What do you get when you mix paintings that engage with playful imagery and thought bubbles of “A martini and a designer purse will make it all better”, “But I’m a first-class girl….I can’t fly coach”, “You know me darling, wine first…talk later” with butterflies and petals created from a transformative spin with a vibrant color palette that pays homage to fashion greats Alexander McQueen and John Paul Gautier with compositions that feature a cast of world-famous characters arranged to bemuse and entertain with a troupe of tiny painted figures to illuminate the power of people coming together to create something bigger than themselves?
SPARK. The latest exhibit at The White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton.
We have all heard the expression a spark of inspiration. That spark is what gives each artist a voice, their signature. The artists noted above, Nelson De La Nuez, PunkMeTender, FRINGE and Craig Alan are all renowned in the pop arena as their respective fine art celebrates what magazines, films, comics, advertisements and symbols resonated in the psyche of the masses in the 1950’s and 60’s in England and America.
Pop Art also celebrates fame and no one does that better than Russell Young with his diamond dust portraits of Marilyn Monroe crying in Blind Red, Kate Moss holding a teddy bear with childlike innocence in Wild Mauve and Black, James Dean smoking a cigarette in black and white oblivious to the fact that he and a man named Turnupseed would soon share a page in history and Bridget Bardot in Tropez Royal Bleu gazing off perhaps remembering her first love Roger Vadim who nearly cost her her life before he made her a sex symbol.
As we stroll the exhibit, we find two painters whose spark of inspiration could not be more disparate. Edward Lentsch’s abstract paintings explore the connection between the realms of science and mysticism, the metaphysical and the spiritual, while British painter, Dave White, famous for starting the sneaker art movement in 2002, finds his inspiration in nature making a flamingo look beautiful, dare we say alluring, even with those sticklike legs.
Inspiration through the lens is another compelling component of SPARK. Fashion photographer Greg Lotus and celebrity photographer Markus Klinko create female-centric, wonderfully staged narratives where the viewer is invited to imagine the beginning or end of the story while underwater photographer Barbara Cole captures the fluidity and grace of figures in motion and local photographers Lynn Savarese and Bob Tabor navigate the often-overlooked splendor of the splash and the peony.
There is a warmth and joy to this exhibit, right down to the sculptures as one of Steve Zaluski’s dangles a heart as another has figures dancing as they hold up the world. Then there is Ukrainian artist Lina Condes’ sculpture of a Kiss Throwing Emoji and the locally renowned artist Sasson Soffer’s stainless steel Tea Party. A tea party in the purest sense before the term became a politically conservative movement.
All these inspirations come together with a powerful pulse of humanity to not only, in some way, partly embody that one day of the year that just celebrates love but to also bear witness. Witness the artists’ intent in what they wanted to say, but also in what they hoped to SPARK in the viewer, as in what was heard.