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art exhibit

'February Flora #30' by Scott Farrell will be on view at Gallery North through March 31. Image courtesy of Gallery North

Up next for Gallery North is Equilibrium, a selection of works by ceramicist Lori Rosen and photographer Scott Farrell, on view from February 22 to March 31 with each focusing on the interactions and relationships of a contained and constructed environment in dynamic equilibrium. 

In Farrell’s work, the large glass windows of a greenhouse contain a lush indoor environment. These windows serve as a barrier, containing life and maintaining balances in temperature, humidity, and air quality. Farrell utilizes our separation from this balanced environment as a pre-existing “filter” — one that is whitewashed, streaked with condensation, or reflective — to create impressionistic and abstract compositions. 

‘Stepping Stones’ by Lori Rosen

Balance is also central to Lori Rosen’s series Stepping Stones. Each reminiscent of actual stones glistening after a rain shower, her sculptures are comprised of delicately stacked harmonious compositions that appear to defy gravity. Rosen’s creative process plays with contrasting textures, luminous shapes, and bold forms, all emerging from her practice of yoga and meditation. Chance encounters unite both artists, as does the serendipity of the creative process. Rosen and Farrell seek these encounters as part of a lifelong search for balance both within themselves and the larger world around us.

The community is invited to an opening reception on Thursday, February 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. As a complement to the exhibition, Gallery North will host an ArTalk and discussion session with the artists on Thursday, March 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. The exhibition, reception and ArTalk are free.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Jefferson’s Ferry and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning. 

Located at 90 North Country Road in  Setauket, Gallery North is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org. 

By Tara Mae

Perspective and reality merge in imagination, creating art that is tethered to truth and yet unfettered from realism. Finding Hidden Treasures: The Art of Sam Adoquei, a retrospective of the artist’s oil paintings, explores the scope of such interplay.

On view at the Long Island Museum (LIM) in Stony Brook through June 2, the show features 25 oil paintings of various sizes as well as an excerpt of The Unseen Beauty (2012), a film written and directed by Gabriel de Urioste about Adoquei and his work.

The entire exhibit is a milestone for Adoquei. 

“It is the first time in my life to have my large figurative works and small paintings, my traditional pieces and my outdoor oil paintings, my still lifes and my figurative pieces come together in the same room. It is also interesting to see some of my earliest paintings next to some recent canvases,” he said in an email. “Same with technique/approach: there are paintings that were approached with the most careful traditional/classical method while some of the canvases were approached with fun spontaneous innovative spirit.”

Finding Hidden Treasures reveals scenes of certainty and surprise, calmly tranquil or intensely evocative. During a recent guided tour of the exhibit before it goes on view to the public, I was immersed in a world of soothing still lifes, inviting landscapes, and compelling figures. 

For Adoquei, a Ghanaian immigrant who is also a writer and teacher, oil painting is a language through which he communicates, inviting viewers to enmesh themselves in the core of the work and the feelings they invoke. 

“Oils provide that unlimited range of expressing myself: from the leanest and thinnest effects to the thickest layers of impasto pigments,” Adoquei said. 

In many ways, the show is a reflection and meditation on moments in time, both simple and profound. It is an intimate invitation to become acquainted with new characters and reintroduced to uncommon elements of common knowledge.  

“Sam is very ambitious to be taking on some of the subjects he takes on, like these sort of massive scale history paintings. Then there is the sensitivity that he has in his figurative and portrait work, the expressiveness, the fact that you look at the people in the paintings, you feel a connection,” said LIM’s Co-Executive Director Joshua Ruff. 

Such a kinship is formed via a shared visual dialogue between artist and audience. The paintings in this exhibit entice the breadth of human emotion in what they depict and what they evoke. 

“My approach is diverse: traditional, innovative…Creating a painting to me is always communication with the enthusiasts: whether short and poetic, a short essay, or long and epic depends on the subject and what I aim to extract from it,” he added.

