This issue’s North Fork cover features the vines of Borghese Vineyard as painted on-site by Mattituck artist Patricia Feiler. Here, she discusses her artist residency at the Cutchogue winery, developing her art style and her upcoming shows.
How did your artist residency at Borghese Vineyard come about, and had you done anything like this before?
In 2017, I was traveling in the Southwest near the Rio Grande in Texas, when Giovanni Borghese called and invited me to present a solo exhibit at the Borghese Vineyard. The show was to be in partnership with East End Arts (EEA) and held in the Winery Gallery (originally a large potato barn.) The Borghese family had a long tradition of supporting the arts, and I was thrilled to be a part of it. My collaboration with Giovanni Borghese and the vineyard evolved out of that show, Colors From the Air, and has been ongoing ever since.
Were there any particular moments or events during your time at Borghese that presented challenges?
We were discussing the possibility of showing some of my work outside, when Giovanni suggested that we literally hang the art on the vines. “Art in the Vines” became “art ON the vines.” How does one secure paintings among leaves and grapes? The answer is zip ties. It was fun to see the patrons sipping wine as they viewed my paintings up and down the aisles.
What do you feel you’ve gained from your this residency experience?
The residency has afforded me the opportunity to present a body of work. When I brought my paintings to hang in that first show, I was amazed as I watched Jane Kirkwood from EEA curate my paintings into a cohesive presentation. Lessons learned about the importance of the flow of works from one to another. Suddenly there was a story, not just a series of paintings. The long-term exposure for me as an artist has led to thoughtful discussions with fellow artists, new and returning patrons and a genuine respect for those involved in the day-to-day workings of the winery. I am grateful to the staff, starting with Evie, fellow artist Mary Toomey, Tom, Regina and Allissa for promoting my art. They have been part of the process of the residency.
Was this issue’s cover painted during your residency and if so, how did the residency influence its creation?
I had been visiting and observing the vines at Borghese for a long time before painting there. I wanted to create a piece that represented the feeling of this beautiful vineyard. When the rose bushes at the end of the rows bloomed, I knew I had the right moment. The painting evolved right on the canvas in one day. I try to paint what I see, but that keeps changing with every passing cloud. I was racing against time, the sun and the wind.
How did you develop your art style, and do you feel it’s still evolving or is it mostly set?
I think my style has been influenced primarily by the way I see things. Certain places and scenes resonate with me and I can’t really explain why. Over time I have developed my own way of observing by squinting down to see shadows and shapes, then I close my eyes and try to remember. As a painter, I feel that the instant you look away from the subject to the canvas, you are working from memory anyway.
I have had studies with outstanding teaching artists who presented lessons and skills in sequence. It’s also important to observe other artists’ work. I gradually developed a language of expression that communicates with the viewer. Not long ago I created a series of abstracts which surprised even me. It was energizing and I think it affected how I approach painting. My recent pieces have less detail and have a possibly unfinished effect that challenges the viewer. My own challenge is to step away.
What is it about the North Fork vineyards that continue to inspire you to paint?
Singer Joni Mitchell wrote that “the seasons keep their promises.” I am inspired to paint the North Fork vineyards because of the continuous change of landscape and the drama of nature and the change of seasons.
What’s next for you and your art after your current Borghese residency?
The summer and fall months are really busy for me. I will be showing paintings along with the talented Keith Mantell at The Remsenburg Academy, the Quogue Historical Society Art Show, Art in the Garden at the Mattituck Church of the Redeemer, and with the Thirty Squared Group at the Water Mill Museum.
My work is also represented by the William Ris Gallery (fine art and American craft) in Jamesport.
To see more of Patricia Feiler art, visit patriciafeiler.artspan.com.