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RJD Gallery Celebrates First Seasonal Opening With "A Time And A Place: Layers of Black History"

Phillip Thomas' The Other Side of Now is The Same Side As Then. (Courtesy Photo)

RJD Gallery in Bridgehampton is celebrating their first opening of the season by honoring Black History Month with their new exhibition, "A Time and A Place Layers of Black History" featuring artwork by Dean Mitchell, Stefanie Jackson, Jules Arthur and Phillip Thomas.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, February 22, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the gallery located at 2385 Main Street. All are invited to come and meet the artists for discussion and celebration of the "richness and diversity of black art, each invoking an artistic narrative that speaks to the black experience and unfolds layers of black history as these artists present a unique vision, and by working in different media, express what it means to be black in the world today with a collection of diverse and intriguing artworks," according to the gallery website.

Dean Mitchell's Union Soldier. (Courtesy Photo)

Gallery Director, Joi Perle, relayed, "We do this exhibition celebrating Black History Month every year as we always try to celebrate everyone's art. I am black and have been with the gallery for four years, so this exhibition celebrating black artists as well as black history is particularly meaningful to me."

Perle explained, "We are always interested in people of color and diversity, and our curator, Mago, as well as Richard [Demato] of course, are always seeking new and emerging artists, many who have shown for the first time at The Retreat art benefit Richard hosts every year."

The backgrounds of each of the four featured artists is as diverse as it is important to note. Perle explained, "None of the artists are Hamptons residents, however, each offers works that transcends just location. Dean Mitchell, the artist with probably the most work on display for this exhibition is in his late 50's, and very established. He has been compared to Andrew Wyeth. Further, the only woman in the exhibition is Stefanie Jackson, who is much more of a surrealist. She is a professor at the University of Georgia and will not be attending the opening. Since there are not too many black surrealists she is an amazing addition to this exhibition."

Continuing, Perle advised, Jules Arthur and Phillip Thomas are the youngest artists in the exhibition - both in their early 30's. "Jules Arthur is from the mid-west and works quite a bit in mixed media which speaks to both black history and history in general - such as paintings of Muhammad Ali, and also Harriet Tubman - which sold very fast. Phillip Thomas is from Jamaica and his works deal with the black experience from the perspective of having grown up in Jamaica addressing racial divides and class distinctions, as well as Jamaican history and how power is used. He spoke last year and is very deep."

The well-known gallery, previously located in Sag Harbor and forced to relocate following the movie theater fire, showcases "international artists with a concentration on narrative realism, photo-realistic portraiture, surrealism and figurative art including drawing, painting, mixed media and sculpture." Emerging artists are represented, along with a wide array of premium artworks offered through the gallery, website and traveling exhibitions, as well as "exclusive works by American Masters" from the gallery's "Private Collection which present a fresh, contemporary vision of the world."

The exhibition will be on view through March 16. For both an exciting and informative evening and more information, call 631-725-1161 or go to www.rjdgallery.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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