Rock Therrien, " Flamin Hot," 2023, mixed media, 48" x 48." COURTESY THE WHITE ROOM GALLERY
Rock Therrien, "Aaugh!," 2023, mixed media, 60" x 60." COURTESY THE WHITE ROOM GALLERY
Michael Lotenero, "El Ravel," mixed media on canvas, 84 x 120. COURTESY THE WHITE ROOM GALLERY
A view of The White Room Gallery's new space in East Hampton. COURTESY THE WHITE ROOM GALLERY
Michael Lotenero, "King of Cadaques," enamals on vinyl, 72" x 54," on view at The White Room Gallery in East Hampton. COURTESY THE WHITE ROOM GALLERY
Michael Lotenero, "Three (Diptych)," mixed media on, 54" x 108," on view at The White Room Gallery in East Hampton. COURTESY THE WHITE ROOM GALLERY
The turning of the calendar page from one year to the next is always a time of reflection and new beginnings, often both personally and professionally.
In terms of the East End art scene, Kat O’Neill and Andrea McCafferty, co-owners of The White Room Gallery, know all about change. That’s because in early November, after eight years of operation on Bridgehampton’s Main Street, the business partners left the hamlet behind and headed east in a transition that has brought them to a bright storefront in East Hampton Village where they are settling nicely into their new digs.
During a recent visit to the new gallery at 3 Railroad Avenue, O’Neill and McCafferty were happy to show off the space and their inaugural show — “Colorful Interpretations,” which officially opened on November 4. Tis the season, and there’s a lot for them to be excited about, especially given the fact that at 1,700 square feet, the East Hampton location is nearly double the size of their previous gallery.
“We needed more space,” admitted O’Neill, adding that she and McCafferty had looked at alternative locations in Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor before deciding on the East Hampton venue. “We really have a lot of international artists and they ship the work so we have to have room. A couple spaces we looked at didn’t have storage. We have a basement here and can go behind the scenes.”
Beyond just the sheer increase in square footage, it made a lot of sense for The White Room Gallery to relocate to East Hampton, since it’s where both O’Neill and McCafferty live and raised their children. And unlike the Bridgehampton gallery, which sat far back from Main Street and was not easily visible to passersby, this new location is front and center.
“Another reason we wanted out of Bridgehampton is it wasn’t a walking town,” said O’Neill.
“There are too many offices and builders in Bridgehampton,” said McCafferty. “It’s taking away the mom and pop shops and boutiques.”
Now located on a highly trafficked stretch of roadway, with large front windows facing the Long Island Rail Road train station, the new gallery sits between Villa Italia and Hampton Chutney, two popular East Hampton eateries, and it’s across from The Sweet Spot, the village’s newest ice cream and yogurt shop. In addition, the new gallery is also within easy strolling distance of Newtown Lane’s high end retail stores and O’Neill and McCafferty are optimistic that all of these factors will lead many people to walk by, pop in and discover the gallery’s unique and eye-catching selection of artwork.
Once inside The White Room Gallery, visitors will discover that the new space not only provides room for storing artwork, but also displaying it. The unique layout of the storefront includes a number of walls that divide the footprint of the building into several smaller spaces — mini-galleries, if you will — and hidden nooks, allowing O’Neill and McCafferty to create a range of themes and moods throughout.
“I like that this space has separate rooms. I think it has more mystery. You think it’s small and then you go to the back and it keeps going,” McCafferty said. “Now, we can feature different artists, with a lot of the art rotating up front and the permanent collection located in the back.
“Maybe we’ll reassess and get different artists,” she mused. “This is our first show. It took us a little time to wrap our head around it, because the other space we were so familiar with.”
“Everyone loves the space,” added O’Neill. “It’s nice to be able to show more art. I think this space has good energy.”
“Everyone said they like this space better,” added McCafferty. “And it has a better view.”
Though it is now officially an East Hampton business with clients from across the East End, The White Room Gallery’s clients actually hail from all over the country — including Miami, New York City and even Texas. While it’s nice to have a visible location for local clients and the local artists they feature, O’Neill and McCafferty explain that the gallery does a brisk on-line business in contemporary art.
“When we were moving, we were thinking we might lose some of the established collectors up island. Will they make the move to come east? But I think we’ll get Montauk buyers,” said O’Neill, who was, herself, one of the gallery’s artists prior to teaming up with McCafferty in 2017 to become a co-owner. “I would say our aesthetic is a myriad of mediums. We have a lot of Pop Art and we do well with it. It’s eclectic. We also have photography and sculpture and we have glass artists.”
“We’re in our own lane with Pop Art and abstract,” said McCafferty. “We do really well with the Pop Art.”
Having recently moved over 300 pieces of artwork from Bridgehampton to East Hampton, O’Neill, McCafferty and The White Room Gallery are ready to rock. This weekend, in honor of the season, they will open “Naughty and Nice,” a new holiday-themed show featuring the work of a wide range of contemporary artists, including Rock Therrien, Michael Lotenero, Paul D. Fuentes, John Joseph Hanright, Paul Tabor, Greg Lotus, Joseph Kraham, Jack Flo, Marcus Klinko, Steve Zaluski, Cabell Molina and Kevin Barrett. The show opens with a reception on Saturday, December 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. and remains on view through February 4.
“We do themed shows each time. It makes it more fun,” said O’Neill.
In their curators’ notes for this holiday show, O’Neill and McCafferty explain that the works on view explore the dual nature of human instinct and impulse, with some of the pieces referencing that darker side of us all.
“Some artists entertain while others entice, but what would the holidays be without a little spice?” ask O’Neill and McCafferty in their write up. “A devil licking an ice cream cone is both amusing and bemusing. ‘King of Cadaques’ is a wonderful abstract work that pays homage to Cadaques, a small fishing village in Spain that captivated Dali, Miro and Picasso. A piece that begs the question was this King loved or feared and as Machiavelli posited, which is better?”
“Though we didn’t intend to steal Santa’s thunder by appropriating his naughty or nice list, we truly enjoy seeing it brought to life through a delightful curation of art,” they continue. “Art is a fascinating creature with so many voices. Is it here to calm, comfort, challenge, excite, entertain, shock? The list could go on and on, but the amazing and wonderful thing is that it is still present and ever-evolving and we love being part of that evolution. Whether it be naughty or nice.”
Sounds like a show that’s not to be missed. So stop by and welcome O’Neill and McCafferty to the neighborhood.
The White Room Gallery is located at 3 Railroad Avenue in East Hampton. For details on “Naughty and Nice” and the work on view, visit thewhiteroom.gallery.
One fine body…