Art exhibit

'Kicking up the Dust'

By Melissa Arnold

Ask Sally Anne Keller what she loves most about painting with watercolors, and she’ll give an interesting response: She says it’s like painting backward.

“There’s no white paint in watercolor, so if you want to have a white cloud in your piece, for example, you have to paint around the area you want it to go. It’s a little tricky, and I enjoy that,” said Keller, 53, of Rocky Point.

The artist fell in love with painting when she was just a little girl, and since then her work has appeared in galleries, libraries, hotels and local businesses. Her next event is a solo exhibit entitled Atmospheric Watercolors, appearing at the North Shore Public Library in Shoreham for the month of December.

“I grew up with a single mom and she worked a lot, and I was always doodling or painting something. Then one day when I was in elementary school, we had an art class about watercolors. That was it for me,” she recalled.

‘Path to Beach’

Aside from public school art classes, Keller is entirely self-taught, gathering much of her painting expertise from poring over books. Her family was supportive, she said, and pushed her to create and share whatever she could.

Ultimately, Keller began a career in the insurance industry, working jobs in various parts of the field for 30 years. On the weekends, she works as a consultant at an art gallery. And of course, whenever she can steal a few moments to herself, she’s painting in her home studio.

“You can be your own worst critic, and to hear other people say that they enjoy your work feels really good,” Keller said about the exhibition process. Her first exhibit a decade ago in Southampton brought her out of a solitary hobby and into the local art scene.

She’s now a part of the North Shore Art Guild and loves selling her work at affordable prices to raise money for causes close to her heart. Even the infamous radio host Howard Stern has purchased one of Keller’s paintings — at the time, he shared that he enjoyed painting with watercolors himself.

“I love getting people together, especially when it can help other people at the same time,” she said. “I’ve donated to veterans’ causes, animal rescues, and children’s hospitals in the past.”

With Atmospheric Watercolors, Keller has selected about a dozen watercolor paintings of varied sizes that depict Long Island landscapes. What makes her work special, she said, is the way she tries to pull viewers into the scene.

“I’m really into nature — I see shapes, shadows, and colors in ways that most people overlook. I like to create pieces that make you feel what you see. If it’s a sunny day, then I want you to be able to feel the warmth. If it’s a storm, you might feel the heaviness of the clouds coming in or smell the rain,” Keller said. “If people can experience that by looking at my work, then it makes me happy.”

Currently, the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook, located at 3131 Nesconset Hwy. in Centereach, is featuring a collection of works from the North Shore Art Guild. The exhibit includes several of Keller’s paintings. All the artwork on display is for sale, and proceeds from sales of those pieces will benefit Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. 

Vito Marrone, incoming president of the North Shore Art Guild, met the watercolor artist when he first joined the organization in 2011. At the time, Keller was participating in a mixed exhibit of more than 50 artists. Marrone recalls Keller’s work catching his eye right away.

 “We have some really great artists that are part of the North Shore Art Guild, and Sally is one of them. I’ve had the chance to take classes with her and she’s so good at what she does,” he said. “Watercolor is difficult, and she’s taught me a lot about how to engineer a watercolor and maintain control of the paint so that the finished piece comes out well.”

Keller’s work has been featured in several exhibits at the North Shore Public Library, and Adult Program Coordinator Lorena Doherty said they’re excited to welcome her back again.

“Sally is a skilled watercolor artist. Her work is direct, and luscious in the use of color and light,” Doherty said. “Sally has a way of isolating the beauty of nature and creating the feeling of standing inside the work, not just on the outside looking in. Atmospheric artwork is timeless and enduring, and the exhibit is a beautiful addition to the library.”

For those interested in meeting Keller and learning more about working with watercolor, she will host a demonstration at the library on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. All are welcome and the event is free.

North Shore Public Library, 250 Route 25A, Shoreham will present Atmospheric Watercolors throughout the month of December. For library hours and more information, please call 631-929-4488. 

By Melissa Arnold

In 1867, August Heckscher left his native Germany and, like so many others of that time, embarked on a journey to start a new life of prosperity in the United States. He immediately set to work mining coal for his cousin’s business, all the while studying English. Heckscher’s efforts led him to a lucrative career in iron and zinc mining, and he ultimately became a multimillionaire.

Heckscher was well-known for his philanthropy, and in 1920, he gave back to the town of Huntington with the establishment of Heckscher Park. The beautiful setting of the park became home to the Heckscher Museum of Art, which was founded with a gift of 185 works from Heckscher’s personal collection including art from the Renaissance, the Hudson River School and early modernist American art.

