayered abstract works that he describes as “absolutely personal and universal.”

The Parrish Art Museum is at 279 Montauk Highway in Water Mill. For details, visit parrishart.org.