By Sophia Ricco
Haven Gallery has meticulously curated a world of wonders that draws intrigues and pushes boundaries on the conventions of art.
The Northport Village gallery features artists from around the world whose work embodies a whimsical, narrative nature. The newest exhibits opening this week are “Enchantress” by Eeva Nikunen, “Sanctuary” by Raúl Guerra, “Enchanted Wanderings” by Jessica Mulholland, “Inner Wilderness” by Nikole Cooney and Music Box IV. An opening reception will be held Saturday, Jan. 26, 6-8 p.m. and the exhibit will be on display until Feb. 17.
Owner and curator Erica Berkowitz cannot classify the artists into one particular genre or style, but finds it crucial that the work stirs her.
“This is how we like to be challenged and motivated, that intellectual, emotional, imaginative stimulation,” Berkowitz said. “We are quite particular with the work we show, that it embodies that.”
Her goal is to display work that “provokes people in a positive way,” causing them to think and feel while forming their own interpretations. She finds art is a tool for communication and prefers to have it speak for itself.
“When you’re looking at a piece, you’re projecting yourself onto that piece and you’re developing memories, emotions, people you might know, a dream you had onto what this artist is creating,” Berkowitz said. “It’s connecting you.”
After earning a bachelor’s degree in art history from Stony Brook University and a master’s degree in contemporary art from Sotheby’s Institute of Art, Berkowitz worked as director of Last Rites Gallery in Manhattan for nearly three years. She desired more freedom in her decisions.
“I felt that under someone else’s authority I was limited and restricted with a genre I had loved before working in galleries,” Berkowitz said. “It was time for me to take the reigns.”
A little fearful, Berkowitz’s husband (and artist) Joseph Weinreb pushed her to take the plunge. Berkowitz, who grew up in Plainview, said there wasn’t enough diversity in art and wanted to bring her vision to Long Island. She now lives in Northport.
“We wanted to support where we live and bring something new to the area, but also bring more culture and education… This is something completely different, something Long Island has never seen before,” Berkowitz said.
Haven Gallery exhibits change monthly, providing a constant flow of fresh work. One element many of the artists share is precision with a refined touch. Take a glance at the art on the walls and you may think it was digitally rendered, but step closer and find many are paintings or drawings.
“I’m a perfectionist, so high quality work is essential to me and for the gallery,” Berkowitz said. “The fact that you can’t tell that something is a painting, because it’s smooth, perfect and each detail is so tedious is important.”
Berkowitz selects every artist that will show, drawing from artists she’s worked with previously and those she has followed online for years. It is essential to Berkowitz that she loves an artist’s work before it is on display.
“At the end of the day, it’s our call who comes here,” Berkowitz said. “We are in complete control of that, because our aesthetic is very strict, we don’t like to deviate from what we show.”
For solo exhibitions, Berkowitz leaves everything up to the artist, from the theme to the pieces they choose. This month’s artists feature styles from around the world, Nikunen is from Finland, Guerra from Spain, Mulholland from England, and Cooney from Florida.
“I don’t care where they’re from. I don’t care if they’re just out of college. If they’re really that talented and communicating something I feel is important and we can share, then we will do that,” Berkowitz said.
Haven Gallery’s annual group show, Music Box IV hosts a variety of artists, who were inspired by a song or lyric and channeled this energy into a piece.
“Hopefully this connects people in a different way, because they’re looking at something visually but then also hearing a song in your head simultaneously, that can invoke the auditory and visual senses,” Berkowitz said.
Take a trip to the gallery and you may find yourself walking out with your own piece of art. Many have become “first-time collectors” at Haven Gallery.
“We’re working with young, mid-career and established artists, so we offer a variety of price points,” Berkowitz said. “We’re quite humble with our approach to selling work, since we offer payment plans. This makes art acquisitions much easier and something that anyone can do. Art shouldn’t be for the rich, it’s for everyone.”
Haven Gallery is open Wednesday through Sunday, 12:30-6 p.m..
155 Main Street, Suite 4, Northport