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Peter Galasso

Stan Brodsky in his studio. Photo by Peter Scheer

By Melissa Arnold

For Stan Brodsky, painting was so much more than just a skill or even a career. It was a language, a love affair, a truly sensual experience. The artist shared those feelings openly with students over the course of a renowned teaching career that spanned more than 50 years. 

Several months ago, the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills began to prepare Stan Brodsky and Friends, a springtime exhibit celebrating Brodsky’s work along with nearly 30 of his dearest friends, many of whom were former students and mentees.

‘Woman in a Car,’ oil/acrylic on canvas by Doug Reina

On March 30, just two weeks before the exhibit’s scheduled opening, Stan Brodsky passed away at the age of 94. He had continued to work and teach until the final weeks of his life, just as he wanted it. Brodsky’s students noted that the World War II veteran tried to retire a few years ago, but he couldn’t stand being away from doing what he loved. 

The Art League is moving forward with the show as planned, with the exhibit running from April 13 to 28. A reception on April 14 at 3:30 p.m. will allow the artists and those who loved Brodsky to honor his life and legacy.

Participating artists include Ennid Berger, Susan Bird, Susan Canin, Denise DiGiovanna, Simon Fenster, Stuart Friedman, Peter Galasso, Lenore Ann Hanson, Ginger Balizer-Hendler, Caroline Isacsson, Vincent Joseph, Deborah Katz, Marceil Kazickas, Denise Kramer, Barbara Miller, Catherine Morris, Pamela Long Nolan, Dianne Parker, Alicia R. Peterson, Doug Reina, Fran Roberts, Susan M. Rostan, Ellen Hallie Schiff, Laura Powers-Swiggett, Janice Sztabnik, Lois Walker and Hiroko Yoshida.

Stan has touched so many lives, inspiring them to pursue their passions,” said Susan Peragallo, coordinator and curator of the Art League’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery. “The exhibit will be a chance for everyone to celebrate him — the 27 artists in the show are only a small segment of those who were influenced by him over the years.”

A master abstract expressionist, Brodsky studied photojournalism and fine art before receiving a doctorate in art education from Columbia University in 1959. Originally from Greenwich Village, he moved to Huntington in 1965. Most of his teaching years were spent at Long Island University’s C.W. Post Campus in Brookville, and a collection of his notes and sketches from 1951 to 2004 can be found at the Smithsonian Institution.

‘Superficial Information,’ oil on canvas by Marceil Kazickas

Brodsky’s relationship with the Art League began in the late ’90s when he became an instructor. The classes were small in the beginning, with just five students enrolled in 1994, but grew rapidly, and eventually people had to be turned away from lack of space. “It’s not so much that he was popular, but he was inspiring and generous in his critiques, and people really responded to that,” Peragallo said.

Peter Galasso of Setauket remembers that Brodsky could often be found in the same way over the years as students arrived for class — sitting at his desk, usually eating an egg sandwich, always poring over an art history text.

“He had a contagious passion, and was constantly reading and continuing to study,” said Galasso, who began studies under Brodsky 20 years ago, eventually becoming a friend and traveling companion. “He was always looking to travel somewhere new or different. He wanted to be inspired by the local color of a place.”

Susan Rostan of Woodbury remembers entering Brodsky’s classroom for the first time while pursuing a master’s in fine art. Brodsky arranged the students in a circle and asked each one to introduce themselves. When it was her turn, Rostan simply told him, “I’ve heard I’m either going to love you or hate you, but I’m cautiously optimistic.”

‘She Wears Her Heart on Her Sleeve …,’ mixed media by Susan Canin

Many years later, Rostan was sitting in a different class of Brodsky’s, this one at the Art League. But she was stunned by the striking realization that nothing had changed: He still wore the same striped sweaters and paint-splattered jeans. She painted a full-length portrait of him that day that will appear in the exhibit.

“He taught us as much about ourselves as he did about painting,” said Rostan, who is now working on a biography of Brodsky. “He was an unusual teacher in that he approached his students as equals and opened himself up to be vulnerable and form friendships with them, which allowed him to encourage them particularly well.”

Brodsky’s friendship and deep encouragement were beloved by so many of his students, said Doug Reina of Setauket. In fact, some of them continued to take his classes for decades just to spend more time with him.

“Stan had this ability to make you feel special. He was genuinely curious about you, and that means a lot,” Reina said. “In the old days before taking his classes, I would look at a scene and just try to copy it. But through him I learned to paint in a way that also expresses how I feel about the subject and the sensuousness of the paint itself. Stan painted with his own language and created something truly unique for the world.”

Stan Brodsky and Friends will be on view at the Art League of Long Island’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery, 107 E. Deer Park Road, Dix Hills. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-462-5400 or visit www.artleagueli.net

Visit artist Doug Reina in his Setauket studio during the tour.

By Heidi Sutton

Back by popular demand, the North Shore Artist Coalition will host its 2018 Open Studio Tour this weekend, Oct. 13 and 14, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The free event will showcase the studios of 15 award-winning artists in Setauket, Stony Brook, Port Jefferson and St. James.

