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Galleries from Sag Harbor to South Korea Converge in Water Mill for 7th Annual ArtHamptons

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"Unnamed IV," 2012-13 by Bob Dylan. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

“Unnamed IV,” 2012-13 by Bob Dylan. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

By Tessa Raebeck

Touching art is generally frowned upon, but Bob Dylan encourages it. In his sculpture, “Untitled IV, 2012-2013,” welded iron objects, many of them vintage, are configured into a giant sculpture on the wall, complete with wrenches, wheels and a lever viewers are welcome to crank.

The singer-songwriter’s artwork was on display Thursday at the launch celebration of ArtHamptons, which opened with “Bob Dylan: The Drawn Blank Series” at Mark Borghi Fine Art in Bridgehampton.

The show was reflective of the weekend it previewed. It questioned what art is, with the musician’s paintings of naked women and city apartments next to crumpled up sculptures by John Chamberlain. It celebrated lesser known artists and multi-faceted, non-conforming talent, featuring a man well known for his music but relatively unknown for his artwork. And it brought in a crowd of local gallery owners, noted personalities and regulars on the East End’s art scene.

“Dylan’s work is a visual extension of his lyrical genius,” said Mike Pintauro, curatorial assistant at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill. “Esoteric and personal, energetic and slightly deranged.”

ArtHamptons, which takes place at NOVA’s Ark on Millstone Road in Bridgehampton, has been one of the East End’s largest fine art fairs for the past six summers and the seventh edition promises to be the most diverse yet, with art of varied mediums, styles and prices from across the world.

“It’s the largest selection ever,” founder and president Rick Friedman said on Monday, July 7.

Organized by Hamptons Expo Group, ArtHamptons will present more than 80 global art galleries, featuring 2,000 works from some 500 artists.

Although there is considerable international involvement, the fair remains dedicated first and foremost to the local creative talent abundant on the East End. The theme this year is “Escape,” reflective of the idyllic calm that can still be found in some corners of the East End—even in the summertime.

“There’s a lot of local galleries from the Hamptons showing a lot of local artists,” Mr. Friedman said. “We always have a touch of our relationship with the Hamptons art movement of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s.”

“ArtHamptons is a celebration of the arts in the Hamptons,” said Mr. Friedman. “We’re celebrating that we have such an extraordinarily creative community.”

Local galleries such as RJD Gallery, Bridgehampton Fine Art, Tulla Booth Gallery, Monika Olko Gallery and Chase Edwards Gallery will have booths at the fair.

American representational painter Jane Freilicher, who has a home in Water Mill, and avant-garde theater artist Robert Wilson, founder of the Watermill Center, will be honored.

"IGNAATZ," 1961 painted cut metal by John Chamberlain. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

“IGNAATZ,” 1961 painted cut metal by John Chamberlain. Photo by Tessa Raebeck.

Galleries are coming to Water Mill this weekend from as close as Sag Harbor and as far away as Hiroshima; with 12 countries represented, the show is more international this year than ever in the past.

The Villa del Arte Gallery of Catalonia, which has spaces in Barcelona and Amsterdam, is bringing the work of Fernando Adam, Karenina Fabrizzi and Claudia Meyer, among others. In “Hybrid ML2” by Christiaan Lieverse, mixed media, cowhide and resin are combined on canvas to create a streaked gray woman’s face with sharp eyes that are hard to turn away from.

The French Art Gallery is bringing the work of esteemed French artists such as Nanan and Pierre-Francois Grimaldo from its gallery in Kensington, London, to the East End.  Dedicated to exposing the vibrant street art scene in France, the gallery is also bringing innovative artists like Speedy Graphito, a pioneer of the French Street Art movement since the early 1980s.

Envie d’Art Galleries, located in Paris and London, will be on hand with a broad and diverse collection that aims to promote artists on an international scale, with exhibitions in cities like Brussels, Chicago, Milan and, Singapore and now Water Mill.

The 418 Art Gallery from Bucharest, Romania, 308 Arte Contemporaneo of La Habana, Cuba and Art Company MISOOLSIDAE from Seoul, South Korea, will also have booths at the fair.

Several galleries from Korea will be present, which “encourages viewers to experience a not so familiar world in a contemporary setting—opening up the culture to new interpretations while further contextualizing the artists’ ideas,” Mr. Friedman said in a press release.

ArtHamptons is Thursday, July 10, through Sunday, July 13, at the Sculpture Fields of NOVA’s Ark in Bridgehampton, located at 30 Millstone Road in Water Mill. For more information and a complete schedule of events, call (631) 283-5505 or visit arthamptons.com.

