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Artists Among Us: Artist Profile - Kevin Teare

Originally Posted: April 21, 2009


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"Back To The Drawing Board" 1996, oil on vellum, 46" x 90." Images courtesy of artist

Continuing with our artist profiles of artists, both living and working in the Hamptons, our next artist is Kevin Teare, who lives in Sag Harbor.

Sag Harbor - Born in Indianapolis, IN in 1951, Kevin Teare recalls that his mother, Georgia Rosebrock, was a homemaker as well as an employee of The Indianapolis News & Northside Topics. His father worked in the foundry at International Harvester for 27 years and was a member of U.A.W. Local 226. Teare's father originally went to art school but dropped out to get a job to support his mother when she became pregnant with his older brother.

Artist Kevin Teare. Photo by Joe Gaffney


Teare attended Culver Military Academy, and it was there at the Summer Naval School that he first studied art "in any serious way," under Warner Williams, "who was a very well-known bas-relief sculptor." Attending Ball State University and Indiana University for a total of a year and a half, Teare dropped out to play drums in rock bands, "the most notorious of which was MX-80 Sound in Bloomington, IN." He states "I left that group in 1976 to move to New York to pursue painting full time."

Teare received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for painting during his second year in New York, and showed at the behest of the sculptor Julius Tobias at 55 Mercer in 1977. He reveals that his first visual influences were military insignia from a book his parents gave him entitled "Collier's Pictorial History of WWII." Following that, Teare comments that "cereal boxes and later Car Monsters from Big Daddy Ed Roth & Mouse were important to me - museums did not figure in my development - those were places where you went to look at a Mummy."

"Discography" 2008, oil/linen, 62" x 70."


When did you start making art and what medium(s) do you consider to be your roots in art?

Kevin Teare: My mother crocheted, my father drew a lot, my sister Teri was into ceramics in high school, my grandmother and uncle, both of whom lived next door for a number of years, painted in oils, landscapes, still-life and portraits mostly. My grandmother, who started painting at the age of 65, was known as Grandma Roses - she used to make me paintings of Hollywood movie monsters - Frankenstein, The Creature from The Black Lagoon and so forth. Her son, my uncle, Clinton Rosebrock, was an MP in Patton's Third Army and later became a City Detective for the Indianapolis Police Department. He turned me on to Thelonius Monk, Dali, Picasso and many other cool artists and musicians. When you grow up around that you just see it as normal, but looking back for 1950s Indiana it was exceptional - with all its dysfunction, I was lucky to have the family I did.

"The Beatles Will Save Us" 2008, oil on vellum, 36" x 36."


My parents separated when I was 13, my mother remarried Jack Avery - a machine shop owner, and I lucked out there as well - he was a great guy and was almost always supportive of my ideas and plans.

What is it about the Hamptons that brought you here and enticed you to stay, work, and pursue your art here as opposed to some place else?

KT: I first came out [to the Hamptons] to curate a show with Rene Fotouhi called "JFK, Myth & Denial." It had work by Warhol, Larry Clark, Kiki Smith, Sue Williams, Mary Boochever and about 20 others. I really liked it here, so my friend Anne Van Rensselaer and I found a house in Sag Harbor. I wasn't actually planning on staying more than a couple of years - 16 years later! The Hamptons, now more than ever, is a satellite of New York City - close enough to drive to, far enough away to have trees.

"There Are Exactly 57 Reds" (For John Frankenheimer), 2001, oil on linen, 68" x 72."


How do you support yourself as an artist?

KT: I support myself by selling art and teaching at Suffolk County Community College. I've also taught at Dowling, Southampton College and Lacoste School in Provence.

Why live and work in the Hamptons as opposed to elsewhere?

KT: Since moving here I've gotten married, renovated one house (Hampton Bays), built another (Sag Harbor) gone back to school (Bard College), taught in Europe, released a C.D. of music I wrote and received a Joan Mitchell Fellowship for painting - my life is larger than it was in the city - is that from being in The Hamptons? I really don't know. I do know that the agrarian aspects of local culture resonate with what I grew up around - similar also in that both have grown increasingly suburban and less rural - right before my eyes. Driving past my old front yard a few years ago (Road 421 and 98th Street) in Indianapolis it was then a few houses, vast fields, orchards and farms - it's now a gas/truckstop next to a superhighway. It has been overtaken. Out here maybe there are no superhighways but "spec-house creep" has altered the landscape noticeably even since we moved here - I'm not complaining - just noticing.

"Psychic To The Stars" 2001, oil on linen, 60" x 62."


What local environmental or historical aspects of the Hamptons do you relate to that may be reflected in your medium?

KT: Everyone says 'it's the light' - but I like the light everywhere. There is a long-standing tradition of painting on Long Island. I'd heard of East Hampton because of Pollock and de Kooning long before I'd heard of it for anything else.

What artists do you feel have influenced you and your work?

KT: When I was first starting to paint in Bloomington, IN, I changed styles about every week, depending on what book I had checked out of The Fine Arts Library at I.U. I was lucky to meet an older painter, Ronn Johnson; he had shown in New York and taught at I.U. for a while. He and his wife Barbara (also an artist) were beatniks really - pre-hippy modern jazz kids! It helped in having an audience for my ideas as well as someone I could have a dialog with. He was a big fan of Jackson Pollock, and at the time we related as friends - but to be completely honest he was a mentor. I also used to attend critiques at I.U. long after I dropped out. The painters there were Robert Barnes, James McGarrell, and Barry Gealt - they were all different from one another but they all clearly loved to paint. I got a lot from all of them.

"Upsidaisium" 2006, oil on vellum, 48" x 36."


When I moved to New York I worked for a year or so at The David Mckee Gallery, where I got to meet and hang with one of my heroes, Philip Guston. Other artists that have influenced me are Matisse, Stuart Davis, Picasso, Sonia Delaunay, James Ensor, Morandi, Hans Hoffman, Cy Twombly, the early "Stroke Paintings" by Joan Snyder, Ron Gorchov and naturally my wife, Mary Boochever. Non-painting artists I think about are Lee Marvin and Soupy Sales.

What gives you an edge (if any)?

KT: My A.D.D., plus I'm just naturally edgy.

What advice would you give an emerging artist?

KT: Learn how to properly prepare brown rice and as Andy Warhol said "Show Anywhere" - hang your work at Midas Muffler if they'll let you!

What are you working on now, and are you involved in any upcoming shows or exhibitions?

KT: I recently showed at YES - a gallery in Brooklyn, and the exhibition was titled "Credit Default Swap/Premium Leg." My work is currently on exhibit at The Parrish Museum's "Mixed Greens" show. I was chosen by the artist John Torreano, an artist whose work I've known about and admired for a long time but never met. The exhibit is running until June 21. Additionally, I have a one person show at Guild Hall this coming November, and I plan on showing my series "The Most High" which is about The Beatles and the nature of obsession.

 • To view more of Kevin Teare's work, visit the following website at www.kevinteare.com, or www.thelistofwholives.com



Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.




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Wow! Had no idea what a success you've become! So proud of a fellow '69 SHS graduate! Your art is very interesting!
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