Tags Posts tagged with "Art"

Art

by -
0 113

In the last few weeks we have been subjected to a constant bombardment of tragic news. The horrific mass killings in Las Vegas is just the latest. We have lived through reports of the sequential hurricanes that have killed, maimed and destroyed lives and property in Texas, Florida, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. We have agonized for the men, women and children caught in the Mexican earthquakes. And this latest horror of crowd homicide is the worst because it is not a paroxysm of the natural world, something we have to accept, but the act of a crazed human against hundreds of other innocent humans. Imagine the concertgoers’ happy anticipation for an evening of music under the stars with lovers or family only to be killed by a sniper’s bullets. And why?

We ran away from news of the carnage the other night and took refuge in art. The glorious embrace of Giacomo Puccini and his soaring arias of “La Bohème,” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, welcomed us.

Puccini, you may well know, is considered one of the two most famous Italian opera composers of the 19th century, the other being Giuseppe Verdi. What I didn’t know is that he was the offspring of a musical dynasty in Lucca that included his father and the fathers preceding them as far back as his great-great-grandfather. All of these ancestors studied music at Bologna, wrote music for the church and, aided by their genes and family connections, were distinguished in their time.

Puccini’s first opera, “Le Villi,” premiering in 1884, when he was 26, was well enough received, and his subsequent “Manon Lescaut” was a triumph. His personal life, however, was as riveting as his librettos. He eloped with his married, former piano student at the risk of being shunned. They did eventually marry, after another husband killed her womanizing husband. By coincidence, Puccini’s opera premiered the same week as Verdi’s last opera, “Falstaff,” and talk began of Puccini being the natural heir to Verdi. At least that was what George Bernard Shaw is reported to have said.

Puccini’s next three operas are among the most popular and most often produced: “La Bohème,” “Tosca” and “Madama Butterfly.”

When “La Bohème” premiered in Turin in 1896, Arturo Toscanini conducted it, and it was immediately popular. The story is of four young artists, all starving and freezing as they work in a garret in Paris and experience the pleasures and pains of young love. The opera is at turns joyful with the energy of youth and tragic with the premature death from tuberculosis of Mimi, the seamstress, and Rodolfo’s love. As a young man in Milan, Puccini lived the life he wrote about, once sharing a single herring with three others, as portrayed in the opera.

Puccini almost died in a car accident before finishing “Madama Butterfly” but then went on to complete what is now one of the most loved operas in the world. “Tosca” followed; then “La Fanciulla del West,” a plot set in America; “La Rondine;” and a three-act opera, including “Gianni Schicchi,” which contains my favorite aria, “O mio babbino caro.” “Turandot” was his final opera, finished after his death by his associates from his sketches, and offering the memorable, “Nessun dorma.”

Publicity about his personal life continued when his wife accused their maid of having an affair with Puccini, who was known to wander off the reservation. The maid then committed suicide, and an autopsy revealed that she had died a virgin. Puccini’s wife was accused of slander, found guilty and sentenced to five months in jail; but a payment by Puccini spared her that experience.

Ultimately 11 of Puccini’s operas are among the 200 most performed operas in the world, and the abovementioned three are in the top 10. Only Verdi and Mozart have had more operas performed. By his death in 1924, Puccini had earned $4 million from his works.

I hope this excursion in art has helped you, as it did me, to escape at least briefly from the omnipresent bad news.

Miller Place art teacher Julia Vogelle helped form The Brick Studio and Gallery nonprofit. Photo from Julia Vogelle

Who better to bring vibrancy and revitalization to downtown Rocky Point than a group of local artists? With the support of elected officials, a new nonprofit organization is leading the charge to help enrich, educate and electrify the Rocky Point community and surrounding areas.

The Brick Studio and Gallery is an art collective of more than 20 local artists and instructors with aspirations to grow and develop into a full-fledged community studio and hub.

Spearheaded by Miller Place High School art teacher Julia Vogelle and professional ceramicist Justine Moody, the group blossomed around the time Stony Brook University’s Craft Center and ceramics studio closed for renovations in January 2016, leaving potters and artists without a space to do what they love.

Pottery making will be offered at The Brick Studio and Gallery. Photo from Julia Vogelle

Vogelle and Moody, who shared dreams of opening up a cooperative to bring art back into the community, met in the wake of the Craft Center shutdown and enlisted the help of the “homeless” artists to form the organization.

Since then, the project has grown, culminating in a Kickstarter campaign with an ambitious goal of $18,000 to turn a dream into a reality. With 120 backers, their goal has already been exceeded, raising a total of $18,150.

The money will cover the start-up costs to find a location and equip and supply the studio with 14 pottery wheels, two electric kilns, kiln shelves, clay, glazes and ceramic tools. According to the fundraiser page, the studio “has the potential to begin a renaissance in historic Rocky Point, with other artists and artisans joining in bringing life to other empty buildings” and plans to open in early spring.

