Demato Gallery’s Wild Things

Sag Harbor’s Richard J. Demato Gallery follows its recent exhibition “Women Painting Women” with “Into the Wild,” another show of varied styles exploring a common theme. Described by the gallery as “an aesthetic voyage” into the urban, natural, and psychological “wild,” the show features contemporary artists John Jude Palencar, Charles Waller, Wang Xiaobo, and many others.

On first viewing, some of these artists seem to portray the subject matter overtly, yet none are really so straightforward. Rick Garland‘s realist paintings focus on urban decay—abandoned, graffiti-ridden industrial spaces—but their pervasive natural light contradicts their gloomy interiors. Past Reflections finds color in the filthy puddles of an old factory space, stressing the uncertain distinction between civilized and wild spaces. Likewise, Dan VanLandingham paints calm landscapes imbued with a sense of transformation. (An arid, rocky landscape is titled Ancient Sea.)

Others contribute explicitly psychological studies of nature. Eugenio Cuttica compares his youthful, recurring subject, Luna, with the virile and rampant branches of a Red Maple tree knocked over on its side—both a lively measuring stick and mortal forewarning. Elsewhere Daniel Esquivia-Zapata portrays the pages of history as a mighty and suffocating wind.

The common link between these surrealist works and the aforementioned realist landscapes is “the wild” as an inextricable force of man and creation. Interestingly, the voyage there looks to be a journey inward.

“Into the Wild” is on view at Richard J. Demato Gallery from October 19th through November 6th, 2013.