Sammy’s Beach Series

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a great week! 

Since we’re beginning this semester online at home, I found myself with a bit more free time than I had originally planned, so I took this opportunity to visit one of my local museums! Heckscher Museum is located in Huntington, NY on Long Island, and is a place I’ve visited many times with my high school art classes over the years. I was very lucky that Heckscher has been taking great precautions to ensure the health and safety for their visitors during the pandemic, which is why I was able to go. It only felt right that the first museum I blogged about would be one that holds such a special place in my heart!

Heckscher Museum is currently home to Connie Fox’s Sammy’s Beach series. Fox, who was born in Colorado but resides in East Hampton on Long Island, created this series to pay homage to her many trips to Sammy’s Beach over the 30 years she has lived here. In a series of abstract paintings, Fox was able to capture the energy and fluidity of her beloved beach using acrylic paint, charcoal, and ink.

Fox uses a grid to structure and organize her work, which can be seen in the above images. I like that she often lets the grid peak through (see above: Sammy’s Beach III) . I feel as though this gives viewers an insight to her mind and how she perceives the world. I especially love how, in Sammy’s Beach B&W I, Fox made the boxes towards the top of the painting increasingly shorter, which forces your eyes to imagine a landscape (likely the ocean) as it spans out in the distance. Even though this may seem like a well known trick among artists, her use of this technique as a base for her paintings shows how important the foundations of art truly are in order to create successful pieces.

Sammy’s Beach VIII

Although Fox claims that her paintings are not of landscapes but of memories and observations, I couldn’t help myself from looking for signs of a landscape in each painting. In this piece, Sammy’s Beach VIII, I found tall grass in the dark shapes of the foreground with the sand and ocean beyond them. I think the shape in the middle may be a seashell, but it could be a flower too. I especially love the top of this painting, where Fox allowed some of the paint to drip and pool, while, once again, having the grid shine through. It reminds me of a painting I once did in high school, where my teacher told me to leave the organic shapes the paint had made. I wasn’t sure at first. I had always preferred to “follow the rules” with art, but that piece taught me that there are no rules, so I should just take a risk. I think this helped me to truly appreciate Fox’s work – I see where she took risks, and they are truly amazing.

Sammy’s Beach I

Other paintings proved more difficult to define. This painting, Sammy’s Beach I, features a large diamond shape that draws your eye to it. I wondered if it was a boat, but this seemed unlikely because the water appears to be to the right of it. I eventually landed on it being a dock for boats to come and go. Maybe I shouldn’t try to define what it is, since that isn’t what Fox intended, but I think it’s more fun to find imagery in abstract pieces. It forces you took look closer, appreciating every mark, stroke, and splash of color. It encourages you to talk about what you see and have conversations about it, which is one of the most important things for an artist to be able to do.

Here are some more paintings:

I really enjoyed seeing this exhibit! In the cold January weather, Fox’s series gave me the warmth of a July summer day. The series is on display from January 16 to April 11, so if you happen to be on Long Island during that time you should definitely go see it! If not, you can learn more about Connie Fox and this series on her website and by watching this video, which accompanied the display at the museum. 

Let me know what you think of the paintings I showed – I’d love to hear your take on them!

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