Ille's New Amagansett Gallery Is a Scene-Stealer

A pristine and heady space
Fulvio Massi’s 2014 work “Abacus” stands well on its own, but looks more like part of an installation at his Ille Arts exhibition.

It is possible to feel sorry for the artists who are on view at Ille Arts for the gallery’s inaugural exhibition at 171 Main Street in Amagansett. Sara DeLuca’s new quarters are perched a little higher from street level, and the floor-to-ceiling windows that span the south-facing wall provide a panoramic view both inside and out. The gallery almost steals the show.

It’s a pristine and heady space and one that is well deserved for the dealer, who for the past two years had been showing art in two modest and intimate rooms just off Main Street. That sweet and quirky low-ceilinged gallery seems not just feet but miles away from her newly opened digs.

The artists she is showing, however, rise to the occasion and seem well at home here. Fulvio Massi is Italian-born but now lives in Bridgehampton. Marianne Weil studied sculpture in Italy and lives in Orient.

Although affinities between the artists may not be immediately apparent, there are some crosscurrents in the details. Each approaches his or her medium with a more-is-more aesthetic. For Mr. Massi, he layers fragments of imagery done in acrylic paint, pastel, collage, and pencil. They tend to look sharp and shard-like in his compositions. There are hints of early Cubism, Giorgio de Chirico’s postmodernist classicism, and even Marsden Hartley’s German paintings.

Ms. Weil plays with the tension inherent in mixing glass and metal.

Mr. Massi’s paintings often have pops of color, which make them striking against the clean white walls, yet on the whole they are restrained. With the works on view, he seems hesitant to overdo it. As a result, the paintings have a harmonious feeling over all, and the exhibition begins to look more like an installation, i.e., each work making up a part of one whole. 

The eye basically scans the room, rather than alighting on one particular piece. This could also be attributed to the energy of each work. The compositions play with alternative perspectives, and the lines vary from straight to curvy. Organic forms may be suggested along with the more precise angles of man-made structures. Lines of text add yet another component. Controlled chaos is the rule of the day in these works, which might be skeletal in their linearity in one sector and more inclusive and denser in objects and color in others.

Ms. Weil’s work strikes a similar balance between control and chaos. Her blown-glass pieces are girdled by cast bronze and copper corsets and netting. They are fascinating works, combining the natural flow of the glass with the rough and muscular use of the metals. 

In pieces like “Mandible,” the glass is cradled in a metal ark and positioned on its stand in such a way to suggest that the glass may flow out of it and onto the light box on which it is set. Conversely, in a piece such as “Simulacrum,” the glass takes on solid sculptural qualities, and the copper netting seems more like a delicate and decorative veil. 

It turns out there are many ways to mix and meld these two mediums, and most of them are very satisfying. The larger pieces seem more compelling than the diminutive ones, because they give the glass more of a chance to take the driver’s seat, even if it isn’t quite in control.

The exhibition remains on view through April 4.