Edited excerpt from:

Critic’s Picks: Photography, Painting and Digital Art at North Fork Venues

July 13, 2017 by Charles A. Riley II

Although the Hamptons and the South Fork tend to get most if not all of the attention on the East End, it’s important to remember that there are two forks and not just one. Based on the strength of a handful of appealing shows ranging from photography to painting to digital art,  this critic suggests a visit to the North Fork to savor the warm welcome from its tight-knit community of galleries and studios. 

Peter Beston at Peconic Landing, Greenport

Works by Peter Beston can call to mind David Hockney, complete with echoes of the English master’s insouciance and brash love of color. Beston, also English, has painted up a whirlwind just in time to present the complete cycle of his enigmatic “Palm Beach Stories” in the vast auditorium of Peconic Landing, an exhibition presented under the auspices of East End Arts, where Beston has shown previously in their galleries. 

Beston has an impressive curriculum vitae in documentary filmmaking and BBC productions. Starting with photographs, and constructing a scenario as carefully plotted as a Hitchcock storyboard, these six-foot-wide canvases are elegantly painted—just the play of sunlight and shadow alone reward the admirer of fine brush work—and archly suggestive. Who will emerge from the abysmal black door to the deserted street in When Worlds Collide? While the street scenes may invoke comparison with Edward Hopper, I also found in Beston’s work a whiff of what the poet and critic John Ashbery called the “life-sustaining air” of Fairfield Porter’s realism.

This show is a welcome extension of the exhibition program of East End Arts, based in Riverhead, and a tip of the hat is due here to the hardworking Jane Kirkwood of East End Arts and Dominic Antignano, Cultural Arts Curator at Peconic Landing exhibition. These two curate shows with alert sensitivity to their sites. 

“Peter Beston: Palm Beach Stories” is on view June 2 through September 29, 2017, at Peconic Landing Auditorium, 1500 Brecknock Road, Greenport, NY 11944. 

To read Charles Riley's full article on HamptonArtsHub click here

When Worlds Collide  by Peter Beston. Oil on canvas 42 x 72 inches. Photograph by Robert Moore.

When Worlds Collide by Peter Beston. Oil on canvas 42 x 72 inches. Photograph by Robert Moore.

Charles A. Riley II, PhD is an arts journalist, curator and professor at the Clarkson University, New York. He is the author of thirty-two books on art, architecture and public policy, including The Art of Lincoln Center (Wiley), as well as the essay for the recently published Opera Portraits, an art project that involved photographing singers backstage at major opera houses. He has also written The Jazz Age in France, The Art of Peter Max, Arthur Carter, Ben Schonzeit (all published by Abrams) as well as Aristocracy and the Modern Imagination, The Saints of Modern Art, and Color Codes (all from the University Press of New England), and Sacred Sister (in collaboration with the noted avant-garde theater director Robert Wilson). He is curator-at-large at the Nassau County Museum of Art and has presented exhibitions devoted to Picasso, Surrealism and contemporary art, and has written dozens of exhibition catalogue essays and his articles on art have appeared in several magazines, including Art & Auction, Art & Antiques and Antiques and Fine Art. He is a former reporter for Fortune magazine and former editor-in-chief of WE magazine, and has participated in cultural policy and educational think tanks internationally. A graduate (summa cum laude) of Princeton University, he received his PhD from The Graduate Center of City University of New York. He resides in Manhattan and Cutchogue, New York.