June 10th - July 3rd | 2017
The Grenning Gallery is overjoyed to invite the community to attend the Opening Reception of Stephen Hannock Solo Show on Saturday, June 10th from 6:30 – 8 pm. This show will hang until July 2nd, 2017.
The Grenning Gallery is honored to be hosting an exhibit of works by the vaunted American painter Stephen Hannock (b. 1951) this month. Respected as one of the most revolutionary landscape painters in his generation, Hannocks love of the great Hudson Valley painters is evident in his work. His use of modern materials and practices distinguishes him from the normal Grenning Gallery fare. The luminosity and depth of his work stands up to any Old Master or 19th Century Master that we have ever seen, but with an added modernity – employing the use of innovative materials and collage to tie it all together. Hannock’s work can be found at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum, Smithsonian Museum, The National Gallery, the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, and the MFA in Houston, as well as the collections of Yale, Princeton, Harvard Universities and Bowdoin College. He has had solo shows in New York and across the country since 1985, and is currently represented by Marlborough Gallery, which has a global presence.
Flooded River with Red Maple (Mass MoCA #241) at 44 x 72 inches is the big scale star of this Stephen Hannock solo show as it demonstrates his ability to create a luminous evocative painting, with the rich warm sunrise tones peeking through mist, which is rising into the teal blue morning sky. In this work, Hannock explains that he is commenting on seasonal sweeping away of debris gathered over the winter, which is an annual event. Rather than looking at the devastation one can see in a flood, he prefers to think about the cleansing ramifications.
There is a wonderful series of smaller paintings from the rocket series, inspired by Whistlers rocket paintings. Hannock says he is fascinated by and working to capture the quickly moving light BEFORE the starburst…it was the anticipation of the crescendo that he wanted to paint. Incendiary Nocturne with Stormy Sea at 48 x 40 inches evokes this excitement in its portrayal of several streaking rockets.
We are especially pleased to be featuring a selection of gems from Hannock’s ongoing Ophelia series. In an homage to the effective storytelling compositions of the Pre-Raphaelite painters, Hannock is mid-stream in his exploration of the Ophelia theme. Lovesick and caught in a web of deceit, the classic Ophelia falls from a weeping willow into the waters and drowns…or did she leap? Hannocks more contemporary reference in the painting Flooded Oxbow for Ophelia 5 ½ x 6 5/8 inches, features beautiful and moody images lifted from Gregory Crowdsons Ophelia, which portrays a woman floating in the living room of a flooded suburban home. He is also including references to Kiki Smiths Ophelia.. It was Hannocks deep pain from seeing his wife lying in the hospital bed, in total confinement after her stroke that connected him to Ophelia. This experience created a profound understanding of the vulnerability of women and their need for protection and support from men and yes…other women too. The feminist theme underlying this heartfelt inspiration has become a far more universal topic over the last 6 months.
July 8th to July 23rd | 2017
A Preview of Nelson H. Whites Solo Exhibition that opens on Saturday, July 8th, 2017.
May 13th - June 4th | 2017
The Grenning Gallery is pleased to invite the community to attend the Opening Reception of Morfis | Bretzke, a two-person show on Saturday, May 13th from 6 – 7:30 pm. This show will hang until June 4thth, 2017.
Carl Bretzke (b. 1954) In this, his first two-person show here at the Grenning Gallery, Bretzkes star is rising. He has been able to paint in Sag Harbor, and is best known for his recent series of the movie theatre façade, being the last artist to paint it from life this past November, a month before it burned down. We have prints available of this painting The Last Show. Bretzkes work is growing in quality and depth, which is evidenced by this interesting collection of familiar American life scenes. Most notably we love Exxon Ford, which is a Hopperesque take on Sag Harbors new gas station, portraying a 1970s pale blue car in the foreground and the bright night lights of the gas station island flooding down in the background. We also love the purple clouds in Boatyard Sunset as well as the very intimate understanding of a snowy road found in North.
Bretzke explains his work clearly when he says Mark Jenkins, of The Washington Post (Feb 20, 2015), once described my work as simultaneously intimate and detached…with a style that recalls Edward Hopper and the Ashcan School. This was an appropriate assessment in that Hopper and Bellows are two of my personal favorites from history. I am attracted to work like theirs that depicts familiar images of everyday life with a somewhat undefined narrative that involves the viewer on a slightly different level. Although I most recently have been known as a Plein Air painter, I don’t think of myself as a single category artist. I spend equal time in the studio developing larger and somewhat more complex work. Many friends and teachers in the contemporary art world have been influential to my work including St. Paul artist Joe Paquet and Florence artist Ben Fenske.
Bretzke has garnered countless awards in plein air contests around the country is represented by Grenning Gallery and three others across the country, and has been covered extensively in the art press.
We are very pleased to be hosting the fourth show for John Morfis (b.1976), who is also one of our rising talents. His eye for subject and composition, combined with an excellent classically trained hand, leads us to a fascinating series of single object tromp Loeil paintings. Growing up on Long Island, in a family of talented tradespeople, his reverent focus on tools of trade make perfect sense. This collection of paintings has a nautical and fishing theme, with many single lures, some oar anchors and a fabulous painting of a life jacket.
Morfis attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Hartford University where he was able to study under the highly respected American realist, Stephen Brown. Since then he also achieved his Master of Science in Art Education from Connecticut State University. Morfis work has been shown in the New Britain Museum of American Art, has won several painting awards, and has been covered in Fine Art Connoisseur magazine and American Art Collector magazine.
April 8th to May 7th | 2017
The Grenning Gallery is pleased to invite the community to attend the Opening Reception of Lucas | Bauman, a two-person show on Saturday, April 8th from 6 – 7:30 pm. This show will hang until May 7th, 2017.
Driven by a force outside of herself, Maryann Lucas is the up and coming Sag Harbor based painter to watch. This show marks a step up in her career, featuring a body of work that speaks to a broader and deeper connection with the power that drives her to paint.
Harnessing the beauty and the truth that she finds when observing nature directly, Lucas exuberance for color is being deftly expressed in this fresh series of still lives created in her new studio. The elegant restraint in Lucas’s new paintings is a compelling shift in her work. Through simplifying the backgrounds and muting the tones, she leads the viewer closer to her delight in the vibrancy of life, as their eye finds the intense color found in the focal point. This technique is highly effective whether she’s leading us to the rich and deep hues found in a bouquet of mid-summer flowers, as in Joyful Bouquet or it’s as simple as the vibrant yellow egg yolk in Egg-centric Circles. Our favorite painting can be found on the postcard aptly named Pink Swirl, which is a celebration of the spray of tulip blossoms, which glow against the deliberately cool toned setting that Lucas has chosen.
I know that I am in the presence of something beautiful when it steals my breath, silences my mind, pushes out everything else and draws me in. I trust THAT. I use THAT to guide my hands… explains Lucas.
Having studied painting with some of the leading painters in New York in the 80s and 90s and most recently, Michael Klein, Ben Fenske and Ramiro, we see a very interesting New York Paint School expressionism combined with the more refined palette of some of the countrys leading classically trained representational artists. Lucas work is far from illusionistic but her sophisticated use of color and tone and composition speaks to a working knowledge of the classical tradition. The combination of the late 20th century and early 21st century traditions make Maryann Lucas a very interesting local painter that we intend to follow.
Stephen Bauman (b.1980) is returning to the Grenning Gallery after a decade of developing his career overseas. Bauman, a New York resident since last summer, has spent the last ten years honing his very original visual voice, while working in ateliers in Italy and Sweden. Bauman’s eternally original and introspective expression makes him well poised to make his mark on the art scene, especially now that he is living and working in the New York area. We have always been drawn to his original and deeply felt paintings and drawings, having first shown him back in 2006 when he was only 25 years old.
The emotional intensity found in Baumans figurative work is astounding. A hallmark of Bauman’s character portraits is that, somehow, the subjects gaze mysteriously extends beyond the plane of the canvas to connect directly with the viewer. This is what originally caught our attention 12 years ago; it has always been the case with his work, and it is again evidenced clearly in his Portrait of Mia, featured on the postcard for this show. Growing up in Miami as a street artist, although seemingly miles away from his current aesthetic, explains the graphic sensibility which distinguishes him from many of his fellow travelers in the classically trained artist world. Bauman’s unyielding interest in the many levels of reality is clearly explored in his recent mystical landscapes Twilight and Sunset at Sagamore. We are very pleased to be working with Bauman again, and we see these select works as only an appetizer of what is to come, as he settles into his new studio here in New York.
February 4th - March 5th | 2017
Please join us for the Opening Reception for Expanding Tradition: The Journey of the African-American Artist on Saturday, February 4th, from 5:30 - 7pm at the Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street, Sag Harbor. The exhibition hangs until March 5th. The Grenning Gallery will be donating 10% of profits from all opening day sales to the Eastville Community Historical Society, in support of their 6-week summer art camp for school-age children.
To celebrate Black History Month, we will be showcasing the works of remarkable Black artists, who have mastered the classical techniques that Grenning Gallery has consistently championed for the past 20 years. Institutional recognition of the African-American artist has lagged behind their actual contribution, across the board, and we seek to offset that in our classical eddy of the art world. Few African-American artists have been given major solo museum shows, and works by 19th and 20th century African-American artists are generally undervalued by the art market relative to those by white artists of equal standing. Only a handful of Black artists - Mark Bradford, Glenn Ligon, and Julie Mehretu to name a few, have made it into the upper reaches of the market with works that fetch millions of dollars at auction. While museums slowly work towards the advancement of racial diversity in the art world, certain private galleries like Jack Shainman Gallery and Papillion Art are beacons of support that serve this under-represented group. And this month, in our small way, the Grenning Gallery is doing our best by showcasing emerging and mid-career African-American Artists.
This show was inspired by and curated with Andree MiChelle who is a local African-American writer launching her latest book Escape Under Cover: The Ola Mae Story this month. In this young persons novel, MiChelle writes about how the Underground Railroad used specific quilts hanging in front of their homes to signal to those travelling up North towards freedom. Escape Under Cover is MiChelles third novel. MiChelle, a native of Riverhead, New York was the Grenning Gallerys first Gallery Manager in the very early days almost 20 years ago and she has remained a dear friend of our artists and our mission ever since. The Grenning Gallery will host her book signing on February 18th.
Featured artists include:
Mario Robinson (b. 1970) who has shown with the Grenning Gallery is back with amazingly elegant and personal watercolors. He is an avid student of realism, has studied the work of the Old Masters, along with 19th and 20th century American artists, at the prestigious Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Robinson has been shown in many galleries across the country and is considered one of the countries top realist painters of African American subjects.
Marios paintings tell a story; and his narrative is about lifes simplicity. Having grown up in Oklahoma, Robinson is familiar with the slow-paced ritualistic lifestyles of the South - looking forward to the Friday night football-game at the local school, or habitually attending Sunday mass. He claims that in the South, they do a lot of just sitting, and observing. His subjects are often contemplative; some are painted with their eyes closed. This is the mood of the church, solemn and peaceful. If people are going to live with my art, Id like to give them a little bit of that peace.
George Morton (b. 1983) has overcome many hurdles, a ray of light to those who know him, and his story is an inspirational one that needs to be told. We first found out about him when his story was mentioned at the Florence Academy Board meeting, as the top teachers in New York were asking for donations to help underwrite his tuition so he could continue studying. We supported him and continue to encourage others to support him, based just on his journey so far. However, we are deeply gratified to see that his work is extraordinary, evidenced by the fact that we have put his drawing on the cover of our invitation. Although just starting out his career, Morton has also shown with Arcadia Gallery in California.
Morton was raised in a poverty stricken and drug-infested household, in Kansas City, Missouri. He did the best he could, but his best landed him in prison at the age of 19 with an 11-year prison sentence for a first-time drug offense. As Morton explains It was in prison that I discovered my artistic purpose in life, and it was then and there I started working hard to develop it. Once released, Morton created The George Morton Project; a Kickstarter account that raised over $14,000 to help fund his enrollment at the Florence Academy of Art branch in New York. His goal is not only to be the best fine artist he can be, but also to launch an apprenticeship program to youths who grew up in disadvantaged communities like his. Per Morton, It is my belief that we all have limitless potential. No one told me this when I was growing up!
