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Hamptons Art Scene Shines

Originally Posted: November 20, 2007

Nicole B. Brewer

The art scene was cookin' all over the Hamptons this weekend! And it was a departure from the usual fare both in the works shown and the wines and nibbles offered. In Southampton, Agnes Ehrenreich of Chrysalis Gallery hosted a lovely landscape show of small works by such local and regional favorites as Larry Johnston, Christine Gordon, Howard Rose, Samuel Emler, and husband and wife artists George Xiong and Duoling Huang. Many of the works focused on familiar East End locations - always fun to guess exactly which beach or field was portrayed.

Larry Johnston and Agnes Ehrenreich at Chrysalis Gallery. Photo by John Wegorzewski

A table overflowing with tasty tidbits from Greenport's Hellenic Restaurant was a welcome change from the usual cheese platters and peanuts. Crunchy cheese and spinach pastry puffs, spicy meatballs Greek style, and a wide assortment of Greek and Macedonian olives made for a hearty meal as we started our rounds. We had informative chats with the owner's husband Marty Ehrenreich, artist Gayle Tudisco and her husband Guy, and Christine McFall among others.

Up the road to Good Conscience Gallery, we arrived to a packed house of well-known local artists, all getting primed for the holiday season. Eileen Heffernan Ferrante and Christine Chew organized a group show that ranged from David Bunn Martine's bold portraits of Native Americans to Michael Knigin's amusing surrealistic photos.

Martine, who grew up and resides at the Shinnecock Indian Reservation paints with powerful and emotionally evocative realism. His work reflects and describes the Native American culture and history. Also featured are sculptor John Phillip Capello, who carves masterful pieces from different kinds of stone, works by Joan Kraisky, collages of Christine Chew Smith, assemblage and sculpture of Lynne Heffner Ferrante, and the ocean scenes of Sally Breen. As always at Good Conscience Gallery, there is a worthy cause involved, in this case "Tennis and the Gospel," an organization which supports youth and families through tennis. A portion of sales will go directly to the organization.

Lena Yaramenko, Christine Chew, and Lynne Heffernan Ferrante at Good Conscience
Gallery. Photo by John Wegorzewski

Catching up with artist Roz Dimon whose digitalized drawings always fascinate with their dream like quality, we learned that early in the summer, she had participated along with our friends Patrick McMullan, Jean-Claude, and Christo and 60 other artists in a group show to benefit the Center Against Domestic Violence. Her work "Madeline #11", a drawing on paper of a woman reclining, was composed on her computer and commanded the highest auction price at the event. Dimon is chief creative officer of the web design company RDA. The Brooklyn-based organization raised more than $100,000 at its second annual art auction and plans to use the funds for a children's summer art program.

On hand to do their bit for Good Conscience and their friends the artists were James Dawson, Lena Yaramenko and a good portion of the Tarrant family - Lisa, Tina, Waban, and Matauqas!

Thanks to the always in the know curator Esperanza Leon, we were able to attend a special preview of the new Vignoli Gallery in Sag Harbor which will open officially with a gala reception this coming weekend. The upper floors of the historic Christy Building on Main Street have been stripped down to their gleaming natural wood boards and the rooms have been adorned with trims, mantel and artifacts saved from other historical buildings - a rustic setting for the works of the two Vignoli brothers, Alex and Fernando, as well as a group of Latin American artists championed by Esperanza.

Jasmin and Alex Vignoli at the Vignoli Gallery in Sag Harbor. Photo by John

After an hour of perusing the extraordinary works, the group moved to the cozy upstairs living room where Brazilian guitarist Zooga Malaga was strumming soft Boss Nova tunes and old Brazilian folk song. Singing along with Zooga were a host of Brazilians and Norte Americanos including gallery co-owner Norma Sueli, Zaida Dishy with her beautiful daughter Gabriella, Lucas Neves, Jasmin, Beto Girardi, Jose Peixoto, Mario Capelli, Cuca Romley, Dolores and Frank Berraffto, Blanca Ricardo, and Terry McCulley. The brandy and cigars were soon pulled out and at least a half dozen of the ladies joined in smoking the huge Dominican and Nat Sherman cigars and cigarettellos that Jose magically pulled out of his portable humidor. Chatting with Gabriella Dishy, the teenage daughter of the late composer Victor Dishy and niece of well know character Bob Dishy, we learned the Friends Seminary student is trying to produce her father's last musical - and she's only fourteen!

