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Shawn Heinrichs

"Embrace" by Shawn Heinrichs at the Southampton Arts Center


Enjoy the Show

By Sahar Khan

Shawn Heinrichs photo by Shawn Heinrichs


Summer exhibits start the season off on a high note.

The State of Water
At the Southampton Arts Center, a photographic series of a submerged model posing with balletic elegance next to marine animals creates a kind of sublime underwater choreography. The images comprise Light on Shadow, Shawn Heinrichs’ ode to marine life threatened with extinction due to unprecedented levels of oceanic pollution. The photographer and conservationist—he co-created Racing Extinction, one of the most watched environmental documentaries of all time—founded the Blue Sphere Foundation to bring attention to the world’s oceans through art and activism. Scientists warn that 50 percent of all species could be extinct within 100 years; thought-provoking art might just be the most emotionally impactful way to inspire us to save life under the sea. “Art acts as a powerful reminder of the precariousness of their existence,” Heinrichs says. May 25-July 16, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton

Frame of Mind
Two women sit in a glass-walled living room that hovers over a cliff edge sloping toward Los Angeles’ twinkling cityscape. This influential shot, “Case Study House No. 22” by Julius Shulman, is one of nearly 60 pictures in Image Building: How Photography Transforms Architecture at the Parrish Art Museum. The show explores a photograph’s power to shape a viewer’s experience of a built environment across cityscapes, domestic spaces and public locales. Works by genre luminaries such as Berenice Abbott, Hiroshi Sugimoto and Andreas Gursky date from the 1930s to the present. Iwan Baan’s revelatory “Torre David #2” perfectly encapsulates the show’s spirit. In it, a blue sky seen through an aperture within concrete walls in Caracas, Venezuela, captures the joyful juxtaposition of natural and man-made beauty. Through June 17, 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill

Friends in High Places
East Hampton-based artist Billy Sullivan makes portraits of his friends. It doesn’t matter that his friends are iconic in stature. There’s African-American artist Rashid Johnson looking curiously at the viewer; sunlit Warhol superstar Jackie Curtis lounging on grass; Stockard Channing studying herself in a vanity. And like his famous subjects, Sullivan has become an icon in his own right. The kid who came of age in 1960s New York brings a Los Angeles joie de vivre to his art. This month, Sullivan’s insouciant aesthetic is on full display at the Rental Gallery. The portraits burst with a photographic truth that captures his sitters’ moods, from confident to all-out brooding, in an often incongruently bright palette. It might seem easy to dismiss Sullivan’s deceptively simple brushstrokes and happy colors as surface aesthetics, but look long enough and you can clearly see the marred human beings who reside behind the untroubled beauty. May 19-June 17, 87 Newtown Lane, East Hampton