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Hamptons Life

Apr 16, 2010 10:58 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

East meets west in New York gallery show of East End artists

Apr 16, 2010 10:58 AM

A bit of the Hamptons art scene is picking up and moving to Manhattan for a new exhibition, “East Meets West,” which aims to bring East End artistic sensibility to Chelsea. The show opens on April 20 and runs through May 1 at the New Century Artists Gallery. Artist receptions will be held on April 22 and May 1.

Showing what the Hamptons can do—in terms of art—are artists Sally Breen, Eric Ernst, David Gamble, Setha Low, Karyn Mannix, Andrea McCafferty, Daniel Schoenheimer and Marilyn Stevenson. Artwork includes painting, photography and sculpture.

Coinciding in the side gallery is a solo exhibition by Judy Clifford of Water Mill, “Tableaux Transformations,” featuring some 20 new oil paintings or installations.

“East Meets West” was put together by Ms. Stevenson, who divides her time between Southampton and New Jersey. A fine art photographer who has work in the show, she is the assistant director of the non-profit New Century Artists Gallery and has curated shows there for eight years. She has also organized shows for the Glen Ridge Art Patrons Association in New Jersey for the last 10 years.

The idea for “East Meets West” was a natural, Ms. Stevenson said in a recent interview. In February 2009, she curated a show titled “In Chelsea” at New Century. The show included East End artists Mark Mulholland and Pamela Camhe and coincided with a solo show by Mark Perry of East Hampton and Manhattan. This year, Ms. Stevenson wanted an all-Hamptons show. A prerequisite for inclusion was being able to present a cohesive body of work. She also wanted to show the range of art being made on the East End.

“I think there’s a great variety of work that’s being made in the Hamptons,” Ms. Stevenson said. “I wanted to show the different styles and diversity of work and give the artists a chance to show in New York.”

New Century is an artist members gallery. Every artist must be invited and then approved by the gallery heads after a portfolio review. The gallery tends to focus on artists whose work is underrepresented, said Ms. Stevenson. “East Meets West” is an invitational show featuring exhibiting artists who are not members.

The original concept for the East Meets West called for artists from eastern Long Island to come into the city to meet visitors to the gallery on West 25th Street. When Ms. Stevenson opted to deepen the show by offering broader aesthetic parameters, artist David Gamble ran with the idea and departed from the kind of bucolic views that are often considered mainstays of East End art.

He submitted figurative paintings made after he emigrated from England to New York in 2000. Exhibiting these pieces, he said, gives him a chance to see how they will be interpreted in the post-9/11 world of New York City.

Many exhibiting artists incorporate the ocean to explore themes in their work. Ms. Breen’s paintings depict spirited interaction on the beach. Ms. McCafferty’s photography employs water views to conjure the duality of the spiritual and physical planes.

Mr. Schoenheimer’s photography channels the power and poetics of the ocean and its connection to the origins of life. Ms. Low’s figurative ceramics are influenced by the ocean’s impact on organic forms and the calculated grids of New York City. Ms. Low lives on the East End and teaches anthropology in Manhattan.

Other works have no direct correlation to the East End environment or vistas. Ms. Mannix’s work centers on body image and the ways in which gender and gender stereotypes play out in social and political arenas. A breast cancer survivor, she is showing work that is edgy and direct. Mr. Ernst’s art is influenced by Japanese aesthetics from his years living and working there. Music is an equally dominant influence as he strives to infuse the sensation of being swept away by melody in his art.

Taken as a whole, East End art might not have the edge of work created in urban areas, but Ms. Stevenson believes the show will still have appeal for city art lovers. “I think the work is not as edgy because it’s being made in a peaceful place,” she said. “New Yorkers might find the work more livable to have in their homes.”

Mr. Ernst agreed in a separate telephone interview. “The art isn’t as intentionally controversial as other exhibits may be in the city,” he said from his home in Water Mill, “and it may be that’s a reflection of the diverse interests of the artists who live here.”

“East Meets West” opens on April 22 with a reception from 5:30 to 8 p.m. The show will remain on view through May 1, when it will close with a reception from 3 to 5:30 p.m. New Century Artists Gallery is located in Suite 406 at 530 West 25th Street in New York. For more information, visit www.newcenturyartists.org or call 212-367-7072.

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