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Celebrate Spring With East Hampton's LongHouse Reserve During The 26th Annual Rites Of Spring

Sydney A. Braat

Bernar Venet's Three Indeterminate Lines, 2003. (Photo: LongHouse Reserve)

The LongHouse Reserve is ready to celebrate the passing of winter and get ready for a flower-filled spring as the East Hampton-based reserve and sculpture garden is hosting its annual Rites of Spring on Saturday, April 29 from 2 to 5 p.m.

There are a million daffodil blossoms of several varieties blossoming at the LongHouse Reserve as well as hundreds of flowering trees now at their peak. In addition to the spectacular floral sight, new works by John Chamberlain, Marylyn Dintenfass, John Crawford, Judith Kensley McKie, Mark Mennin, Bernar Venet, and Fred Wilson will be unveiled at LongHouse's season opening.

A piece by John Crawford. (Photo: LongHouse Reserve)

"It is our pleasure at LongHouse to astonish our visitors with new sculptures, changed gardens, pathways in different directions and art at every turn," said Dianne B., LongHouse Reserve Board President. "Now in its 26th year, Rites of Spring has become our tradition and a wonderful gathering of like-minded friends plus those experiencing LongHouse for the first time."

Two of Chamberlain's monumental aluminum foil works will be installed at the Reserve from April 2017 until October 2018. The works are entitled FROSTYDICKFANTASY (2008) and PINEAPPLESURPRISE (2010). Chamberlain's 60-year career produced several impressive works, including several 15-feet tall works constructed from silver and copper colored industrial aluminum, which has been looped and flexed into whimsical forms. Be on the lookout for these sculptures throughout your walk in the gardens where the sculptures' formal connection to nature will be exemplified.

Dintenfass is a worldwide-recognized artist whose work can be found in major public, corporate and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum, Cleveland Museum, Detroit Institute, and the Smithsonian Art Museum. Her 2010 Parallel Park installation in Fort Meyers, FL was one of its largest and most noteworthy of the last decade. Her eye-catching work Almost Like the Blues (2017) will be on display at the Reserve.

Crawford worked as an apprentice in Italy during the late '70s and early '80s, which developed his impressive forging skills alongside a blacksmith fabricating farm tools. Today his sculptures of organic repeated shapes seemingly woven or knitted together are visually strong and fluid. "It's important to me that I make my own work. The way these sculptures look is the result of close contact and working directly much the same way someone is working with a pencil. You can't legislate drawing," said Crawford. His work has appeared in Art in America, Sculpture Magazine, and The New York Times.

McKie is a self-taught furniture maker who began working as an artist to merely furnish her own home. She improved her skills tremendously over time by trial and error. McKie is inspired by ancient Greek and Egyptian art, Pre-Columbian, African, Indian, and Eskimo cultures and folk art. She is the recipient of the Massachusetts ARtistsFoundation Fellowship, a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation award-winner, and is featured in a book by Trapp and Risatti on American craft. McKie's two bronze pieces, The Fish Bench and Sea Gull Chair, will be on display at the Reserve.

Judith Kensley McKie is a self-taught furniture maker who began working as an artist to merely furnish her own home. (Photo: LongHouse Reserve)

Mennin is a graduate of Princeton University and has exhibited his monumental granite, onyx, and marble carvings around the world. Public commissions are plentiful and include installations at the Chelsea Market, Bruce Museum, Massachusetts General Hospital, and multiple universities are the United States. Writer Jack Coraggio said, "Mennin would have been useful in the history of Easter Island. Endowed with a strong back, artful min and dexterous hands, they're his trifecta...making him a sculptor in demand."

Venet is a French Conceptual artist known for his curved, mathematically precise metal sculptures, and for his experimentation with materials. His recent works include sculptures on loan in Germany, Austria, and Japan. In 2016 Venet was awarded the International Sculpture Center's Lifetime Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Award.

Wilson describes himself as of "African, Native American, European, and Amerindian" descent. He was born in 1954 in the Bronx, NY and has spent his career as a conceptual artist. Wilson's work has been featured at the Venice Biennale, Studio Museum in Harlem, Maryland Historical Society, Neuberger Museum of Art, and Pace Gallery.

"Our welcome of the season and the first of our many events," she added. "Do come."

Tickets to Rites of Spring are $10 for non-members and free for members.

LongHouse Reserve is located at 133 Hands Creek Road in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-329-3568 or visit www.longhouse.org.

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