Celebrating East End Artists and Collectors
When he first conceived of an art exhibition that would reflect the community, Paton Miller thought it would be “a one and done thing.” For most people, putting together a show of work by 50 artists even once would be daunting. But Mr. Miller, a painter who is also a surfer and world-traveler, isn’t most people.
Organized for the third time by Mr. Miller, “East End Collected 3” will open at the Southampton Arts Center tomorrow and continue through May 29. A reception will take place Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Some five years ago, after the Parrish Art Museum had moved away from Southampton Village for Water Mill, a group of concerned citizens, including Mayor Mark Epley, decided the building it had occupied should remain an arts center. At a meeting at the home of David Bonnet, a collector, Mr. Miller proposed an exhibition the community could relate to.
“Over the 40-plus years I’ve lived here, it’s apparent that esoteric shows from who-knows-where, while they are really great and I love them, are not really as well received as shows that reflect this area,” he said during a telephone conversation last week, on the morning after he returned from Cuba, where two of his paintings are on view at the American Embassy. “I said we should do an exhibition of artists from the East End.”
While in itself the concept may not have been original, Mr. Miller decided that the works should be on loan from collectors in order to reflect the role they play in sustaining the East End art community. “The first year, we had 80 percent from collectors. The next year it was 50-50. This year I dropped it, because I realized a lot of artists don’t want to bother their collectors. But I asked the artists to be sure to invite them to the opening.”
One sign of the vitality of the East End art scene is that Mr. Miller invites 50 different artists each year. “I never invite anybody back, including myself. When I was asked to do it again last year, I decided there are so many artists, why repeat?” His goals are to include work by artists who are engaged in the community while also including artists “who are almost reclusive and don’t exhibit much. One of the great things about this experience is that I get to meet artists I’ve never met before.”
The exhibition will include works by Stephanie Brody Lederman, Jennifer Cross, Josh Dayton, Laurie Lambrecht, Gerson Leiber, Judith Leiber, Gabrielle Raacke, and Frank Wimberley, among many others.