Tonic Artspace Exhibited @
John Jermain Library in Sag Harbor
Art from Tonic Artspace at John Jermain Memorial Library, Photo: Courtesy Tonic
September 10, 2014 by
Arts & Entertainment
Dan’s Papers cover artist
Grant Haffner and his Tonic Artspace pop-up gallery are back this week with a new group show at John Jermain Memorial Library in Sag Harbor. An opening reception
with the artists is scheduled from 4:30–6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 10.
The show, simply but aptly titled Tonic Artspace @ John Jermain Memorial Library features works by
a familiar selection of artists from Tonic’s stable of regulars, including Chick Bills, Matthew Brophy, Tonic cofounders
Scott Gibbons Carly Haffner and Grant Haffner, Sarah Leary, Christine Lidrbauch and Oliver Peterson.
Haffner says that library visitors
will encounter a nice array of the bright, colorful and energetic contemporary work that local art fans have
come to expect from Tonic Artspace (previously Bonac Tonic) exhibitions. “I’m really pleased,” Haffner
notes, explaining that his artists’ work fit well within the library space, though the installation and curatorial
process were challenging at times. “Everything looks like it should be where it is,” Haffner says,
while noting that he had to work around various instructional posters and other obstacles necessary for the library’s
day to day operation.
Tonic Artspace @ John Jermain Memorial
Library was more than two years in the making, according to Haffner, who says the library first contacted him
two years ago, but the birth of his child and other commitments kept him from exhibiting until he was asked a second
time following his Grand Royale show this June. “It’s such a good opportunity to have a public space to show your work,” Haffner
adds, describing the benefits of exhibiting in such a heavily trafficked community space. “We reach a different audience,”
he says of the library’s many visitors, who may appreciate art, yet never actually attend a gallery show.
For the exhibition, Haffner says he chose mostly artists who he knows well, who are easy
to work with and who make art he loves. “It’s easy to place all these people’s work together,” he
says, noting that the artists on view are all quite different, but their work shares a certain synergy. Haffner has
a long history of showing with all but one of the eight artists on view, and his inclusion of newcomer Sarah Leary is an
important part of what Tonic Artspace has set out to do.
He recalls that
Bonac Tonic began as a group of young artists who were struggling to break into the Hamptons gallery scene, and eventually
decided to mount their own shows. The collective was immediately lauded as a breath of fresh air, and it became known for
displaying a wide range of young, exciting work. Many of the original Tonickers and their guest artists have since
gone on to show regularly at established galleries, but Haffner notes the great value of continuing to support new
artists on the East End. He says Leary has been incredibly helpful and her enthusiasm about show, which is her first, has
been infectious—and “That’s the whole point.”
Artspace @ John Jermain Memorial Library will be on view during regular library hours through Friday, October
24 at the John Jermain Memorial Library (34 West Water Street) in Sag Harbor. An opening
reception is scheduled from 4:30–6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 10 and an artist talk may be forthcoming. Call 631-725-0049 or visit johnjermain.org.
Bios for the other artists in the show are presented in alphabetical order below.
Existence for the aware seems
to be a cycle of repetition. On the larger scale, conflict is the most notable example. Mostly avoidable, and driven by
the worst parts of human nature, it sweeps up individuals for whom it devolves into cycles of banality, boredom and terror.
Good and evil become irrelevant, only the trappings, hardware, jargon and camaraderie of the involved are available to give
meaning to the microcosm.
‘They were right” by Matthew Brophy
Born in 1984 and raised in Sag Harbor
since 1987, Brophy studied art at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and currently works in his studio in Brooklyn.
His colorful, geometric paintings are loud and “in your face,” while remaining rather simple and refined. Brophy has
been developing his painting process for more than a decade, building a powerful portfolio of abstract works
his a unique and clearly recognizable style. The painter’s work has been exhibited throughout the East
End and he is looking forward to expanding to new markets.
“You Lie Like a Rug – Don’t let go!” by Scott Gibbons
Currently a resident of East
Hampton, Gibbons’ heart and mind really reside in the whimsical world of plush sculpture creatures and the scenes he
constructs for them. The artist works with media outside conventional art circles in that he manipulates textiles to
his bidding in order to convey his cartoonish and childlike whims. From small “Bubbie Monsters” to framed scenes
and large scale installations, Gibbons forms his own universe by using his best asset—his incomparable imagination.