Philip Smallwood (b. 1957) is known for his signature watercolor painting, which he calls Lifescapes - a powerful form of portraiture and visual narrative. Smallwood portrays the subject within his or her natural environment, carefully manipulated to evoke an emotional connection with the viewer. His subjects are people most viewers would ignore or overlook as unimportant. Smallwood takes these subjects and puts them center stage. In 212° F, as examined by Megan Toy, sales associate at Grenning Gallery, Smallwood presents to us a man, posted-up against a graffiti embellished wall. This subject is very familiar to us, an urban gargoyle one would simply pass by, with conscious rejection. The sidewalk is no longer a runway for one to strut towards a destination, but a designated hangout for our inert subject. We are forced to not only acknowledge him, but accept him, as he stands a stance which asserts supremacy in the realm that is his. Smallwoods watercolor paintings have been sought out for solo and group exhibitions from prestigious galleries and museums including The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton and The Hammonds House Museum in Atlanta.
Jas Knight (b. 1977) is returning to Grenning Gallery for his third show, hes a Brooklyn resident but a Bloomfield, Connecticut native. He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of the Fine Arts where he received his BFA. Knight beautifully combines traditional 16th and 17th century realist painting techniques with contemporary black subjects. He has shown his work in Philadelphia at Seraphin Gallery and Sande Webster Gallery, and in 2015 he debuted his first solo exhibition at Bill Hodges Gallery in New York City.
Roger Beckles (b. 1958) is a Barbados native and realist painter whose experiences in his homeland as well as in the U.S. contributed to his active pursuits in the arts. After receiving a formal education at the School of Visual Arts, Beckles entrenched himself in a love affair with oil painting which has continued throughout his career. Beckles has been exhibited in New York at institutions including The Cultural Museum of African Art, Clovers Fine Art Gallery and Stricoff Fine Art.
James Hoston (b. 1963) a native of Freeport, Long Island, is a well-versed painter of classicism, having studied at SUNY Farmingdale, Pratt Institute, and the New York Academy of Art. Hoston has been a celebrated painter since his diploma painting Universal Injustice, which was received with rave reviews, and swayed a feature in American Artists magazine as an emerging artist. Looking over Hostons resume leaves one impressed, illustrating for Marvel Comics, Scholastic, McElderry books, McGraw Hill Publishing, and even assisting the world-renowned artist Jeff Koons on his Celebration series of paintings. Hoston has shown at Hirschl & Adler Modern, the Society of Illustrators, and the Atlantic City Museum Gallery.
Irvin Rodriguez (b. 1988) is a native of Bronx, New York. While working towards his BFA in illustration at Fashion Institute of Technology, Rodriguez studied simultaneously at the Grand Central Academy, where he concentrated on classical painting techniques. His practice is centered on painting, primarily figurative work that is grounded in reality. Painterly brushwork and moments of abstraction are utilized to explore these narratives and ideas. The work serves as a vehicle to investigate the figure, art history, race and identity.
Grenning Gallery is collaborating with the Eastville Community Historical Society (ECHS) in efforts to promote black culture on the East End. The ECHS, founded in 1981, has worked to preserve historical sites in Sag Harbor, and tell the story of their abolitionist ancestors. The society formed out of concern for the St. David AME Zion Church. Widely believed to be a stop along the Underground Railroad, the church was built in its original location in 1839 by African-Americans and Native Americans on Eastville Avenue. The ECHS most recent project was installing a fence around the churchs cemetery. With support from the Sag Harbor Partnership along with private donations, they reached their $24,000 goal, and installed a steel fence to secure sanctity and repel vandals in December 2016. If you would like to make a donation directly please go to their website or call the Executive Director, Georgette Grier-Key, at 631-735-4711. The Eastville Community Historical Society headquarters is located at Heritage House: 139 Hampton Street, Sag Harbor, NY, 11963.
December 10th | 2016
The Grenning Gallery is pleased to invite the public to its annual Holiday party and Opening Reception for the new show Miracle on Madison Street at Christys Building Art Center, 3 Madison Street (Sag Harbor), a Grenning Gallery Pop-up. Please join us on Saturday, December 10th, 2016 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm. The show hangs through to the New year. Excited about our new expanded space in the Christys Building Art Center, Miracle on Madison Street, will show the very best major works by Grenning Gallerys core artists. This exhibition will be spiced up with some brand-new paintings and even a few new artists!
Given the extensive gallery space, we are featuring major figurative works by Ben Fenske and Ramiro, and masterful landscapes by Marc Dalessio. Featured in this months American Art Collector section on figurative art, Ramiro has been with the gallery since it first opened its doors in December on Greene Street in SoHo, NYC. His sophisticated figurative paintings are a cornerstone to the Grenning Gallerys rich spectrum of work. The most recent works, Hymn, and Allegory to Chopin (Nocturne), offer two examples of Poetic Realism. Ben Fenskes current series, the Bea Nudes, are examples of what a great living painter can create within the figurative realm. We will also feature the commanding landscapes by one of the worlds leading plein air painters and bloggers, Marc Dalessio, who recently returned to Italy after several years of in Croatia.
A work that fully expresses and articulates Dalessios rediscovery of Italy is Giudecca in Winter, where the artist eschews well-trod locales of Venice in favor of a small district, an island unto itself, separated by a canal. Further, where paintings of Venice are usually organized in horizontal lines, here we see and feel the solitude and isolation of the square on this damp, overcast day with the vertical lines of a chimney, a few trees, lampposts, and pilings poking out of the water--if not exactly a revisionist perspective, a decidedly personal one.
Miracle on Madison Street will also exhibit selected plein-air works from the Russian – American Alliance artists, Oleg Zhuravlev, Viktor Butko, Olga Karpacheva, and Irina Rybakova, as well as Carl Bretzke.
The exhibition cover image, First Snow, is a lush example of Irina Rybakovas (b. 1962 in Vyshny Volochok) famously expressive plein-air landscape painting. This famous Russians painters work is found in museums and collections both in Russia and abroad.
Named by Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine as one artist of Three to Watch in the latest, Carl Bretzkes career as a professional painter is approaching exciting milestones. Bretzke has put in enough hours at the easel to get his work consistently noticed in the art world, and his recent achievements – including winning the grand prize in the 2016 Plein Air Magazine Salon Competition – are allowing him to conclude his career as an interventional radiologist and devote the rest of his life to art. After Bretzkes success in The Russian-American Painting Alliance exhibition, Grenning Gallery decided to represent him as a full-time painter.
We are also showing brand new works by Maryann Lucas, Edwina Lucas, and Nelson White. We are also introducing a promising young painter who also happens to be a graduate student of Russian literature at Columbia University. Benjamin Lussier has many smaller delightful local plein air paintings priced under $1000, which would make nice stocking stuffers!
November 5th - December 4th | 2016
The Grenning Gallery is pleased to invite the public to an opening reception on Saturday, November 5th, 2016 from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. The show will hang until December 4th.
The Grenning Gallery, with Ben Fenkes guidance and leadership, is hosting the Russian – American Painting Alliance Exhibition, which is showcasing the works from a budding relationship between the two nations painters. This loose group initially formed several years ago, on an invitational plein air painting trip to Russia.
Fenske was inspired to share our amazing landscapes with his new Russian friends, so he organized a painting foray to Maine and Sag Harbor this month. Most of these painters have never been to the United States, so we expect very fresh eyes! They all met a few years ago, when the Russia sponsored a group of painters living in Italy to paint in the hometown of Levitan, arguably the most famous 19th century Russian landscape painter. The Grenning Gallery is fortunate to be hosting four of Russia’s most notable painters for the outdoor painting excursion this month to Mount Desert Island, Deer Island Maine and Sag Harbor. Their trip culminates in this exhibition some of the finest works done in nature. We are delighted to introduce, Olga Karpacheva, Viktor Butko, Irina Rybakova, and Oleg Zhuravlev. They join Ben Fenske and several other notable American plein air painters; Carl Bretzke, Stapleton Kearns, Leo Mancini Hresko, Tim McGuire, and Jesse Powell.
Oleg Zhuravlev (b. 1981 in Furmanov) is a highly praised painter in Russia. He has been granted many native awards, including the Gold Medal of the All-Russian Exhibition, “Symbols of the Fatherland” held in Moscow in 2014.
Olga Karpacheva (b. 1974 in Vologda, USSR) is a well-known painter and her paintings have been displayed in numerous exhibitions throughout Russia. Her work can be found in 5 Russian museums, including the Intinskiy Regional Studies Museum, Volga State Museum and Conservation Ground, and the regional museums of Vytegda, Tot’ma, and Ystyuzhna.
Victor Butko (b. 1978 in Moscow) was born into a long line of artists, and has been mentored in painting since the age of 8. He is currently the youngest artist exhibiting at Thomas Kearns McCarthey Gallery, one of the foremost dealers in the United States for Russian Impressionist art. Older Russian impressionist artists, Alexei and Sergei Tkachev (they are brothers) claim Butko’s work is the “….next generation of greatness.”
Irina Rybakova (b. 1962 in Vyshny Volochok) is a famous Russian master of landscape. The image of the Russian village and the village worker are her dearest subjects. Her art is appreciated in museums and collections both in Russia and abroad.
We are also introducing some new American painters as well, who will be joining our Ben Fenske and Leo Mancini-Hresko.
Stapleton Kearns (b. 1952, Minnesota) is an essential link to the only bastion of classicism in the United States during the second half of the 20th century. Like most in his generation, when Kearns came of age in the early 70s, there was little or no technical instruction available at his university. Frustrated, he sought out Ives Gammell’s famous Fenway studios in Boston. True to generous ethos embedded in the Atelier culture, Stape (as his friends call him) has openly shared his refined knowledge through a widely followed blog and he teaches workshops throughout the country.
Tim McGuire (b. 1971) Born in 1971, Tim McGuire grew up in Buffalo, NY. After teaching kindergarten in Los Angeles for 10 years, McGuire moved to Florence, Italy where he studied painting. McGuires work has been exhibited in The United States, The United Kingdom, Italy, Russia, and Canada. McGuire lives and paints in Florence.
Jesse Powell (b. 1977 in Los Angeles California) is an award winning painter, who has a BFA from University of Puget Sound, but most interestingly studied under notable Russian painters Nicholai Dubovnik and Ilya Yatsenko as well as John Wundeman in the Republic of Georgia. Influenced by the Californian and other American Impressionists, Powell has won many awards and been exhibited in numerous regional galleries and museums. He is currently the only living artist to have work accepted by the Irvine Museum.
All of these wonderful painters display an artistry and sensitivity in their depiction of Russias beautiful landscape and people. It will be fascinating to see what happens when they turn their Russian eyes onto our Northeastern coastal landscape.
October 6th - October 30th | 2016
August 27th - September 25th | 2016
Please join us for the Opening Reception for Ramiro and Melissa Franklin Sanchez Show on Saturday August 27th, from 6:00 to 7:30pm at the Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street, Sag Harbor. The exhibition hangs until September 25th.
Ramiro (b. 1974), originally a classically trained musician, brings us a lyrical series of spiritual figurative paintings this year. Hymn is an homage to the way one expresses their spiritual elations through song. The young womans face belies ecstasy as she levitates above the Earth into the abstract realm of spirituality. Red and yellow hues streak the atmosphere below, depicting her passion and complete envelopment in the musical manifestation of a higher power. This breakthrough work by Ramiro merges his highly refined classical figurative narrative with an abstract background, creating a 21st century religious painting. It also recalls the sculpture Ecstasy of Saint Theresa by Bernini in Rome, which describes the intense joy of spiritual elation, attainable only when one relinquishes the worldly plane. Also technically, Hymn is a virtuosic work with the foreshortened legs and face.
In Allegory of Painting Ramiro has painted a girl who is in the middle of making a painting– in keep with tradition of similarly titled historical works, the subject is symbolic of the art of painting. It is as if she has materialized out of the painting that she is making, which is on the easel behind her. Its a fitting nod to ones idea of themselves as they approach middle age, the picture of ones life emerges from the abstract plans we make.
Allegory of Chopin (Nocturne) is as simple and pure as it sounds. Ramiro has used the subject of a rapturous beautiful young women to convey the emotions he feels when listening to the Chopin nocturnes, which are classically inspired but very experimental and unresolved. Again, he finds a way to paint his souls reaction to beauty. To round out the show, Ramiro has produced a series of glorious beach umbrella landscapes from the coast of Tuscany in addition to several Hamptons scenic paintings.