“My vision is to have this cultural center energize and bring all the money back into the hamlet,” Vogelle said. “Rocky Point has a lot to offer. People 16 and up can come; we’d have services for students, seniors, veterans and anyone who would like to work. I want to look at Broadway in Rocky Point as ‘artist’s row.’”

In addition to pottery, glass and jewelry making, the studio will be a venue for documentary showings, live poetry, trivia nights and  live music.

Moody expanded on the grand vision.

“I think it’s going to become a destination place … I don’t know that Rocky Point has one, and there are a lot of towns here with a tremendous group of creatives who don’t really have a place to call their own,” Moody said.

She’s hoping it could be a place to attract locals during the summer to take lessons, and others from outside the community on Friday nights, saying she envisions big events on weekends and other pop-up events throughout the year.

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) believes The Brick has the potential to be a tourist attraction that could boost Rocky Point’s foot traffic and revenue — much-needed since the state built the bypass, which encourages traffic to go around the area, hitting downtown businesses especially hard.

“There are a lot of towns here with a tremendous group of creatives who don’t really have a place to call their own.”

— Justine Moody

“So many of our residents come in from the Long Island Expressway, from Sunrise Highway, and they look to go east from the North Fork, and my hope is that maybe they’ll turn left and go west to experience what Rocky Point and Shoreham have to offer,” Anker said. “There are so many high-level artists that live in the area and this will hopefully give them a way to stay local and promote their craft to the public.”

Anker has been involved in North Shore revitalization plans since 2011, participating with the Rails to Trails project and the clean-up of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, and said that art is not just trendy.

“We underestimate how important art is, it needs to be cultivated,” she said. “It’s part of our culture and it has an educational component. It will definitely benefit downtown Rocky Point.”

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point), who contributed $100 to the art collective’s Kickstarter campaign, said she’s so excited about the studio and points to Vogelle and Moody’s hard work and dedication.

“They’re very dedicated and committed and they’re not looking for somebody else to solve their problem … grass isn’t growing under feet at all and it’s hard not to pay attention to that,” Bonner said.

As a 30-year Rocky Point resident, the councilwoman is hopeful that the artists can bring people back to downtown Rocky Point and trigger change.

Vogelle feels the same, stating that she believed that the art can bring value to homes and surrounding businesses.

“If you put art into a community, people want to move in,” she said. “If you put music in town, people want to gather around and enjoy it. A cultural center like this always connects with schools in the district and it will also help people realize there’s so much culture that’s hidden. And anyone can get hooked on ceramics — the elderly, veterans, teens. Once you touch mud, you never go back.”

Pat and Dennis Statuch of Port Jefferson hold "Turning Tides," by oil panter Jim Molloy, which they won at the Setauket Artists' Exhibition raffle.
Barbara and Les Wuerfl of Stony Brook hold their new painting "Welcome to the Party" by Irene Ruddock, which they won at the Setauket Artists' Exhibition raffle.
Barbara and Les Wuerfl of Stony Brook hold their new painting “Welcome to the Party” by Irene Ruddock, which they won at the Setauket Artists’ Exhibition raffle.

The Setauket Exhibition raffle winners are Barbara and Les Wuerfl of Stony Brook, who won the painting “Welcome to the Party” by exhibit coordinator, Irene Ruddock; and Pat and Dennis Statuch of Port Jefferson, now proud owners of “Turning Tides” by oil painter Jim Molloy. Congratulations!

Spectators browse through Suffolk County Community College's new photo gallery at the Eastern Campis in Riverhead. Photo by Kevin Redding

Suffolk County Community College in Riverhead held an opening reception last week for its annual Eastern Campus Student Art Exhibit, a show that takes place every fall in the Lyceum Gallery of the Montaukett Learning Resource Center on the Eastern Campus.

Centereach’s Sarah Mullen with her photo, top left, that was featured in the gallery. Photo by Kevin Redding
Centereach’s Sarah Mullen with her photo, top left, that was featured in the gallery. Photo by Kevin Redding

The salon-style show serves to highlight exceptional work created by students in the college’s applied arts programs. This year’s exhibit contains over 60 works that will be displayed in a variety of media and sizes, all of which have been done for classes on campus within the last two years.

Students majoring in photography, graphic design, computer art and interior design were able to submit up to three pieces of their choosing and have the opportunity to leave their often-isolated creative spaces and gauge a reaction of their work from the public..

Ralph Masullo, professor of photographic imagery, said that the gallery has proven to be incredibly valuable for the artists in many ways.

“When you’re an artist and put your work out, you’re basically putting yourself out,” Masullo said. “For students who tend to be very timid about that, it’s their first experience to be exposing themselves as an artist. It’s a good experience for them. Just standing around and listening to comments from strangers is very helpful.”