Two of the most arrestingly captivating pieces in the exhibit combine narrative tradition with creative interpretation: a 10-foot-wide triptych titled “The Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. (The Entombment)” which was featured in the New York Times and displayed at the S. Dillon Ripley Center of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC., and “Death of a President (John F. Kennedy).” These history paintings reimagine hauntingly human tragedies with interpersonal, even fantastical, elements.

In these renderings, persons from the artist’s life, as well as Adoquei, appear as bystanders or sympathetic participants. Adoquei frequently includes himself or his associates in his paintings, a practice that adds emotional depth to the works.  

“I love people, I am always inspired by the love of people, and humanistic pursuits are part of sentiments that I try to include in my mission to unveil my vision,” he said.

This generosity and warmth extends to pieces that do not include human figures, like idyllic interpretations of Long Island vistas and other settings. They encourage onlookers to step into them, feel the sand beneath their feet, the breeze as it rustles tall grasses, the sun on their faces, the sound of the sea, the taste of salt in the air. 

Adoquei’s still life paintings are intriguing and alluring, alluding to larger stories of which patrons are only catching a glimpse: two quinces with their stems and leaves attached, lilting sunflowers and daisies in vase, a partially sectioned grapefruit, with what appears to be a thumbprint left on the endocarp. 

“All that I do is inspired by nature, life and living, and the needs of the future. Turning nature and people into beautiful timeless paintings to inspire others inspires me daily,” Adoquei said. “As lives, works, and legacies of great minds took me from oceans and cultures away and offered me the support to create art that hangs on museum walls and in private collections, so do I hope to create meaningful timeless art worthy of inspiring future generations.” 

Versatility of technique underscores the scope and impact of Adoquei’s subject matter. His art contains and honors a multitude of human experiences, including his own journey from Ghanaian art student, to sign and billboard painter in Nigeria, and then working artist, educator, and author in the United States, where he arrived in 1987. 

Adoquei’s paintings welcome patrons to participate in moments fraught and freeing, stunning and serene. Finding Hidden Treasures is an opportunity for artist and art appreciators to enter the field of humanistic imagination.  

“I have never seen this collection of my paintings exhibited together, and knowing they wouldn’t be in the same room together again, I hope art lovers of Long Island will take advantage of the opportunity to come enjoy them at The Long Island Museum,” Adoquei said.

Also on view at the Long Island Museum: 

Painting Partnership: Reynold and Joan Ruffins in the Art Museum from Feb. 8 to June 30

Organized in conjunction with The Power of Two (see next exhibit), this exhibition presents a unique story of love, creativity, and art. Sharing 60 years of marriage and settling in Sag Harbor in 1992, Painting Partnership features close to 25 paintings and sculptures from the remarkable artistic duo, Reynold Dash Ruffins (1930-2021) and Joan B. Young Ruffins (1932-2013). Reynold began making his mark in graphic and advertising design in the 1950s and the 1960s, later working on such publications as The New York Times Magazine, Gourmet, and Essence, and creating award-winning illustrations for children’s books. Meanwhile, as Joan raised the couple’s four children, she created a studio in the family’s St. Albans home, creating art and teaching both children and adults.

The Power of Two: Artist Couples of Long Island in the Art Museum from Feb. 8 to June 30

Experience the dynamic interplay of creativity as The Power of Two: Artist Couple of Long Island exhibition showcases over 50 artworks comparing and contrasting the work produced by 14 artist couples of Long Island. From the 1880s to contemporary couples today, this exhibition provides a captivating insight into the collaborative spirit of artist partnerships.

Colors of Long Island in the History Museum from Feb. 8 to April 7

This year marks the 25th Anniversary of the  Annual Colors of Long Island Student Art Exhibition, a show that affords an opportunity for hundreds of students from across Long Island to display their artwork in a museum setting. Art teachers from public and private schools in grades pre-k through 12th grade were invited to submit up to two pieces of student artwork that capture the essence of the region’s landscapes, history, and cultural diversity through various mediums including watercolor, sculpture, pencil, ink, oil pastel, photographs and computer graphics.

