Ex marks the spot

John Lennon, Dakota rooftop, 1975, Photograph by Brian Hamill

Broad washes of watercolor delineate beautifully spare landscapes that appear to be lit from within. Photographs of faces so iconic that we feel as if we know them personally are captured on film in a moment of time. A joint exhibition, “Luminous Landscapes” and “Tests of Time,” brings this juxtaposition of images together in a show opening this Saturday, June 16 at the Betsy Jacaruso Studio & Gallery in Rhinebeck.

The paintings are the work of the gallery’s proprietor, Betsy Jacaruso. This is the second show in her new location, having moved the space to Rhinebeck recently from Red Hook, after maintaining a gallery there for 13 years. The photographs are the work of Brian Hamill, who began a long career in photojournalism in the mid-‘60s, focusing his lens on familiar faces like those of Muhammad Ali, Diane Keaton, Jacqueline Onassis, Mick Jagger and John Lennon, whom Hamill photographed on the Dakota rooftop in the mid-‘70s.

As it happens, Hamill was also once married to Jacaruso, who says that it’s exciting to expand the scope of her gallery to include another medium like photography, and welcomes the opportunity to showcase Hamill’s work alongside her own. “Even though we’re not together anymore,” she says, “he’s the father of my daughter, and we’ve stayed connected.”


Hamill was born in Brooklyn and remains a devoted New Yorker. His broad range of subjects includes not only the icons of rock & roll, stage, screen and sports, he also covered the troubles in Northern Ireland in the early ‘70s for The New York Times and worked as a unit still photographer on more than 75 movies, including many Woody Allen films. He was introduced to Allen at Elaine’s in the mid-‘70s by his brother, noted writer and editor Pete Hamill.

Jacaruso grew up in Dutchess County and began her artistic career at age 19. A language major originally, studying French in Vevey, Switzerland, Jacaruso began taking drawing classes on the side. When she returned to the States, Jacaruso enrolled at Pratt Institute. Though Jacaruso is known for large watercolor botanicals and images of historical landmarks, this exhibit will focus on her landscape paintings.

An opening reception will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 16, and the exhibit will run through Saturday, July 21. The Gallery is located in the Rhinebeck Courtyard at 43-2 East Market Street in Rhinebeck. Summer gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 1 to 6 p.m., Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. and “by appointment or chance” at other times. For more information on the exhibit or Gallery, visit www.betsyjacarusostudio.com, e-mail betseyjacaruso@gmail.com or call (845) 516-4435. For more information on Brian Hamill, visit www.brianhamill.com.