The museum has since weathered the Great Depression, eras of war and peace and changing artistic tastes in the community. That early collection has blossomed to include more than 2,000 pieces that include many styles, media and historical time periods from artists all over the world.

Today, the Heckscher Museum of Art is looking ahead to 2020 and honoring its home with a museum-wide exhibit entitled Locally Sourced: Celebrating Long Island Artists.

At the helm for this exhibit is the Heckscher Museum’s new curator, Karli Wurzelbacher, who joined the staff in August. Wurzelbacher studied art history in college and spent the better part of a decade in and around Manhattan before coming out to Long Island.

“We wanted to take a broad view of all the artists who have visited and worked on Long Island at some point in their lifetime,” she said. “In this exhibit, we’ve represented more than 130 years of art in all styles, from very abstract to very representational. It’s about all the different perspectives that Long Island has inspired. I think everyone here has been looking forward to our 100th anniversary and wanting to commemorate it in a special way. The museum has always been so supportive of artists who have lived and worked here, and it’s part of our mission to preserve and share the history of Long Island through art.”

The process of planning Locally Sourced was already underway when Wurzelbacher arrived on Long Island. She acknowledged that an exhibit that encompasses the whole museum was quite the undertaking, but it allowed her to dive deep into the Heckscher’s permanent collection.

“Curating gives the opportunity to tell stories and create narratives visually using objects, and to help people make connections between artists,” said Wurzelbacher. “Some of the artists in this exhibit were teachers or students to other [artists], and you can see that in their work.”

The exhibit is divided into four sections, each offering a unique view of Long Island. They include Huntington’s Own featuring the works of renowned painters George Grosz, Arthur Dove, Stan Brodsky, Mary Callery and many more who live or lived and worked around Huntington; East End Exchanges which explores the connections and influences of artists of the East End, including Fairfield Porter and Jane Wilson; Women Artists which features the work of female artists who have made a profound impact on their field, such as Miriam Schapiro, Betty Parsons and Esphyr Slobodkina with a nod to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, allowing women the right to vote; and Landscapes that trace the changes in environment and in art throughout the Island’s history. This gallery includes 19th-century images from Thomas Moran, to modern works by Ty Stroudsburg who interpret Long Island’s land, sea and air.

The exhibit includes work in a variety of media, including painting, photography, sculpture and mixed projects. In all, more than 100 pieces represent the work of 89 artists — just a fraction of the museum’s permanent collection, Wurzelbacher said.

Visitors to the museum will have a chance to weigh in on the places and things that they believe make Long Island special. Stop by and leave a pin on the 15-foot graphic of Long Island in the Huntington exhibit. The graphic will also show where the exhibit’s artists lived.

“Artists have been escaping the city to come out to the country and take part in the natural life here from very early on. To see the rugged terrain and vegetation of the North Shore, it’s easy to understand why artists would be drawn here,” said Michael Schantz, the museum’s president and CEO. “Ultimately this collection belongs to the community, and everyone should be proud that there are so many artists that have called Long Island home. We want to celebrate that.”

The Heckscher Museum, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington will present Locally Sourced: Celebrating Long Island Artists from Nov. 23 through March 15, 2020. The museum is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission discounts are available for children, students, members of the military, first responders and residents of the Town of Huntington. For more information, call 631-351-3250 or visit www.heckscher.org.

The Huntington Arts Council announced the winners of its 8th annual student exhibit, Nightmare on Main Street, at a costume party reception at its Main Street Gallery on Oct. 25. The Halloween-inspired juried art show was open to Nassau and Suffolk counties students in grades 6 to 12 and runs through Nov. 16.

Best in Show in the Junior Division was awarded to “Reaper” by Jack Ruthkowski, an eighth-grader at Finley Middle School in Huntington. Honorable mentions in the same division went to “Half of Me” by Holly Sternlicht and “Phantom” by Fiona Lawrence, both eighth-graders at Weber Middle School in Port Washington and “Lost Inside” by eighth-grader Giada LoPorto from Finley Middle School of Huntington.