Located at 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook, the Long Island Museum is open Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults; $7 for seniors (age 62 and older); $5 for students (ages 5-17, and college students with an ID); $3.50 for persons with disabilities (personal care assistants are free); and, free for active and retired military personnel. For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org. 

'Sa gabing madilim' (in the dark night), 2023, acrylic, gouache, watercolor, pencil, graphite, 42in x 66in by Cheeny Celebrado-Royer

Suffolk County Community College’s Flecker Gallery on the Ammerman Campus in Selden will host artist Cheeny Celebrado-Royer from February 8 through March 8.

Within the upcoming exhibition Dawn, Cheeny weaves together elements of drawing, painting, collage, architecture, and nature, employing a diverse array of materials associated with temporality, construction, and migration. Throughout her work, she explores mediums such as: graphite, packing supplies, cardboard, tape, concrete, and paint. Within her artwork, she undertakes the deconstruction and repurposing of images, either fragments of her own creations or sourced photographs. Her drawings serve as an important role of transforming moments of time into a tangible manifestation of the intricate processes of recording, remembering, and translating. Beautifully displayed together, her drawings create an installation of harmonious and layered abstraction that evoke urgency and familiarity to the viewer.

Cheeny Celebrado-Royer was born in Naga City, Philippines and is a multidisciplinary artist who utilizes discarded and found materials to create installations, sculptures, paintings, and drawings. Her work encapsulates a sense of urgency, transient qualities, and the precarious nature of objects, often drawing inspiration from architectural structures and their inevitable deterioration.

She holds an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art (Mount Royal School of Art). Her exhibitions span notable venues such as the Walters Art Museum, Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, Fjord Gallery, School 33 Arts Center, the Peale Museum, ’sindikit Gallery, and Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Celebrado-Royer serves as an Assistant Professor in Experimental & Foundation Studies at the Rhode Island School of Design.

The community is invited to an opening reception on Thursday, February 8, from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Gallery hours are: Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 631-451-4110.

About Suffolk County Community College

Suffolk County Community College is the largest community college in the State University of New York (SUNY) system, enrolling approximately 21,000 students at its three campuses in Selden, Brentwood and Riverhead. Suffolk offers the Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.), and Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degrees, as well as a variety of certificate programs. Offering affordable college tuition, a highly respected Honors program, workforce training programs, extensive extracurricular activities, championship athletic teams, and numerous transfer programs, Suffolk is a first-choice college for Long Island students. Visit sunysuffolk.edu.

Smithtown Township Arts Council announced in a press release that the works of Smithtown artist Kusuma Bheemineni will be on view at Apple Bank of Smithtown, 91 Route 111, Smithtown from Jan. 26 to March 22. The exhibition, part of the Arts Council’s Outreach Gallery Program, may be viewed during regular banking hours Monday – Thursday 9 am – 4 pm; Friday 9 am – 6 pm; Saturday 9 am – 1 pm.

 Smithtown resident Kusuma Bheemineni has had a passion for sketching and painting since childhood. She began painting in oils at the age of 16, then added watercolor to her list of accomplished mediums.

Bheemineni had to put her love for painting on hold to pursue a career in the medical field as a physician. Many years later she is happy to have the time to return to her long-time passion which brings her so much joy!

“STAC is grateful to Apple Bank for its continued support of culture in our communities. We are so happy to feature the talents of Long Island artists in this space!” read the press release.

Smithtown Township Arts Council is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization.


Above, 'Glorious Sunset' by Paul Edelson will be on view at Gallery North through Feb 18. Image courtesy of Gallery North

Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket kicks off the new year with Coalescence, a selection of works by painter Paul Jay Edelson and sculptor Arthur Bernstein, on view from January 11 to February 18. 

Coalescence is a two-person exhibition featuring small and medium-scale oil paintings by Paul Jay Edelson and wood and resin sculptures by Arthur Bernstein. These two unique artists use inspiration from nature to materialize balletic compositions and abstract forms. 

