Look up the word ecletic in the dictionary, and it may just have a picture of Wilsonville, a shop off Amagansett’s main drag, as the definition.
The space, down a gravel path behind 216 Main Street and directly across from the Amagansett Library, is not the typical chockablock antiques store, although there are antiques, and many of them; nor is it a gallery, although it features art in every medium from the last century or so.
“It’s a visual utopia,” said the store’s owner, Mark Wilson. “Everything is equal.” No one item is more or less important than any other.
And ecletic rules the day: a large painting of an unknown Yale baseball player from the 1930s, an educational shade describing all parts of a leaf, a huge embroidered celebration of Lucky Lindy’s inaugural flight, modern photography, antler chandeliers, tribal masks, nautical flags, antique toys, and a new addition which had only just arrived.
“I’m not sure who he is,” said Mr. Wilson, holding the figure of a small unpainted wooden man, grown shiny from the oil of a thousand fingers over a hundred years. The proud fellow is dressed in his finest buttoned “weskit,” with a luxurious mustache on his face and broken chains around his wrists.
“Maybe he’s Houdini, or some other escapologist,” Mr. Wilson said. “It looks like something a carnival worker would wear at the turn of the last century.”
Wilsonville, which seems an apt name for the store that is a little utopian society of its own, opened over July Fourth weekend. “It was not my intention to open this store,” Mr. Wilson said. He and his longtime partner, Claudia Bicalho, own and operate Lazy Point, also in Amagansett. “These pieces have just come to me over the years. It’s some sort of mysterious attraction.”
During the interview, visitors strolled in and out, all of them smiling at some piece or another, remarking one word over and over again: “Cool.”
The available pieces change quite frequently. On one visit two gorgeous milk-painted pie safes graced a wall, on the next they were gone, snatched up by Jimmy Fallon “to use for all his gaming consoles,” said Mr. Wilson with a grin.
Mr. Wilson’s artwork is also on show, but played down, or rather, laid down. They are canvas paintings of Persian carpets and are used as such, although some are also exhibited vertically on the walls.
“I started them 10 years ago, as a reaction to 9/11,” he said. Mr. Wilson’s loft in Lower Manhattan literally “looked over the pit.”
“I wanted to paint the only thing in Arab culture that we seem to accept as beautiful,” he said. “The carpets represent sacred space. Freud had them, one