The inspiration behind Alina Grasmann’s “The Montauk Project”—a series of large-scale, hyper-realistic oil paintings of the town—began with a 1975 novel by the Swiss writer Max Frisch, which lured the artist to Long Island’s East End. “Contrary to the descriptions in the book, the place seemed very touristy and crowded to me,” Grasmann said in an interview last May. Returning in the fall, she found the town’s literary history more accessible. What resulted are paintings that capture the liminal space between Montauk’s seasonal shifts from artificial tourist trap to deep-rooted community, and also the quasi-fictional quality of Frisch’s heavily autobiographical novel. “I want to open a space for the viewer with my painting in which he can always be somewhere between fiction and reality,” she explains. This exhibition presents Grasmann’s Montauk series along with the similar series “Sculpting in Time,” based on the artist’s travels to Arcosanti, Arizona, and her fantasies about the place, thus further blurring the line between fact and fiction, fantasy and reality. —C.J.F.
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