Sarah Mullen, 22, of Centereach, said that this was her first art exhibit on a college-level, even though she’ll be graduating from SCCC this year with a photography major.

Mullen submitted two photos that will eventually be part of a travel photography book she’s been working on this semester as a special project that highlights lesser-known locations on Long Island. One was taken at Avalon Park in Stony Brook and the other at Prosser Pines in Middle Island. The photo titled “Nature’s Tranquility” of stone steps ascending deeper and deeper into a beautiful forest is so mesmerizing that it became the official image for the reception, appearing on all promotional fliers.

Photos in Suffolk County Community College’s new gallery are observed. Photo by Kevin Redding
Photos in Suffolk County Community College’s new gallery are observed. Photo by Kevin Redding

“It’s nice to have the exposure here,” Mullen said. “Usually, as an artist, all you’d have besides a gallery is the internet, and it’s cool for someone to come physically see your work on the wall. When it’s on the computer, you can still edit it, you can still change things. Once it’s on the wall, that’s it.”

One of the most striking photos in the gallery came from Kiera Pipe, 19, of Miller Place. Taken at Peconic River Herb Farm in Riverhead, the photo captures a sundress hung up on a line in between two shutters on the top floor of a rustic and worn-down barn. One observer said it was haunting and looked almost ghost-like.

Pipe, who’s a photographic imagery major, said that she likes to see whether or not her work means something to someone else or provokes an emotion of any kind. Constructive criticism, she said, makes her a better artist.

“I’m really new to submitting my work into events like this,” Pipe said. “It’s really interesting to watch other people look at my images, while I’m kind of trying to figure out what they’re thinking. I think it’s really awesome … it’s a good feeling.”

Kiera Pipe, of Miller Place, had her photo hung up in Suffolk County Community College’s new gallery. Photo from SCCC
Kiera Pipe, of Miller Place, had her photo hung up in Suffolk County Community College’s new gallery. Photo from SCCC

Growing up on the North Shore, she naturally gravitated toward photography, with a specific focus on landscapes.

“I like all the components that go into it,” she said. “Your eye travels in so many different directions when you’re looking at a landscape. [Growing up] on the water, everything always looks so different. It’s the same place and everything, but the shores and the sky changes so much … it always becomes a different photo.” 

The exhibit is open through Dec. 14 in the Lyceum Gallery, located at 121 Speonk Riverhead Road on the Eastern Campus in Riverhead. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is closed on Sundays and holidays (gallery closed from Nov. 24 to 27).

by -
0 530

It’s time to raise the bar on communication skills for teachers. I realize there are sensational educators who inspire a cadre of young minds each year. There are also plenty of teachers who are weak communicators, whose work wouldn’t stand up to their own liberal use of the red pen and who have their own rules of grammar that defy any style book.

That seems especially problematic, particularly for language arts teachers who are, presumably, not only educating our sons and daughters about how to read and analyze text, but are also helping them develop their writing style and voice.

The do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do approach may, unwittingly, be preparing students for the unfair world where merit doesn’t count as much as other factors, like connections.

I’m not sure that’s really the lesson we want to teach or the subtext we want to share during these formative years.

I’d like to ask a favor of teachers: Please read your instructions before you give them to your students. You can shape the assignment the way you’d like: asking questions about identity, seeking to understand the perspective of the author, asking for an analysis of the tone of the piece. But please, please, please read over your directions before printing them out, sending them to students or sharing them with parents. It’s not OK for your writing to read like the assembly instructions for a child’s toy.

I know it will take a few more moments and I know that you’re not particularly well paid, but please remember your mission and the difficulty of a double standard. Children can sense hypocrisy quicker than a shark can smell blood in the water.

I realize these missives filled with misdirections may provide a lesson unto themselves. Students may learn that nobody is perfect. While that may be true, are the teachers — who provide confusing directions, who send out assignments rife with poor grammar and misspellings, or who casually make the kinds of mistakes for which they would take major deductions — comfortable enough with themselves and their position to provide students with the opportunity to correct them?

Ideally, learning isn’t just about hearing things, memorizing them, spitting them back out during a test and forgetting them within a week of an exam. As teachers say so often when they meet parents, they want their students to learn to think for themselves and to question the world around them.

If that’s the case, then let’s not pay lip service to those missions. Let’s add a corollary to that and suggest that how teachers communicate is as important as what they communicate.

Let’s also encourage students to ask teachers why their instructions include particular words or employ specific phrases. I recall, many years ago, the first time one of my more self-assured teachers silenced a room when he said, in his booming baritone, “I stand corrected.” The rest of us didn’t know whether to cheer for the boy who challenged him or to duck, worried that a temper tantrum with flying chalk — remember chalk? — might follow.

Maybe schools should hire an editor who can read the instructions to kids and emails to parents. Or, if the budget doesn’t allow a single extra employee, maybe they can engage in the same kind of peer review they utilize in their classrooms.

