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INTERVIEW: Idoline Duke On "Art Apart" - An East Hampton Town-Wide Exhibition

Nicole Barylski

Artist Nicole Parcher will be highlighting her pieces on her family's property on Pantigo Lane. (Courtesy Photo)

On Saturday, June 20, the artists of East Hampton will be fêted during a special one-day, town-wide happening. Art Apart, an uncurated, roadside exhibition sponsored by the East Hampton Arts Council (EHAC), will allow the community and visitors to partake in an exceptional self-guided expedition from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Event organizer Idoline Duke, along with EHAC co-chairs Janet Jennings and Scott Bluedorn, has put out an open call for any East Hampton artist to showcase their works on their roadsides for passerbys to admire.

Artist Nicole Parcher will be highlighting her pieces on her family's property on Pantigo Lane. "A whole new body of work has come out of my time in quarantine!" Parcher relayed. "I feel very grateful to have a space to work in during my time away from my city studio. I've reworked many old collages and paintings which has opened up my work in a new interesting way."

Artist Barbara Thomas, who creates in her Springs studio, has been focused on her Endangered Species series. "I decided to stop trying to find some kind of message and deep meaning in what I was doing. This, like so many things about living and working in isolation, gave me so much freedom," Thomas noted. "Who cares what it means? I can't do anything else but make things anyway. Like most artists, there is a lot of isolation in our process anyway, so this new life isn't that different. I love isolation. I yearn for it. When else am I going to weave some seed pods, paint an animal, rub pastels, pile rocks, cut collages, bake cakes, grow flowers, look out into the world and wonder?"

We spoke with Duke to find out more about this exciting event:

Tell us a little bit about Art Apart?

ID: We were just really excited about the Drive-By Art Show that happened about a month ago. I thought that was a great event. But, I have to admit, I was a little bit disappointed that it wasn't more inclusive. At this time of everybody being in their homes and doing all this creative work at home, I just thought it would be such a good sort of light at the end of the tunnel. I don't know if we're quite at the end of the tunnel yet, but to just have a celebration of all the creative efforts that people have been doing in their homes for months in isolation. And do it in a safe way, because we're still all being careful and trying to follow all the rules.

The event is uncurated, so how does that work?

ID: You're just asked to go onto our website (artapart2020.wixsite.com) and register. The only thing that we ask is that people display work that they've been working on in the past few months, not just dragging stuff out of the closet from years past. But fresh stuff that may or may not deal with the theme of isolation. We just thought it would be an interesting sort of sociological study as well to see what people do when they're stuck in their homes and they're going back to old hobbies or have more time to really focus on art or are dealing with their stress by doing creative projects.

Artist Barbara Thomas. (Courtesy Photo)

How many artists are participating?

ID: We just put the website up yesterday [Tuesday, June 9]. We only have about 16, but hopefully it will explode. We really have no idea whether it's going to be 50 or 500, but we're hoping for 500.

When does registration close?

ID: It's going to close a few days before the event. This is a very spontaneous show. We're not giving people a lot of heads up. We pulled this together really quickly. We're doing it on a shoestring. Fortunately, we got the Town of East Hampton to help us with it, they're fully on board. They're sponsoring us with a little bit of funding, at least to help with the website and they've been great. And the East Hampton Arts Council were all on board and trying to spread it through social media as fast as we can, because it's coming up fast.

In addition to organizing Art Apart, you're also participating. What will your art feature?

ID: Well, interestingly, I'm an artist inspired by nature. So I paint a lot of beauty and during this time, I just couldn't do my usual pretty pictures. For a long time, I didn't actually do anything in my studio. Then I finally got back to my studio and I found myself actually making monsters, these big three dimensional monsters out of flotsam and jetsam that I found on the beach and in my neighbor's dumpster. I've created these pretty hideous monsters. So that's what I'm going to show. I don't think I'm going to show any of my usual stuff, although I did make some other work, but I think I'm just going to focus on these new monsters that I made.

How many pieces are you encouraging artists to showcase?

ID: We actually haven't put a limit on it. People will have different size roadsides - so it could be anywhere from just a few pieces to many, many pieces. It's really up to the artist.

What sort of mediums will tour-goers encounter?

ID: So far, it's just been visual art mediums - sculpture, painting, we have a cartoonist. We have a photographer, but we are really encouraging other mediums. I hope that people who have been writing poetry might write some poetry on their fences or more arts and crafts things that families have been doing, or maybe even music. Maybe even if somebody has been composing music, they could be playing it without amplification. We're really open - maybe some dance. Who knows?

In terms of geography, are you including all of East Hampton Town or what are the parameters?

ID: It's all of East Hampton Town. I wish it could be all of Long Island. We're sponsored by the East Hampton Town and we had to keep it so it didn't get too unwieldy. What I'm hoping is that other towns will be inspired by what we're doing and start their own Art Apart events. I really would be happy to work with other towns, show them what our template was and share our successes with them or our failings, whatever happens. Just share that with other towns, if they want to put on similar events.

What do you hope people will take away?

ID: Well, I think it's going to be fun. The Drive-By Art Show was really fun. It was a way for people to get out of their houses, go on a tour. People feel safe in their cars, they feel safe walking, riding bicycles. I hope that it has a little bit of a celebration feeling to it and take away a little bit of joy and a little bit of fun. There's been a lot of heaviness and some of that heaviness you really need to sit with it. I also think this might be just a bright spot for people to experience a little bit of fun and joy.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

ID: We're hoping for a sunny day and we're hoping for a huge turnout - both exhibitors and viewers.

To view the Art Apart map or register, visit artapart2020.wixsite.com.

Nicole is the Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com NicoleBarylski NicoleBarylski

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