By Heidi Sutton
As the days get shorter and cooler air settles in on Long Island, a perennial favorite, the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Member Artist Showcase, returns to the Mill Pond House Gallery in St. James. Featuring original artwork by 64 STAC member artists, the juried exhibit will be on display throughout the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion through Dec. 10. Many of the works at the showcase will be available for purchase.
“I love this show,” gushed STAC director Allison Cruz during a recent guided tour. “There are so many artists and such diverse artwork. Every year it is so different.” Indeed, there are many different kinds of medium represented this year including digital photography, pen and ink, acrylic, pencil, watercolor, oil, pastel, sculpture and mixed-media.
While typically a juror or curator selects works for an exhibit, the Member Artist Showcase is unique in that it allows the artists to choose what piece they would like to exhibit in the show. “I give them the opportunity to show maybe something new they are working on or something they wouldn’t be able to show somewhere else,” said Cruz.
“We have a lot of artists from different communities across Long Island [in the exhibit],” as well as North Carolina, Florida, Alaska and New York City, Cruz said.
This year’s show was juried by artist Pam Brown. A resident of Stony Brook, Brown taught sculpture and was the director and curator of The Anthony Giordano Gallery at Dowling College in Oakdale for 16 years. She currently maintains a studio and works as a freelance art consultant and curator.
“I was very impressed with the overall level of professionalism and diversity of the artwork submitted for the Members Exhibition,” said Brown. “The exhibition as a whole is engaging because the artwork is conceptually interesting with a variety of forms and styles that are unique and in some cases exquisitely executed.”
While finding the task difficult “because art is subjective,” Brown eventually selected four equal winners — Margaret Minardi’s “Grace Safe Inside” (colored pencil and acrylic collage); Robert Roehrig’s oil painting, “Fossil Town”; Shain Bard’s autumn scene, “Light Spilling Down the Street” (oil); and Rosemary Wilson Sloggatt for her acrylic painting, “Awakening.”
“Those members get an opportunity to participate in our upcoming Winners Showcase exhibit along with our juried winners,” said Cruz. “It’s a very nice opportunity; they get to show a couple of pieces,” she added.
“Each artist that I selected demonstrated a high level of skill and insight to their area of concentration,” said Brown. “Rosemary Wilson Sloggatt’s large black and white painting of a woman gazing into her refrigerator is striking. To me the painting is about yearning, her arms and hands are reaching into the light, her face is illuminated and she is seeking in the middle of the night for something more.”
She continued, “Margaret Minardi’s ‘Grace Safe Inside’ is incredibly detailed and beautifully rendered. The patterns and colors are complex and meticulously painted. Robert Roehrig’s painting of ‘Fossil Town’ is a unique and precisely painted landscape of an industrial site, which has a small-town wistful feeling. Shain Bard’s painting of early morning on a tree-lined street with parked cars is alluring and is defined by the light that is pouring into the backdrop with muted colors and freely painted forms.”
Pamela Waldroup’s digital pigment print, “Leather Man” and Jeanette Martone’s “Mercado,” pencil and ink on paper received Honorable Mentions. “I liked their story, as well I was struck by their individuality and personal style of making art,” said Brown.
To Cruz, that is music to her ears. “To me this is an important show. We are here to support creativity among people. It’s an important part of what we are.”
Participating artists include: Aldo Arena, Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Renee Blank, Kyle Blumenthal, Chevalier Daniel C. Boyer, Joyce Bressler, Suzanne R. Brodsky, Renee Caine, Jim Capone, Cheryl Cass-Zampiva, Carol Ceraso, Teresa Cromwell, Julie Doczi, Granville Fairchild, Essie Freilach, Donna Gabusi, Vivian Gattuso, Maureen Ginipro, Justin Greenwald, Donna Grossman, Jan Guarino, Diann Haist, Diane Henderson, Katherine Hiscox, Lori Horowitz, David Jaycox Jr., Anne Katz, Lynn Kinsella, John Koch, Susan Kozodoy-Silkowitz, Rasma Kupers Dos, Patricia Lind-Gonzalez, Linda Louis, Kathryn Lynn, Steven Macanka, Jane Manning, Jeanette Martone, Bobbi Mastrangelo, Terence McManus, Anne Miller, Margaret Minardi, Rebecca Molinari, Karen George Mortimore, Diane Oliva, Alicia R. Peterson, Kara Lee Reyes, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Michael Sauer, Lori Scarlatos, Gisela Skoglund, Rosemary Wilson Sloggatt, Sílvia Soares Boyer, Gunter Stern, Hui Hui Su-Kennedy, Nicholas Valentino, Mary Ann Vetter, Pamela Waldroup, Shirley Weiner, Constance Sloggatt Wolf and Patty Yantz.
The Mills Pond House Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Member Artist Showcase through Dec. 10. The gallery is open Wednesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.