With the increasing popularity of the “pop-up” shop and even the “pop-up” window, the advent of the “pop-up” studio makes perfect sense. At least it does for Amy Kirwin, artistic director of the Southampton Arts Center, and the nine East End artists she has invited to stake claim to their own sections of the landmark building for the next seven weekends and make art.
True to the pop-up’s definition, the painters, sculptors and draftsmen in “TAKEOVER! Artists in Residence,” which runs Saturday through March 24, are temporarily adopting the improvised workspaces in the hope of creating lasting impressions with their audiences. “As an arts center — and not a museum — we have more flexibility,” Kirwin says of the show’s unusual format, presenting works along with the processes and actual hands behind them.
Further placing the art in context is a broad range of artist tools and personal effects, from easels, ladders and a loom to favorite old chairs, smocks and even snacks. “It definitely won’t be as messy,” concedes Ruby Jackson, comparing her adopted atelier with her renovated garage studio in Sag Harbor.
Jackson, who fashions disparate media into sculptural tableaux often inspired by the biodiversity of marine life, says she is “excited, thrilled and scared” by the opportunities and constraints of the unique working environment. “Will I be able to focus? What are the other artists doing? What materials are they using? There will be a lot of currents running through, feeding off each other,” she notes of working side-by-side and possibly even collaborating with fellow artists Scott Bluedorn, Darlene Charneco, Laurie Lambrecht, Paton Miller, Jeff Muhs and Jerome Lucani. For Kara Hoblin and Daniel Cabrera, who don’t have dedicated studios at the moment and work with chalk and abstract imagery, respectively, the chance to set up shop at the Southampton venue is particularly likely to spur a reimagining of ideas.
Also challenging the solitude commonly experienced in an artist’s studio is the viewing public. “There is always a level of insecurity,” Jackson says about creating art. “I’m not necessarily making it for other people, but I do need people to look at it. I especially like when they respond positively.”
While breaking that barrier between artist and audience can be unnerving, it can also draw unexpected rewards. Jerome Lucani embraces the prospect of expanding the conversation — the one he has with himself, his colleagues and show visitors. “I want people to comment on the work, and even to paint on it,” the North Sea artist says of the composite portraits he will create. In an effort to relate the spiritual element underlying his artistic practice, Lucani is also inviting the public to join him in meditation sessions.
Further expanding the notion of community, “TAKEOVER!” will feature a host of art-making workshops and free Thursday night “hangouts,” where artist and audience can play Ping-Pong or, perhaps, the piano. “It is our hope people will keep coming back,” says Kirwin. (To see the artists’ work schedules, go to southamptonartscenter.org.)
“I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s an experiment,” she adds. “It will be a surprise to all of us.”
WHEN | WHERE Saturday through March 24, noon-6 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane
INFO Free ($5 suggested donation); 631-283-0967, southamptonartscenter.org