One of the wonders of visual art is that the artist can create myriad layers of meaning, as many as s/he desires in fact. On the upper end of this range are the images created by East End artist John Alexander. You may have chuckled at his satirical portraits that made a splash in the ’80s, but his new work on display at Guild Hall conveys a lot more than those monothematic pieces. Alexander delves into figurative as well as landscape forms here, the former illustrated by Life on a Marry Go Round. Several individuals ride a merry-go-round wearing animal masks. The ride is adorned with skulls along with clowns, devils and masked angels while the centered horse seems to scream in terror. All of this would be trite horror movie imagery if it wasn’t so exquisitely rendered. Melon Fields presents watermelons in various stages of wholeness—some intact, some halved, some smashed and the pink pulp scattered like a pool of blood. Navigate your own interpretations at this cheeky one-man show.
John Alexander’s paintings will be displayed from June 15-July 28 at The Museum at Guild Hall, East Hampton. (631) 324-0806, guildhall.org.
New Works by Daniel J. O’Keefe
One of the most forceful things that can be done to a canvas just before ripping a hole in it is scraping its surface. This assertive manipulation of material by artist Daniel J. O’Keefe will be on display at Gallery 125 in Bellport. Similar to his work as a contractor for 30 years, O’Keefe layers Venetian plaster and pigment onto an aluminum canvas with a trowel and then tears into it with a knife. The resulting color spectrums mark the inspiration derived from the many layers of paint stripped from walls during his construction projects. Creating these tableaus is an emotional experience for O’Keefe. “The joy, and sometimes pain, comes from adding and removing multiple layers, thus exposing the myriad layers of color beneath the surface,” he said. “I liken this process to the natural exposure of the layers of my life,” which included stints as a charter pilot, US Navy sailor and psychiatric patient.
New Works by Daniel J. O’Keefe will be on display from June 20-July 21 at Gallery 125 in Bellport. (631) 880-2693. There will be an opening reception on June 22 from 5:30-7:30pm.