SQUARE PEG GALLERY PRESENTS:
A GUIDED MEDITATION & TALK with KHENPO PEMA WANGDAK
SUN, JAN 29TH, 2017, 2.00PM - 4.00PM
SQUARE PEG GALLERY PRESENTS:
A GUIDED MEDITATION & TALK with KHENPO PEMA WANGDAK
SUN, JAN 29TH, 2017, 2.00PM - 4.00PM
BON VOYAGE & CLOSING RECEPTION
Last call to experience this innovative and beautiful collaboration, and meet with artists Creighton Michael and Ben Diep to discuss their work - unless you plan to travel to Iceland in the spring!
rgbDRAWING:Pigment on Paper will be traveling to the Icelandic Printmakers Association in Raykjavik, May 2017.
“In my belief, art is the source of pure energy and truth, obsessively mirrored in the ritual of creation. My new works are a continuation of the process of creating art for art's sake.
Jerzy Kubina, July 2016
Saturday, June 4th, 2016
A celebration of the depth and breadth of the Rivertowns music community.
More than 150 musicians will participate in 90 performances at 30 different venues throughout the day in this multi-village event. Genres include Folk, Rock, Classical, Blues, Jazz, Bluegrass, and World. Seasoned professionals, budding musicians, and everyone in between will perform.
SQUARE PEG GALLERY IS PLEASED TO PRESENT:
CELEBRATING AND CULTIVATING THE ARTS IN THE RIVERTOWNS.
Sat. April 16 through Sunday April, 17 2016
CELEBRATING AND CULTIVATING THE ARTS IN THE RIVERTOWNS
RiverArts invites visitors to the 23rd Annual Studio Tour weekend, a multi-village adventure featuring over 70 local artists. Meet and engage with artists in their work spaces: industrial lofts, home studios, pop-up installations and galleries. Learn more about the creative process and purchase work directly from artists.
RiverArts has grown to become a haven – and inspiration – for a wide range of visual and performing artists and art lovers throughout lower Westchester and beyond. RiverArts produces and promotes high quality cultural events and educational programs that engage communities and support local artists.
In conjunction with the 2016 RiverArts Studio Tour, SQUARE PEG GALLERY is pleased to present:
ARTISTS OF THE RIVERTOWNS
Friday, April 15 - Saturday, April 23rd
BY LAURA JOSEPH MOGIL
PUBLISHED IN WESTCHESTER MAGAZINE, MARCH 2016
You could say master printer Ben Diep embodies the classic immigrant success story, but that would only scratch the surface of his life. Growing up in war-torn South Vietnam, Diep could hardly have imagined being where he is today, staring out onto the Hudson River and the cliffs of the Palisades from the fourth-story deck of his Hastings residence. Three stories beneath his feet are the offices of Color Space Imaging, where Diep makes fine-art prints for some of the most famous photographers in the world, and the newly opened Square Peg Gallery, where he and wife Mairead Daly-Diep showcase the work of deserving yet undiscovered artists.
Diep, 53, has quite the reputation in the art world, having printed photographs for two acclaimed Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) exhibitions. He’s also done printing for galleries and museums around the globe, including the Royal Academy of Arts in London, CaixaForum in Madrid and Barcelona, and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Belgium.
Diep himself wanted to be an artist as far back as he can remember. The second of six children, he was born in Phan Rang, a small coastal village a few hours outside of Saigon. When he was 8, his family moved to the capital so that his father could assume a false identity and escape having to serve in the national army. It was there that Diep became immersed in drawing Chinese cartoons. He asked his parents to send him to art school, but they refused. He recalls them telling him: “Artists are poor, and they die alone and unknown.”
Diep continued to draw on his own, but there were bigger problems looming. “War was always on our minds,” he says. “We were told not to go on the street and pick up anything suspicious. Even a matchbox could be a bomb.”
In 1975, the North Vietnamese took over and imposed Communist rule on South Vietnam. Diep’s family had acquired US entry visas but couldn’t decide if they should stay put or flee. On the day Saigon fell, Diep remembers his father taking him on the back of his Vespa to the US Embassy, to see if they could be evacuated via helicopter, but it was too crowded at the gate.
Hastened by the death of their eldest son—who died during forced hard labor—Diep’s parents finally decided the family needed to leave Vietnam. It required four attempts, including one foiled effort that landed the entire family in jail, before they managed to escape.