“Spider-Web Bat” by Vivienne LaVertu, an 11th-grader at Huntington High School, won first place in the Senior Division. Honorable mentions were awarded to “In the Spotlight” by Julia Crapanzano, ninth grade, Walt Whitman High School; “Demon Doll Tea Party” by Jaelin Woracek, 12th grade, Valley Stream North High School; and “Sprout” by Margaret Marzigliano, 12th grade, Northport High School.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Photo from Town of Brookhaven

On Oct. 29, 70 residents attended the Town of Brookhaven Youth Board’s first Brookhaven’s Got Talent student art show. 

Students enrolled in seventh through 12th grade were asked to submit summer-themed photos, paintings and/or drawings through the town’s website, and entries were accepted from late June through Sept. 27.

 In total, 19 submissions were received from 15 students. The event took place in the second-floor lobby at Town Hall, 1 Independence Hill, Farmingville where prints of the students’ artwork are currently displayed for residents to view. 

“The goal behind this initiative was to recognize and encourage young, talented artists in Brookhaven Town. We ended up having an intergenerational event where students were engaging with their peers, adults and seniors, sharing details about their art. It is gratifying to see so many residents coming out on a cold, rainy October night to view the students’ exceptional work and encourage their artistic talents,” said Supervisor Ed Romaine.

Councilman Michael Loguercio, Town Board liaison to the Brookhaven Youth Bureau agreed. “The Youth Board did a great job of bringing the Brookhaven community together to celebrate the students’ artwork. It is encouraging to see students from school districts throughout Brookhaven Town participate. The large turnout and positive feedback we received will certainly encourage these students to continue to pursue their artistic goals,” he said.

For more information about the Town of Brookhaven Youth Board and programs offered by the Youth Bureau, please call 631-451-8011 or visit www.brookhavenny.gov.

Pictured from left, Marketing Coordinator Lianna Kosch and Administrative Assistant/Transaction Coordinator Rose Morrow of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty with some of the artwork on display. Photo by Heidi Sutton

TIME TO CAST YOUR VOTE!

Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty, located at 1067 Route 25A, Stony Brook invites the community to view its current art exhibit, titled Future Auction House Collection, through Nov. 30. 

View the wall-mounted and 3-D artwork of  15 Ward Melville High School students and cast your vote for your favorite (one vote per person). The winning artist will be awarded a $500 cash prize. Office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.  For more information, please call 631-689-6980.

 

Army veteran Eugene Casper with his POW/MIA tattoo Photo by Chris Cordone/Foxlight Studios

By Melissa Arnold

Each Veterans Day, the country pauses to recognize the men and women who have served as members of the military. For some, it’s a day of pride and they’re humbled to be recognized. Others live with trauma, injury or regret and prefer not to talk about their service years.

Regardless of their circumstances or histories, the Northport-East Northport Public Library is honoring all veterans with a unique photography exhibit for the month of November.

The exhibit, titled Ink Stories: Symbols of Service, focuses on sharing veterans’ memories and experiences through photographs of their tattoos.

Army Veteran John Baptisto Fiore. Photo by Chris Cordone/Foxlight Studios

“My father was a Vietnam veteran who had tattoos. When he returned from Vietnam, he struggled to find acceptance in the community [because he was in the war],” said Kathryn Heaviside, community services librarian at the Northport-East Northport Public Library. “Hearing stories from his service and the stories behind the tattoos, I felt confident I would be able to find others who were willing to share.”

Heaviside said that art exhibits focusing on tattoos have been held in other places around the United States and believed the concept would be a great fit for the library because of its commitment to veteran outreach and proximity to the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The exhibit took nearly a year to plan, with flyers, email blasts, social media posts and word of mouth used to find local veterans.

“It was slow going at first, but once the word started to get out, we had more and more responses. The concept was really well-received by the veterans,” Heaviside said.

In all, 34 veterans came forward to participate in Ink Stories. They include 33 men and one woman from all branches of the military. The majority served in Vietnam, while others were involved in the Cuban Bay of Pigs invasion or the modern conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among them is Eugene Casper, a 69-year-old Vietnam veteran from Ronkonkoma. Casper didn’t want to go to college and enlisted in the Army after graduating from high school in 1968.

“I knew I was going to end up in Vietnam, but I wanted to see what it was all about. I was 18, young and dumb,” Casper recalled. He spent one year in Vietnam, where he was exposed to Agent Orange and now lives with cancer and other health issues.

While many of Casper’s fellow soldiers got their first tattoo during basic training, it took decades for him to get inked. 