Ideally, students and teachers can seize the opportunity to learn and improve every year. Teachers create an assignment and then reuse it the next year. If the assignment is unclear, or the directions flawed, the teacher should do his or her homework and revise it.

All I ask is that teachers lead by example.

‘Lily,’ Oil on Linen Board, by Daniel van Benthuysen of Huntington

By Talia Amorosano

On the sunny afternoon of Saturday, June 18, in conjunction with the beginning of summer, the juried art exhibition, Of a Botanical Nature, organized by the Smithtown Township Arts Council, opened at the Mills Pond House in St. James. For the first time this year, the general public was afforded the opportunity to immerse themselves in a gallery full of art representative of the intricacies of local and nonlocal flora. 

‘Camellia,’ Watercolor, by Lynn Kinsella of Brookhaven
‘Camellia,’ Watercolor, by Lynn Kinsella of Brookhaven

The exhibit, which will run through July 20, features 60 works of art from 49 artists, 22 of whom hail from various nonlocal areas of the country including Pennsylvania, Colorado, Texas and California. The remaining 27 represent the Long Island and New York City area. 

The artists
Mark Attebery
Ross Barbera *
Arthur Bernstein *
Stephen Brucker
Carol Ceraso *
Lisa Conway
Caryn Coville *
Debra Crawford
Audry Deal-McEver
Granville C. Fairchild *
Margaret Farr
Beverly Fink
Ingrid Finnan
Kathy Folino
Elizabeth Fusco *
Janice Marie Gabriel *
Kristine Gaier
Kelsey Gallagher
Vivian Gattuso *
Maureen Ginipro *
Patricia Greenberg
Stella Grove
Jillian Hauck *
Katherine Hiscox *
Kathleen Hollan
David Jaycox Jr. *
Lynn Kinsela *
Amanda Lebel
Katherine Lechler *
Madeline Lovallo
Patricia Luppino *
Louis R. Mangieri *
Lucy Martin
Kelly McLeod
Gary Mulnix
Lois Perlman
Pat Proniewski
Judith Scillia
Irene Paquette Tetrault *
Monica Ray *
Lynne Rivellese *
Robert Roehrig *
Alisa Shea *
Gisela Skoglund *
Gunter Stern *
Susan Tango *
Daniel van Benthuysen *
Camille Warmington
Sharon Way-Howard *
*Long Island artists

The works that appear in the show were chosen by Juror Wendy Hollender, a botanical artist, illustrator and author who currently instructs botanical drawing classes at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. An accomplished illustrator, her work has been published in The New York Times and Good Housekeeping magazine and exhibited at the Royal Botanical Gardens in the UK and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. 

Regarding Hollender’s selection process, the executive director of STAC, Allison Cruz, said, “She really picked a broad range of artwork based in reality. She was looking more for realism, but she did take a couple of pieces that are more abstract.” Accordingly, Hollender awarded first and second place to artists whose works exemplify a command of a photorealistic style of portraying traditionally botanical subjects: respectively, Colorado-based artist Patricia Greenberg for her pencil drawing, “The Flower Loves the Rain,” and New York City-based artist Ingrid Finnan for her color illustration, “Blue Hubbard Squash.” These two artists will go on to participate in a winner’s show next year,  which will also be held at the Mills Pond House.

Honorable mentions were awarded to Margaret Farr for various botanical illustrations, Gary Mulnix for a larger-than-life wooden sculptural representation of “Lupine” and Lois Perlman for a richly saturated color illustration of a “Parrot Tulip.”

‘Cactus Flower,’ Oil on Canvas, by Louis R. Mangieri of Mount Sinai
‘Cactus Flower,’ Oil on Canvas, by Louis R. Mangieri of Mount Sinai

According to Cruz, this exhibit features a particularly wide range of artistic mediums. In addition to two-dimensional works in watercolor, acrylic, oil, wash on paper and colored pencil, the show includes six three-dimensional sculptural works made of bronze, black walnut wood, glass mosaic, steel and clay, among other materials.

Subject matter depicted ranges from close-up, scientific-looking views of individual flowers or plants with monochromatic backgrounds (Kelly McLeod’s “Wilted Alstroemeria,” Kathleen Hollan’s “Autumn Leaves”), to still life images of staged indoor plants (Katherine Hiscox’s “From the Garden,” Granville C. Fairchild’s “Reaching to Heaven”), to garden landscapes (Pat Proniewski’s “Morning Azaleas,” Carol Ceraso’s “Spring Affair”), to abstract representations of natural subjects (Lisa Conway’s “Grey Swan,” Arthur Bernstein’s “Sprout”).

However, all of the pieces in some way reflect the organic spontaneity of life in the natural world within the ordered structures of scientific classification, together forming a show that fosters an appreciation for the small examples of natural beauty that often go unnoticed in our day-to-day lives.