Ramiro has also had an amazing year working on a commission to decorate the Saint Bede Catholic Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. He is also working on a private chapel commission, as he finds himself drawn towards more spiritual subjects.
Melissa Franklin Sanchez (b. 1984) exhibits her latest work, created in her new hometown, Fiesole. Her sought after gem-like interiors are inspired by the likes of Hammershoi, with their dramatic lighting and deep sense of intimacy. Summer Light our favorite, sold before it even got a label put on it! Also, Franklin Sanchez made an important shift to painting on aluminum panels for technical reasons. While the copper is a warm toned base, it is also heavy and difficult to find large panels. There are also the final two candle paintings on copper, which literally glow. Franklin Sanchezs Collecting Memories harkens back to the finest Dutch still lives. We see a bolder more confident landscape painter, with two especially strong works Forget-me-not and Fiesole Sunset. This group of paintings clearly shows an artist inspired by her new environment and we look forward to more paintings.
August 6th - August 21st | 2016
Please join us for the Opening Reception of Ben Fenskes Solo Show on Saturday August 6th, from 6:30 to 8pm at the Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street, Sag Harbor. The exhibition hangs until August 21st.
Ben Fenske (b. 1978) is hitting another level in his work this year, with two distinct series of paintings. His muse and girlfriend, Beatrice Champ is featured in a spectacular series of nude and semi- nude paintings. One can follow this intense and talented artist from a smaller sketch inspired by interesting light, as seen in Blue Light Nude to the fully finished and large composition Drying Hair. Like a complete symphony, this series of ten paintings has bright movements, somber notes and exuberance. Overall, the Bea Nudes leave us thrilled to show his work, and delighted to help him with his dedicated research into beauty.
Clearly motivated by his new surroundings, there is also series of paintings created in and around his new home in Chianti. Following on from last years hugely successful luncheon painting, Fenske painted Summer Afternoon which depicts his friends in a flickering mid-summer Tuscan light. Its an effective multi figure composition AND a beautiful ebullient work of art. There are several paintings of the laundry on line, which edge towards abstraction as he revisits the subject a third and fourth time. Several florals from these at home paintings knock on Van Gogh and Cezannes door, but remain Fenskes through and through.
As Fenske approaches the end of his thirties, his career is continuing to catch the eye of important institutions, having been selected to show at the National Portrait Gallery in London this summer as part of the BP Portrait Award contest. Later this year, the Grenning Gallery, with Fenskes guidance and leadership, is hosting 4 of Russias most notable painters on a plein air painting foray to Maine and the Hamptons in October. He has also invited several important American painters to join the group. This trip will culminate in a big show on November 6th.
July 16th - August 1st | 2016
The Grenning Gallery is pleased to invite the public to an opening reception on Saturday, July 16th, 2016 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. The show will hang until Monday, August 1st.
As plein air painting continues to resurge, the Grenning Gallery is pleased and honored to present Marc Dalessio’s latest solo show, Marc Dalessio: Rediscovers Italy, on July 16, 2016. This exhibition features large-scale works created in celebration of Dalessios return to Italy. There, he studied and lived for twenty years, before embarking on world travels pursuing his passion for plein air painting and relocating to his present home in Croatia. Dalessios "rediscovery" is so named to acknowledge the "new eyes" from which he perceives his subject(s) and his technical ability to apply that to canvas. In addition to his formal training in painting, few know Marc was a biology major in college and thus an almost scientific inquiry into the nature and properties of light is always present in his work.
The fact that Dalessios website and blog devoted to plein air painting has become an invaluable resource to all might seem a touch ironic: a digital platform from which to revel in a centuries-old tradition, but not to Dalessio. Motivated by his own experiences as a college art student with an unquenchable desire for access to the images, painters, and history and knowledge of en plein air and frustrated by the limitations of availability, creating the digital resource is a natural evolution and organic expression of the artists generosity of spirit, talent, and emotion--readily on display in the epic works of this show.
The two anchor paintings in the show are evocative, in-depth studies of the same Tuscan landscape at different times of year, and in vastly different light. These works proclaim Dalessio’s now mature, highly accomplished craft and technique.
Dalessio exquisitely renders the values of bright sun beaming down behind him in "Castelmuzio, Backlit." Note the dashes of nuanced high sunlight reflecting on the wintry grass in the foreground and as we push deeper into the scene, the more intense light, shadow, and color shimmering across four trees traversing the middle ground. And beyond, the pale villa almost crouching down low to keep warm beneath the white and blue of the sky co-mingling to a visceral, chilly effect: low hanging clouds infused with a bluish tint, the sky above filled with vertical wisps and spires so that neither cloud nor sky are discrete but rather compromised by the other. In the sister painting, "Castelmuzio", we revisit the same landscape but now at a more convivial time of year, the perspective as well as color palette decidedly warmer: the villa now perched on a hilltop, seeming to stand erect, face to the sun, it’s sepulchral pallor transformed to a rich brown terra cotta; the Tuscan hills and foreground now lush and verdant; the blue and white of the sky no longer adversarial but complementary with the white illuminating the blue from behind.
The most original work in this show is "Tuscan Light", which features nine separate panels in one frame of the same landscape painted at the same time of day though in various atmospheric conditions. In this piece, Dalessio employs an almost clinical approach that seamlessly marries the dual impulses of the scientist and the artist to wonderful effect.
A work that fully expresses and articulates Marcs "rediscovery" of Italy is "Giudecca in Winter", where the artist eschews well-trod locales of Venice in favor of a small district, actually an island unto itself, separated by a canal. Furthermore, where paintings of Venice are usually organized in horizontal lines, here we see and feel the solitude and isolation of the square on this damp, overcast day with the vertical lines of a chimney, a few trees, lampposts, and pilings poking out of the water--if not exactly a revisionist perspective, a decidedly personal one.
June 25th - July 10th | 2016
The Grenning Gallery is pleased to invite the public to an opening reception on Saturday, July 25th, 2016 from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. The show will hang until Sunday, July 10thst.
The paintings of Sarah Lamb and Thomas Cardone, while different in style and subject, share a compositional similarity that complement each other and pair quite well in a joint show. In Cardones plein air landscapes of nautical scenes from the East End of Long Island and Lamb’s studio paintings featuring an array of ubiquitous and everyday items from various foods to, in this show, a model antique toy car, one sees dense and interesting things going on not only in the foreground but in the middleground and background as well. This is not always the case with landscapes and still lifes where one often encounters a more perfunctory approach with discrete separation between subject and background. However, with both Lamb and Cardone, the longer and deeper one looks into their paintings, the greater the reward both emotionally and intellectually because the whole canvas has been considered.
Ms. Lambs highly evolved and meticulous, whose antecedents are the Beaux Arts Academe training from 19th century France. Shes a star of the current poetic realism movement. She studied with renowned 20th century America and early 21st century classic painters Jacob Collins in New York City and Ted Seth Jacobs in France. Ms. Lamb consistently achieves a formidable accomplishment in her still life paintings: uncanny verisimilitude attaining palpable beauty and a deep sense of truth and nature--the result when master craft and technique combine with personal warmth and observation not of photographs but of the reality of life. With a distinctly American sensibility, one might even call Lamb a multi-regional’ painter. Living in both Pennsylvanias Brandywine Valley and in Houston, Texas, Ms. Lamb’s locale very much informs her work. She notes that the quality of light in her Texas studio is of a decidedly higher value and we can see this especially in the backgrounds of her new paintings in this exhibition.
In Pineapples, our eyes travel from the dramatically lit pineapples, which establish both vertical and horizontal lines, to a background dappled with light and shadow--and how it intricately accepts the patterns of the fronds, to the diagonal line of the knife, to the unusual placement of the cutting board, bisecting the visual field, subtly yet emphatically directing our eyes to the negative space beneath it.
In Lambs transcendent Eggs, we see the balance and harmony of the natural world come to life in the interplay of foreground and background--the horizontal arrangement of eggs assuming colors, texture, and luminosity with their shadings of brown, green, and ecru subtly restated in the background.
A relatively new participant on Facebook, Ms. Lamb notes somewhat wryly that Antique Alfa Romeo has garnered more likes and comments than any other image she has posted. A friend in the Hamptons sent her the model car to paint and with its quasi-theatrical lighting--a diagonal spotlight falling across the hood then tires (and wheel spokes) then onto the table and on the brown leather strap hanging down from the table to, finally, the lower right quadrant in the area between the table top and floor, Antique Alfa Romeo is a striking image.
A highly successful art director on animated feature films for Disney and Twentieth Century Fox, Thomas Cardone’s nautical scenes clearly exhibit a cinematic quality not only in composition but also in that the images seem story-centered rather than static. In the anchor painting of this collection note how teeming with life is Wanderer, Sag Harbor New York. Set well back into the frame the boat, pier, pilings, and small building reflect bright sunlight onto the watery foreground. The jazz-like interplay of greens, blues, pinks, whites, and yellows between foreground and background recalling a shimmering, impressionistic quality.
May 21st - June 19th | 2016
The Opening Reception will be Saturday May 21st, from 6 to 7:30pm, and the show will hang until June 19th. Ackrills original images and paintings on found objects, Minoffs extraordinary still lifes, and Morfis tromp loeil paintings create an exhibition that is diverse, yet highly focused. Singleness of purpose unifies these three very individual classical realists.
Classically trained painter Anthony Ackill (b. 1956), one of the Grenning Gallerys original painters, returns to us with his ironic and original compositions, all executed with the refinement of an old master. “Tool” which is a super sized monkey wrench, with a two-foot tomato in its grip is mesmerizing and hilarious at the same time. Also, “Enlightened”, which on first pass looks like a pear still life, forces the viewer to do a double take – one of the perfectly painted pears is actually levitating a few inches above the others! All of this is painted on a small wooden tray, with the surrounding ridges acting as the frame. There is also a painting of a vintage bright blue, patent leather shoe on a used silver (ish) tray, which is filled with mirth. Ackrill succeeds in merging the influence of pop art, which must have been huge in his formative years, into his thoughtful, meticulous and funny classical creations.
John Morfis (b. 1976), originally from Long Island but currently living in Connecticut exhibits a fascinating series of single object tromp loeil paintings. His breakthrough painting “The Torn Saddlebag”, which graces the cover of his debut Grenning Gallery catalogue is a much larger scale than his previous work at 36 x 26 inches. It also introduces a new palette for Morfis, with the pale green and warm toned leather. We are very interested to see what will come next from his studio. His spartan sense of composition is repeated in his new paintings, which hanging together, is chic. Each Morfis painting has a story, and stands up to close inspection. Morfis deft hand and clear eye has rendered these black and grey beauties into the three dimensions. Check his frequently visited instructional website www.helloartsy.com for the stories behind the key paintings and of course our website www.grenninggallery.com for a preview of the whole show.
Edward Minoffs (b. 1972), who teaches at Columbia University and paints full time in New York, exhibits a concise collection of new works from his studio this spring. His “Gen-Pop” which is on the cover of postcard, was sold before it even got to the gallery! This rich still life of tomatoes and olive oil, with the unlikely background of plaster and white brick wall, make this somehow a very up to date image – despite its “classico, classico” subject. Minoff continues to observe nature very closely, and with a fresh eye!
April 9th - May 15th | 2016
The Grenning Gallery is pleased to invite the public to an opening reception on Saturday, April 9th, 2016 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm.
Kevin Sanders (b. 1961) delights us with a new series of delicious Tonalist landscapes. Sticking to a narrow palette, these painters study the subtle shades of light found in nature at dawn and dusk. Although all these painting were all created this year, they touch on a tradition that dates back to the mid 19th century. American Transcendental writers of that period, Thoreau and Whitman for example, celebrated man as a wonderful and symbiotic part of nature. This idea is exemplified by the single warm light on in a house bathed in moonlight in one of Sanders finest paintings, “Shining Bright”. This Tennessee native has been painting and living in Tuscany on and off for almost 20 years, and has been showing with the Grenning Gallery since our inception in 1997.