Do not miss their opening - the Brazilians know how to party!

If you'd like to get into the holiday spirit quickly and experience a little of the different celebrations that are part of our diverse community then you must make a visit to the Southampton Historical Museum for their new show "Decembers, Past and Present", a unique look at the way in which the various ethnic communities in Southampton celebrate the holidays be it Kwanzaa, Christmas, Harvest, or Chanukah!

Tom Edmonds and Dorie Coleman at the "Decembers, Past and Present" event at
the Southampton Historical Museum. Photo by John Wegirzewski

In his continuing effort to make the Museum relevant to the community and increase participation from our neighbors, Executive Director Tom Edmonds organized a wonderful exhibition that not only drew in a new audience but welcomed their input on the displays. The result is an enchanting series of holiday tables, trees, historical photos and displays that might be seen in a typical home in the Village yet representing the unique traditions and customs of Poland, Italy, Paraguay, Colombia, Mexico, Greece, Peru, England, The Shinnecock Nation, North America and more!

This year the spotlight was on Poland - no surprise as Southampton and particularly Riverhead boosts one of the largest Polish communities outside of Krakow - and one of the drawing rooms in the Rogers Mansion was turned into a display of Christmas Eve dinner in a Polish home. The table was elegantly set with Polish china and the crystal for which the country is so admired. Overhead hung a traditional Pajak, a paper chandelier, often made during the long, cold winter evenings from string, straw, colored paper and bits of woods. On a wall hung a traditional Blessing Box and throughout the room there were vintage family photos from Pat Corrigan whose family has deep roots in Poland.

Another wall featured photos of Polish immigrants collected by the Riverhead Savings Bank as a means of identification as many of the newly arrived immigrants could neither speak nor write English. Our lovely guide Bozenna Gilbride explained that the photos were discovered some years ago when the building was vacated and the bank turned them over to the Polish Immigrant Museum in Riverhead.

In the front parlor, The St. Maximillian Kole Polish Dancers, in full native Polish costume, kicked up their heels in an exhibition of traditional folk dances from around the Polish countryside.

The Hall of the Americas features vibrantly colored displays from North and South of the Border - Mexico, Columbia, Paraguay, and glittering replicas of ancient Peruvian icons. But it was the dining room with its groaning table laden with traditional sweets and treats from all the countries represented and made by local residents that drew the crowds. The cooks were also present to explain the dishes they had prepared - a wonderful way to communicate our differences in custom and at the same time our common bond.

Seth Nagdeman of MansionArt.com, Diane Fanelli, artist Ivan Jenson, and Jodie
Fanelli at the National Arts Club. Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

Congratulations to Tom Edmonds, the event committee and all the families especially the Arce, Corrigan, Ruiz, Zamprano families and others who helped recreate their own holiday customs for our mutual understanding. The exhibition continues through Jan. 5, so hurry on over before you get caught in the holiday whirlwind.

Back in Manhattan on a rainy and cold Friday evening it was colorful and exciting inside the National Arts Club where Mansion Art, an online art auction house, hosted a preview party for contemporary artist Ivan Jenson. Hosts Sharon Bush, Somers Farkas, Aldon James, Elaine Sargent, Michele Gerber Klein, and Roger Webster previewed the portraits in the Sculpture Room, which was packed full of guests. On display were Ivan's two distinct styles of paintings, Colorism and Painterly. About halfway through the evening, artist Ivan spontaneously started drawing portraits of many of the guests including Michelle Marie Heinemann, Michele Gerber Klein, and Sharon Bush. Feeding off the enthusiasm in the room, Ivan drew a portrait on Emma Snowden-Jones, who wore a low cut back, and on the arm of Sandra Navidi. Rave reviews were given to Mansion Art CEO, Seth Nagdeman for his dedication to Ivan's work.

The collection includes forty unique portraits of art world figures and collectors, including Jack Nicholson, Keith Richards, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Dali. The auction runs online at MansionArt.com through Dec. 7. Among the guests praising Ivan's work were: Aldon James, Elaine Sargent, Jon Heinemann, Tina Louise, Liz Derringer and her dog Jasmine, Mark W. Smith, Harriette Rose Katz, Michel Witmer, Dr. Mark Warfel, Colette, Kristian Laliberte, Silvio Censale, Kate Knoop, and Sal Strazzullo along with Diane and Jodie Fanelli.

Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com HamptonsOnline NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer

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