Cruz said, “There are a lot of watercolors by the nature of most of the flower illustrations, but it really is a broad range … I have everything in this show except photography and digital art. It’s a beautiful mix of media.”

The Smithtown Township Arts Council will present Of a Botanical Nature at the Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James through July 20. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. (closed July 3). Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.stacarts.org.

‘Dahlia Sunrise,’ Transparent Watercolor, by Alisa Shea of Northport is on view at STAC’s Of a Botanical Nature exhibit
‘Dahlia Sunrise,’ Transparent Watercolor, by Alisa Shea of Northport is on view at STAC’s Of a Botanical Nature exhibit

Sample tiles were on display at the Community Art Center on June 4. Photo by Ellen Barcel

By Ellen Barcel

A community art event, Make Your Mark, has come to Gallery North. The gallery invites the community — adults, children, families, both professional artists and even those with no artistic background — to come and paint their own six-inch ceramic tile. The tiles may be taken home or used at the gallery in the planned tile wall of the new Community Art Center.

Ceramic tiles have a long history. Once ceramics are fired, they do not deteriorate like wood or cloth. The result is that the art world has tiles created and fired not only hundreds but thousands of years ago. The decorative tile work on the Dome of the Rock (begun in the seventh century) in Jerusalem dates back to the 16th century while Egyptian tile goes back to 4000 B.C. These examples attest to the beauty and longevity of this art form.

Tiles continued to be important in the art world. The Tile Club consisted of over two dozen American artists in the late 19th century, including Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase, Stanford White, John J. Twachtman and Augustus Saint-Gaudens, who met periodically to paint ceramic tiles. Even today, decorative ceramic tiles are popular tourist souvenirs.

Judith Levy, executive director of the gallery noted that people shouldn’t be afraid to tackle painting a tile. “I’ve had people say ‘I have an idea, but…’ they aren’t artists. Well, we have helpers, students from the art department at Stony Brook University.” In addition, designs can be traced onto the tiles or stencils can be used. It’s up to the individual.

“We want to create stakeholders in the gallery, new ways of exciting people,” added Levy. Since some of the tiles will be a permanent part of the wall next to the new building, people can come back with their families, year after year to see their tile — basically being a part of the artistic heritage of Gallery North.

On June 4, the first in the series of workshops was held at the gallery. Handmade tile production was demonstrated by sculptor and Long Island artisan Tina Folks. Folks, a ceramic artist for over 25 years, is a graduate of the Parsons School of Design. “I knew my medium would be clay from summer camp,” when she was a child. “I fell in love with the medium.”

Folks showed how a rolled out slab of moist red clay is cut into squares, dried and coated with bisque before its first firing. This preparation, getting them ready for the community artists to paint, will be done by Folks. “I have about 200 tiles now in my studio to decorate,” she noted.

“What I love about this [a community art project] is the collaboration. It takes me out of the solitude of my studio. It’s a nice exchange working with other people. It helps me grow as an artist,” said Folks.

Make Your Mark starts with those attending the workshops drawing their designs on a six-inch square of paper. In the weeks to come, they and others who join them will transfer their designs to the tiles to then be fired a second time by Folks. Future workshop dates include June 18, June 26 and July 7. Times will vary to accommodate painters’ schedules. For example, the July 7 workshop will be held in the evening from 6 to 8 p.m. When all the tiles are completed and fired, those intended for the gallery will be installed in the garden wall.

Levy added that the patio next to the art center will be expanded. There will be seating and plantings. The planned wall, referred to as a knee wall, will be about 2½ to 3 feet tall. The community’s tiles will be affixed to the inside of the wall, where those on the patio, as well as those inside the art center, can enjoy them.

The event is a fundraiser for the gallery, to help develop the gallery’s new ceramics program as well as other arts programs. The cost to decorate a tile and have it fired, to be taken home by the artist is $50. To decorate a tile and contribute it to the gallery’s garden wall is $100. Naturally, people are encouraged to do both. The goal is for 300 to 600 tiles to be completed for the wall.

Another option is to sponsor a local, professional artist who would do four tiles (12-inch square) for the garden wall. The contribution for sponsorship is $750. Sponsorship can be shared by more than one individual.

So, to “make your mark” and work on one or more tiles, contact Gallery North. A nonprofit, the gallery is located at 90 North Country Road in Setauket. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For further information, call 631-751-2676 or go to www.gallerynorth.org.

‘Gone Fishin,’ 1994, oil on canvas, by Gary Erbe, on loan from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Cusenza

Trompe l’oeil /trômp ‘loi/ — noun — visual illusion in art, especially as used to trick the eye into perceiving a painted detail as a three-dimensional object. Fr., deceiving the eye.