Local painter, Edwina Lucas (b. 1991) continues to gather strength in her third show at the Grenning Gallery. While we gratefully acknowledge the influence of John Alexander, from whose studio she is emerging, we are starting to see Lucas own language forming. Lucas steps it up this year with three major works, most notably the “Amagansett Ravens”. This larger scale painting shows an interesting turn towards a more narrative composition, although still sourcing our local landscape for inspiration. “Amagansett Ravens” is a beautifully composed, expertly executed, modern gothic image. Like musical notes, the three crows create a triangular tension inside a hollow of honey-toned corn stalks, with a steel grey-blue sky above. The alternating cool and warm tones invite the viewer to ponder this painting. Lucas also took a standard local scene of mallard ducks and turned it into a festival of abstract colors and shapes. The ripples in the water merges with the birds and the birds, who in turn meld into one another for a large scale, color mash-up… and it works! We consider this the beginning of a line of experimentation and inquiry that could very well carry this young painter into a much broader and organic road of discovery. Finally, there is a series of still life paintings with a printed pattern behind them – providing an enticing graphic contrast to the three dimensional object on a flat plane. Here Lucas pokes a little fun at the obsession for flat planes in the modern art movement while bringing her painterly approach to the actual subject displayed on that vaulted flat surface. “Spotted Fish”, as seen on the post card, is the most successful in yet another spirit of investigation we are looking forward to following. Watch this space!
Carl Bretzke (b. 1954) debuts in this group show with his award winning plein air landscapes. “Marine Park Drive” is a lovely painting of our local Harbor Master’s office. “Off Street Parking” is a great example of his notable nocturnes. Bonnard’s looseness, but exacting draftsmanship can be found in his “Beach Day” painting. We also see hints of a Tonalist influence in “First Snow on Garage”. We welcome Bretzke, who specializes in urban scenes and plein-air landscapes. His work has been exhibited extensively in Minnesota and California, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Bretzke holds an MD degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Colorado, where he also received a minor in Fine Art. Bretzke has also trained extensively under Plein Air Painters of America signature artist Joseph Paquet, which also happens to be an important teacher of Ben Fenske (b. 1980),one of the most respected painters at the Grenning Gallery.
January 30th - April 3rd | 2016
The Grenning Gallery is pleased to invite the public to an opening reception on Saturday, January 30th, 2016 from 5:30pm to 7:00pm.
More delicate works for this quiet time of year…“Works on Paper” features amazing prints by Alejandro Sainz Alfonso (b. 1965) that we found in a recent trip to Cuba. We are also showing amazing charcoal and conté crayon drawings by Ben Fenske (b. 1978), as well as new watercolors by the highly respected Long Island artist Christian White.
We proudly welcome Alejandro Sainz Alfonso, (b.1965), to the Grenning Gallery fold. Alfonsos hugely colorful and at times, comedic take on his life in Cuba is expressed in this series of silkscreen prints. From “Free Potatoes” to “Review of History” we see a world from the perspective of a population living under the sea inside of the 100 year old divers’ suits. When I asked him if this is what it is like to live in Cuba under the current political regime – he said “no – that this is what its like to be a human on planet earth”. We were intrigued to see Cuba, from an artistic perspective. Like Darwin’s Galapagos Islands, we were able to see a vibrant artistic community that has had very few outside influences since 1959. The visual and literary diet seems to have been limited to 1950s movie stars, Albrecht Durer’s prints, propaganda posters of the leaders, and interestingly – Andy Warhol.
Alfonsos prints were discovered in the government-sponsored print shop that we saw with our government assigned tour guide -(the government sponsors EVERYTHING). We met some serious professional artists that were working in the print shop, which also had several large tables with prints for sale. Alfonsos work stood out. I wasnt the first to notice Alfonso’s work, as you will see that most of the prints are towards the end of the edition.
We are also thrilled to be showing new watercolors by the renowned Long Island painter Christian White (b. 1953), as well as rich masterful conté and charcoal drawings by the highly respected Grenning Gallery painter Ben Fenske (b. 1978). We are also pleased to be showing some new drawings by Michael Kotasek (b. 1962).
November 21st - January 24th
Please join us at the Opening Reception for the 18th annual Gems Show on Saturday November 21, 2015 from 5:30 to 7pm. This show will hang until Sunday, January 24th.
Every year, just before the holidays we scour our artists’ studios for small great works, and hang a salon style show with wonderful gift offerings. Unlike the rest of the year this will be a cash and carry, which means you can stop in buy the painting, and wait while we gift wrap it for you. We are also introducing two recent discoveries Matthew Weigle (b. 1978) and Yin Yong Chun (b.1958). We are thrilled to be showing a new set of small local landscapes and still lifes by the well-respected Long Island painter Christian White (b 1953). The East Hampton Star recently described his work in an editorial last week as ‘a satisfying glimpse into a world that seems to have left its moorings’.
We are also pleased to show three new works by sculptor, Chad Fisher (b.1983), whose busy schedule with public commissions has taken most of his time over the past two years.
Yin Yong Chun, (b.1958) in Liaoning Province in Northern China, has a long history of solo exhibits starting in China in 1983, and most recently in NYC as well as the Wendt Gallery, in California. He was also a regular at the Chrysalis Gallery in Southampton. His classical training is self-evident. Few may realize that the Chinese kept classical traditions alive during the Cold War, while the West deconstructed painting techniques. With impeccable technique, this New York based painter has melded his highly refined painting style with hints of his Asian influence, as seen in the “Red Apples” and “Peaches” paintings. His “White Roses” paintings are major works, which illustrate his elegant and very modern taste. These over sized wilting white roses ask the viewer to contemplate the transient quality of physical perfection. These paintings at once master and critique heir own genre intertwining the beautiful and the ironic
We have four small but wonderful Gems from Matthew Weigle (b. 1978) who recently completed training at Jacob Collins’ Grand Central Academy in NYC, and prior to that studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Although we receive many submissions, his work stood out for its purity and clarity. We especially like “Red and White”, a simple study of carnations. “Watermelon” and “Cherries” are two elegant still lifes, which clearly illustrate his fine training. We look forward to seeing what Weigle does next.
Christian White (b. 1953) spent much time painting Sag Harbor, and we have six new fine small landscapes. Of special interest from this reputed Long Island painter are his more abstract takes on the local scenes, such as the new “Dinghies, Long Beach”.
Our dear friend and renowned collector of Long Island paintings Fred Baker, of Southampton has graciously loaned us some beautiful 19th and early 20th century works for our Gems show this year. Notable amongst these is the William Sylvester Eaton, “Near Sag Harbor”, painted in 1926, as well as the Whitney Hubbard, “Sunset LI “ from 1950.
Maryann Lucas’ still life paintings charm us with her several studies of late October roses. We are especially impressed with the true gem “Lasting Beauty”.
John Morfis continues to surprise us with his beautifully detailed trompe loeils. We are looking forward to our exhibition in Wellington, Florida this year. WE will be bring a fresh collection of his works!
Edwina Lucas, who is getting ready for her two person show here at the Grenning Gallery in April 2016, will be exhibiting a few small still lifes.
Sarah Lamb gives us a new delectable smaller piece, “Petite Homage to Thiebaud”. The colorful berries and sweets on the three small cakes are warm, yet vibrant, in the foreground of a gray backdrop.
The show will also be displaying new works exciting works by Kristy Gordon and Carl Bretzke.
August 27th - September 13th
Please join us at the Opening Reception for Ramiro and Melissa Franklin Sanchez’s exhibition of recent works from 6pm – 7:30pm on Saturday, August 29th. The show will hang until September 13th.
Ramiro (b.1974) and Melissa Franklin Sanchez (b.1984) live and paint together in Florence, Italy. Both classically trained, they draw and paint from life. Ramiro has been showing with Grenning Gallery since its inception in 1997, and he has now become quite established in our local andinternational community of collectors and artists. Franklin Sanchez has created a niche in the market with jewel like intimate paintings on copper in the last few years.
In Ramiro’s 2015 painting ‘Nude’, the viewer cannot see who the model is but the painting exudes an intimacy suggesting a closeness to the painter that can not immediately be explained. Ramiro paints from life, painstakingly searching for accuracy beyond the physical, in order to convey the psyche of the sitter. The painter’s ability to draw the personality from his model is akin to that of John Singer Sargent. "Sonnet" a large vertical by Ramiro depicts a woman in a whimsical red flower-printed dress, reading poetry in the foreground of a bright blue sky. Clouds form and billow in a sky that was once clear, created by the thoughts of this young woman as she reads poetry.
Franklin Sanchez achieves the same intimacy through the level of detail in her depictions of interiors, as seen in “Vase”, 2014 and “Winter Sun”, 2015. These are reminiscent of the domesticity of the 17th Century Dutch Masters, both in appearance and method. Franklin Sanchez is one of our few artists that paint oil on copper. The warm and cozy interiors give us snapshots into their lives together, from the inside of their apartment to Ramiro backlit as he plays his violin. “Magnolia”, 2015, on the other hand, is painted more loosely resulting in a lovely impressionistic composition.
The show is a combination of portraits, interiors and landscapes and shows a dynamic creative interaction between husband and wife. Since both are capable of switching gears between the exacting and the impressionist, they provide Grenning Gallery’s collectors once again with a quality of painting that is unparalleled.
Thoughts by the staff of Grenning Gallery, 2015
October 1st - November 15th
The public is invited to the Opening Reception for Summer Works on Saturday October 3rd, 2015 from 5:30 to 7pm. This show will hang until Sunday, November 15th.
Please join us and come see all new works from Marc Dalessio, Ben Fenske, Edwina Lucas, and Maryann Lucas, John Morfis, Ramiro, and Nelson White. This time of year we usually show the plein air summer landscapes of our established and up-and-coming artists, but this year many of our painters were finding inspiration in their studios. We are introducing a few smaller works from the estate of James Britton, who worked in Sag Harbor during the 1920s. We are also very excited to inaugurate our relationship with Stony Brook’s well-known painter Christian White in this show.
Importantly, as illustrated on the invite with the entrancing “Afternoon Dock”, Ben Fenske (b. 1978) travelled up to Maine and Nova Scotia and we see some fresh works from our mainstay painter.
In this show we introduce the work of a highly respected Long Island painter Christian White (b.1953), who we have had our eye on for many years. Hailing from a the vaunted artistic family, and great grandson of the famous architect Stanford White, Christian’s more recent abstractions based on local landscapes has caught our eye.
We have long been looking for a classically trained painter who is in love with the local landscape, and is making some more abstract and colorful interpretations of nature. The influence of Richard Diebenkorn (b. 1922 – d.1993) can be felt, but White still retains his signature expressive brushwork and bold compositional sense. Finally we have found a painter to bridge our 21st sensibilities with some of the best innovations from the late 20the century!
We are also reintroducing James Britton (b.1878 – d. 1936) to the Sag Harbor community. Connecticut born Britton was a well known artists and writer from 1900 – 1930 and spent a year working in Sag Harbor in 1925/26. His work was shown with Maurice Prendergast, Jane Peterson, Philip Hale, and George Luks et al. as part of the artists group he formed, The Eclectics. Post mortem, Britton’s work has been shown in galleries and museums across the United States, and interestingly, his work was shown at Nabi Gallery in Sag Harbor in 1999-2001. Although these are small cloud studies and a few architectural paintings, the works marks an interesting time in Sag Harbor’s history, and it is very affordable, given its importance. He was also a wood cut printmaker, and the nude wood cut, named “Standing Nude“ is one of our favorite works in this show.
Marc Dalessio (b. 1972) spent several weeks here painting the local landscapes and also New York City. “ Sag Harbor No. 2“ is one of our favorites because it shows Main Street in all its glory.
Maryann Lucas (b. 1959) continues to evolve into one of our most interesting new painters with her plain air landscapes of the local barns, notably in “Sagaponack Farm”. We are also excited to see progression in her refined floral still lifes as seen in “Pink Peonies in Grey Pot“.
Edwina Lucas’ (b. 1991) studio works and major floral continue to impress us, as this young painter builds her oeuvre. In this show we surely see the influence of her maestro, Amagansett and New York painter, John Alexander. Most notably we see this influence in “Flower Tower”.
Ramiro’s (b. 1974) original local scene “Fields at Cooks Lane” is an evocative and familiar painting of the pastures we drive through all summer. His choice to emphasize the golden hues creates a heat that is rarely felt in this kind of painting.
John Morfis (b. 1976) has painted two more lures, alluding to one of our favorite summer pastimes here in Sag Harbor. We look forward to more work from him for our Gems show, opening the week before Thanksgiving.
Nelson White’s (b. 1932) delivers another suite of lovely beachscapes. His saturated colors, deft and ample paint application continues to delight his followers.