“The Volcano” by Grant Haffner
Born in 1978 in Berkeley, California and raised in East
Hampton, Haffner is well known for his propulsive and colorful paintings of local roads and power lines. He comes completely
to life while driving, and for a small moment, in between this place and that, he is free from reality. Haffner and
his truck become a motion of blurred color, barreling through space and time—with windows open and only the
sounds that traveling makes—he enjoys the smell of the landscape. Every trip is a new one, not one sunset is
the same. On the road, Haffner is part of the painting. He is movement, color, sound, adventure and emotions. This
is his landscape.
“Mysterious Realms of Caldor” by Carly Haffner
A Springs native, Haffner
attended California College of Arts and Crafts (B.F.A.) in San Francisco, California and Hunter College (M.F.A.) in
New York City. In 2005 she co-founded a local art collective called Bonac Tonic. Haffner is known for her bright,
colorful, playful paintings and sculptures that have an irresistible folk-art feel. She has shown her work at Silas
Marder Gallery, Mosquito Hawk Gallery, Werkstatte in NYC, Park Life in San Francisco and ADA Gallery in Richmond, Virginia.
“Catch My Drift” by Sarah Leary
A new addition to the Tonic Artspace lineup, Leary is an
emerging artist who is extremely excited to be showing some of her paintings for the first time locally.
“Black and Silver” by Christine Lidrbauch
Using a variety of media
to communicate the melding of male and female cultures, Lidrbauch’s sculptures most often include discarded
plastic auto bumpers, reshaping and combining them to make new forms, with a focus on symmetry, and suggestion of the human
figure. The works are an homage to industrial production and design, and speak of recycling and waste in the use of the
discarded items. Many of the pieces refer back to well-known historical artworks.
“Surrogate Oracle” by Oliver Peterson
Finding inspiration everywhere—graffiti,
structural decay, the pop zeitgeist, literature, politics, history, religion and his personal experience—Peterson’s
mixed media work is driven to challenging places by a diverse range of subject matter. His paintings are very much about
the media from which they are built. The artist frequently experiments with paint and patinas and often applies random studio
detritus to compositions that have been described as energetic, complex, masculine, dark, and even gentle.
Join us as we venture into unknown territory like youtube
June - July 2014
"Grand Royale" a celebratory showcase of contemporary
East End artists opens the season of art for the Jackson Carriage House. Carly Haffner's diverse curating is an inviting array
of rich works from local artists who continue to pulsate within the community."
Check out Grant Haffner's Painting "Twenty Seven
East"in the June 2014 issue of HC&G
"Head of Pond Road" by Grant Haffner
Limited edition prints are now available through
"Corner of Main Street, Bridgehampton"
by Grant Haffner
Wu Woo Volume 3
February - March 2014
The Tonic Artspace presents:
To Show, Shine, appear,
to be manifest seemingly of itself,
any observable occurrence, an extraordinary event.
The Tonic Artspace
Pop-Up Gallery returned to Kathryn Markel's 2418 Main Street Bridgehampton gallery for the months of February and March and
celebrated new artworks by Arrex, Maeve D’Arcy, Carly Haffner, Christine Lidrbauch, Scott Gibbons, and Grant Haffner.
portrait of Philip Clark Haffner, painted in 1974 by the San Francisco artist Lori Weiss, will also be on view as a memorial
in celebration of his life. Phil left this world peacefully on February 6th, 2014, but his passionate and creative spirit
will never leave us.
Christine Lidrbauch. Courtesy of Tonic Artspace.
From remembrances of death and celebrations of
love, industrial sculptures to cartoonish monsters, the crisp lines of houses to the blurred hues of sunsets, “Phenomena”
is showcasing the variety of talent on the East End through the works of six emerging artists.
“Phenomena,” which opened on Saturday at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts in Bridgehampton, is the latest installation from the Tonic Artspace.
Springs-raised Grant Haffner and his twin sister Carly Haffner are the co-founders of the
Bonac Tonic Art Collective, a group established in 2005 for young, local artists on the East End. The Tonic Artspace, Mr.
Haffner said, “is the next phase in the collective’s metamorphosis to hopefully more pop-up gallery type situations.”
Print by Grant Haffner. Courtesy of the artist.
“An undefined, forever evolving, pop-up art promoting machine that understands no boundaries,” the Tonic
Artspace’s show features the work of both Haffners, Arrex, Scott Gibbons, Christine Lidrbauch and Maeve D’Arcy.
