By Melissa Arnold
Looking at a beautiful painting, photo or sculpture can sometimes evoke strong memories or emotions. For many people, the same is true when listening to music. It’s even possible to have a piece of music conjure up an image in the mind’s eye, or for artwork to seem musical.
The Huntington Arts Council is exploring the intersection of visual arts and music in its newest exhibit, Sights and Sounds: Rhythms and Scales, on view at its Main Street Gallery from Feb. 7 through March 14.
The unique subject has been on business manager Kieran Johnson’s mind for some time.
“The overlap of music and visual art has always been a fascination of mine with my favorite visual artists, both contemporary and historical, having their background in music,” Johnson said. “I was reviewing video and listening to tracks from our monthly Singer-Songwriter Night and decided I wanted to do [an exhibit] about auditory and visual art.”
Artists were asked to consider a series of questions as inspiration for their submissions: Does your work exude rhythm, melody, lyrics, harmony or dissonance from a social, political or musical perspective? Does it elicit a reaction in sounds, words or movement? Does it dance or sway? Does it move or move the viewer? Does it sing?
Johnson called on friend of the Huntington Arts Council Kevin McEvoy to jury the exhibit. McEvoy has worked with the council in a number of capacities, from a member and past juror to panelist and educator.
“Kevin has been a supportive partner in the work we do for over a decade. He is an incredibly skilled artist and arts educator, and his professional and personal background make him an interesting person to know and work with,” Johnson said.
A Long Island native, McEvoy studied fine arts at Stony Brook University and refined his painting skills while in Chile and Italy. He is also the founder of The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James.
“I’ve always appreciated the relationship of mutual respect and support I’ve had with the Huntington Arts Council. They are so warm and encouraging not just with me, but with all of the artists who approach them,” McEvoy said. “I’ve painted a lot of musicians, musical instruments and music inspired pieces, and I’m excited to jury an exhibit on a subject I feel passionately about.”
In total, 60 artists from across the country submitted 156 pieces for consideration. McEvoy narrowed the field to 44 pieces by 40 artists. The final exhibit includes oil paintings, pastels, graphite drawings, photography and more.
Participating artists include Rose Ann Albanese, Sheri Berman, Zintis Buzermanis, Lisa L. Cangemi, Linda Ann Catucci, Kenneth Cerreta, Kaylynn Chenn, Jody Cukier, Doris Diamond, Naomi Diracles, Vicki Field, Jim Finlayson, Cori Forster, Andrea Fortunoff, Kathleen Gerlach, Roxana Gheorghe, Bill Grabowski, Jan Guarino, Margaret Henning, Nayyar Iqbal, David Jaycox Jr., Wendy June Jensen, Marc Josloff, Julianna Kirk, Beth Laxer-Limmer, Jacques LeBlanc, Stephanie L. Marcus, Kristen Memoli, Margaret Minardi, Mary Nagin, Thais Osorio, Luda Pahl, Eli Rabe, Andrea Rhude, Olivia Rodson, Saul Rosenstreich, Barbara Stein, Victor Vaccaro, Pamela Waldroup and Ella Yang.
“Long Island is a musical place. Our identity is rooted in music and it’s a big part of the culture here, so it’s a natural fit for artists to explore,” McEvoy said. “I tried not to bring any preconceptions of what a piece should look like. Whether it is a lilting line of a kinetic wire sculpture, an atmospheric photo of a violin that almost reads as a mountainscape, or the joyful pluck of an instrument in beautiful pastel colors, indeed, across Long Island, painters, sculptors and musicians are still singing.”
Andrea Fortunoff of Syosset created a digital collage entitled “Dance the Floor: Generations in Rhythm,” depicting dancing people of African heritage in various styles of dress.
“The Huntington Arts Council artist call for Sights and Sounds: Rhythm and Scales spurred me to reflect on the historical synergy between music and dance,” Fortunoff stated in an email. “As an ancient and ephemeral art, dance relies on passing cadence from body to body. My collage is a visual representation of how rhythm and pattern intertwine and are inscribed in a dancer’s memory; reverberating from dancer to dancer through time.”
The exhibit’s opening reception on Friday, Feb. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. will allow artists and visitors the chance to get to know each other while appreciating the variety of media on display. McEvoy will select a best in show and honorable mention before the reception begins.
“We are thrilled to feature this exhibit and have Kevin McEvoy as the juror. This show is a wonderful depiction of the intertwined nature of art. The work is beautiful and highlights a wide array of artists,” said HAC Executive Director Marc Courtade. “Kevin has been a longtime friend of HAC. His talent, knowledge and contribution to the arts have meant so much to us and the Long Island community. We are looking forward to seeing him at the reception.”
The Huntington Arts Council will present Sights and Sounds: Rhythms and Scales at its Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington through March 14. For further information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.