Hope Sandrow with Jane Iselin

(Self)Contained   The Sky is Falling  open air studio spacetime

installation views, LongHouse Reserve On+ Off the Ground June 23 2012

Tillandsia (courtesy Hope’s mother Ruth) with Daughter plants, Chicken Wire, Organdy, Cement Block

(Self)Contained looks back to an era in the Hamptons when Plein Air painter William Merritt Chase lived, taught and painted in Shinnecock Hills (Note 1). A half mile west, the estate of Jane Borrowe Colt and husband Boudinot was built on land purchased from Samuel L. Parrish (Note 2). And, a little further west, the Shinnecock Canal was completed. New York City residents were transported by the Long Island Railroad to enjoy “the bracing air of Shinnecock Hills”. During this transition, the Technical or Second Industrial Revolution (1870–1920), electric power (Note 3), and the automobile (Note 4) forever altered our relationship to nature and the natural world.

Throughout this period of great social change, the garden party dress endured as a blend of pastoral romance and sophistication. “Ladies” and “Gentlemen”, including painter William Merritt Chase,(Note 5)  entertained one another at lavish outdoor parties “often donning costumes recorded with the newly invented Kodak Brownie Camera (1900).  For (Self)Contained  the snapshots were taken with an IPhone. The materials that compose Sandrow/Iselin’s party dress reference air (Tillandsia) and water (to sustain life); east end famers (poultry fencing). And the Ladylike” activities of gardening and flower arrangements (practiced by Jane Borrow Colt, newspaper articles below) and sewing.

Flower shows (Note 6) remain a tradition in our time: (Self)Contained was selected for first honor by renowned architect Fred Stelle.


Note 1: lands that the Town of Southampton had taken from Shinnecock Nation that Samuel L. Parrish managed (Shinnecock Land Company).

Note 2: Jane Borrowe Colt Estate 1891)  included  a carriage and gatehouse, a cottage now owned by Sandrow and her husband Ulf Skogsbergh. Like Chase’s property, on lands taken by the Town of Southampton from Shinnecock Nation and managed by Parrish.

Note 3: “Our village is to have electric lights. A company has been formed, principally of our summer residents...and it is thought the light will be ready for use in a few weeks.” South Side Signal, January 20, 1894 Page 2, Image 2

Note 4: “A special train of the LIRR for horses and carriages will be run on Sept 19, 22, and 26 for L.I. City leaving Amagansett at 6:45 am and stopping at all stations west to Amityille. Horses and carriages should be delivered at least one hour before the train leaves. The first automobile went through this town this week from Southampton to Wainscott. It was owned by James L. Breese. The Corrector, September 16,1899 page 3, image 3

Note 5: “Chase held open house on Saturdays, invited his students and fellow artists there often, and hosted numerous soirees, including costume parties. Illustrations of the studio were featured in art magazines. Chase himself painted canvases depicting aspects of the studio, and Henry Adams and other novelists employed it as a setting for their fiction.” and “William Merritt Chase’s theatrical costume-party bohemianism furnished a valuable model to Alfred Stieglitz and his cohorts in the Photo-succession.”

Note 6: Many View Exhibitions at Hampton Flower Show “Arrangements of flowers in an earthenware jug- won by Mrs. Van Vleck; Miss Jane Colt, second”;  “Arrangement of gray and green foliage in pewter or silver colored container - Won by Miss Colt”; “Arrangement of fruit and vegetables won by Mrs. Gilbert; Miss Colt, second”; Flower Exhibition AT Southampton “Samuel L. Parrish has offered cash prizes for an outdoor vase competition on the Art Museum grounds. He is the chairmen of the Advisory Committee.”