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INTERVIEW: Artist Jason Yarmosky On "Lovers & Friends," Challenging Tribalism In Society, And More

Nicole Barylski

Jason Yarmosky's Vogue. (Courtesy Photo)

On Thursday, August 29, Brooklyn-based painter Jason Yarmosky will premiere a series of new works, Lovers & Friends, at The Double Diamond House in Westhampton Beach. The pieces will be accompanied by a sound installation from musician Crash 20/20.

We caught up with Yarmosky to learn more:

What was the inspiration behind your new works, Lovers & Friends?

JY: I had been painting my grandparents pretty exclusively for about eight years. They were two of the closest people to me in my life. Because of this relationship I was always interested in aging, time and mortality, even as a young child. My grandparents quickly became my artistic muses, and I was able to explore these various concepts in my work. In my later work with my grandmother, as she was experiencing dementia, I became overly aware of the impermanence of life and relationships. I remembered thinking of an analogy involving riding on a train. It doesn't matter if the people in your life are there from the beginning of your journey to the final stop or if they ride along with you only briefly. What matters are the connections we make and what we learn from those relationships. Sebastian, Crash 20/20, is an example of one of these relationships. He has been a best friend for a decade now. I remember driving somewhere and having a similar conversation about this with him, and he encouraged me to begin painting the various people who I have personal relationships with in my life, 'lovers and friends'. That became the starting point for this collaborative exhibition with Crash.

Tell us about your quest to challenge tribalism in society.

JY: I have surrounded myself with a pretty eclectic group of friends. I have friends from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. Many friends are contemporaries of mine, but some are up to 60 years older than me. A metropolitan city like New York presents many opportunities to meet all different types of people. However, I recognize how common tribalism is within our society and throughout history. Even when you walk through museums and look at portrait paintings from a range of historical periods, you rarely see people of different ages and races together, or particularly portrayed as equals. By painting my Lovers and Friends together, these works create diverse groupings that challenge the idea of tribalism. We're also living in a political climate where tribalism is tearing the fabric of society apart.

Jason Yarmosky's Batmen. (Courtesy Photo)

In addition, Crash's sound installation draws some direct inspiration from my paintings individually as well as from his own archive of musical inspiration; an expansive array of sounds and instrumentation that he strings together in this Lovers and Friends composition. Crash created the installation with contributions from many artists and producers who may or may not have known each other outside of this body of work, each with different musical backgrounds, interests and stories to tell, creating a true collaborative experience for both the creators and the listeners. The rough textures and layers, and some unfinished areas complement my paintings and speak to the constant evolution and perpetual growth we experience within relationships in all of their forms.

What are you working on at the moment?

JY: At the moment I am continuing exploring Lovers and Friends. I'm excited to see where it takes me.

Is this your first time exhibiting in the Hamptons?

JY: This past June I had work featured in an exhibition curated by Beth Rudin DeWoody at Eric Firestone Gallery in East Hampton. I also had work featured in an exhibit at The Fireplace Project by Edsel Williams also in East Hampton.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

JY: The Double Diamond House was built in 1958 by modernist architect Andrew Geller. Throughout the 60s and 70s, The Double Diamond House was an unconventional place where people came together. Several years ago a new addition was built on the beach, attaching itself to the Double Diamond House. The new beach house addition is designed like a box with sliding doors at its center. When they're open, it's possible to see right through the structure, preserving the Double Diamond's connection to the ocean. When they're closed, the main house provides a neutral background for Geller's angular midcentury double diamond house, presenting it as a sculpture. My Lovers and Friends paintings will be presented inside of the Beach House addition. The sound installation by Crash will be presented inside of the Two Diamonds. The exhibition comes together in the form of Mind, Body, and Soul. The paintings inside of the beach house represent the body. The paintings draw you in. Once the viewer stands in front of the canvases, the works poses questions pertaining to relationships and connections. The sound installation inside of the two diamonds represents the mind. The viewers will be stepping inside of Crash's thoughts, shelled by the diamonds. These thoughts reflect concepts of relationships and connections as well, while simultaneously responding to my paintings. The ocean represents the soul. The soul is the energy that connects us all.

Lovers & Friends is open through Friday, September 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. The exhibition is open to the public but by RSVP-only. To RSVP, email thedoublediamondhouse@gmail.com.

For more information, visit www.jasonyarmosky.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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