August 6th - August 23rd
Please join us for the Opening Reception for Ben Fenske’s Solo Show on Saturday August 8, 2015 from 6:30 to 8pm. This show will hang until Sunday, August 23rd.
Ben J. Fenske (b.1980) delivers yet again, another suite of top-notch contemporary impressionist paintings. In this group of paintings we see the continued influence of the Russian school influence, and his eyes continued to be inspired by the beauty and light that surrounds him. Fenske’s ability to paint nature accurately, yet lean towards abstraction, makes him one of the most interesting realists of his generation. The perfectly observed “Nude, 2015” is set in an almost abstruse room of red and pink, washed in a yellow-orange light. The quiet poses is contrasted by the hot colors and dream like brush strokes.
In a boldly intimate composition, “Nude Sleeping” we see a familiar Fenske interior, a bedroom of an old European farmhouse. Emerging from the shadowed bed is the foreshortened form of a very sultry nude. The alternating cool and warm tones bounce around the forms and describe her soft curves. This piece recalls Bonnard’s paintings of a woman at her bath.
Ben Fenske’s "Lunch Table” is a gloriously complex painting of his friends under a canopied lunch table in Chianti. This painting, in addition to being successful and an ambitious multi-figure outdoor narrative, is an in-depth investigation of light effects - as all Fenske paintings. Strips of white, blue and yellow light stream through the canopy to inform the viewers of the people and objects lucky enough to be in this scene. The white-hot heat of the day is juxtaposed by the foreground, the comfortable blue and lavender light of the shaded luncheon table. In fact, this painting is a contemporary take on one of my all time favorite paintings, which can be found in the Phillips Collection in DC, Renoir’s "Luncheon of the Boating Party”. The 21st century Fenske still focuses on the light, but the clothing and the body language are aptly Millennial, as the figures are dressed in simple clothes, and each seems to be in their own thoughts, except for the hostess who is pouring more wine, mid- sentence.
July 16th - August 2nd
Please join us for the Opening Reception for Marc Dalessio’s Solo Show on Saturday July 18, 2015 from 6:30 to 8pm. This show will hang until Sunday, August 2nd. He will also be speaking on a panel discussion about plein air painting at the Art Market Art and Design Fair at Fairview Farm at Mecox, 19 Horsemill Lane, Bridgehampton on Saturday July 11th from 3pm to 5pm.
Marc Dalessio (b 1972), who painted most summers in the Hamptons since 1999, was born in California and currently lives in Croatia. He has been showing at the Grenning Gallery for 17 years. In the last few years, he has become one of the world’s most respected bloggers on the traditional craft of painting. Dalessio’s generosity with his deeply refined technical knowledge is well known to his online audience and fellow painters. Dalessio shares his insights, information, paintings, and sorrows with the public in real time. One can learn how to make oil paint, or watch a portrait being created in time lapsed video on his channel. (www.marcdalessio.com). One can also see his unending curiosity and an impressively sharp eye for great paintings, as he brings us along when he discovers a lesser known painter, usually from the early 20th century or late 19th century.
Dalessio ‘s recent choices of subjects and the settings demonstrate an interest in this century’s truth, as his paintings are increasingly up to date. The technique and sometimes the timeless themes continue to be informed by his study of art and art history. “Backlit Tina”, the anchor painting in this year’s show, is a perfect example of this shift. Here, he creates a high contrast image with decidedly dramatic back lighting and a bold iconic figure in the center to revisit Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”. This stark and abstract painting on the surface, viewed over time yields a deeper more sensitive portrait of a beautiful woman emerging from the sea, in her own late spring. His model and muse, just happens to be his new wife, a contemporary beauty by any measure, AND a highly educated lawyer. This painting was created on a private beach in the middle of the Tuscan coast, but it could be a beach in California or anywhere for that matter.
Dalessio’s work stands apart from his peers in that he captures not only the light, the color, and architecture of a scene, but also somehow the feeling of a place. “Snowy Road“ is a great example of this as it evokes not only the light but also the temperature and humidity of what it must have felt like to be standing under a tree on a snowy day looking down a service road towards the forest in Switzerland last winter. Dalessio is a passionate plein air painter, who has been working everyday, most of the day since I’ve known him. It is no wonder that this talented artist, who, after 25 years of working so hard toward capturing the truth in nature, is able to fill the gallery with beautiful work this month.
June 18th - July 12th
Sarah Lamb ‘s role as one of our country’s leading Poetic Realists is demonstrated clearly with this solo show. In addition to her deft use of the abstract composition and design, we are now seeing her deeply American sensibility emerge. Lamb’s juxtaposition of European illusionistic still life and tromp l’oeil techniques applied to distinctly American objects is mesmerizing. Her recent move to Texas is starting to widen that gap even further as she supplants her familiar East Coast objects with Southwestern Americana. Lamb’s national following, comprised of collectors, the press and museum curators, eagerly await new works from her consistent and insightful hand.
This show is anchored by the grand scale weather vane paintings, which build on the theme she started in 2010. These giant tromp l’oeil paintings are technically entrancing, AND compelling compositions from across the room. Lamb is able to marry her highly refined craft to a more modern aesthetic by simplifying her palette and her design. “Dexter III” a moody interpretation of a popular subject, a galloping horse, is a quiet and powerful image of this very New England antique weathervane.
“Chocolate Cake and Milk” a contemporized version of the Dutch still life, however, somehow feels so… American. The coolness of the milk and the rich chocolate frosting is almost palpable. “Lobster”, “Mussels with Pitcher” and “Seckel Pears” each capture the feeling of her Mid-Atlantic States origin. To contrast, the partridge and pheasant still life paintings mark a shift toward a sporting life that is more particular to her new home in Texas. Of course the beautifully rendered copper pot is not new to her oeuvre. To round out the show, as a nod to her ardent followers, Lamb offers a series of stellar white flower still lifes, for which we continue to see an endless appetite.
Born in Petersburg, Virginia in 1972, Lamb always demonstrated a passion for art and art history. She graduated from Brenau Women’s College with a BS in Studio Art in 1993, and during that degree program studied in Florence, Italy. Subsequently she studied with the renowned classical painters Jacob Collins in New York and then Ted Seth Jacobs in France.
Sarah Lamb recently moved to Houston Texas with her husband, the artist David Larnard, and their 5 year old daughter Sadie, from their home in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley.
Comments by Laura Grenning, May, 2015
May 29th - June 14th
The Opening Reception will be Saturday June 6th, from 6 to 8 pm, and the show will hang until June 14th. Impeccable examples of fine American painting will be here for a special show for the next several weeks, featuring artists who were active from the mid 19th century to the mid 20th century. This exhibition is created in conjunction with MME Fine Art in NYC, which is a trusted resource for Grenning Art Consultancy. Laura Grenning has branched out into art consulting for clients that are looking to broaden their collection outside of the gallery’s narrowly focused aesthetic.
Irving Ramsey Wiles (1861-1948) is perhaps the most famous East End painter after Childe Hassam and William Merritt Chase. Our deep appreciation for Wiles has been enriched with stories from a mutual friend. Grenning Gallery painter Nelson H. White, as a boy, visited Wiles at his studio with his father, who was one of Wiles’ collectors. Wiles’ career peeked just before the modernist movement, when he was garnering prices close to those of Sargent for portraits in New York. He built a home and studio on the North Fork in 1898, and thereafter painted many local scenes en plein air. He mostly worked on small panels out of doors. This 21 x 28 inch painting is considered one of his finest paintings ever of the East End of Long Island. It also happens to be one of his largest seascapes. Mindy Moak of MME says “White Sloop” exhibits Wiles’ trademark fluid elegant brush work -- which earned him frequent comparisons to Sargent – and a finely tuned color sense.”
Clarence Kerr Chatterton (1880 - 1973), studied with W. M. Chase and Robert Henri, and was a good friend of Edward Hopper and George Bellows. Here we exhibit a wonderful Chatterton painting called “Inlet at Ogunquit, Maine”. He had a very straightforward approach to making paintings, and wanted to bring excellent training to a broader audience. He was able to do this as he instructed generations of women painters whilst teaching at Vassar College from 1915 until 1948. On a trip to visit his friend Edward Hopper he passed through Ogunquit, where he ended up spending the next 30 summers.
Guy C. Wiggins (1883 – 1962) is the painter that made all of those fabulous paintings of New York in the snow during the turn of the last century. His work can be found in most major American museums and collections of American paintings. After traveling around Europe as a boy, he ultimately moved to Lyme Connecticut where he settled down, painted and taught painting. “Morning Gloucester” is a fine example of American impressionism, with the high key color and reflected light bouncing off of the lavender buildings behind the sailing ships.
John Ferguson Weir (1841-1926) was born into a family of artists, and was surrounded by the most eminent painters of his day... Frederick Church, Albert Bierstadt and Winslow Homer to name a few. His brother, J. Alden Weir, went on to become went on to become a very famous American impressionist. J.F. Weir’s iris paintings are his most sought after. “Japanese Iris – Six Varieties” is a very rich painting, and one of his most successful florals.
Charles Henry Ebert (1873 – 1959), like Chatterton, spent time on Mohegan Island, and given his excellent training at Academy Julien in France in the late 19th century, he ranks as one of the best regional impressionist. “Monhegan” is a very successful plein air beach scene, which was painted mid day - the most challenging light.
Jean Wechsler Knapp’s (1927 – 1992) “Thomas Fish Market” captures a mid-century moment in a town not unlike Sag Harbor with scallops shells and fish, boats and a life saver hanging in a geometric pattern with red and white, and orange and pink cloth. Although this work is on the surface different from the others in execution, it evokes that seaside energy, within a more modern aesthetic.
Unknown painter, in 1820. We have a wonderful example of a sober early American portraiture in this show, from a private collection on Shelter Island. The painting was made by an unknown painter working in the Danbury area in the early 19th century, and it depicts Benjamin C. Deforest, who was a boy of perhaps four or five at the time. This painting is very much the type of painting that would have been created of a wealthy whaling captain’s son, and we feel it would fit in perfectly in a Sag Harbor home.
May 14th - June 14th
The Opening Reception will be Saturday May 16th, from 6 to 7:30pm, and the show will hang until June 14th. Ackrill’s “Shark”, Minoff’s waves, Morfis’ tools team up with Watwood’s figurative paintings to create an exhibition that is diverse, yet focused. Singleness of purpose unifies these classical realists.
Classically trained painter Anthony Ackrill’s “Shark” begs us to look at the 26 year old Damien Hirst ‘artwork’ called The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living. The latter consist ofa tiger shark preserved in formaldehyde in a vitrine. Hirst’s shark was originally commissioned in 1991 by Charles Saatchi. He then sold it in 2004, to Steven A. Cohen for an undisclosed amount, widely reported to have been $8 million.
Putting Mr. Hirst’s fabulous financial success aside, we look to the artistic merits (or lack there of) in this cornerstone piece in Hirst’s oeuvre. When we look at art here at the Grenning Gallery, we look for satisfaction on three levels: the body (represented in high level of craft), the mind (the concept of the artwork), and the soul (the emotive effect) to be engaged. Besides the novelty of Hirst’s shark, we are hard pressed to find any satisfying element in this, his most famous work of art. We find a fleeting interest for the mind, but upon reflection, this format – an exotic animal in a vitrine - isn’t too far off the taste of a country gentleman in 19th Century England. So in fact, we find Hirst’s shark concept rather pedestrian and old fashioned, belying his middle class English background. The fact that it required no acquired skill for him to create it, and the emotive effect is one of passing curiosity, it hardly ranks in our system. We would need to look deeply into the wonderful and bizarre economics of the contemporary art market for the answer to the age old question – “so why is THIS worth THAT?!”
Rather than get lost in that rabbit hole, lets simply turn our heads towards a piece of art that has body, mind AND soul. “Shark” by Anthony Ackrill (b. 1958), is ironic, as he painted an amazingly life-like, 10-foot shark on a whitewashed door, symbolizing Hirst’s clear tank of water. This classically trained painter is precise and particular in his subject matter. When his razor sharp senses are piqued, his well-trained hand goes to work, and the outcome is predictably spectacular. So, that’s a check plus for ‘body”. He gets a check plus for ‘mind” because he’s poking fun at Hirst and the ridiculousness of contemporary art valuations. And then there’s the frightful image of a shark hanging over your couch, which has an obvious emotive effect – that’s a check for “soul”. Please do come to see this work, which will be hanging from May 11th through May 26th. It was sold to the first person that saw it, and it delivered before the show officially ends on June 14th.