Arriving in the States in 1979, with $200 to their name, Diep’s family settled into the Midwood neighborhood of Brooklyn. Because his father had gotten Diep a fake birth certificate stating he was four years younger than he actually was (so Diep could avoid being drafted into the military back in South Vietnam), he was placed several years behind in public school. On the weekends, he would help out his father, who’d gotten work as a dishwasher, often putting in 18-hour days.
He says his salvation was tennis. “After school, most kids would go play pinball or basketball. But I went out and bought a pair of sneakers and a wooden racket and started hitting tennis balls against the wall at the local public court.” It was there he met Alex Rodriguez, a construction worker, graphic designer, and tennis coach who took him on as his protégé. Twice a week, Rodriguez would take Diep out to New Jersey, where he’d hit balls with him in the time between giving private lessons.
Within two months, Diep became good. Really good. He caught the attention of Danny Parker, a local tennis coach who got Diep into the New York Junior Tennis League. Unbeknownst to Diep, Parker also submitted an application for a National Junior Tennis League scholarship (through the Arthur Ashe Educational Guidance Program) on Diep’s behalf. As a result, he received a four-year scholarship to Connecticut's prestigious Suffield Academy.
Ben Diep (left) with his late brother, Hui, in Phan Rang.
At Suffield, Diep applied himself to his academics and tennis, yet his true love was art. It was there that he met his mentor, Mario Vincenti, the head of the art department at Suffield. Outside of the classroom, Diep studied informally with Vincenti over the entire four years at Suffield, producing a large body of work that focused on Impressionist and abstract drawings and paintings. Of the tutelage, Diep says, “Mario didn’t tell me what to do; he taught me how to see.”
Impressed with his artistic aptitude, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) offered Diep a full scholarship, accepting him as a 22-year-old freshman in 1985. However, before he could even finish his first year, he got a phone call from his father, who’d moved on from his dishwashing job to work at a photo lab that he wound up managing before long. His dad had decided to open up his own lab and wanted Diep to come work for him.
Thus started the next chapter in Diep’s life story. He soon took over managing his father’s business and work became all consuming, leaving little time for his dreams of painting. On the other hand, Diep says, “I wasn’t just doing work; I was learning and meeting all the great artists who came through our doors.” The shop developed a reputation for its attention to nuances and details and was also in demand by fashion houses, modeling agencies, magazines, and architectural photographers.
Diep met Mairead while traveling through Europe in 1989, after attending the opening of a museum show in Cologne, Germany, that he had printed for LIFE magazine photographer Abe Frajndlich. The two were staying at the same Paris hotel, and he helped her move her heavy suitcase upstairs to her room.
The next day they met again and spent the day walking from museum to museum. “I had no background in art but was very interested in learning,” says Daly-Diep, a Dublin native who, in addition to helping Diep run the gallery, works at Family to Family, a Hastings-based nonprofit. “I loved Ben’s openness and willingness to share his thoughts and his knowledge,” she adds.
After a long-distance relationship and some rocky twists and turns, the two decided they couldn’t live without each other. They married in 1997 and had two children—Luke, born in 2000, and Kate, in 2003. The couple moved from Manhattan’s West Side to Scarsdale in 2004, the same year Diep opened his own photo lab in Manhattan.
“Ben became known for having an incredible eye for color, and that is why so many artists sought him out,” says Daly-Diep. “Even more important than that is his ability to take things a step further. An artist may have taken his photograph to a certain level but not see the next step. Ben has a gift for seeing the potential in things.”
While his business was successful, rent in Manhattan was skyrocketing, and the taxes in Scarsdale continued to soar. Searching online for real estate back in 2009, Diep found his future home and office, in the form of a 1920s six story, mixed-use brick building in Hastings. Recalling his first visit to the property, Diep says, “The whole area was messy and dirty, and the building needed to be completely gutted. But, as I said to Mairead, you can’t beat this view of the river.”
Opening up a gallery in the building was always part of the couple’s plan. “My relationship with my clients—the artists I’ve worked with—has been a collaboration. At my studio in the city, there was a constant dialog, an ongoing exchange of ideas,” says Diep. The gallery, which was launched in the fall of 2015 (now open by appointment and for special events, including the River Arts Studio Tour, April 16 and 17), gave Diep a place for the conversation to continue. The couple is also collaborating with the Rafius Fane Gallery in Boston and plans to pursue additional gallery collaborations.
