The White Room Gallery Presents 'Naughty or Nice' in East Hampton
The White Room Gallery is getting into the holiday spirit this season with a special show exploring the duality of some of the artists in their stable of talent. Naughty or Nice is on view now through February 4 with an opening reception on Saturday, December 16 from 5–7 p.m. at their brand-new East Hampton gallery.
The exhibition features some 13 artists working in a variety of media, including painting, photography, sculpture and mixed media pieces demonstrating their playfully wicked sensibilities, as well as their kinder, gentler sides.
“We always do a holiday themed show, but this is the first time we’ve titled it Naughty or Nice,” explains White Room co-owner Andrea McCafferty. “We wanted to make it kind of holiday themed but also make you question some of the pieces,” McCafferty adds, noting that she and co-owner Kat O’Neill chose their provocative title and then found work from the collection, and the artists they represent, to fit the show. “We have an inventory of over 300 pieces, and from there we select pieces that fit the theme. But that being said, we choose titles that are kind of open-ended so there doesn’t have to be a definite theme — it can be open to interpretation.”
Among the highlights of this particular exhibition, which has an incredibly broad scope stylistically, is painter Michael Lotenero, who makes his White Room Gallery debut with three wonderfully painterly pieces that range from 72–102 inches on their largest edges. The gallerists describe his abstracted portrait “King of Cadaques” as a “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?”
“We just started representing him,” McCafferty says of Lotenero. “It’s amazing to see it in person, it’s very cool.”
On the Pop art side, the gallery has included two pieces by Rock Therrien, including “Aaugh!” — a kinetic cartoon image of Charlie Brown rotating atop a collage of pop culture icons and ephemera. Therrien’s second painting on view, “Flamin’ Hot,” presents an image of Hot Stuff, the little devil from Harvey Comics, also painted atop a collage, along with working yellow neon lights spelling out the words “Flamin’ Hot” built into the wood panel. It’s a solid representation of the Naughty theme.
Another Naughty collage, “Bombshell” by John Jospeh Hanright depicts a female figure in a bikini atop an American flag with stars, stripes and collaged elements from what appear to be vintage housekeeping magazines.
“Hanright is a Boston artist and he does Pop art and a lot of mixed media, collage and painting on wood panels, and then they are covered in resin,” McCafferty says. “He’s kind of got a nostalgia for vintage and the past as well, so he incorporates that into his work,” she continues, pointing out that the artist has a collection of old magazines he uses in his work.
Also fitting the Naughty side of this show is Markus Klinko’s sexy “Lady Gaga” portrait of the pop icon in fishnet stockings, heels, Carnivale mask and a well-placed Hello Kitty purse posed alongside a bust of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn, the third son of Queen Victoria and the only British prince to serve as governor of Canada.
Joseph Kraham’s “The Joker” is a sepia-toned mosaic of Heath Ledger’s Joker from Christopher Nolan’s 2008 film The Dark Knight composed of flat LEGO bricks. “He paints a lot of the LEGO so they’re custom colored and he places them afterwards,” McCafferty explains. “It’s amazing, you get close to it and you don’t recognize the image, and then obviously if you stand back it comes into focus.”
Overall, the “Nice” seems less defined in this exhibition, but there are a number of works, like Lotenero’s paintings, that don’t feel Naughty, so they may be included among the Nice by default.
Kevin Barret’s bronze sculpture, “Achilles,” represents the Greek hero of the Trojan War and character in Homer’s Iliad, while Paul D. Fuentes offers photoreal images of controversial actor John Wayne — who is a hero to many and a villain to others — as well as women who appear to be supermodels talking on cellphones as disasters unfold behind them.
All together, these and the other works on view, create a brilliant holiday show worth visiting in East Hampton this season.
“When you come in it looks stunning, it’s amazing. Again, we’re representing a few new artists, which is always nice to bring to our roster, and we’re loving our new space in East Hampton,” McCafferty says, noting that the new White Room Gallery is bigger than the Bridgehampton space they left behind, but it has different sized areas for visitors to experience.
The new White Room Gallery is located at 3 Railroad Avenue in East Hampton. Call 631-237-1481 or visit thewhiteroom.gallery for more info and images of all the works in Naughty or Nice.