Wainscott, NY – Tripoli Gallery is pleased to announce its end-of-summer show, A Magical Day at Ditch! The collective exhibit highlights work inspired by the iconic surfers’ beach at Ditch Plains in nearby Montauk. It is a continuation of the gallery’s 2017 summertime show entitled Summer Trip. Both shows were curated by St. Louis-based painter, Katherine Bernhardt, and both focus on summer love and the multi-faceted realities of summer living.
A Magical Day at Ditch! allows us to question the essence of this excellent, if short, season. It addresses elements that epitomize the summer by exploring what makes it so much fun. The selected artwork reveals what more than a dozen artists have dreamt up when creating summer-themed art. From the solstice onwards, so much of this season has to do with water: swimming, surfing, sailing and the beach. For many, summer might mean afternoons at friends’ pools, catching up as you sip lemonade, or having fun falling into the sand at the beach while chasing dogs and a frisbee. Summer can also include a BBQ on your parent’s patio or staying up late after getting too much sun. There is also surfing, one’s personal visceral contact with the universe’s lunar-controlled pull of water in the form of salty foamy crashing waves.
In the exhibition there is a magnetic element in the dreamy, frothy and mysterious subtly-toned work of Katherine Bradford entitled Swimmers Walking in Surf. Vaught Davis Jr.’s Sky Scraper focuses on what appears to be a gigantic blue wave at break point, ripping and crashing onto the shoreline. What seem like swimming pools made of fired and colorful glazed clay and neat terracotta vases for collecting summertime flowers have been created by the hands of Sabra Moon Elliot.
If you surf alongside Tripoli, summer could be about taking advantage of the swell at Ditch, carving, and getting rag dolled. In Dan McCarthy’s Pink Pearl the subject musters up enough courage to surf naked. Summertime is about feeling free—maybe it’s lying around the house reading another page from each of the books you’ve collected in a pile next to your bed? Marcus Jahmal’s painting called Sintra shows us up close how a lone man in a white summer cap enjoys a colorful sunset from his dark green backyard. Longer days mean having extra time to worry about what you’ll wear to an art opening, and Travis Fish’s My Fawnwy Snake, 2023, suggests a shirt featuring a massive image of a curvy patterned snake slithering among purplish flowers.
Ditch Plains, like much of Long Island this year, has been a breeding ground for sharks. If they happen to terrify you, or you hear the theme song to JAWS at the mere mention of the word ‘shark’ then Deborah Katon’s Diva might be of interest. It is a dangling elongated tentacle-inspired ceiling-based sculpture of neon lights that brings more soothing jelly fish vibes and colors into the gallery. And Flyhunter pt1, 2023, by Yung Jake verifies that it is 100% more fun to chase a fly outdoors than be inside doing homework.
This summer many of us have had to stay inside to avoid smoke from Canadian wildfires charring through ancient forests. There has been more attention unfortunately placed on washed-up trash and microplastics at our favorite coves--stuff that we see close up when swimming with goggles. As we spend more time outdoors in touch with nature, summer has become about the realization of the unchecked effects of millions of humans’ relentless activities. Katherine Bernhardt’s contribution to A Magical Day at Ditch! sets the tone for some of these unpleasant realities with her large colorful painting called Ditch Plains. The work features the Pink Panther floating among scattered objects that look like pieces of trash bobbing in the sea. Jason Fox’s Landscape Painter suggests what it feels like as an artist to gaze into the horizon while making a landscape painting and simultaneously forced to contemplate the reality and consequences of a dangerous smoke-filled apocalyptic orange sky.
Summer is all about fresh fruits and salads, eating healthy and feeling better. What do you like to take to picnic at the beach? With his delicate pointillistic technique, the late Jerry Wilkerson focused on the details of healthy summertime eating— with Watermelon, Cherries #2, and Oysters. Similar in concept, Dan McCarthy’s rounded diptych painting is half a drippy watermelon slice matched with a pastel rainbow (Watermelon Sugar). On the less healthy side of the menu, Scott Reeder has imagined and executed a slice of bread swimming along with a stick of melting butter tanning poolside. And whether you are poolside or on the shore, flowers play a huge role in the summer, decorating tables, filling vases or being pollinated by bees. Artist Adrianne Rubenstein’s painting of predominantly red flowers against a navy blue background captures the essence of floral themes on canvas in a form to be enjoyed year-round.
Contrary to its name, a trenched “ditch” or a flat “plain” have little to do with A Magical Day at Ditch! Ditch Plains is a strip of treasured dunes, bluffs and exclusive outdoor seaside culture. Surfers and their crews have congregated here since the 60s, and it’s where big money hangs out today. The beach itself has been created thanks to many gifts from Mother Nature including her swirled up purple sands created from thousands of wampum shells crushed into fine powders from the waves. Ditch is a secluded paradise at “the end” of Long Island; and A Magical Day at Ditch! is a cool show that lends space for contemplating the end of summer and all its wondrous elements.
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