By Ed Blair

Artists have attempted to beguile the eyes of viewers with clever techniques for centuries. While the actual phrase originated in the Baroque period, when it referred to perspectival illusionism, trompe l’oeil dates much further back. It was, and still is, often employed in murals. It was used in Greek and Roman times, as famously illustrated in the ruins of Pompeii. There was widespread fascination with this type of perspective drawing during the Renaissance, and it enjoyed a renaissance of its own in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Visitors to the Heckscher Museum of Art  in Huntington will have the opportunity to enjoy this artistic style in an exhibition opening Saturday, May 21, where the work of Gary Erbe will be on display. Combining trompe l’oeil realism with modernist tendencies, Erbe has created captivating illusions that are entrancingly intricate and hypnotically absorbing. Titled Master of Illusion: The Magical Art of Gary Erbe, the exhibit spotlights the engaging oil paintings of the artist who coined the term “levitational realism” to describe his work.

‘Those Amazin’ Mets,’ 2006, oil on canvas, by Gary Erbe, on loan from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Cusenza
‘Those Amazin’ Mets,’ 2006, oil on canvas, by Gary Erbe, on loan from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Cusenza

A native of Union City, New Jersey, Erbe has been painting professionally for over 40 years. Originally working as an engraver, he made the decision while in his mid-twenties to pursue painting full time. The museum’s exhibition traces the career of the self-taught artist from his early trompe l’oeil works to his more recent paintings that focus on juxtaposed objects and the dynamics of composition, form and structure.

Erbe explained levitational realism as an illusionistic depiction of objects where they seem to hover in space. “I studied the nineteenth century trompe l’oeil works of artists like [William] Harnett and [John F.] Peto,” he said, “but I wanted to be original. I wanted to create an atmosphere surrounding subject matter where it seemed to be floating in space, but at one point I realized that trompe l’oeil had its limitations. I wanted to add new elements of abstraction. I wanted the work to be about ideas, about something I envisioned that was familiar but did not exist in reality.”

Erbe’s subjects are inspired by popular culture and range from nostalgic images of childhood pursuits and national pastimes to American jazz and the golden age of 1950s radio, television and film, to American history, nationalism and contemporary social issues. “The rules of trompe l’oeil do not allow for human figures,” he said. “You can’t fool the eye if a person is in the work. So I occasionally will use silhouettes to give the feeling of a human presence.”

‘The Big Splash,’ 2001, oil on canvas, by Gary Erbe, on loan from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Cusenza
‘The Big Splash,’ 2001, oil on canvas, by Gary Erbe, on loan from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Cusenza

Lisa Chalif, the Heckscher Museum’s curator, noted that “Mr. Erbe’s impeccable skill imbues familiar objects with a heightened realism that evokes the pristine, otherworldly clarity of surrealism. Painted from carefully crafted constructions of objects belonging to our shared American experience, Erbe’s work is at once aesthetically complex and profoundly engaging to all.” She added, “I have come to admire the artist’s gracious and generous spirit as much as his remarkable work. The museum is sincerely grateful to the private and institutional collectors who have entrusted us with their paintings, sculptures and constructions. Mr. Erbe’s collectors are passionate about his art, and we are honored to share their works with a larger audience.”

Via extensive solo exhibitions, Erbe’s work has been presented throughout the United States, and he has garnered numerous honors and awards. He has exhibited internationally and participated in a group show, American Art on the Brink of the 21st Century, organized by Meridian International in Washington, D.C., that traveled for two years in the Far East. Erbe’s works hang in a number of museums across the country and can be found in many public and private collections throughout the world. He currently maintains a studio in Nutley, New Jersey.

The Heckscher Museum of Art, located at 2 Prime Ave. in Huntington, will present Master of Illusion: The Magical Art of Gary Erbe through Aug. 28. Meet the artist on Sunday, May 22, from 3 to 4 p.m. as he leads a gallery tour exploring his artwork and creative process. Registration is recommended.

For further information, call 631-351-3250, or visit the museum website at  www.heckscher.org.

‘The 50’s,’ 1991, oil on canvas, by Gary Erbe, from the collection of Ira W. Kent
‘The 50’s,’ 1991, oil on canvas, by Gary Erbe, from the collection of Ira W. Kent

‘Rescue Dory’ by Leo Revi is one of 18 paintings in the exhibit.

By Ellen Barcel

A new exhibit has opened at the Long Island Museum based on the idea that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” The exhibit, The Brush Is My Pen: Art That Tells Stories, explores the themes of work, satire, drama and hope. Paintings, prints and photographs are represented.

The exhibit spans much of American history beginning with a number of paintings from Setauket’s own 19th century genre artist William Sydney Mount. “The exhibition is pulled primarily from the museum’s collection and helps to show the breadth of art the museum owns,” noted Julie Diamond, director of communications for the museum, adding “Each piece demonstrates how the artist sought to tell a story with a picture, just as a writer would with words.”

