September 19, 2019 |
Joel Mesler's The Alphabet of Creation (For Now) at Simon Lee Gallery in London
Hamptonite and artist Joel Mesler talks art, family and his East Hampton gallery.
When curator and painter Joel Mesler first moved from L.A. to NYC, it wasn’t for the art or culture—he was following a girl. Though the romance didn’t work out, the East Coast certainly did, inspiring a lifelong love. Mesler spent most of his time running a Lower East Side gallery and painting on the side. Though he was a late-blooming artist, Mesler’s hobby turned into a career with wildly successful shows such as The Alphabet of Creation (For Now) series inspired by The Beverly Hills Hotel.
As a budding star artist with three kids, Mesler was ready for a new chapter. “NYC no longer embraced us,” he says. “We wanted trees and wild turkeys, so we moved out East.”
Mesler in front of “Untitled (I’m moonlighting).”
He finds that the space, time and light the East End provides inspire his work. His series Fish People was particularly influenced by the Hamptons, as The Surf Lodge held the exhibit. “I make work consciously keeping in mind where it will be shown,” he says of the paintings that depict business people going to work in beach formal gear alongside phrases such as “Down and Out in Montauk” and “It’s time to leave NY.”
A painting Mesler did of chef Jean- Georges Vongerichten as part of a residency with The Mark Hotel in NYC
Mesler plans to take frequent trips with his family to the Sag Harbor Bay, work on his art and man his Rental Gallery in East Hampton this summer. “Having a seasonal gallery in a seasonal location was always frowned upon while living my adult career in the art world, but the world has shifted a bit, and it is seemingly now an advantage to be in a location like this rather than a major city like NYC or L.A.,” Mesler says. He mentions that a stellar show curated by David Salle and Nicole Wittenberg will be open through summer at Rental Gallery. As for his future in the Hamptons, Mesler is most excited to watch his children grow up and experience the joy that one can only achieve in the Hamptons. 87 Newtown Lane, East Hampton
Photography by: ZACH HILTY/BFA.COM; JOEL MESLER/COURTESY OF THE MARK HOTEL