Holiday Show Brings Newcomers and Returning Artists to Grenning Gallery

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"Antique Grasshopper Weathervane" by Sarah Lamb, 2011

“Antique Grasshopper Weathervane” by Sarah Lamb, 2011

By Tessa Raebeck

Some 20 years ago, Maryann Lucas brought her two young toddlers to visit Laura Grenning at the Grenning Gallery, then located next to the Corner Bar on Sag Harbor’s Main Street.

“I’ll never forget,” said Lucas, flanked by materials and colorful oil paintings in her new studio behind the Romany Kramoris Gallery in the Carruthers Alleyway off Main Street. “When I walked into her gallery for the first time and thought, ‘Some day.’”

Over two decades later, ‘some day’ has arrived; Lucas will join seven other artists in the Holiday Show at the Grenning Gallery this Saturday. Celebrating the gallery’s most successful year since its 1997 opening, the Holiday Show features a range of carefully selected artists, coming from as far away as Sweden and as close by as Lucas’ studio. While Lucas is showing her work for the first time, headliner Sarah Lamb is returning to the gallery after years of success.

Grenning gave Lamb her first show in 1998, when the artist was in her early 20s. After showing with Grenning for a little over two years, Lamb entered into an exclusive deal with the Spanierman Gallery in New York City. The Spanierman Gallery, which is still open today and continues to show Lamb’s work, no longer has an exclusive deal with the artist, allowing her to show with Grenning once more.

“I’ve been calling her every six months for five or six years now,” Grenning said Monday. “I have clients that want her work.”

After years of waiting, Grenning is excited to exhibit ten new works by Lamb in the Holiday Show.

“What she’s doing is she does these amazing still lives,” said the gallerist. “She’s very prolific. The thing she spends most of the time on is setting them up and deciding the composition. She’s got an excellent eye for design.”

Lamb puts more time into designing her work through the composition than she does with the actual execution, which Grenning says usually takes just a day or two.

“The irony of the classical realist movement,” says Grenning, “is the classical realists paint but they don’t extract themselves to remember why they’re painting and what they’re painting. They don’t think of the composition too much – the abstract design of the painting.”

Since the early days of the gallery, when Lamb was a recent art school graduate looking for a break, she has grown tremendously as an artist. In her first show at Grenning, her works sold for $6,000 tops. This weekend, they will sell for up to $25,000.

"Wherelwork" by

“Wherelwork” by Joe Altwer, 2013

As evidenced by the Holiday Show line-up, Grenning excels at finding and mentoring new artists. She found Joe Altwer when he was an assistant to Mark Dalessio, one of her gallery’s featured artists.

“He actually came to his first opening here on a skateboard,” she recalls of the young Altwer, adding that his paintings in the show are “very beautiful, very well done, very bright light…It’s all about the light reflecting around the room, it’s not so much about describing the objects in the room.”

"River View" by Daniel Graves

“River View” by Daniel Graves, 2013

In the Holiday Show, Daniel Graves will exhibit four new landscapes “inspired by the most lyrical and relaxed tonalists.” Work by Michael Kotasek, who has been likened to the prominent realist painter Andrew Wyeth but is, according to Grenning, “a lot more refined as a painter,” will also be displayed.

The show will feature a “very beautiful” piece of a glass of beer and a musical instrument by Kevin McEvoy, paintings of farmhouses at twilight and a moonrise by Kevin Sanders and an original nocturne of Sag Harbor by Greg Horwich.

And then, of course, there’s Lucas.

“I didn’t realize all the times I was talking with her that she was an avid artist,” said Grenning. As Lucas’s talent developed, she began bringing her oil paintings to the gallery for Grenning to critique.

“I find when Laura critiques my work,” said Lucas. “I really come away with clarity of how to make it better and at the same time, she makes you feel really good about what’s right – she’s a wonderful mentor.”

"Duck Walk" by Maryann Lucas, 2013

“Duck Walk” by Maryann Lucas, 2013

“I, for whatever reason, tell people exactly what I think of their paintings,” said Grenning. “Unless you’re really open to a serious critique it can be unpleasant. She took every observation that I had and responded like an unbelievable student. She had talent but she kind of reorganized herself aesthetically. It’s kind of exciting and apparently this is a longtime goal for her.”

Apparently. After bringing her work to Grenning last spring, Lucas made some changes, landing herself a spot in the Holiday Show, her first exhibit.

“I used to say to my daughters, we would say, ‘Do you think this painting is Grenning worthy’,” said Lucas. “Being in her gallery, this is my first – I guess it’s like a wish list…I’m thrilled and excited for the opportunity.”

The opening reception for the Holiday Show will be held at the Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street, on Saturday, November 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 725-8469 or visit Grenning Gallery.