Mr. Haffner, who has grown steadily in
popularity since emerging on the East End art scene, has several pieces in the show, including a print of a colorful sunset,
vibrant with oranges, reds, pinks and yellows, with a two-lane road stretching into the abyss beneath it. The scene is recognizably
on the East End, although the exact location is unknown—and perhaps unnecessary. When looking at the painting, it is
as if the viewer is looking out the dashboard of their car or truck, driving through the colors and into the horizon.
“When I drive I feel completely alive,”
writes Mr. Haffner. “For a small moment, in between this place and that, I am free from reality. My truck and I become
a motion of blurred color, barreling through space and time. I like to keep my window open to listen to the sounds that
traveling makes, to enjoy the smell of the landscape. Every trip is a new one, not one sunset is the same. On the road I
am a part of the painting. I am movement, color, sound, adventure and emotions. This is my landscape.”
Carly Haffner has shown her work in New
York City, San Francisco and Richmond, Virginia. In one painting, a tree in the foreground has a date and heart carved into
it, allowing the viewer to devise their own story of what “Nov. 4th 1993” means. A house stands alone
in the background, perhaps owned by the couple who carved the heart, perhaps unrelated. The apparent simplicity of her paintings
gives them depth, sending the viewer’s eyes in multiple directions with tree shadows that aren’t quite natural
and colored leaves that aren’t quite formed.
The Haffners’ creativity can be traced back to their father, Phil, who passed away February 6. “His
passionate and creative spirit will never leave us,” the collective wrote in a press release issued to announce the
show’s opening. A 1974 portrait of Phil Haffner completed by San Francisco artist Lori Weiss is displayed in his honor
as a part of the show.
Colored Parking Sign by Arrex.
core artist of the collective, Scott Gibbons of East Hampton is also showing in “Phenomena.” Gibbons’ art
comes from the worlds he creates in his own head, which are filled with interesting creatures and strange characters of
his imagination that he materializes through sculpture. “To put it simply, he is a creator of worlds unbeknown to
conventional art circles in that he manipulates textiles to his bidding in order to convey his cartoonish and childlike whims,”
the press release announcing the show stated.
Artist Christine Lidrbauch often uses found materials and discarded items to show the “melding of male and
female cultures.” In one piece, a viewer far away sees a simple red and yellow flower against a pretty pink backdrop.
Upon closer examination, they find the lines of the petals are in fact missiles.
Maeve D’Arcy, a visual artist from Queens, works on social
justice and visual art simultaneously, with her focus on painting, drawing and sculpture. “The patterns accumulate
into an urban/rural map of abstract geometric porous land masses and aerial views of real and imagined spaces,” she
Arrex, “a very
cool up and coming street artist to keep your eyes on,” according to Mr. Haffner, created his work in the show after
dealing with multiple deaths in his family and discovering that he had a tumor.
Skulls, from the same base photograph, adorn his color prints in
the street art style of overlapping figures, strong black lines and mixed images. “My skulls serve as a small reminder
of our mortality and the fragility that is life,” said Arrex. “The fun I have with them reflects that while
life is serious business … it should also be fun.”
Events from 2013:
The organizers (Hampton Photo Arts +Tonic)
of this juried exhibition and art contest asked youth
artists to submit work in any medium for a show at Ashawagh Hall in Springs. Submissions
were grouped by grade/age divisions and work was entered into two categories: Photography/Digital Art/Mixed (graphic) Media
or Drawing/Painting/Illustration/Collage/Sculpture. Prizes were awarded for Best in Show and Best
in Division/Category. The Tonic Artspace built a cave out of cardboard boxes.
|event photos taken by Robert D. Comes
The most notorious case of graffiti in Hamptons history was one that spawned
a local legend.
40 years ago, ''Virgil Is the Frog Boy'' appeared on a trestle spanning the Sag Harbor Turnpike. Though weathered, the words
were visible for many years after. Lore has it an East Hampton teenager was so named by his friends, but his identity and
the circumstances under which he earned the nickname remain a secret.
Some years later, ''Virgil Is Still the Frog Boy'' appeared on the same trestle.
Speculation about the mystery flared anew, but that case has never been solved.
Tonic Artspace bridgehampton
Celebrating brand new artworks by:
Check out Grant Haffner's painting "Winter on Long Beach" on the cover of