‘Open Form’ by Arthur Bernstein will be on view at Gallery North through Feb 18. Image courtesy of Gallery North

Edelson’s alla prima paintings condense nebulous liminal atmospheres formed where land, sea and sky meet. He captures these protean seascapes through expressive marks that allude to the initial subject, often the shores of Long Island, while simultaneously exploring abstract moments of color and texture. 

The graceful abstract sculptures of Arthur Bernstein allude to solidified fluid movements and organic forms, which are often informed by the wood itself. The works are primarily carved from black walnut, which is native to Long Island and sourced locally. Bernstein’s attention to the balance of negative space, combined with the gently curving forms, create engaging structures for viewers to navigate.

The community is invited to an opening reception on Thursday, January 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. As a complement to the exhibition, Gallery North will host a Meet & Greet and wine tasting with the artists for Gallery North members on Thursday, February 1 from 6 to 8 p.m.. The exhibition and reception will all be free and open to the public. 

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Jefferson’s Ferry and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning. For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org.

By Tara Mae

Art traverses the boundaries that reality calls home. Silhouettes illuminated by soft sunlight; seascapes awash in mist; hints of humankind identified by what is left behind, Smithtown Township Arts Council’s latest exhibit at Mills Pond Gallery, Celebrating Nature and Light, explores environmental elements of everyday life. 

On view from Oct. 28 to Dec. 9, the gorgeous show features 66 works of art. All watercolor or gauche, the pieces were created by 49 artists from 28 Long Island communities, as well as the greater state of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, and South Dakota. 

Although other exhibits at the Mills Pond Gallery have featured watercolors, Celebrating Nature and Light highlights the medium’s malleability in conveying the nuances of the natural world. 

“I believe that watercolor possesses a radiant quality that best conveys both light and mood. It imparts an airy and transparent quality to the skies while infusing the landscape with a vibrant array of colors,” said juror and watercolorist Joel Popadics, Vice President/Treasurer of the American Watercolor Society.

Shades and tones, whether muted or ebullient, entice the audience to immerse itself in the places portrayed in the paintings. Watercolor blends edges of reality with intrinsic openness of imagination. Realistic scenes are imbued with an ethereal essence that feels both intimate and expansive. 

Such qualities inspired Popadics in choosing the exhibit’s underlying motifs of nature and light. “I’ve always been drawn to watercolor and I have worked with it my entire career. The unpredictable quality of watercolor makes this medium special,” he said. “As a landscape painter, this theme is particularly close to my heart.” 

It is an appreciation shared by Mills Pond Gallery’s Executive Director Allison Cruz. She organizes a few landscape shows a year, but had never before organized a juried watercolor exhibit at the gallery. 

“Landscape is of course a popular subject, especially here on Long Island. Watercolor paints are transparent and fluid, making them a perfect medium for capturing light,” Cruz said. 

The accessibility of watercolor is not limited to locations familiar to locals, but encompasses those vistas that may only be known to the artists themselves. Natural light enhances evocative views that are demurely dappled or boldly bright, accentuating humanity either in the signs of its presence or the abundance of its absence. 

“Art is subjective so it’s important to respect the diversity of artistic expression…I also think it’s fascinating to see the unique personal interpretations that each artist brings to the theme,” Popadics said, a sentiment also shared by Cruz.

“I look at every new exhibit as an opportunity to create new art lovers…to get more people to enjoy art and to help artists get their creations to new audiences,” said Cruz. 

