There is something special about the way natural light shines on the East End, attracting artists and writers for hundreds of years — from Walt Whitman to William Merritt Chase and Childe Hassam.
They each translated the natural landscape into their art through realism or impressionism, a subculture still active today — and thriving, according to Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor, where the new exhibit “Painting Locally” will remain on view through March 10.
Participating artists include Venezuelan-born Angel Ramiro Sanchez and Nelson H. White have shown with the gallery since its inception in 1997. As the grandson of Henry C. White — who bought 50 waterfront acres on Shelter Island in 1908 — not a summer has passed without a fresh series of plein air paintings from White’s painting box, featuring Mashomack Preserve, Dering Harbor and Sunset Beach.
Sag Harbor’s own Cappy Amundsen has two pieces on view. He was a reluctant East End artist, selling paintings for money to live, and befriending some of the most interesting artists and writers of his time while contributing to community life in the village.
“Classically trained in NYC in the 1920s, Amundsen founded the Washington Square Outdoor Art Show with his friends Jackson Pollack and Willem De Kooning in 1932 in New York City,” according to a press release. “He gave up his idea of having a career in painting, and became a commercial fisherman sailing up and down the New England coast for decades, until he settled in Sag Harbor permanently in 1948.”
In the spirit of classically trained, mid 20th-century painters, the gallery will also show a pair of watercolors by John Whorf, who may have even known Amundsen, as they would have been travelling and painting the same subjects in the very same ports in New England. “As one of the most respected watercolorist, and collected by John Singer Sargent, Whorf’s work is mesmerizing,” the release said.
Ben Fenske spends his summers in Sag Harbor — a true painter’s painter whose fascination with natural light effects is omnipresent in all his work.
“In each painting, his brushwork chases the light as it changes with elements and bounces off and around his subjects,” the release said. “Fenske’s rigorous attention to his process results in vibrant paintings that exude spirit. Frequently, Fenske is drawn to secluded, undisturbed, peaceful beaches like Cedar Point, or his oft-painted ‘Secret Beach’ on North Haven.”
For more information, call (631) 725-8469 or visit grenninggallery.com.