The artists who participated in Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR) 2017 are currently displaying their work, started on, completed on, and/or inspired by Fire Island, in a show billed as “If Happy Little Bluebirds Fly,” at the Abrons Center for the Arts, on the Lower East Side, through April 8. FIAR founders Chris Bogia and Rod Sayegh, along with most of the 2017 residents, attended a reception on March 14, at which the artists discussed their work. There were paintings, sculptures, photographs, and video, as well as a couple of live performance to celebrate the occasion.
A highlight of Elizabeth Insogna’s work is an installation entitled Circle of Cauldrons. The cauldrons are called Blue Teeth, Meridian, Heart with Crescents, Gun Metal, Break, Glow, Red + Gold Death Goddess, and Pinwheel, and the materials used are glazed ceramic, fir wood, stones gathered from Cherry Grove, water, plant material, and light. Contrasting Insogna’s cauldrons, representing power, with vessels, representing powerlessness, Gay Turner gave a performance in which she smashed knickknacks, objectifying passive women, and led us in singing, with her, “Spurning fertility/smashing tchotchkes/I don’t want to be a vessel anymore.”
Rodolfo Marron III’s work is an installation, displayed on a wall at the entrance, and called “Souvenirs,” employing paper, photos, tinsel, glitter, sequins, wallpaper, fabric, condoms, and other found objects. Images of monarch butterflies and a deer help suggest Fire Island.
Some of Marta Lee’s paintings, in acrylic or acrylagouache and crayon, on found fabric or panels, depict the house and objects in the house where she stayed in Cherry Grove, while in residence. Lee also sang five original songs, accompanying herself on electric guitar.
Photos by Charan Singh, who lives in London and was the only resident not able to be present, showed scenes on Sumner Walk in the Grove.
Vincent Tiley’s display, with photographer Bryson Rand, depicted his effort to recreate the pigment called Indian Yellow, using urine specimens collected in Cherry Grove. The works are in oil and acrylic on linen and canvas; archival inkjet prints; a yellow handkerchief, embroidery, and hardware; and Indian Yellow Study number six (Bruce-Michael), a 35-minute video, taken of this writerwith cameo appearances by spouse Joe Saporito and pet cat Leoniesharing anecdotes about the Mr. Fire Island Leather contest, coming out, and gay organizations and hangouts past; singing part of an aria from Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro;” and otherwise contributing to the project.
The Abrons Center for the Arts is located at 466 Grand Street. For further information, visit www.fireislandartistresidency.org