John Morfis (b. 1976), originally from Long Island but currently living in Connecticut exhibits a fascinating series of single object tromp l’oeil paintings. The spartan composition, repeated in 15 new paintings, hanging together, is chic. Each painting has as story, and stands up to close inspection. Morfis’s deft hand and clear eye has rendered these black and grey beauties into the three dimensions. In addition to simple hand tools, he included five paintings of horse tack, in a nod to our Wellington, Florida fans. “Carol’s Stirrups” is one of many amazing works.
Patty Watwood (b. 1971) returns to the Grenning Gallery after many years of showing in New York City and around the world (click here for an updated bio). In a recent studio visit, we were intrigued by her series of paintings depicting Venus in urban settings. “Faith in the Wilderness” is about Watwood’s attempt to paint the specific beauty that she sees in an urban setting. This fresh take on a portrait head, with paint brushes in her hair represents herself, the classicist, painting in the city, which has a frame decorated with graffiti and the urban landscape. “Flora Femen” is another classical image, with hints of Botticelli’s influence in her stylized hair with ribbons fluttering in this arresting, feminist painting.
Edward Minoff’s (b. 1972) focus on nature, taken to the nth degree in his compelling series of wave paintings completes this show. We look forward to many new works by this great painter later in the year, but simply couldn’t resist pairing Minoff’s wave paintings with “Shark” by Ackrill.
April 16th - May 10th
To open our 17th season at the Grenning Gallery, we are pleased to show the work of three East End painters in Lucas, Lucas, and Cardone. True to our original roots as an incubator gallery, we are showing three artists that are just coming up as professional painters. Unlike other shows however, these are local artists who work almost exclusively here on the East End of Long Island. One painter even has her studio a few doors down from the gallery right on Main Street!
Our Opening Reception will be Saturday April 18th from 6 – 7:30pm at the Grenning Gallery, and the exhibit hangs until May 10th. The gallery is open every day at 11, except for Tuesday and Wednesday by Appointment Only. We close at 5p.m. unless it’s Friday or Saturday, when we are open to at least 6pm.
Like investing in emerging markets, it’s always thrilling to invest in emerging artists. One usually finds excellent value, and there is a deep sense of satisfaction, knowing that every single dollar that you spend is a vote for that painter to continue on the unlikely path of painting classically, or en plein air. In anytime, the desire to capture nature in oil paint may have seemed to be folly, but in this day and age of instant images, streaming by all day long, its almost unthinkable that anyone would spend weeks working on and refining a simple still life in a naturally lit studio. On the contrary, however, we see that these Poetic Realism paintings stand out even more now than they did when back in 1997, when we first opened our doors. The depth of observation and care used in the execution by these painters, have grown even more rare as the 21st century has gotten underway.
Maryann Lucas (b. 1959), of Sag Harbor, comes back for her second show with a group of richer and more complex still life paintings. “Potato and Leek Soup” is a wonderful take on the classical composition inspired by the Dutch masters. Her accurate drawing, restrained palette, coupled with brushstrokes that reveal her delight in the paint make this well composed piece a feat for this color loving painter. In “Set for Spring”, we see Lucas’s love of color dashed onto the neutral palette of a white linen tablecloth. We also see her late 20th century New York School painting roots with the slight distortion as the table bends forward towards us, giving us the fish eye view of a Sargent-like breakfast table. This hugely successful painting intrigues us, and now we wait for more from this emerging artist.
Thomas Cardone (b. 1964) is a hugely talented plein air painter, who works from New York City to the East End of Long Island. He captures the reflected lights in these bayside scenes with poetry and delight, as seen in “Alexa, Sag Harbor”. This year he also has as few wonderful sketches of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Edwina Lucas (b. 1991) is having her first show with us. This is a special moment, because Edwina was an excellent manager of the Grenning Gallery and left just last year to pursue her career as full time painter. As a recent graduate from Skidmore College, and currently working in the studio of Amagansett painter John Alexander she is showing great promise. The development over the last year has been amazing, as she is learning a great deal from Alexander, who is a nationally renowned and hugely successful realist artist. We see a great maturity in Edwina Lucas’s use of color, and sophistication to her brushwork that eclipses her years. “Two Fishes with the Oyster” refers directly to early 20th century natural realist paintings, and somehow rings so true to Sag Harbor in its simplicity. A close look at the oyster shows us John Alexander’s influence and hints at a great painter who happens to be at the beginning of her journey. And yes, the two Lucas’s are related…Maryann is the mother and Edwina, the daughter!
February 28th - April 12th, 2015
We are pleased to announce that we have reopened the newly renovated Grenning Gallery with a select group of works by one of our artists, Leo Mancini-Hresko. His beautiful interior called “Studio Hallway Light” graces the major newly built display wall. This is an elegant painting of the light and reflected light in the hallway outside of his studio. He is currently based in a high floor of a refurbished factory building outside of Boston. This is where he built his living/working studio upon returning from 11 years of study and teaching in Florence, Italy. In addition to several great summer scenes, we are especially interested in the charming snow scenes that he’s been painting lately. His muted palette and refined sense of color truly evoke winter. This series of autumn and winter compositions represent some of his finest plein air landscape paintings to date. There is also a very rich nocturne that was painted during his trip to Russia. Interestingly, we have selected Marc Dalessio’s small oil sketch of the same subject to hang right next to Leo’s impressive take on this very difficult subject. The subtle value shifts in the deep blue black night sky juxtaposes the bright lights reflecting off of the Volga River, making this a very strong painting. Another great image is “Down Easter” by Michael Kotasek which graces the cover of Dan’s paper last week, February 13th. Using the ancient technique of egg tempera, Kotasek has been selected several times now for the cover of Dan’s. His Wyeth like tones, layered on top of spartan yet emotional subjects makes Kotasek one of our most American painters. To round out the show we are also showing Joe Altwer’s apartment interior “Where We Rest Our Heads”, as well as “Leo’s Footsteps in the Snow”, which was painted with Leo on a trip to the Alps. We are also showing Travis Schlaht’s “Red Suspenders” and Sarah Lamb’s “Mussels and Pitcher” next to a John Morfis tool painting. This combination of paintings bring us right into the spirit of season, with Schlaht’s sensitive faced plaid wearing portrait, then Lamb’s delicious winter meal and finally Morfis’ almost sacred take on the antique hand tool of his grandfather.
Please join us for our annual Holiday Party on Saturday December 6th, from 5:30 to 7:30, which is also our Opening Reception for our Gems of the Grenning Gallery show, which is already on view and will hang through to the New Year.
We will wrap and ship any paintings that are purchased as presents on or before December 15th this year!
We are truly honored to reintroduce Kate Lehman and Travis Schlaht back into the Grenning Gallery fold. We proudly exhibited their work in our early years, and since 2001, they have been busy with their careers, showing and selling well in galleries across America and they have each had several key museum shows. Lehman and Schlaht have since started a family (with two young children), and spent the last two years in Paris but have returned to their home in Tribeca. Welcome back!
This comprehensive group show includes a series of brand new Via Reggio umbrella paintings by Ramiro, interesting new still lifes by Maryann Lucas, delightful mountain paintings by Kristy Gordon, serene seascapes by Edward Minoff, a lyrical figure by Hege Haugen, a classic still life and small sketches by Ben Fenske, and recent New York sketches by Marc Dalessio. We are also introducing the works of several new painters; Carl Bretzke,Barbara Castrucci, Jas Knight, Edwina Lucas, John Morfis and Fanny Rush.
Kate Lehman (b. 1968) has always been an individual within a crowd of talented painters having studied at the Academy in Paris and the Water Street Atelier in Brooklyn. She has always created original images despite her deeply classical hand, and now she is also experimenting with different mediums. Painting on copper panels, with oil paints, as well as using acids to oxidize the copper, Lehman is creating rich and unpredictable marks, which she builds into her composition. Although the technical aspects of this expression are still being worked out, the cover image for our show "Venise" highlights the beginnings of a mesmerizing melding of mediums. Hints of Klimt's influence on Lehman are reappearing in these works, which we also see in Schlaht's most recent work. Lehman has also been sculpting for years, and we will have three small bronze sculptures here for this show. My favorite is the "Yin and Yang" which is a three dimensional riff on a painting we sold in 2001. Lehmans's elegant "In Repose" is one of the finest and truly contemporary nudes exhibited here in years, as this classical pose is modernized by the model's armband tattoo prominently displayed on the top arm. The deeply relaxed figure, in a dark grey and brown ethereal interior, painted in lower Manhattan in the early part of this millennium, recalls some of the other great nudes that marked their times like "Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe" and "Olympia" by Manet.
Travis Schlaht (b.1975) is a highly respected painter, represented in galleries in New York, San Francisco, Cape Cod, and Greenwich Connecticut. He was also an instructor at the Grand Central Academy of Art and the co-founder of the Hudson River Fellowship. His work has turned an important corner, which is why we are pleased to announce that he will be having a one person show in May of 2015. In this Gems show, there are two tantalizing hints at his new body of work with Schlaht's "Self Portrait" and "Red Suspenders".
Schlaht's exquisite still lifes and portrait commissions are in high demand, but something has happened this year - we see a major shift. After painting 'en plein air' in Paris for a year, when he returned to his studio in New York last summer, he found himself filled with questions about his next step artistically. As he mulled over his new perspective Schlaht wrote his thoughts and some quotes from other artists on the walls of his studio in charcoal before he started on his "Self Portrait". He then started painting his friends and colleagues, in various poses and settings. In a long over due studio visit, we were thrilled by the results of his introspected shift. Schlaht captured the likenesses, honestly and with integrity, as expected...but something else is happening in these paintings. We see an influence of the early to mid 20th century, Klimt and Redon included, as this highly refined classical realist is starting to let go of some conventions. The emotionally compelling faces are enhanced by Schlaht's decision to lose some of the edges and details that most contemporary realists wouldn't dream of skipping. He is also playing with the patterns in the clothing and flattening out planes, as well as introducing stronger colors which all work to evoke the sitter's personality, already exuding from their refined portrait. There is even a slight nod to the pop artists as well, as the pattern on a dress, in turn, populates the background of one of the paintings.
"Red Suspenders" has a deep red roughly painted background - it's simple, pure, abstract, and rich in color. This background color surprisingly reaches down his shoulders, indicating suspenders. His gaze is steady and hands are relaxed, yet his plaid shirt is completely flat, like a colorform cut out with no shape or form indicated. Rather than take away from the portrait, these abstractions call attention to the rich figurative painting. "Self Portrait" is an amazingly accurate yet loose painting, on a grey background, not unlike his studio walls. Interestingly, all of those thoughts and quotes that he had written on the walls make it into the background of the portrait. While we know that writing within a painting is not big news, the effect of the black on grey text behind such a sensitively painted self portrait is unforgettable. The full body of work will be shown in our spring Solo Show for Schlaht, but please join us for the Gems show to see the first few paintings in this series.
In the coming weeks, we will highlight each of our new painters with a bio and some images, and we look forward to seeing you at the holiday party! Please call Laura Grenning's cell 631 767 5302 or Joanna Gmuender at the gallery 631 725-8469 if you have any questions.
October 1st -
The public is invited to the Opening Reception of this retrospective show on Saturday October 4th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, at Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor, NY. The show hangs through Sunday November 2nd. We are also happy to announce that we are re-expanding the gallery to include the loft space, which will show our regular Grenning Gallery painters concurrently.
This retrospective highlights the work of two pioneers in the Poetic Realist movement, who have recently passed on. James Del Grosso (1941- 2013) and Dennis Ramsay (1925 – 2009) were swimming way against the stream of their time. Born in the early part of the 20th century, they were hitting their prime just as abstract painting was peaking in the mid century. Both chose to look to nature for inspiration and researched the old masters and any living painter for classical training at a time in art history that was anything, if not hostile to classical painters. They are rare in that they stayed the course and both succeeded as fine artists, despite the odds. Their success is a testament to their talent, their training, and of course their separate and singular sensibility.