Army veteran Eugene Casper has his tattoo photographed by Chris Cordone/Foxlight Studios. Photo by Nora Nolan

“When I got back from the war, I had a bad taste in my mouth and pushed a lot of my feelings and experiences aside. But years later, this stuff will always catch up to you. I reached out for help at the VA and decided to get my first tattoo when I was 50.”

That first tattoo, the POW/MIA symbol on his left shoulder, was eventually followed by an eagle with an American flag background and his dates of service. Most recently, his granddaughter opened her own tattoo shop and did a piece on Casper’s forearm depicting a helmet, boot and rifle with the phrase “All gave some; some gave all.”

Casper and the other veterans came to the library over several scheduled days, where they filled out questionnaires about their experiences before posing for photos. Chris Cordone, a Huntington-based wedding photographer, volunteered to photograph the veterans for free.

“They would enter the room to be photographed and just totally open up. Some would cry,” Heaviside said about the photo sessions, which she described as emotional and moving. “The vets were thrilled to talk about their tattoos and share their stories. For some of them, it was the first time they had spoken about their history in 40 years. Some of them were hesitant, but once they started to share, they didn’t want to stop. I’ve formed a real bond with each of them through this experience.”

Army Veteran John Baptisto Fiore. Photo by Chris Cordone/Foxlight Studios

The exhibit is comprised of individual 24-by-36-inch framed posters featuring photos of each veteran, his or her tattoos and some of their own reflections as written and designed by Heaviside. Each veteran will also be presented with a blanket made by the library’s teen volunteers.

Casper was thrilled to be a part of the project after seeing an ad for it in a local newspaper. “I thought it would be a good thing to do. The more people that get to see what we went through, the better,” he said. “I’m 69 years old now, I have nothing to hide and I don’t care what anyone thinks. I’m proud to be a Vietnam veteran.”

He added that seeking support at the VA made all the difference for his well-being. “There is help out there for everything, but you have to look and you have to reach for it. Talk to your friends, talk to your neighbors, tell people what’s going on,” he said. “You don’t have to deal with things alone.”

Ink Stories: Symbols of Service is on view at the Northport Public Library, 151 Laurel Ave., Northport and the East Northport Public Library, 185 Larkfield Road, E. Northport through Nov. 30. Identical exhibits are found at each library. 

The public is invited to an opening reception at the Northport Public Library this Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. For library hours and more information, call 631-261-6930 or visit www.nenpl.org.

‘View from the Red Room’ by Joseph Reboli

By Melissa Arnold

For more than three decades, Joseph Reboli dedicated his life to creating art and sharing it with the world. His vibrant oil paintings, many of which focused on scenes in the Three Village area, were beloved not only here on Long Island but around the world for the way they captured the essence of the places he loved. Reboli’s work has been on display in museums, private collections and homes around the world.

Since its founding in 2016, the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook has worked to preserve the legacy of its namesake, who died in 2004, while also highlighting the people and places that most inspired him. Its newest exhibit, on display beginning Nov. 1, will focus on one of Reboli’s unique honors: his inclusion in an exhibit at the White House.

“Joe was a very modest guy, but I think he was really honored by this opportunity, and it was one of the highlights of his career,” said Lois Reboli, Joe’s wife of 14 years.

In 2000, the nation’s capital was preparing to mark the 200th anniversary of the White House. To celebrate, the White House Historical Association planned an art exhibit and companion calendar titled White House Impressions: The President’s House Through the Eye of the Artist. The association selected 14 well-respected artists to participate, with one artist representing each of the 13 original colonies and the District of Columbia. 

Among the chosen artists were Reboli, who represented New York for the month of March, as well as realist painter Ken Davies of Massachusetts, Reboli’s former professor at the Paier College of Art, representing February. 

The cover of the 2000 White House calendar.

The other artists were Domenic DiStefano (Pennsylvania, December 1999), Al Alexander (New Jersey, January 2000), Ray Ellis (Georgia, April 2000), John Barber (Virginia, May 2000), Marjorie Egee (Delaware, June 2000), Marilyn Caldwell (Connecticut, July 2000), Tom Freeman (Maryland, August 2000), West Fraser (South Carolina, September 2000), Richard Grosvenor (Rhode Island, October 2000), Carol Aronson-Shore (New Hampshire, November 2000) and Bob Timberlake (North Carolina, December 2000). Carlton Fletcher of the District of Columbia was granted the cover.

