When Ryan F. Kennedy and Ingrid Silva decided to host an exhibition of their artwork, they set out to find an empty storefront in Sag Harbor that could act as a temporary gallery.
“But the owners were not interested in renting for a month,” explains Silva.
Then Kennedy, who frequents Jimmy Jim’s Deli on Noyac Road, spoke to owner Jim Daga (himself an artist) and learned that a small storefront adjacent to the deli was fixed up and ready to go.
Though Noyac is a place to grab some groceries, a bottle of wine, or a bite to eat, it has never truly had a gathering center. But last Saturday when Silva and Kennedy opened their new show, “Split Frame,” they inaugurated the Noyac Community Gallery a space that just might become the heart of the hamlet. The show runs through December 17, 2011 and the gallery is divided in half by yellow tape on the floor delineating Silva’s portion of the show from Kennedy’s.
This Saturday, December 10, 2011 Silva and Kennedy offer an Artist Talk from 3 to 5 p.m. at the gallery. Though the two are close friends, their artistic styles are very different — Silva addresses issues of female perception in her photographs while Kennedy’s multi-media artwork is part of a long term conceptual film project on the transcendent history (and yet to be written future) of mankind. Yet as artists, each has found the perspective of the other invaluable.
“We hang out and we talk a lot even if we don’t work on the same project,” explains Silva. “We communicate our thoughts about one another’s work.”
“They are pretty drastic, our differences,” adds Kennedy. “She comes with this journalistic lens and I’m doing a video and installation piece. But we’re artists and friends who can push each other and see that other angle.”
Silva, a native of Lima, Peru has a background in journalistic photography and is a graduate of the University of Peru who has lived on the East End since 2008. But in her current work, Silva has moved away from journalistic photography to a more subjective expression of the medium. Her photographs are printed on aluminum sheet metal and have an antique quality to them. In addition to imagery of coastal scenes, on view in this show is a project she calls “One,” a series of female nudes presented in concert with visual elements that in some way interfere with the full vision of the figure.
“The concept is all the layers and social pressures imposed on women,” she explains. “I’m using the body as a canvas to make as statement on things that bother me or I feel are present in society a lot.”
From an armchair concealing all but a woman’s leg, and a nude figure subtly reflected in a mirror, to an image of a woman standing behind patterned fabric held aloft by mysterious hands, for Silva, the work makes a statement on women’s role in society and how they are controlled or held back.
“I was always into photography, the documentary and journalistic side, but living here has opened my eyes to something different,” says Silva. “That’s why I show nude photos with a layer on top. There is always something covering them, either it oppresses or protects, helps or doesn’t help you. Many times it’s preconceived ideas that your parents put in your head.”
Kennedy, who studied textiles at FIT, works in the multi-media realm and his offerings in the show are portions of a larger whole — a film in progress entitled “Prometheus.” On his side of the gallery scenes from the film are projected on five screens and a large storyboard collage documenting the process is also displayed. Kennedy has produced a series of zines for the show as well — booklets of original art — featuring poetry, production stills from the filming process, drawing and collage, and is also showing costumes made for the film.
“The film itself brings this agent, a black figure, through the transcendent history of man and social patterns we’ve gone through. Toward the end, he comes to a broad realization and he enters the next stage of humanity,” explains Kennedy. “The different parts of humanity are based on primary colors. Primitive is yellow, blue is middle ages, and red represents a new agent bringing love as the next step.”
For Kennedy, the goal is to look at truth, not as a case of pitting religious against scientific beliefs, but rather an evolution of the sprit and understanding of higher realms that have not yet been realized by human consciousness.
“I’m an artist who reads a lot of Scientific American,” explains Kennedy. “Darwin won truth 200 years ago when evolution won over religion. I think in time something will win over evolution. I think truth is contextual based.”
“I’m trying to send flexibility to people’s thoughts about the future — it can be what we like it to be — a sense of hope and a lot of good things.”
By Annette Hinkle
Noyac Community Gallery is located at 3348 Noyac Road.Top: Ingrid Silva and Ryan F. Kennedy during the opening of Split Frame at the Noyac Community Gallery on December 3, 2011. (Michael Heller photo).