Visit ceramic artist Hugh McElroy during the tour.

The coalition, whose founding members include Pam J. Brown, Jim Molloy, Doug Reina, Mary Jane van Zeijts and Nancy Bueti-Randall, started this tour three years ago with the goal of bringing more awareness to professional artists that are living in the Three Village area. 

“We felt that by coming together and pooling our talents and ideas that we could have some kind of creative impact in the community and the studio tour was one of those ideas,” said Reina in a recent interview. “It’s nice to do this with like-minded people.”

While Molloy will be unable to participate this year, the group has invited artists Al Candia, Peter Galasso, Sungsook Hong Setton, Christian Stuyvesant White, Hugh J. McElroy, Marlene Weinstein, Christine Mannone Carolan, Cindy Crowell, Leslie M. Cross, and mother/daughter duoFlo and Karen Kemp to join them for the weekend event. “It’s good that they’re on board. They’re good artists and I know they’re excited to be part of this,” said Reina.

Reached by phone, Brown said visitors to the event “can expect to see the works of an eclectic mix of professional artists who are illustrators, photographers, sculptors and painters.” Most importantly, she said, the tour will offer an intimate look into their art studio.

Sunsook Setton will give a tour of her studio during the event

That, said Reina, is what makes this event so unique. “Honestly, how often do you get to see the inner workings of an artist’s creative process?” he asked. “Usually you see the paintings hanging up [in a gallery] but you don’t really get a chance to see where the artwork gets created.” The Setauket artist added that those that “are at all interested in the technical part of art or getting into art or becoming a little bit more serious about your art” would benefit from this tour.

Finished works as well as works in progress will be on view and several artists will be giving demonstrations.

In the two previous tours, each artist welcomed 80 to 100 visitors to their studio and Brown is excited to see what the future holds. 

“People go to Gallery North, there’s the Reboli Center, the Setauket Artists, Neil Watson at The Long Island Museum is doing unbelievable things, we now have the Brick Studio, we have The Atelier at Flowerfield and then you have the Mills Pond Gallery. That’s a lot of art organizations — there’s a lot happening — so I think it’s really great for local artists to be connected as much as possible and build our community and try to build awareness for people outside of our community,” she explained. 

“We would love in the future to have all these local organizations on board so this becomes a big cultural attraction, an art destination for people who are looking to get away for the weekend,” Brown continued. “It is my hope that this event continues to grow.”

The Artist Open Studio Tour map and addresses may be found at https://www.facebook.com/NorthShoreArtistCoalition. Admission is free and refreshments will be served at some of the studios. For further information, please call 631-834-9036.

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Hugh McElroy of Port Jefferson with some of the masks he created

A COLORFUL PALATE The North Shore Artists Coalition held its second annual Artists Open Studio Tour on Nov. 11 and 12. Eleven award-winning artists welcomed visitors into their studios to see where the magic happens including, clockwise from top left, Peter Gallasso of Setauket, Hugh McElroy of Port Jefferson, Christian White of St. James, Nanci Bueti-Randall of Stony Brook (in her St. James studio), Sungsook Setton of Setauket, and Jim Molloy of Miller Place. Other participating artists included Doug Reina, Mary Jane van Zeijts, Marlene Weinstein, Pam Brown and Kelynn Z. Alder. Guests were able to view artwork for sale, ask questions and enjoy refreshments.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

Abstract artist Peter Galasso’s Setauket studio will be one of the stops on the tour. Photo from Peter Galasso

By Heidi Sutton

The North Shore is teeming with talented artists and local venues like the Mills Pond House Gallery, the Reboli Center for Art and History, The Long Island Museum, Gallery North, the Port Jefferson Village Center and libraries are more than eager to show off their artwork. But what if you could hit the rewind button and observe the artist working on the piece right before your eyes?

That rare opportunity will arise this weekend as the North Shore Artist Coalition hosts its second annual Artist Open Studio Tour.

Doug Reina will be working on a painting during the tour. Photo from Doug Reina

The self-guided event will offer an intimate glimpse into the working studios of 11 award-winning artists living in Miller Place, St. James, Setauket, Port Jefferson and Stony Brook, giving visitors a personal opportunity to meet and talk with artists about their work and the creative process.

The coalition, whose core artist group is Nancy Bueti-Randall, Mary Jane van Zeijts, Jim Molloy, Doug Reina and Pam Brown, formed last year to contribute to the community through exhibitions, open studio tours and educational programs. “Fundamentally we believe the arts improve our lives and enrich our communities culturally, socially and economically. As well our mission is to promote and increase regional awareness of professional artists working in a wide range of styles and studio practices,” said Brown in a recent email.

Artists Peter Galasso, Kelynn Z. Adler, Sungsook Setton, Christian White, Hugh McElroy and Marlene Weinstein were invited to participate in this year’s tour.

