ART REVIEWS; Biography and 500 Days of Discipline

The New York Times Published: March 05, 2000



Arlene Bujese Gallery, 66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton. Through March 19. (631) 324-2823.

Biography and art blend in this successful 500-work installation, with each identically formatted but completely independent piece corresponding sequentially to the days between Aug. 19, 1998, and Dec. 31, 1999.

Ms. Hunt undertook the endeavor as a project for the millennium, and was determined to make one work a day, in spite of intervening illnesses, travels and family events. Her journal, which accompanies the exhibition, notes the happenings and character of the specific day and the personal or political factors influencing the materials, methods and approaches to these primarily abstract pieces. Mood becomes a legitimate factor in determining the creative mode. The record adds insight, but also tends to make voyeurism part of the visitor's response.

In a sense, the project measures the passage of time. Its implied narrative character suggests that calendar sequences offer one way to merge abstraction with storytelling.

Over her three-decade exhibition career, Ms. Hunt has explored painting, printmaking, collage and drawing in all media, taking inspiration from many sources, including music's rhythms and urban and rural landscape configurations. She often translates elements into swiftly moving ribbons of color or layers of bold, abbreviated, semiorganic shapes. Everything from the past plus many new ideas served as the potential palette for millennium project pieces. Each has its own force and integrity, but a special dynamic emerges from the juxtapositions.

Vibrant, swinging installations like this suit contemporary audiences thoroughly experienced in jumping between diverse images. Since the Hunt pieces concentrate on surface rather than illusionist depth, the jumps work particularly well.

Diaristic risks becoming overly private and narrowly introspective. But the diversity here sends an energizing message, demonstrating the strong impact of a series that looks beyond coherence.


Sag Harbor Picture Gallery, 66 Main Street, Sag Harbor. Through March 30. (631) 725-3100.

The silvery grays of black-and-white photography can heighten the magic inherent in reflections, which by their very nature, offer alterations to reality. These photos of water cover an impressive range of ideas and interpretations, and this is part of the exhibition's strength.

Using images 10 artists captured over six decades at sites in the Americas, Europe and New Zealand, the show weaves a broad essay that includes, in addition to shoreline scenes, Mario Algaze's expansive views of Brazil's natural terrain, a dockside genre scene by Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Ruth Orkin's studies of rain interacting with the contours of automobiles and striking photographs by Burt Glinn and Mr. Algaze that emphasize ironic content in a sharp, editorializing manner.

Mr. Algaze makes a point about the contrast between a stately church reflected in a Bolivian canal and the shacks standing along its banks. Mr. Glinn provides one of the show's most memorable images in his ''Morning Exercise at Miners' Lung Sanitarium, Sochi, Russia,'' which depicts men stretching their bodies in front of a Baroque fountain ornamented with classic nudes.

Watery reflections can make settings seem visionary, and the core of the exhibition calls attention to this in examples by Minor White emphasizing mystical spatial ambiguities, by Daniel Jones featuring magical blendings of light and texture, and by Chip Forelli, revealing uncanny simultaneous experiences with alternating haze and hard-edged clarity.

In absorbing examples that tease perception with their ghostlike forms emerging from mist-covered bodies of water, Mr. Forelli offers intense compositions, often built around a single shape surrounded by atmospheric blur. Instances that bring in otherworldly lighting contribute to a spiritual quality.

Working with the subtleties and tones possible with negatives from a large-format-view camera, Mr. Jones frequently chooses eastern Long Island locales as the basis for powerful studies that transform solid rocks, reflected silhouettes and water patterns into timeless images.

'Expo XIX'

B. J. Spoke Gallery, 299 Main Street, Huntington. Through March 19. (631) 549-5106.

Sculpture, real and virtual, is the dominant sensibility in this smartly installed and fairly compelling exhibition, which was selected from hundreds of submissions from around the country by Beth Venn, a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. However, with four of the five winners making pieces that mount against a flat surface, walls still remain important.


Combining found objects with shapes created from rough cement, Carol Boram-Hays achieves strong results in three-dimensional works that consider the power of the object, especially its traditions in non-Western societies. In the most successful pieces, the invented form reads primarily as a pleasing abstraction.

The seemingly tough surfaces in Brenda Garand's abstract, wall-mounted sculpture contradict the pliability of her roofing paper materials. Often bent to create organically swelling, containerlike pieces, they hint at a vitality within their streamlined, controlled shells.

Sculptural shapes featured in Jean-Paul Bourdier's large color photographs based on outdoor settings have the assertive quality often found in staged and manipulated images. His insertions and interventions involving sandy and crusty locales produce dazzling images that often seem like uncanny spectacles.

More ethereal, Connie Legakis Robinson's images are prints derived from special light effects captured with a digital camera. Most build on the wavy, blurring, rhythmic patterns related to technological processes and seem quite valid.

A rear gallery devoted to Linda Sundlin's illuminated film-strip assemblages gives a full view of the possibilities of this novel approach, and also reinforces the ultimate conclusion that these experiments are only momentarily engaging.

Read more about the artist

Brenda Garand