Exhibiting artists include Alexander Kaluzhny, Alisa Shea, Angela Mirro, Ann Shoshkes, Antonio Masi, Brenda L Bechtel, Carol Koch, Catherine Rezin, Christine Verga Maday, Christopher Buckley, Daniel Walworth, Denis Ponsot, Diana Aliberti, Ellen Ferrigno, Felecia Montfort, Gentry L. Croshaw, Gisela Skoglund, Jan Guarino, Jeffrey Van Esselstine , Joan Vera Martorana, Joanne Teets, Joyce Bressler, Karen Bennett, Karen B Davis, Karin Weibert, Kathleen McArdle, Khrystyne Robillard-Smith, Kirsten DiGiovanni, Lisa Claisse, Liz Jorg Masi, Lori Scarlatos, Lynn Staiano, Lynn Liebert, Marsha Abrams, Mary Kiernan, Mary Waka, Myungja Anna Koh, Patricia Morrison, Patty Yantz, Robert Tuska, Roberta Rogers, Robin Foreman, Sally Anne Keller, Susan Toplitz, Susan Herbst, Teresa Cromwell, Tianzhou Zhao, Tracy Tekverk, and Victoria A. Beckert.

The Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving weekend). The public is invited to an opening reception for ‘Celebrating Nature and Light’ on Oct. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the artists and view their work. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org. 

The spookiest month of the year signals the return of the Huntington Arts Council’s (HAC) highly popular annual student exhibition, Nightmare on Main Street, a Halloween-inspired juried art exhibit for Nassau and Suffolk County students in grades 6 to 12. The show opened on Oct. 20 and runs through Nov. 12. 

This year’s juror, Holly Hunt, asked students to interpret and represent the concept of fear in their artwork.

“As a professional photographer who regularly submits to art calls and attends gallery shows, I was beyond impressed by the 224 submissions that showcased not only fresh ideas, but a true understanding, yet a broad interpretation of the theme that I presented of fear. The level of skill and sophistication I experienced as I viewed the submissions was mind-blowing,” said Hunt.

She continued, “I had my hands full as I culled through this diverse collection of artwork, not only because of the number of submissions, but I had to balance many factors in my choices; innovation, subject matter, interpretation of the theme, and more, but most importantly, originality — which I know in this day and age is an accomplishment in itself. Many pieces stopped me in my tracks, some at times eliciting an audible ‘wow!'”

Hunt ultimately chose 58 pieces to be featured at the Main Street Gallery.

Congratulations to  the following students: Alyana Abreu, Ava Beck, Ameila Bhario, Eden Bonamassa, Cassidy Conkiln, Lindsay Connolly, Carly Corcoran, Ava Coco, Emily Dahl, Clare DeSario, Maya Flam, Lily Fu, Divya Ganshani, Sarah-Kate Giarrizzo, Juliet Granz, Matthew Holcombe, Alyssa Huang, Soraya Jabir, Emma Jacob, Jada Joseph, Kashish Kochar, Samantha Koepele, Jayla Koster, Mattie Krakoff, Olivia Lanci, Abigail Laureta, Molly Lebolt, Rachel Learned, Kendra Saint Louis, Chamille Malcolm, Giselle Marquez, Isabella Mascetti, Mairead Matthews,Emily Miccio, Kaylee Neems, Sulayman Noori, Lily Orjiako, Jillian Ostrow, Samantha Peace, Alexis Rabinovich, Reece Rene, Marianna Rountos, Ava Sarrocco, Abby Schiff, Grace Schoonmaker, Keira Searson, Mickayla Sharkey, Xavier Tian, Jessica Wang, Warren Wei, Amanda Weng, Scarlett Willems, Lilly Zarmehrbakhsh, and Christina Zhong. 

The additional 110 pieces of student art work that was submitted will be featured on the HAC’s website.

“In it’s 12th year, Nightmare on Main Street represents not only one of our most popular exhibitions, but an incredibly rewarding one as well. The Halloween theme, regardless of how it is interpreted, is a familiar one to most of us. This opportunity we provide has proven to be an accessible and rewarding arts experience for students. Very often this show is a first for many young artists. Seeing their own work in a gallery setting can often be the motivation and encouragement a student needs to continue to create. As a community based organization this show is inspiring to all of us. Please continue to support and encourage our next generation of artists,” said HAC’s Executive Director, Kieran Johnson.

Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery, 213 Main Street, Huntington is open from Tuesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., weekends TBD. For more information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

By Kelynn Z. Alder

Up next for Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket is a unique exhibit titled Animal Spirits and Ancient Rituals: New Work by Kelynn Z. Alder, on view from October 5 to November 12.

Animal Spirits and Ancient Rituals is Kelynn Z. Alder’s first solo exhibition at Gallery North. It features paintings, monoprints, and drawings that all reference Alder’s Mexican cultural heritage. Many of the paintings are from the artist’s personal experiences in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico during the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festivities in Chamula, a town run entirely by the Tzotzil speaking Maya. In Chamula, as in most of Mexico, festivities and religious practices are a merging of ancient Indigenous rites, rituals and beliefs, meshed with Catholicism.

By Kelynn Z. Alder

Día de los Muertos is a celebration of both the living and the dead,” Alder states, “And the underlying theme of this work has much to do with the cycle of life and death — My reaching back to my ancestors… My rising consciousness of my own mortality… The continuation once I’m gone and become myself an ancestor.”

Blending the styles of the Mexican muralists and the impressionists, each painting in Animal Spirits and Ancient Rituals evokes the artist’s ancestral searching, yearnings, experiences, emotions and opinions — while encouraging others to reflect upon their own ancestry and personal journeys. Alder’s prints feature the artist’s personal interpretation of La Lotería – a traditional Mexican board game as well as an inspirational templet commonly used by many artists.

The daughter of an immigrant, Alder skillfully weaves the rudimentary pictures of La Loteria into Indigenous, political and religious iconography to create a complex arrangement of memory, political commentary, and symbolism. Indeed, through vivid paintings of Chiapas and the bold imagery of La Loteria, Animal Spirits and Ancient Rituals transports us to Alder’s inner visual world, while also offering important messages confronting the migrant crisis between the Mexican and U.S. border.

An opening reception will be held Saturday, October 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.

By Kelynn Z. Alder

As a complement to the exhibition, Gallery North will present a multi-site, guided tour in collaboration with the Long Island Museum on Sunday, October 15, from noon to 3 p.m. The collaborative event will include guided tours of Alder’s exhibition, Animal Spirits and Ancient Rituals, and SOMOS/We Are: Latinx Artists of Long Island, an exhibition guest curated by Alder at the Long Island Museum.

Gallery North’s portion of the event will include a printmaking demonstration with Alder and Lorena Salcedo Watson, followed by a tour of Alder’s solo exhibition. Gallery North will also host an ArTalk with Alder and Lyn Pentecost, former Director and Co-Founder of the Lower Eastside Girls Club on Saturday, November 4 at 3 p.m.

The exhibition, reception, and ArTalk will all be free and open to the public. Information on registering for the guided tour and print demonstration can be found at gallerynorth.org.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by bld Architecture, Jefferson’s Ferry, and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning.  The exhibition, reception, and ArTalk will all be free and open to the public. Information on registering for the guided tour and print demonstration can be found at gallerynorth.org. For more information, call 631-751-2676.

Smithtown Township Arts Council (STAC) has announced In a press release that the works of Port Jefferson artist Robert Wallkam will be on view at Apple Bank of Smithtown, 91 Route 111, Smithtown from Oct. 4  to Dec. 6. The exhibition, part of the Arts Council’s Outreach Gallery Program, may be viewed during regular banking hours Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Robert Wallkam received a Bachelor of Art Education from the University of Bridgeport followed by receiving a Master of Arts from New York University. He pursued a career at the Half Hollow Hills School District in Dix Hills, teaching all grade levels and subjects related to art. At the same time, he enjoyed acting as set designer for the Half Hollow Hills high school plays.

Always immersing himself in creative pursuits, Robert served on the Board of Directors at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson. His work has been widely exhibited throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.  His paintings are derived from his mind’s visions and childhood memories reflecting his love for Long Island and its many beaches.

