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Hamada Brings Three Intuitive Artists to Duck Creek

Thu, 08/06/2020 - 11:44
Hiroyuki Hamada chose paintings by Elliott Green, Eric Banks, and Sean Sullivan, above, for the upcoming exhibition at the Arts Center at Duck Creek.

Hiroyuki Hamada, an artist who lives in East Hampton, was inspired to return as a curator to the Arts Center at Duck Creek in Springs after having his own exhibition there last summer.

"I was thinking about what kind of things would be nice in the space," he said. "I felt the work should have internal structure and a solid presence, because the space has its own character, and the work should assert itself and harmonize with the space."

The results can be seen when "Three Painters at Duck Creek," an exhibition of works by Elliott Green, Eric Banks, and Sean Sullivan, opens there on Saturday. It will remain on view through Aug. 30.

Mr. Hamada didn’t know it when he chose the three artists, but all three live within 45 minutes of each other in the Hudson Valley. That was an interesting coincidence, but more important was that "they all rely on an intuitive process, one thing leads to another, and the process itself becomes the structure of the piece. All three also use color effectively. Their common ground is the process and the colors."

Mr. Green had been painting abstractly until spending a year in Rome in 2012. "A remarkable thing happened," he told Mr. Hamada in an interview. "The density and compression of the paintings I had been making expanded outward when that information was transposed into the landscape format, into perspective: That was like an explosion."

His paintings evoke landscapes, but ones whose features, such as mountains, vistas, and foaming rivers, dissolve into pure gesture, distorting the perspective. An Artforum magazine review by Zachary Fine likened  the works to the "scraped and streaked abstractions of Gerhard Richter or Whitten . . . but Green’s are distinctive."

While Mr. Banks’s paintings are decidedly abstract, they have an intense physicality, with tactile surfaces consisting of blunt forms separated by thick borders that have the strange, almost figurative quality of objects from an imaginary world.  "I’m very interested in materiality and the transcendent capacities of how paint functions both as color and form, both illusionistically and physically," he told Mr. Hamada.

In a review of the artist’s exhibition last year at Amos Eno Gallery, a critic for NY Art Beat wrote, "Masked or bound forms appear to be hidden, but are suffused with a sense of possibility, potential, and of multiple interpretations."

Mr. Sullivan has called his work "a hybrid sort of drawing/printmaking process." He applies oil stick to newsprint, then thins it out with a squeegee until it resembles carbon paper before placing it on a surface. He then makes a drawing on the reverse of the found paper with a ballpoint pen. A different sheet of oil transfer paper represents each color in the finished work.

Some of the works include architectural components and have the clarity of elevation drawings, while others are "more graphic, abstract pieces -- or interludes, as I’ve been referring to them." There is considerable variety among the abstractions, some of which suggest Matisse cutouts, some minimal paintings, while others are almost illustrative.

The texts of Mr. Hamada’s interviews with the three artists will be available on the center’s website. Visitors to the barn will be limited to 10 people at a time.

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