James Del Grosso (1941- 2013) was a very talented painter who lived and worked on the East End since the 1960s, and was a full time resident of Springs since 1986 with his wife, Eve Eliot. Del Grosso’s intense focus on the natural world, and his delicate hand, and natural yet unified palette all comes together in the 15 paintings that we have in this Retrospective show. His “Blue & Gold Kisses” painting refers somewhat to Andy Warhol’s pop art, but his observations of light falling on these supersized American confections are poetic. One of the critics said “Through scale and light, he forces viewers to abandon what we assume or know about specific objects and to view them anew.” Painting at home since the age of 9, Del Grosso attended Cooper Union in the 1960s, and as a result was a center of the New York Abstract Expressionist movement, and painted as such. He worked as an art therapist in a psychiatric facility as a volunteer earlier in his career. According to his widow, Del Grosso always believed that painting was a healing force in a century that seemed to be dedicated to ego and all its pitfalls. Del Grosso was generally known as a calm and gentle man, who would rather paint alone in his studio than be out and about. In fact, I had the pleasure of meeting him on several occasions, as he and his vivacious wife would visit the gallery from time to time. He had a wonderful gallery career, selling at Grand Central Gallery, Ok Harris, and several other galleries around the country and world. I am delighted to report that he had told his wife that the Grenning Gallery was the only gallery that he would like to be shown in on the East End due to our shared values, beliefs and aesthetics. As such, we are honored to show his work here this month.
Dennis Ramsay (1925 -2009) lived a bold and brave life on many levels, yet he remained tuned into nature and humanity, which makes him another hero in the Poetic Realist movement. He left behind a visual recording of this awe in a wide range of meticulous still life and portrait paintings, and we are delighted to show six of his still lifes in this show. Ramsay has also left behind a loving stepson, who contacted me about showing Ramsay’s work in an effort to honor the artist and the man who remained deeply devoted to his mother in the final third of their lives. This stepson is Graham Leader, a well-respected filmmaker from New York and the East End. Interestingly, he brought these tempera grassa (pigment and oil) paintings into the gallery, without the uncanny coincidental knowledge that my own painting instructor and now gallery artist, Nelson H. White, also studied with the famous Italian painter Pietro Annigoni. Dennis Ramsay’s work and underlying motivations to observe and capture the truth in nature make him a Grenning Gallery artist in spirit, and kudos to Mr. Leader for spotting this!
Ramsay’s meticulously observed paintings are executed in this ancient technique, which he learned from Annigoni when he studied in Florence with him from 1953 to 1956. Ramsay was born in England, and in addition to being an art hero of mine; he was also an actual hero, as he served in the Royal Air Force from 1943 to 1946. Then after returning to England, Ramsay, as any great classical painter would, taught painting in the 1960s and 1970s in London, again leaving behind notable students, including Helen De Borchgrave who went on to become the chief restorer at the National Gallery. Ramsay also painted the portrait of Princess Alexandra (1955), Dame Flora MacLeod (1956), King Faisal of Iraq (1957), Sir Winston Churchill (1967 – posthumously), Robert Menzies (1968), and then Prince Phillip (2001). He left England in 1986 to move to Melbourne, where he lived and worked until his death in 2009. Throughout his life Ramsay had gallery shows in England and Australia and has work in many private collections as well as the National Gallery in London and in Scotland.
Laura Grenning, September 2014
August 27th - September 28th
The public is invited to the Opening Reception of Summer Landscapes on Saturday August 30th, from 6:00 to 8:00pm, at Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor, NY. The show hangs through Sunday September 28th. We are also excited to announce that we are re-expanding the gallery to include the loft space in order to accommodate our prolific painters.
“Summer Landscapes” is out catchall group show to present the local plein air work of our artists, most of whom travel from far to paint the East End all summer. Nelson White’s best work from the last few years of Plein Air painting will anchor the show. We are especially excited about his most recent painting of Mashomack Point. Its scale and vibrancy remains unmatched! We are also debuting new smaller works by Nelson, and several new trademark umbrella paintings from Via Reggio.
Ben Fenske’s obsession with local light effects is examined closely and beautifully expressed in his paintings of Montauk, Gibson Beach and Short Beach in Sag Harbor. “Short Beach” truly captures those gorgeous tonal values of Long Beach at sunset.
Ramiro presents a major work of Gibson Beach, which was created mostly from a small sketch in his studio. The vibration of colors and movement of the wave is delicious in this large-scale painting. We also see a series of smaller local scenes, which usually get snapped up quickly. Melissa Franklin, with their new baby bobbing in the baby Bjorn, painted a lovely series of East End paintings as well.
Daniel Graves’s presents a whole series of backlit romantic landscapes, and several beautifully rendered street scenes form rustic Italy. Leo Mancini-Hresko will also show two great new works, which capture the lovely summer light through the trees, and a sultry lily pond.
We would also like to introduce Hal DeWaltoff of Cape Cod. His painting trip to Amagansett earlier this summer yielded a few bright little gems, which caught my eye. We are pleased to show this new painter in our Summer Landscape show.
August 6th - August 24th
The public is invited to the Opening Reception of Ben Fenske’s Solo Show Saturday August 9th, from 6:00 to 8:00pm, at Grenning Gallery, 17 Washington Street in Sag Harbor, NY. The show hangs through Sunday August 24th. Also, please note that he will have a solo show in New York City at the Union League Club courtesy of the Grenning Gallery from September 5th through September 30th.
Fenske’s solo show is rich in color and variety, as always, but with an added heft this year, as we unveil his largest painting to date. Inspired by a visit to Plastov's studio, a 20th century Russian artist in Moscow last September, Fenske painted the physical and emotional anchor to this show, the glorious figurative work “Florence, Olive Tree” which is 67 x 79 inches.This scale of the painting is rarely seen from these classically trained contemporary realists. Fenske was invited to Russia by the Minister of Culture to join notable Russian painters on a plein air painting trip. After researching his interest in the Russian painters, we have a newfound respect for Fenske's role in this Poetic Realist movement. Fenske is becoming a linchpin artist, reuniting the split yet parallel traditions that developed in impressionist and realist painting, starting with the Russian Revolution and not ending until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Having trained in the Bougie Studio, which is a direct descendent of Ives Gammel, and the Euro-American impressionist and realist movements, as well as a brief stint at the Florence Academy of Art, Fenske has spent the last several years actively researching and studying the Russian painting and sculpting traditions. Fenske’s bold choices of everyday subjects and rigorous focus on light effects in nature speak of the Russian influence, while his meticulous adherence to accurate drawing and appropriate values show his Euro-American influences. Whether it’s a vase of flowers, a nude on a bed, or a dramatic moonscape, we delight in his accurate yet unfettered expressionist brushstrokes. Fenske’s interest in Russian painting was piqued by his visits to the Museum of Russian Art (TMORA) which is based in Minneapolis, MN, his home state. Filled with some of the finest paintings from the late 19th up through mid 20th century, this museum has set Fenske on an original path, which has exposed him to another family tree of artists that were largely undiscovered in our country until after the wall came down in 1989. At that time, Raymond E. Johnson, an art dealer in 19th and 20th century American Realist art, along with other experts armed with knowledge that Russia had upheld other classical arts, including dance, music, theatre and literature, went there to search for interesting paintings. Over the following 13 years he built a business and collection of the greatest, yet lesser known, painters from Russia. He founded the museum in 2002, and Fenske wandered in there shortly thereafter. This is where he first saw Plastov and the Tkachev brothers, who Fenske has been researching and looking at ever since. Arkady Aleksandrovich Plastov (1893-1972), was considered one of the major Socialist Realist painters, but is best known for his painting “Spring” which is a purely humanist painting of a woman stepping out of her sauna to speak with a little girl (you can see it at tretyakovagallery.ru – search Plastov, there are only two in the museum). This work is famous because it visually captured a “thaw” in the dogma from the state, and it marks the point at which Russian painters started to paint more personal subjects. As one of the top students from the Moscow Art School, and protégé of Serov and Arkhipov, Plastov caught Fenske's eye with his large-scale figurative work, especially the scenes of village life, painted en plein air.
Plastov was initially compelled to paint propaganda mostly, then as the 20th Century wore on, the Socialist Realists were permitted to paint more personal works. Fenske was drawn to these more personal paintings. He is fascinated by Plastov's ability to paint people and animals, inside and outside, under wide ranging light effects, all infused with a sense that the painter had intimate knowledge of his subjects. Toward this goal, Fenske has achieved a lot in this show. This exhibition is filled with paintings that sensitively and accurately reflect his every day life, ranging from intimate interiors, to portraits, to landscapes in and around his home, to a thoughtful and emotional major scale figurative painting created in his back yard. Bravo!
Laura Grenning, July 2014
September 5th - September 30th
We are pleased to announce that Ben Fenske will have a solo show in New York City at the Union League Club courtesy of the Grenning Gallery from September 5th through September 30th
The public is invited to the Opening Reception of Ben Fenske NYC Solo Show Wednesday, September 10th from 5:00pm - 7:30pm
Union League Club, Located on 38th East 37th Street, New York, NY
June 25th - July 13th
Our first show of the summer season opens on June 28th from 6:30 - 8:30pm, running from June 25th to July 13th.
The solo show of Marc Dalessio will showcase one of the most dedicated and successful classically trained painters of this generation. It will include a selection of works created en plain ir in Russia, Denmark, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Fiji, Croatia, and the United states. His ability to reflect nature's awesome presense is unparralled.
During the twenty years I lived in Florence I was also introduced to the writings of the Renaissance Neo-Platonists. ‘The Oration on the Dignity of Man” by Giovanni Pico Della Mirandola, especially, had a profound influence on me as a young artist.
This short treatise describes God’s creation of man so that “there be some creature to comprehend the significance of so vast an achievement, love its infinite beauty, and stand in awe at its grandeur”. While the literal view on this is that God created man to marvel at God’s work, my art is based on a more secular reading of the text: that the artist is nature revering itself. As such, the painter should attempt to avoid developing any personal style in their work. My painting is attempt at letting nature depict itself without overt interference of personality or ego.
While aware of the impossibility of such an endeavor, I’ve always felt that an important duty of the poet today is to direct a return to humility towards, reflection on, and study of, the natural world. This return to finding inspiration in the world around us, as well as a foundation for art based on the observation of nature, are important first steps towards building an environmentally sustainable future for humanity.
Marc Dalessio, from his blog marcdalessio.com
July 16th - August 3rd
The Grenning Gallery is pleased to invite the public to the opening reception for Ramiro’s Solo Show on Saturday July 19th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
Ramiro solo show this year steps forward into a more mystical and hopeful realm. Anchoring the exhibit is a suite of four substantial figurative works, with each painting representing a season of the soul. Although well known for his expert likenesses in portraiture and grand figurative work, Ramiro’s distinguishing characteristic is, ironically, his ability to let go of the discreet reality of the eyes when necessary. With this, he infuses his narrative compositions with mystery that allows the paintings to endure the critical test of time.
“Spring” symbolizes the start of a new effort, which is made despite risk, seen in the hornet, which is hovering around her head. Rather than fear, her face emits hope and positive energy as the figure looks as if this pale waif is going to step out of her pale world. A translucent bubble barely supports her, as she rests a foot on a hint of a step, a top a sand colored world with hints of a warm sunset.
“Summer” rises up out of her cool night waters, with several moons dotting the steamy sky. Woman coming from and creating the source of water is a theme that we have seen for 16 years in Ramiro’s work. In this piece however, the moody setting is a perfect foil for his figured direct and arresting gaze which transfixes the viewer.
“Autumn” is a fine figurative work of a dreamscape evoking the coming hibernation. Here, her legs are beautifully rendered out in the light, but the torso of the figure is laying back in the space. She disappears into an abstract painting which is rich and dark with splashes of brilliant autumn colors, like leaves falling.
“Winter” is an indoor painting, unlike the others, depicting a single figure reading a book in front of his studio’s book case, packed with art postcards, art history books and jars of pigments. Beautiful spring flowers drift in the foreground, as the reader, lost in her alternative reality through the literature, is thinking the flowers into existence. Ramiro’s poetic translation of his winters spent in his studio in Florence is a perfect contrast the plein air landscapes made on the East End and in Italy that finish this show.
Laura Grenning July 2014
May 17th- June 15th
Our next show of the spring season, opening May 17th from 6:00 to 8:00, showcases the work of two of our finest artists, Sarah Lamb and Edward Minoff. We are located at 17 Washington Street, Sag Harbor. The show will run from May 17th until June 15th.