“The goal of the gallery is to have people begin to converse in a different way or have a discussion that they may not have had before,” says Diep. “We also want to expose unknown artists we think are worthy of attention, as much and as broadly as we can.”
Laura Mogil is a freelance writer residing in Briarcliff Manor. She is a frequent contributor to Westchester Magazine and Westchester Home and has written for the New York Times and Hudson Valley Magazine. You can read her blog at www.inspiredchef.net.
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY (February 26, 2016)... Square Peg Gallery in Hastings-on-Hudson will host a public opening reception for Chen Dongfan’s new solo show: PUNK BOOKSTORE, on Friday, March 4th, from 6pm to 9pm, at 385 Warburton Avenue, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY. The exhibition will run until Saturday, April 2nd.
Dongfan, a graduate of the prestigious China Academy of Art, Hangzhou, divides his time between Hangzhou, China and New York. Fresh off of a highly successful year that included solo shows at Inna Contemporary Art Space in Hangzhou, the Art in the City Festival, Shanghai, and CoCo-Mat in New York’s SoHo, Dongfan brings his colorful, exuberant and dynamic new solo show PUNK BOOKSTORE to Square Peg Gallery.
Once moving, now stationary, the PUNK BOOKSTORE embodies qualities that seem to be diametrically opposed. In the few years since returning to the studio, it’s these two qualities precisely that have left Dongfan with the deepest impressions, Although at times emerging alternately, while at others existing in unison, there is no sense of contradiction. The PUNK BOOKSTORE embodies a certain “spirit”, a state of being with which he aspires to align himself.
Square Peg gallery is open for special events and by appointment. Events are posted on the gallery website at www.squarepeggallery.com
We had a wonderful turnout for the opening of Susan Cooper and David Zung's first joint exhibit on December 18th, 2015. The gallery was buzzing from 5pm until well after 10pm! We had a constant stream of visitors all evening (and many who stayed for the duration) and then the post dinner crowd arrived just before closing time! Fabulous!
The response was overwhelmingly positive to the content, quality and breath of the work. So much so, that we had many repeat visitors (along with those who were not able to make it for the opening) for the MEET EDWINA EVENT on January 2nd!
On January 2nd gallery goers were treated to an appearance by Edwina Time Traveler and an enlightening and scholarly talk on the Edwina Time Traveler series by professor of languages and literature, Gary Sheinfeld.
By Tanya McKinnon
When you wander through galleries and museums looking at huge perfectly printed photographs, you know a tremendous amount of work has gone into making each print. Ben Diep may well be the man behind those prints.
Ben’s first artistic love was painting, but after only two semesters at RISD he had to return to New York to help his father start a custom photo lab. Before long he began to realize the artistic possibilities in printing, the ways he could bring his painterly sensibility to the printing of photographs. From there he went on to open his own printing studio, Color Space Imaging in New York City’s photo district, and became part of a small select group of fine art photographic printers. Diep collaborates with photographers such as Duane Michal, Joseph Bartscherer, Holly Lynton, Sandra Gottlieb, Ron Weis, Lothar Baumgarten, Candida Hofer, Richard Pare, Dana Lixenberg, and Daniëlle van Ark. In any given month Ben may be printing for a museum or gallery show in the US, or for one of the many art capitals in Europe.
When you have a photograph printed by Ben, you’re getting an image not only unique to the photographer’s vision, but also to Ben’s, in that he has rendered that photograph into the form of a painting.
As Ben took me on a tour of his studio, he explained, “A great deal of high end photography is now shot digitally, and that opens the printing of photographs up to the tools in Photoshop. With Photoshop, every image that comes through here is treated like a painting. Digital printers and digital scans or camera files have an advantage over analogue film as they capture greater range of color and density, however this attribute is a double-edged sword, as it causes the image to appear flat, with low dynamic of color and depth. Prior to printing, digital images are processed or ‘finished’ in Photoshop whose tools enable me to draw out from the image a similar depth of color and complexity of texture and contrast that exists in a painting. For example, if a portion of a photograph is in shadow or highlight, Photoshop allows me to draw out the actual colors that comprise that detail in real life, so that it no longer looks simply gray or black and white.”
