Love and Passion in The White Room

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Lori Horowitz, “Love Birds,” mixed media.

By Michelle Trauring

For many, the words “love” and “passion” conjure up images of chocolates, flowers, romantic dates and even a little fire, particularly come mid-February.

For Karyn Mannix, all she swoons over this time of year are walls upon walls of art. And as far as dates go, she has a big one planned with the talent behind them.

She calls it “Love & Passion: The Dirty Dozen.”

“It’s so much art. The more pieces in the show, the more people show up, the more party it turns into,” she said during a recent telephone interview. “It’ll be packed, wall-wise. It’s fun when there’s a lot of art on the walls.”

Doug Reina, “Barn Find,” oil on canvas

Co-curated by Ms. Mannix and Andrea McCafferty, owner of The White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton—where the show will be on view starting Friday—“Love & Passion” has it all, from traditional takes on the title to fresh, unexpected interpretations. Loosely adhering to the theme was the first and only rule.

“We wanted people to express what’s going on in the world and we have a lot of that coming in,” Ms. Mannix said. “It’s a bit political, but love is a big theme. We have a few abstracts coming in that just have the colors of passion, so it’s pretty open this year.”

As of last week, the gallery had collected 76 pieces, with a limit of 85—and with submissions still trickling in. Every artist who entered will be shown, but not every piece made the cut, even though all mediums were accepted: oils, sculpture—wall and freestanding—watercolors, collage and photography, to name a few.

“We had images coming in that were four-feet wide,” she said. “And it’s like, there’s no way. You did have to go through a board to get your work in—they were reviewed and judged. Some of them were too pornographic. Not that I’m close-minded, but there’s a difference. We’ll go for an ‘R,’ but not an ‘X.’ Believe me, there’s some provocative stuff in there, but it’s fine because they’re beautiful pieces. But sometimes, the stuff you get, it’s like, ‘Umm, no.’”

Sue Zola, “Bang Bang,” glitter on canvas

For those who are curious enough to make their way to the gallery, they will also have the opportunity to have their opinions heard, by selecting three winning pieces from the batch: Most Thought Provoking, Most Original and Best in Show.

The trio will receive one year of representation on the gallery’s website, plus a portfolio review through Karyn Mannix Contemporary for representation—not to mention make her entire year.

“I like everything about it—it’s one of my favorite shows,” she said. “Everyone comes together and all the art always works with one another. And I think it actually makes everyone forget, for a moment, all the news and everything. Hopefully nobody’s talking about it, but that won’t happen. No matter where you go, this is the strangest thing that’s ever happened in my life, in the big world out there.

“There are some political pieces,” she continued. “Negative stuff needs to be seen, but I personally don’t want to be surrounded by it. So I think this show is a relief. It’s a way to breathe. You can release, and you forget for the night.”

The 12th annual “Love & Passion: The Dirty Dozen” exhibition will have a reception on Saturday, February 11, from 5 to 8 p.m. at The White Room Gallery in Bridgehampton. Public voting for Best in Show, Most Thought Provoking and Most Original will be open from Friday, February 10, through Saturday night. Winners will be announced the next day. For more information, visit karynmannixcontemporary.com or thewhiteroom.gallery.

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