Now open to the public at The Church in Sag Harbor, the “Return to a Place By the Sea” exhibit brings new attention to four African American artists with ties to Sag Harbor and the East End.
The “Return to A Place By the Sea” exhibit revisits the 1999 show that honored the work and friendship of Nanette Carter (b. 1954), Gregory Coates (b. 1961), Al Loving (1935–2005), and Frank Wimberley (b.1926). Curated by April Gornik and Sara Cochran, the exhibit updates the conversation by showcasing their recent work and exploring the art they made in the 1990s.
Sara Cochran, chief curator at The Church explained: “It is so exciting to be able to look at works from different periods by these artists – Nanette Carter, Gregory Coates, Al Loving, and Frank Wimberley – and see the evolution of their individual styles and concerns. It is also wonderful to be able to deepen and diversify the history of abstract painting in this region which has, for too long, been solely focused on the story of abstract expressionism. This region has nurtured many artists and this tradition is one that is worth championing.”
The exhibit aims to deepen the understanding of these influential artists and present a more inclusive history of abstract painting in New York in the late 20th century. The show includes works from the original exhibition and recent paintings, works on paper, and sculptures, highlighting the relevance of each of “The Eastville Four.”
This exciting exhibit is an excellent opportunity to explore the diversity of artists and expression that the East End has attracted over the years. Especially since February is Black History Month, the exhibit highlights African American artists’ role in abstract art. Thematically, “Returning To,” is a vital lens to appreciate how artists grow throughout their careers while also enjoying art exhibitions as their own form of historical document.
Given that for a time, all four artists lived part of the year in the Eastville/ SANS neighborhood to the east of Sag Harbor, this exhibition further honors the tradition of Sag Harbor as a maker’s place of diverse art, industry, and craft practices.
The artists shared a strong bond, appreciating abstract painting and jazz music. The exhibit will feature programming that focuses on each artist and new video interviews with Carter, Coates, and Wimberley.
This February, thanks to the combined curation of The Church’s Co-Founder April Gornik and Chief Curator Sara Cochran, the exhibit will explore the type of art these artists were making in the 1990s and update this conversation by exploring their more recent work.
The exhibition is free and open to the public from February 5–May 27, Wed-Sun from 12pm to 5pm, unless otherwise noted.
The Church is a not-for-profit organization encompassing an artist residency, exhibition space, and creativity center. It is a place where local and national artists and creatives of all stripes work, meet and inspire each other. The Church offers a diverse range of programming including musical concerts, artists’ talks, performing arts, community lectures and much more.