Ben sees printing as an art form and his workspace as a salon for artists to discuss and explore the process of art making. “When I started Color Space Imaging in the city I would invite my employees to each lunch with me in the shop, and while we ate we would look at and workshop images. I did the same thing with them that I did with artists who came to me for printing: hang up a photograph and discuss it. In this way my employees stayed focused and color sensitive throughout the day and, as a group with the photographer, we continually looked for ways to push the boundaries of the printing process.”
This is a philosophy he has brought with him to the rivertowns when he moved Color Space Imaging here in 2012 and when he and his wife, Mairead Daly-Diep, opened Square Peg Gallery in October of 2015. In this striking red brick building facing the Hudson River on Warburton Avenue in Hastings-on-Hudson, Ben and Mairead present contemporary art in a variety of mediums, including photography, painting, sculpture, installation, music, and poetry. “The work we are exhibiting goes beyond being decorative and aesthetically pleasing; it’s both thoughtful and thought provoking. It must be poignant and beautiful and true.”
“The goal of the gallery is to collaborate with the artist, but also to bring a museum level of installation to the space. We welcome schools, universities, and art classes to come and experience the gallery. It’s a space that facilitates not only the display of art, but learning and the exchange of artistic ideas.”
Square Peg also collaborates and exchanges artists with the Rafius Fane Gallery in Boston.
What about the Hudson River inspires you?
The Hudson River is a constant source of inspiration for me. I look out at the wide-open sky. I see the moving water reflecting so much color and it is continuously changing. The river and the palisades is a place of unending reflection. No matter how long or deeply I look it has no end of inspiration. It is an aesthetic meditation without bottom. I can come back to it every day.
Why did you choose the medium you work in?
I currently work in digital imaging that outputs into digital projection or digital prints.
I started as an oil painter and I love oil on canvas. I love to have the range of glaze and texture that reflects my mood and energy at the moment.
I stopped painting after I left college and returned to New York to start a new business with my father. It was supposed to be a temporary job, but I have continued printing photographs for the last 30 years.
Through printing I learned about making art for many artists through the medium of photography, not just black and white and color prints, but film, the positive and negative.
Photography is fascinating because for many different artists it is a way to experiment and transition within their medium.
What haven’t you done in life or art that you yearn to do?
I committed to be a painter, but have not painted for the last thirty years. I have instead made my process in photography a painterly one in every way. My goal is to ultimately go back and forth between the two mediums. As I age I realize more concretely that time is limited and I don’t want to miss having also lived as a painter. I have also always dreamed of living in Paris, and hope one day to do that.
If you were giving a commencement speech, what would be your most important message?
Find out who you are, and be truthful to yourself. The sooner you are comfortable in your own skin, the sooner you’re comfortable with your own style, your texture, your technique your medium, then you can go forward.
But the most important thing you can do is make a positive difference in someone else’s life. You don’t have to be rich or outrageously successful as long as you’re contributing meaningfully to the lives of the people around you. I am satisfied in my life because I can feel that I’m positively affecting every artist I collaborate with. I see the satisfaction, the light in their face when we take it to the next level. And that is the most important thing to me.
Artists are often perceived as self-centered and self absorbed, but in the end art is really a selfless act because artists ultimately share their most vulnerable selves with the public. They are alone for long stretches of time, then they emerge and share that work with other people. This is an act of love; it is a very beautiful thing.
How do you handle failure?
When I have a setback I have to remind myself that this is an opportunity to reassess and reflect. I take comfort in this. As a painter when I would get lost I was also closest to finding my soul then, to finding a new, a true way. It is when I am the most mindful. It’s when I think I know the path that I worry most.
Make no mistake: failure is very upsetting, especially when your finances are limited, but for me, not taking the risk is a greater failure.
Astir: The Art of Tom Butter
Opening reception Nov 6th
artist’s talk 4pm-8pm
Runs from November 6 – December 26, 2015.
Rafius Fane Gallery
460c Harrison Ave., Suite C24,
Boston, MA 02118
Tom Butter’s artworks, no matter their variable mediums and dimensions, cease never to turn, spin and churn, ever aflux, ever astir. Structurally, visually and metaphorically, their operative modes and inherent mobilities—with regard, too, to pieces that might well be described as physically static—are wont to wind up or down, spiral inwards or outwards, surge forth robustly or tunnel quietly into their own formal interiors.
For more information, visit this link.