“We consider it to be a fine range of figurative and genre works from our collection over the past two centuries,” said Joshua Ruff, director of collections. “People often know our collection for its strengths in landscape painting, but this gives a window into some of our other holdings, with works from William Sidney Mount, Frank Myers Boggs, Winslow Homer, and contemporary artists such as Margery Caggiano, Leo Revi and Joseph Reboli.”

‘Fall Pool’ by Joseph Reboli will be on view at the LIM through July 30.
‘Fall Pool’ by Joseph Reboli will be on view at the LIM through July 30.

Chronologically, Mount’s paintings are the first. Five are on view including “School Boys Quarrel.” This painting also raises questions as well as tells a story. Why were the boys fighting? for example. Other Mount paintings include “California News, 1850,” the reaction to the news of gold being discovered, and “Loss and Gain, 1847.”

Edward Lamson Henry was born in South Carolina, moved to New York City and studied painting in Paris, returning to the U.S. during the American Civil War. His “Home Again,” painted in 1908, expresses longing for an America that was rapidly fading. Interestingly, this theme could easily express feelings in America after World War II or even now, with the rapid development of technology.

Twentieth century painter Joseph Reboli’s work is represented by “Fall Pool, 1998.” Reboli was born in Port Jefferson and worked much of his life in Stony Brook. A local artist, he is known for his interpretation of everyday scenes, much in the way that Mount did.

Margery Caggiano, who passed away this past December, noted in her artist’s statement that “I’ve sometimes regretted the lack of a formal art education … But, I like to think that I’ve been primarily influenced by paintings I’ve seen in galleries, museums and books rather than a teacher and other students.” Caggiano, with over 300 works in private and public collections, is represented in the LIM’s exhibit with “Michael as Don Manuel Osorio de Zuniga,” a 1978 work.

As technology has changed in the world overall, so has it changed in the art world, with photographs playing a larger and larger role in art. Photographer N. Jay Jaffee’s “Coney Island Polar Bears, 1951” is part of the current exhibit.

‘Bleaching Laundry,” c. 1875, oil on canvas, by William Moore Davis.
‘Bleaching Laundry,” c. 1875, oil on canvas, by William Moore Davis.

Other artists on display include, Mort Künstler, Robert Gwathmey, Craig Robins, Luigi Lucioni, Samuel Rothbort and William Moore Davis.

Noted Diamond, “The exhibition was chosen as a companion exhibit for the Mort Künstler show. In fact, there is a Künstler piece in the exhibit.” The Künstler show, which runs through May 30, features approximately 100 paintings and ephemera of the Oyster Bay artist.

Ruff noted, “We decided to put this exhibition together to pair with the Mort Künstler exhibition, which is largely an illustrative narrative art exhibition.  The thought was that an exhibit which looked at story-telling in art from our collection would provide the perfect complement to the larger exhibition.”

The Brush Is My Pen, was curated by Joshua Ruff and Lauren Cesiro (assistant director of education) and will be on display through July 30. Two special events related to the exhibit are scheduled.

On May 10 from 10 a.m. to noon the museum will hold its Senior Tuesday program. Seniors 62 and older are invited for a free, self-guided tour of The Brush Is My Pen. No reservations are required and groups are welcome. On May 15 from 2 to 3:30 pm, Cesiro will lead a guided tour of the exhibit. The program is free with regular museum admission.

In addition, mothers and grandmothers are invited to tour the museum for free on Mother’s Day, May 8. Other exhibits on display include, Mort Künstler: The Art of Adventure and Hooked@the LIM.

The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages is located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook.  The museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For further information, call 631-751-0066 or go to www.longislandmuseum.org.

‘The Three Graces’ by Lois Youmans will be on view at fotofoto gallery through May 28.

By Rita J. Egan

Spring is here and flowers are blooming all over the island. Yet, whether found in a garden or a vase, the beauty of a flower is fleeting, unless a photographer captures the image of a bloom. Then, not only can its beauty live eternally, but also every nuance can be seen, and the image may even inspire one to see the flower in a new way.

To celebrate the fine art of floral photography, fotofoto gallery in Huntington will present photographer Holly Gordon’s exhibit, FLORAbundance, through May 28. To complement her solo show, Floral Bouquet, with works from individual gallery artists, will be on display as well.

Gordon said that fotofoto gallery, which was founded almost 15 years ago by a group of Long Island-based photographers, is the oldest fine art photography collective gallery in the area that provides a space for professional contemporary photographers to display their work. Each month a group member has a chance to feature his or her art, and Gordon chose the month of May.

Lawrence Chatterton’s photograph, ‘Astilbe Chinensis’ will be on display at fotofoto’s latest exhibit.
Lawrence Chatterton’s photograph, ‘Astilbe Chinensis’ will be on display at fotofoto’s latest exhibit.