Having both studied under renowned artist, Jacob Collins, at the Water Street Atelier in New York, both Lamb and Minoff possess a profound ability to capture the beautiful subtleties in the everyday. These artists, however, stand out from others in the way they relay these moments into striking and thought-provoking images. A plein air painter, Minoff’s subject matter includes a plethora of dramatic seascapes and landscapes as well as some thoughtful portraits. Lamb’s work consists of moving still lifes of everyday subject matter, creating inspiring moments from otherwise overlooked happenings. Together both Lamb and Minoff provide a stimulating look into classical realism with their own, individual modern constructs.
One of the most profound images we find in Minoff’s body of work is “Stormy.” The artist uses a traditional, mid-19th century method of taking preliminary color notes in nature then composing a larger, more polished image in his studio. With this technique, Minoff captures an impression of the moment in a sketch and then offers a closer look at how he, as an individual, is relating to his surroundings in a larger work. Suggested through the use of dark grays and leaden neutral tones, there is a sense of an ominous front approaching in “Stormy.” This is offset by the cool greens and slightly muted blues found within the waves, bringing on a moment of fleeting tranquility.
Minoff’s figurative works, “Portrait Sketch” and “Candice” showcase the artist’s multifaceted abilities regarding subject matter. Having completed countless successful commissions, Minoff displays his refined aptitude for capturing an individual’s personality. By depicting the slight, detailed characteristics that makes each person their unique self while using impressionistic strokes and a depth of light similar to that of Sargent, Minoff relays an intimate look into each entity.
Continuing with the theme of contemporary classical realism is Lamb’s, “Antique Sulky Weathervane”. In this work we see an antique weathervane of a one-horse carriage atop a seemingly weathered pedestal. Lamb’s ability to capture the light on her subjects draws one in, while the vast inclusion of painstaking details keeps onlookers immersed in her compositions. With a limited palette, Lamb also manages to capture a sense of life and warmth in an otherwise cold and inanimate form. With the brassy oranges and hints of subdued yellows and green-tinted grays, a feeling of nostalgia is evoked from a subject that existed in a time entirely different then our own.
Also in this show are Lamb’s signature still lifes. The painting, “Roses in Square Vase” offers a quintessential example of Lamb’s mission to capture the simple beauty in the day to day. Including warm orange and cream tones, coupled with the cooler greens and transparency of the water, Lamb captures every detail down to the last petal. With such detail one can note that the flowers appear to be days old and slightly wilting, with a few leaves and petals having fallen off. With this, “Roses in Square Vase” recalls a vanitas inspired theme, which speaks of the ever-present mortality we each must face. This work gives us a literal reminder to stop and smell the roses. Other still lifes of Lamb’s in the upcoming show include “Pansies” and “Mussels with Pitcher”, each offering a stunning portrayal of light and depth.
January 7th to March 30th
We are pleased to announce that the Grenning Gallery will return the Wellington Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, Florida from January 8th through March 30th.
This year we have upped our ante by committing to all 12 weeks of their season. We have also incited our key artists to spend time painting this interesting landscape and very specific culture. There is a small present waiting for every East Ender that finds their way to our booth! Also, please note that the Grenning Gallery in Sag Harbor will remain open with its winter hours (Friday through Monday)
WEF is located 15 minutes west of the Palm Beach International Airport, and hosts the worlds leading sport horse athletes in weekly events. The Grenning Gallery will be located in the same spot as last year, next to Hermes across from the Tiki Hut, on your way into the International Club. For more information about the events at WEF please visit their website at www.equestriansport.com. Call Laura’s cell 631 767 5302 if you have any further questions.
Here are the driving directions to the
WEF’s Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and the spectator entrance at:
3400 Equestrian Club Road
From the Florida Turnpike take Exit #93, Lake Worth Road, west 5 miles to South Shore Blvd. Turn right, north, at light on to South Shore Blvd. and proceed one mile to Pierson Road, turn left at the light. Spectator Entrance is first left, Equestrian Club Road.
From Interstate I-95, take Exit #66. Travel west on Forest Hill Blvd. 11 miles to South Shore Blvd. Turn left on South Shore and follow to Pierson Road. Turn right at the light on Pierson Road. Spectator Entrance is first left, Equestrian Club Road.
January 11th to March 3rd
Edwina Lucas, the Grenning Gallery’s manager, will be presding over this first ever event. She is charged with emptying one and half storage units to clean house for the new season. Due to cost of returning the work, we are willing to sell these paintings and frames for discounts rarely offered. The sale includes major paintings, small sketches, works on paper, and lots of beautiful hand made frames. The sale will be happening Fridays - Mondays during January and February.
This is a prime opportunity for artists to purchase gorgeous, handmade, Italian frames for up to half the original price. Decorators and designers will have the chance to purchase one of a kind paintings by our incredible artists at up to 25% off! Perhaps the painting you have been eyeing for the last year will finally be within your grasp.
Please “like” us on Facebook to see daily offerings and new discoveries of long hidden works by some known and lesser known Grenning Gallery artist. The offerings will change as we sort through our inventory so check in with us regularly!
Below are some of the works for sale (take 25% off the original price). There is much more on sale at the gallery.
November 23 to January 27
To celebrate our best year since we opened in 1997, we are delighted to announce our annual Holiday Party on November 23rd from 5:30 to 7:30. Fittingly, we are very pleased to report that Sarah Lamb, an original Grenning Gallery artist from our early days, is returning after many years of exclusive representation in New York City. Lamb’s ten new works are the cornerstone to a rich and deep show of fine paintings, all of which offer the buyer a one of kind gift for their special person. This group show will also feature new work by Joe Altwer, Daniel Graves, Greg Horwich, Michael Kotasek, Kevin McEvoy, Kevin Sanders and introduce local artist Maryann Lucas.
October 12th - November 17th
From the umbrella dotted shores of Long Beach to the sunlit fields of Bridgehampton, the stunning landscapes that characterize Long Island’s East End are deep rooted in artistic history. With beauty around every corner, it is no wonder artists have taken residency in this area for generations. Such is true for many of the Grenning Gallery’s artists, who have made Sag Harbor their summer destination for years. Converging in this prized location annually, these artists have not only established a powerful community of creators but have also produced works that spark fresh appreciation for the glorious East End landscape. This show will feature the work of Ramiro, Ben Fensek, Leo Mancini-Hresko, Melissa Franklin-Sanchez and Nelson White.
August 24 - October 6
Marc Dalessio’s solo show this summer is full of life, light and love. This wonderful plein air painter is back to travelling the globe with his painting box. This exhibit has works from recent trips to Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, as well as Italy, and his original home of California. “The Terrace in Dubrovnik” the anchor painting of the show, measuring 47 x 59 inches, is a large-scale virtuosic plein air painting. It depicts a shaded porch, with bright light pressing in on the comfortable subjects, a woman at the table and the dog sleeping at her feet. The variety of lavenders and blues in the shaded walkway, as well as the soft light filtering through the many greens that overhang them is spectacular in its subtlety. Bright dashes of light punctuate the sweet coolness of the shade, with the values and colors perfectly capturing the scene for many generations of viewers to come. Those of us who have followed Dalessio’s life and paintings understand the significance of the peace and harmony that is conveyed in this lyrical painting of his new bride and their dog.
Another major work in this show is the “Evening on Lago Maggiore” which ostensibly is a painting of moored sailboats on this famous lake in Italy. Upon inspection, it’s actually Dalessio’s deep look at that day’s infinite play of light and color between the sky and the water. Tiepolo’s palette of pale pastels blend down into the Prussian blue’s found in the foreground, and this delicate duality of high and low key color is stapled together by the vertical masts of the various boats.
“Sunset, La Torricella” is another major work in this exhibit, influenced heavily by the tonalist tradition. Dalessio limits the foreground to a narrow range of dark and cool colors so as to highlight the waning warmth of the early evening sky. The simplicity of the ridgeline composition, with a faint pathway by the quiet vineyard, one can almost smell the approaching night.
The rest of the show was difficult to curate due to the plethora of excellent oil sketches from Dalessio’s travels. “Path in Maksimir” brings to life a wooded path and “Last Light, Rattvik” demonstrates his excellent draftsmanship. His choices of painting nature’s grandeur as in “Hardanger Fjord”, and everyday life in “Café on the Riddarholmen” show us Dalessio’s keen eye for beauty and truth.
August 3 - August 23
Ben Fenske's new work is quietly powerful. With his intriguing interiors and the proliferation of figurative work....we follow his eyes...and we see a sharper focus on the figure, and a closer look at how that person is relating to her surroundings.
The most interesting painting is “Florence, Shade,” as we feel the weight of the slumbering figure, yet through color and brushstrokes she seems almost merged with her shady spot. As a testament to the subtlety of this major work, only after looking at the painting several times, does one find the dog sleeping next to her. The shadows giving way to the field and a building in the distance, creates a profundity that only emerges when one steps back, as the abstract brush strokes mesmerize the viewer up close.
Fenske's interiors, whether they are empty rooms, or include a figure, now evoke a new psychological energy, on top of his already brilliant study of light effects. “Studio Table,” with its Fellini-esque foreshortening and multiple light sources, shows us an artist's painting box on a table next to a bottle of wine. The single chair askew adds to the sense that something just happened here. “Bea Reading” has the looseness of a sketch, but a rock solid clarity of exactly which details need to be retained. Inside this whirlwind of painting strokes, sits a young girl reading a book, her profile perfectly outlined by the light streaming in from behind. As in reality, our eyes do not need any other lines to bring us to the same poignant observation that motivated Fenske to make this painting. “Jess, Berta” is an even more complex success as it captures light flowing through a furniture filled room, warming the two beings that inhabit the space and striking the mirrored table, leaving a perfect blue strip in its wake.
Also in this show, we see works from his painting forays to Wellington, Florida and Catalina Island in California. “Wellington, Late Afternoon” is a wonderful plein air landscape, portraying this very particular scene, complete with an equestrian walking her horse down a white shell path, along a canal.
August 7th - Till Sold Out
Fenske, hunger for creative knowledge continues to push him into new realms of study. Sparked by his in depth study of the anatomy at the Russian Academy of Art, Fenske was motivated to take his understanding of form and break away from the two-dimensional. Fenske makes his sculptural début with “Wild Boar,” a collaborative piece made along side his friend and fellow artist, Richard Zinon. This life sized bronze not only captivates the viewer with its muscular build and wild energy but also represents what is sure to be the first of many sculptural undertakings by Fenske. For a view of this amazing process see http://vimeo.com/67850415.
July 13th, 2013
The show will feature the latest works of Ramiro (b.1974) and Melissa Franklin Sanchez (b.1985). Ramiro is one of the gallery’s most revered artists, know for his masterful depiction of the human form. Sanchez is a delicate and sophisticated painter whose works on copper plates glow from within.
Ramiro will exhibit a few selected works this year, as he is busy working on a major series of paintings for next year’s show. Most interesting, however, is the groundbreaking dual portrait painted by Ramiro and Sanchez. Both husband and wife had a hand in this piece, one painting the other’s likeness, resulting in a breathtaking image of the partnership. Standing together in an elegant pose, emanating an energy of quiet togetherness, the couple captures a visual representation of the vital sense of community between artists. This masterful piece is original on various levels. A rare depiction of a married pair of artists, this painting not only showcases Ramiro and Sanchez as a union, but captures a very 21st century behavior, collaboration. This joint effort demonstrates the deep humility these painters have about themselves in the face of creating art. Through a painting as such, it is clear to see that this new generation of artists relate to the world and to each other with more respect and less ego than many artists of the 20th century.
After last year’s series sell out, Sanchez will again showcase a string of charming interiors. Painting on copper panels, using an Old Master technique, her paintings glow from within. Each dedicated to a different space in her Florentine home, these paintings not only provide aesthetic pleasure but a connection to the artist’s environment and process. The viewer feels as if they could bask in the warm Italian rays seen in “Balcony,” or prepare a meal in the welcoming kitchen shown in “Minutes.” Sanchez’s paintings transport the viewer into her Florentine flat, walk us from room to room, and leave us with a peaceful warmth.
Along with her interiors, Sanchez provides us with elegant florals whose rich, thoughtful colors call out to the viewer. Generous with her color palette, the artist visually enriches and informs her work with vibrant blues, peaceful lavenders and soft pinks.
Along with the dual portrait, Ramiro will also unveil a major nude, several beautiful interiors and select studies of works for next year's major show. Both will also exhibit a series of plein air landscapes from the East End and Italy. The exhibit will hang until July 28th.