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Southampton Arts Center Welcoming Ambitious International Steampunk Exhibition

Sydney A. Braat

Artwork by Tom Banwell. (Courtesy Photo)

The Southampton Arts Center is transitioning into fall with its fifth exhibition of 2017: Odd Beauty: The Techno-Eccentric World of Steampunk, a show curated by Art Donovan. The exhibition kicks off on Saturday, September 23 and will run through Sunday, November 12. The ambitious International Steampunk exhibition made its wildly successful premiere at Oxford University's Museum of the History of Science in 2009. An opening reception for the Hamptons edition will take place on Saturday, September 23 from 5 to 7 p.m. Since launching ten years ago, Steampunk has grown globally to influence practically every form of the visual arts and design.

"We are thrilled to be working with Art Donovan on Odd Beauty, and are excited about the diverse programming that will accompany it," noted Amy Kirwin, Director of Programs at Southampton Arts Center. "We expect the exhibition to be a crowd-pleaser, and all ages will be able appreciate such a uniquely wonderful and varied art form."

Steampunk began with the re-imagined visual language of the 19th century Victorian Era and now counts its inspiration as far back as the mechanical drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. The artists are all visually and culturally fascinated with mechanical, gear-driven technologies of the past. This exhibition presents works from some of the most notable Steampunk artists and designers in the field and features visual art, technologies, and contraptions extraordinaire, which all illustrate the need for a messy vitality allowing the imagination to soar.

Artwork by Dave Duros. (Courtesy Photo)

"What is true steampunk art? It is an artifact of grace and artistic ingenuity. It would feature genuine technical elements and also reference the concept of the Machine Fantastique as portrayed in classic science fiction literature," Donovan reflected. "In this new genre, an artwork's value is not always determined by its slick, professional execution, but rather its uniqueness of intention as it pays homage to the antique arts and sciences and ultimately points to an ideal or concept greater than itself."

Artists in Steampunk include Tom Banwell, David Barnett, Mike Cochran, Ian Crichton, Art Donovan, Dave Duros, Steve Erenberg, Cameron Forrest, Paige Gardner, Eric Freitas, Vianney Halter, Steve La Riccia, Vincent Mattina, Sam van Olffen, Clayton Orehek, Daniel Proulx, Saxon Reynolds, Filip Sawczuk, Todd Sloane, and Stephan J. Smith.

"This unique exhibition, Odd Beauty, gives me the opportunity to feature true steampunk art by the finest creators in the genre- those artists who invented and continue to define the style with their unique vision," Donovan added. "My fascination with this plays into all of my previous art experiences and my enduring enthusiasm for classic science fiction."

Southampton Arts Center will present several events in conjunction with Odd Beauty: The Techno-Eccentric World of Steampunk, starting with A Day with Paige Gardner, Steampunk Costume Maker Extraordinaire on Saturday, October 7 from 12 to 5 p.m., followed by a talk at 5 p.m. A free Gallery Tour with Curator and Artist, Art Donovan, will be held on Sunday, October 8 at 1 p.m.

Tower to the People—Tesla's Dream at Wardenclyffe Continues, presented with the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, will screen on Friday, October 13 at 7 p.m. Lastly, Thomas Dolby will lead She Blinded Me with Science, a talk and live musical performance, on Sunday, October 15 at 6 p.m.

Southampton Arts Center is located at 25 Jobs Lane in Southampton. For more information, call 631-283-2712 or visit southamptonartscenter.org.

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