Artist Pam Brown’s studio is one of the stops on the tour. Photo from Pam Brown

“Each year we invite artists from the Three Village and surrounding areas [to join us],” Brown explained. “Our goal is to invite more artists each year as the Studio Tour grows.” In addition to the Artist Studio Tour, the group aims to have yearly pop-up exhibitions. This past June, Mary Jane van Zeijts hosted an exhibition at her Setauket studio titled Five @ 268 Art on Main that featured the core group. Upcoming projects include a curated exhibition of the Artists in the Studio Tour. “Currently we are looking for exhibition spaces in our local area,” said Brown.

At each studio, which can be in a backyard barn, garage, house, storefront or outdoor space, visitors will be able to talk freely with the artists and ask questions about their approach and individual styles to making art. “They can visit as long as they like,” said Brown. “Additionally some of the artists will be doing demonstrations and talking directing about their processes and the materials they use.”

Visitors can also expect to see a variety of artwork on display including original paintings, sculptures, ceramics, pastels, photographs, prints and textiles. Additionally, artwork will be for sale.

Brown is hoping to attract even more visitors to this year’s event. “Last year’s Studio Tour was very successful and well-attended, we received positive feedback from local art organizations and other cultural venues, plus we had incredible support from fellow artists, friends and our community at large,” she said.

“It is our hope that people walk away with a deeper meaning and understanding of art, the Artist, and the important role that art plays in our community.”

The North Shore Artist Coalition’s Artist’s Open Studio Tour will be held on Saturday, Nov. 11 and Sunday, Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will be held rain or shine and admission is free. Refreshments will be served at several studios. For a list of the 11 locations, visit www.facebook.com/NorthShoreArtistCoalition. For more information, call 631-834-9036.

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'Blue in Green' by Peter Galasso

By Ellen Barcel

“You rarely see a show of all abstract art,” said artist Peter Galasso, of the Art League of Long Island’s new show, Long Island Abstraction: 2 Generations, on view at the league’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery now through April 15.

‘Accents Red’ by Frank Wimberley

Four artists, Stan Brodsky, Laura Powers-Swiggett, Frank Wimberley and Galasso have filled the gallery with approximately 50 of their abstract works. What else unites these four artists? They are all award-winning artists with strong ties to Long Island. Two, Galasso and Powers-Swiggett were influenced by their mentor, Brodsky. The fourth, Wimberley was added to the exhibit by Galasso.

“I’ve been showing for 25 years. I met Frank [Wimberley] about 10 years ago at a gallery show. I admired his work,” said Galassao in a recent interview. The two became friends and Galasso suggested his work for an exhibit held at the Art League about two years ago. When the concept for the current exhibit was broached, “I told him of my idea of two generations of abstract artists from Long Island …” The idea was very specific. “He could see how this would work.”

Where did the two generations come from? Both Brodsky and Wimberley are in their 90s, the senior members of the foursome. Powers-Swiggett and Galasso, the younger members, were both students of Brodsky. Brodsky was not only a mentor to these two, but many, many others as professor of art at C.W. Post College for over 30 years. In his artist’s statement, Brodsky noted, “I’ve been an exhibiting artist in New York City for more than 50 years — and my passion for painting is a strong now as ever.”

‘Descending Light 2’ by Stan Brodsky

Galasso described Wimberley’s work saying, “I admire his work — movement and color. He uses a lot of acrylic medium, a very thick mixture. It moves spontaneously across the canvas.”

Susan Peragallo, gallery coordinator, said that abstract art is nonrepresentational and “about expressing an idea or emotion using color, line and form.” But what inspires each of these four artists? In his artist’s statement Brodsky noted, “I have traveled extensively absorbing the colors and textures of new landscapes,” and Powers-Swiggett’s paintings are landscape-based abstractions exploring spatial and color relationships. Galasso’s works have been described as “an exploration of feeling, memory and a unique vision …”

Abstract art can be very freeing for both the artist and the viewer. The realist must represent the scene accurately, but the abstract artist uses a scene as inspiration. Said Wimberley in his artist statement, “The abstract painter can commence his drawing or canvas generally with only a preconceived notion, reflection or emotion … he has far less guarantees than perhaps the realist painter or photographer that the finished expression with extended from calculated reason or logic. This for me provides the excitement of taking the theme or feeling from the very first stroke, and following it to its own particular conclusion. It is very much like creating the controlled accident.”

‘Wawapek’ by Laura Powers-Swiggett

While each of the four artists decided which of their works were to be shown, it was Peragallo who decided which paintings would be hung together, making them, “flow together. That was my job. It was sort of like putting a puzzle together. You want the works to speak to each other but one shouldn’t overpower the other. They should gradually draw the viewer into the show.” “It’s a wonderful show, really beautiful,” said Peragallo. “People who don’t normally like abstract art come in and say ‘Wow.’ It’s a happy show, so colorful and uplifting,” she added.

Long Island Abstraction: 2 Generations will be on view at The Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery of the Art League of Long Island, 107 East Deer Park Road, Dix Hills through April 15. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For further information, call 631-462-5400 or go to www.artleagueli.org.