Chase Edwards Contemporary, Bridgehampton

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All art is copyrighted by the original artists: John Joseph Hanright, Michael Kalish, Charles Patrick, and Laura Villarreal. Photography courtesy of Kelly M. Coffey, vedhead Photography. Exhibit on display at Chase Edwards Contemporary, August 2018.

The real world shrinks as soon as I put a couple of miles between me and the city. Every year I go camping, explore main streets, sit on beaches and reflect on life. I leave behind all responsibilities for a few days to decompress, soak the sun, and meditate to the sound of crashing waves and seagulls soaring above. This year I booked an extra night and while it didn’t seem like a sufficient amount of time for a recharge, I did find the time to go on my own little impromptu gallery hop in Bridgehampton.

Once I’m outside under the stars, I find the infinite possibilities, questions, and answers in every molecule; they unveil themselves as I chill by the campfire before bedtime, cloud-gaze as a storm passes over, and mind the breeze as it sways through the trees. The gap between dream and reality starts to shrink and I find myself one step closer to being the type of artist for which I strive. It’s exhilarating to detox from daily duties and create.

Bridgehampton is a cozy little beach town with several galleries on Main Street (and a Starbucks that reminds me more of what coffee shops used to feel like with couches and giant study tables to work for hours). My first stop was the Chase Edwards Contemporary, thanks to the window piece, There’s Nothing Else I Want To Try, (2017 Mixed Media – entomology Pins 36 x 36 x 4 in.) by artist Charles Patrick. It caught my eye as I drove by on the way to the vineyard. Patrick’s use of entomology pins to create simple, vibrant messages with repurposed comic book covers brought the entrance space alive and led me to a positive experience inside with butterflies, a symbol of adaptation and strength for me.

I enjoyed a few more of his pieces before I was introduced to several other artists in the gallery that left an impression. One of whom is an artist named Laura Villarreal with a series of mixed media, I Am An Immigrant, each canvas a journey through inner emotions and various curiosities, a message I thought poked at today’s political climate where immigration seems to have become a really complicated mess. I Am An Immigrant: Freedom, Magic, and Unknown are on display at the gallery (not necessarily in that order), and tell an interesting story of personal histories.

Visit her website to learn more about her children’s art program in Florida and browse her other galleries of work. Villarreal is a very colorful, youthful, and captivating storyteller with a knack for inspiring connection. Chase Edwards Contemporary will also be featuring the artist from September 15 thru 30th as part of a Latin American collective of talent in a show titled Dreaming in Color.

Around this time is when the gallery employee returned from break and pointed out Michael Kalish and his aluminum rose series. The sculptured bouquet of roses hung from the wall, four multi-colored flowers with layers of shadows and light, brightening the corner of the room. It stood on its own as the light danced in & out of the corner, but also complimented a piece titled Less is More which hung across from it, elevating a flat canvas and adding a little dimension to the area. While the artists’ styles differ, they both express a strong interest in modern and pop art, influenced a bit by Warhol.

Less Is More (2018, Ephemera, Oil, Acrylic, Resin on panel 48 x 48 in.) is a collage I imagine people gravitate toward as familiar and inviting images of our culture are in the forefront. The subject is a pretty, smiling woman covered with newspaper ads of perfumes and clothing lines, looking very much at ease. As I stand to interpret the artist’s work, I start to wonder how long it takes John Joseph Hanright to put something like this together? What comes first, the concept or the layout? The image or the words? I personally enjoyed how he infused politics into the background, keeping fashion to set a cheery mood.

The world starts to look a little differently after spending a couple of hours browsing art and taking turns responding to artists’ concepts and stories. When I woke that morning, there was no plan to scope out a gallery or museum, I just spotted it while traffic was slowly moving and made it a point to park when I passed by on the way home. After I left the gallery, I took a few minutes to scribble down my observations, impressions, feelings, questions which eventually led me to outline an entire draft proposal for an art grant. Typical me, I have lost that notebook full of notes, outlines, starts, stress scribbles, alpha waves, and whatever else, but the artists I discovered at Chase Edwards Contemporary have inspired me to just keep going and stay focused on my goals. I don’t need the notes, they are easy to recall since I already have a clear idea of what I want next (artistically).

How was your Summer of 2018?

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About Author

Kelly M. Coffey

Kelly's life trek started out in New York City. With a handful of luck, she's been mini globe-trotting, explored new landscapes, met extraordinary people, and has joyously lived in scenic spots like Puerto Rico and Salt Lake City. Her time is spent learning as much as possible about craft beer production, all things food, wine, coffee & tea, writing about personal experiences in fitness, music & travel, photographing some of NYC's infinite street art and interesting spaces, and celebrating life daily. To reach Kelly directly, drop her a line at vedhead@gmail.com!

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