The William Ris Gallery is pleased to partner with North Fork Art Collective in their first exhibition of the year featuring new and/or never seen artworks by the Collective’s members — Emma Ballou, Scott Bluedorn, Kelly Franké, Kara Hoblin, Cindy Pease Roe, Verona Penalba, Dalton Portella, Chris Hamilton, and Dennis Chalkin. On view from February 16 - March 10, 2019.
This is the first time that the William Ris Gallery is collaborating with the North Fork Art Collective, let alone another artists’ group. Notes Mary Cantone, second generation owner and curator of the William Ris Gallery, “We have been in business for over fifty years, and in the three years since we’ve relocated to the North Fork, the North Fork Art Collective opened its doors in Greenport.” As a group of local emerging artists, NFAC came together initially as a pop-up in 2017 before settling into their current Front Street address. Adds Cantone, “I am keenly aware of the energy and commitment required to launch such a project. Offering my space to the Collective members is a merging of the creative minds of the East and West ends of the North Fork.”
If there is a running thread connecting the artists of the NFAC, it is the undeniable awareness of the environment afforded by the natural beauty which Long Island’s East End holds, from its landscapes and farmlands, the Sound and Bay, and to the sea. As NFAC artist Cindy Pease Roe, who has been a member since June 2018 and known for her site-specific installations that make use of found and repurposed marine plastic materials to draw attention to environmental concerns, explains, “There are so many issues facing the ocean today but I didn’t want to address them all and also didn’t want to dilute the message, so decided to focus my art on plastic; it’s very dynamic, changes all the time, degrades by the sea and the sun, and it’s an interesting medium to work on as an artist. I want people to come with curiosity, then they can think of what it’s about.” There is a youthful exuberance that emanates from the Collective even with the age range from Baby Boomers to Millennials, and yet there is a particularly refreshing, almost innocent, community mindset to their artists. Asked what attracted Pease Roe to the Collective, she says, “It’s fun. I like the energy, a youthful element that I enjoy, and it’s a great way to be a part of my community.” It doesn’t come as a surprise that Pease Roe will be running for the Greenport Village Trustee position this year, such is her passion and commitment to the community.
From Emma Ballou’s seasonally inspired landscape paintings, Scott Bluedorn’s nautical inspired visual storytelling, Dennis Chalkin’s dramatic and moody photography that taps into nostalgia, Kelly Franké’s elegant details on wood where the grain of the wood hints at the imagery which her charcoal drawings then unveil, Chris Hamilton’s awe-inspiring photography with his unique perspective as a sixth generation bayman, Kara Hoblin’s whimsical yet soulful and therapeutic chalk drawings reflecting the impermanence of life, Cindy Pease Roe’s eco-conscious marine-plastic sculptures and paintings, Verona Penalba’s passionate and powerful female portraits, and Dalton Portella’s sensual celebrations of the sea and abstract form, art lovers will be rewarded with a gamut of artwork that reflect not only the special beauty of Long Island’s East End but the talent it attracts and nurtures.