“We made the trip down to the White House in 1999, and the artists got to meet with Bill and Hillary Clinton. It was our first trip to the White House, and definitely impressive to us both,” Lois Reboli recalled. “Joe had been in the Army and he was a very patriotic person. A White House photographer walked around with each artist as they decided what they wanted their piece to be — the photographer was the only one allowed to take pictures. Then the artists took the photos home to work.”

Reboli was the only artist in the White House exhibit to choose a point of view from inside the building. His painting, “View from the Red Room,” looks outside to the South Portico with the Jefferson Memorial in the background. 

The Red Room has served a variety of purposes in different presidencies, from a music room to a meeting space, the backdrop for official photos and family dinners. First Lady Jackie Kennedy once said that the view from the Red Room was her favorite in the White House because it looked out on the American people. 

“When I saw this particular view, I loved the light on the South Portico with the landscape in the background,” Reboli wrote at the time about his choice. “The light’s reflection on the portico contrasted nicely with the dark interior of the room.”   

The painting from the Red Room will be on display at the Reboli Center, along with the White House calendar and original work from nine of the 14 artists featured in the 2000 exhibit, said Reboli Center secretary Colleen Hanson.

“This exhibit was a huge undertaking, and took a lot of detective work in some cases. Lois has been working on this exhibit for more than 8 months. It was a search for contacts with the artists of the calendar, communicating back and forth, and then finally getting the artwork. This was a rather complicated exhibit to put together because of the number of artists involved, the time span of an event that happened more than 20 years ago, and the fact that during those 20 years not everyone had stayed put and that deaths had occurred,” Hanson said. 

“We wanted to share the work the artists did for the White House as well as some of their original work to give a greater sense of who they were and their artistic interests.”

The White House Calendar exhibit will be on display from Nov. 1 through Jan. 26, 2020 at the Reboli Center for Art and History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook. Participating artists include Al Alexander, Carol Aronson-Shore, Marilyn Caldwell, Ken Davies, Domenic DiStefano, Ray Ellis, West Fraser, Richard Grosvenor and the late Joe Reboli. For more information, call 631- 751-7707 or visit www.rebolicenter.org.

‘Pumpkin,’ watercolor by William Graf, will be on view at the Setauket Neighborhood House from Oct. 27 to Nov. 19. Image courtesy of the Setauket Artists

The cooler weather signals the return of a perennial favorite, the Setauket Artists Fall Exhibition at the Setauket Neighborhood House, 95 Main St., Setauket from Oct. 27 to Nov. 19. The annual juried exhibit was founded by Flo Kemp, a much admired local artist. Thirty-nine years later the group, now coordinated by the group’s president, Irene Ruddock, consists of about 50 artists from all over Long Island. Together they continue the tradition of exhibiting paintings at the historic Setauket Neighborhood House along with several other venues during the year. 

Each year the artists choose an honored artist and this year’s choice is Renee Caine. “Renee has contributed an enormous amount of time to this group, creating and implementing new ideas. Because of her boundless energy Renee is always ready to help out on any occasion,” said Ruddock. Caine will be exhibiting a piece titled “Giverny #4,” part of the “Giverny Series.” 

Fred Bryant, art collector and loyal supporter who has shown his dedication to the group for over a dozen years, returns as this year’s sponsor. “Because of Fred, our group had been able to purchase many items that have added to the professionalism of the Setauket Artists and for that we are grateful,” said Vice President Rob Roehrig. 

This year’s event will be judged by contemporary realism artist David Peikon who teaches at the Art League in Dix Hills.  An open house will be held on Nov. 9 and 10 and again on Nov. 15 to 17 to meet the artists, attend tours of the exhibit and observe an artist demonstration by pastel and oil painter Anthony Davis. Visit www.setauketartists.com or call 631-365-1312 for further information.

RIBBON CUTTING

The Northport Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting to mark the official grand re-opening of The Firefly Artists art gallery at its new larger location at 162 Main St. in Northport on Oct. 17. 

The celebration was attended by chamber President Jim Izzo, Northport town trustees Mercy Smith and Tom Kehoe, Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci, Firefly artists, members of the community, friends and family. The event also kicked off the gallery’s fall exhibit, Autumn Works, featuring the work of the Firefly artists, on view through Nov. 30. 

“Northport is a wonderful community, and it is a privilege to get to work with so many wonderful local artists and other businesses right here on Main Street,” said Katheryn Laible, a Firefly artist who recently became one of the group’s managing partners, in a press release. 

For more information, call 631-651-5545 or visit www.thefireflyartists.com.