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‘Boating pARTy’ photo show has nautical theme

Holly Gordon's photograph

Holly Gordon's photograph "Kayaks at Bay" has painterly computer effects. Photo Credit: Holly Gordon

It is more than happy coincidence that the title of “A Boating pARTy,” the three-artist photography exhibition at Huntington’s fotofoto gallery through Sept. 23, calls to mind that of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s masterpiece “Luncheon of the Boating Party.” Though the 19th century painting focuses on the artist’s friends dining at a restaurant overlooking the Seine and the photographs here largely center on water and vessels skimming its surface, they share a commitment to capturing everyday scenes of leisure and the shifting effects of light and color.

Many of the photographic images by Bay Shore resident Holly Gordon, such as “Kayaks at Bay,” even possess a painterly quality characterized by dab-like pixels of color much like an Impressionist composition. Like Monet, she says, “I look beyond the bloom. I don’t stop at the flowers and gardens, but look at the colors, patterns and textures.”

To be sure, Gordon’s background in painting abstract oils and watercolors has informed her photographs. Technology, she notes, has allowed her to paint with a lens, manipulating raw images by using a selection of digital software plug-ins much like painters may opt to use washes and glazes to achieve their desired effects.

Yet, it is not technique but subject that binds the artists in this show of more than two dozen works. The photographers were — and no doubt audiences will be — drawn by their collective love of the sea, though their perspectives and approaches differ. In fact, Northport photographer John Ellsworth’s purchase more than a decade ago of Gordon’s “Foggy Harbor,” a shot of three moored skiffs blanketed in a hazy scrim in Nova Scotia, connected the two artists.

“John was well-known on the North Shore as a nautical photographer, yet he bought my photo,” Gordon says of Ellsworth, whose love of water and boating began in childhood and continued through a stint in the Navy and eventually earned him a U.S. Coast Guard 50-ton captain’s license. “I was overwhelmed. It was so affirming.”

While Ellsworth’s water-related imagery emphasizes strong composition and color, the images by colleague and friend Jeff Urquhart of Huntington focus on capturing life on the water from unique angles, ones that often impart the exhilaration of the elements and their interaction, as in “Chasing the Fleet.”

Interspersed between the photos are quotes gleaned from the artists and from such luminaries as Leonardo da Vinci and Jacques Cousteau reflecting on the show’s subject matter. “Water is like creativity,” reads one observation contributed by Gordon. “It surges, gushes, ebbs, flows, runs dry and replenishes itself” — a notion of which all three photographers would ostensibly agree.

WHAT “A Boating pARTy”

WHEN | WHERE Through Sept. 24, 12-6 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, 12-8 p.m. Friday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday, fotofoto gallery, 14 W. Carver St., Huntington

ADMISSION Free; 631-549-0448, fotofotogallery.org

WHAT Take a detour on your way to the beach this holiday weekend to peruse the ninth annual Westhampton Beach Festival of the Arts. The event features some 120 artisans offering up handmade creations in sculpture, jewelry, painting and photography. The nationally ranked art fair takes up the East End hamlet’s Great Lawn not only with top local talent but also highly regarded artists and craftsmen drawn from across the country. Gallery goers can enjoy the outdoor venue, abundance of quality artworks and opportunity to mingle with their makers.

WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Westhampton Beach Great Lawn, 35 W. Main St.

INFO Free; 941-487-8061, paragonartevents.com

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