The photographer, who explained her work starts out as photographs but grows into something different in the digital “darkroom,” said May is the perfect time of year for her to display her floral images. Gordon said while a young mother she would plant vegetables and flowers and then take photos of her garden. “A lot of my evolution as an artist has evolved from the garden, and I thought May would be a perfect time to let my gallery space explode with the color and profusion of these wonderful blooms after a cold, gray season,” she said.

Gordon said she uses a 35mm Canon EOS 5D camera with a Tamron 28-300 zoom lens or a Sony RX1 with a fixed lens, and she varies her techniques when photographing subjects. She sometimes shoots with a shallow depth of field so the background blends in, and other times sets her camera out of focus so she can capture a more impressionistic view of what is in front of her. She said everything is manual because she feels, “it’s not the camera, it’s the person who is using the camera. I do not want a little box making decisions for me.”

At times, Gordon will take one shot in focus, and then, without moving or changing the focus or depth of field, she’ll keep taking photos. Once she has the photos on her computer, she uses Photoshop to layer them over each other and changes the opacity to make it look almost like cellophane to create an image that is recognizable yet at the same time represents her vision. Many times her photographs have been compared to a painting, which is no surprise since Gordon has a background in that art form, too.

“I’m always looking for creating my own vision, because you can set up a zillion cameras, and let the camera make all the decisions, and all you do is snap the picture, but I want to have a more personal response and reaction to what it is that I am looking at,” she said.

The photographer said she calls the paired exhibits at fotofoto The Focus Is Flowers, and the name of hers, FLORAbundance, is a play on the words floral and abundance. Gordon has 10 of her prints on display, and in Floral Bouquet 10 gallery artists are participating: Patricia Beary, Sandra Carrion, Lawrence Chatterton, Patricia Colombraro, Susan Dooley, Rosalie Frost, Andrea M. Gordon, Kristin Holcomb, Seth Kalmowitz and Lois Youmans.

Gordon said photographers will each have one piece on display in the group exhibit, and their signature styles inspired the title Floral Bouquet. “Because each artist in the gallery has his and her own unique vision, that’s why it has become a floral bouquet. That’s what’s so fascinating, and it’s absolutely wonderful, because it just shows so many different approaches to photographing flowers,” she said.

The photographer hopes that visitors to the gallery will look at flowers differently after viewing the exhibit and that serious photographers may even be inspired to share their work with art lovers at fotofoto gallery. “I hope that it expands the way they see. That they look at the world much more sensitively and as a natural work of art, and that it might inspire them to see differently when they use their camera . . . not just to rely on the technology of the camera to snap something, but to be a more active player in choosing what to take and to realize that being an artist is a rare and special gift,” she said.

‘Iris,’ a photographic print by Holly Gordon, will be on display at fotofoto’s latest exhibit.
‘Iris,’ a photographic print by Holly Gordon, will be on display at fotofoto’s latest exhibit.

Gordon said she once read something that Monet said to the effect of “look beyond the bloom.” “What I took that to mean, and maybe that’s something that I would like people to take away from seeing my work, what he was saying, ‘look beyond the bloom,’ see it for more than the fact that it’s a tulip, or a rhododendron, or a rose or a daisy,” she said. “See it as colors and shapes and patterns, and how those colors and shapes and patterns and textures play with all the other colors and patterns and textures around it. And, that’s how I view the world; I see it as art elements.”

The exhibit is the first of a number of events for Gordon in the next few months. The photographer is scheduled to display her FLORAbundance pieces at the Bay Shore-Brightwaters Library from June 1 through 30 and will also present a slide show based on the artwork at the library on June 13. Another slide show with Gordon, presented by the Long Island Horticulture Society, is scheduled for Sunday, June 28, at Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay.

In addition to her solo work, the photographer is currently working with watercolor painter Ward Hooper on the artistic endeavor, The Brush/Lens Project, which compares Long Island landscapes in both a photograph and painting to show how the brush and lens relate. The Long Island MacArthur Airport Gallery will host an exhibit by The Brush/Lens Project with Gordon’s photographs as well as Hooper’s paintings from July 1 through August 12.

Gordon said an artist reception at fotofoto will be held on Saturday, May 7, from 5 to 7 p.m., and the gallery will also be part of Huntington Village’s first Art Walk taking place on Saturday, May 14. “I certainly hope that people will tiptoe through the streets of Huntington and come back to fotofoto gallery because I’m going to be there, too,” she said.

FLORAbundance by Holly Gordon and Floral Bouquet by fotofoto gallery artists will run through May 28. The gallery is located at 14 W. Carver St. in Huntington and admission is free. For more information on the exhibit, visit www.fotofotogallery.org or call 631-549-0448. To discover more about Gordon’s photography, visit www.hollygordonphotographer.com.

Social

4,793FansLike
5Subscribers+1
981FollowersFollow
19SubscribersSubscribe