“STAC is grateful to Apple Bank for its continued support of culture in our communities. We are so happy to feature the talents of Long Island artists in this space!” read the press release.

Smithtown Township Arts Council is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization.

By Tara Mae 

What dreams may come from revelatory reflection? A spark of imagination need not always ignite a blazing inferno; a steady, bright flame may sustain the psyche and soul. 

The serenity of memory and tranquility of nature are inherent in Terra Bella, artist Nicholas Nappi’s newest exhibit at North Shore Public Library in Shoreham.

On display from September 9 to October 30, Nappi’s third show at the library includes approximately 18 paintings, many of them mixed media of ink, watercolor, and acrylics. 

Moments of deceptive depth and exacting nuance are imbued with a welcoming warmth that draws the onlooker into the ambient action. The dynamic combination of textures and color is reminiscent of the often overlooked, bountiful allure of Long Island.

“I am trying to communicate with people about the beauty of Long Island…I do not think a lot of people realize how pretty it is, which why I am calling [the exhibit] Bella Terra, which means ‘beautiful earth’ in Italian,” Nappi, of Rocky Point, said in an interview. 

This appreciation speaks through bright colors filtered in soft focus, idyllic settings, and people included as part of nature as well as the landscape, not in opposition of them. 

Immersed in this internal world, they entice the audience to become participants in these nostalgic scenes of environmental equanimity. As though experienced via the romantic haze of memory, pictorial conversations with the past invite dialogue in the present.

“Mr. Nappi’s work is colorful and atmospheric and draws the viewer into daily life,” said North Shore Public Library’s Adult Reference Librarian/Adult Program Coordinator Lorena Doherty, who organized the exhibit. “There is such a beautiful sense of light and softness, love and memory in these pieces. When a story, a performance, an image…walks with you, it has power.”

Utilizing art as a means of communication with the public has been an integral element of Nappi’s professional and personal perspective. While a vice president and award-winning art director for Serino, Coyne, & Nappi, a theatrical ad agency, he designed and art directed logos and posters for Broadway mega hits like A Chorus Line, Les Miserables, and Phantom of the Opera. 

As a print advertisement is meant to appeal to the eye and ensnare interest, Nappi’s independent works also contain the essence of a narrative. Each piece reveals its own enrapturing tale, conveying charisma and character. With his paintings, he seeks to educate, beguile, and entreat viewers into both recognizing and revering the resplendent nature that surrounds them as island dwellers.

“The growth, the bushes, the trees, the flowers, it is just a gorgeous place, but [Long Islanders] are so used it they do not pay attention to it too much. They really should,” Nappi said.  

Terra Bella encompasses paintings Nappi created specifically for the exhibit, using it as an opportunity to express his scenic thesis. Invoking emotional resonance, he invites people to learn this visual language, simultaneously communing with those already attuned to his paintings and their presence. 

After the conclusion of his second show at the library, Color is Song in 2017, patrons and staff missed the ruminating reprieve his art provides, according to Doherty. So when he sent her examples of his recent paintings, she was enamored with the selection and eager to put it up in a space that hosts community and international artists alike. 

“Many months ago, Mr. Nappi sent an email with the images of his new body of work. I viewed them several times and was delighted to have this new show at North Shore Public Library,” Doherty said. 

“Several days passed and I found myself thinking of these paintings. The paintings were walking with me and telling a story, their story.” 

At its heart, the tale Nappi tells is that of individual insights predicated on the notion of universal understanding. The show allows him to convey his feelings and entrust others with their messages.

“I try to put a piece of myself in each painting. I hope people feel what I feel. If that happens, I am very, very happy. Painting is a very, very personal thing; I forget everything but what I am working on. When you paint, you start with a blank piece of paper, and it is up to you to make it special to anyone who looks at it. I hope I do,” Nappi said. 

The community is invited to an artist reception for Nicholas Nappi hosted by the Friends of the Library on Saturday, September 9, from 2:30 to 4 p.m. North Shore Public Library is located at 250 Route 25A, Shoreham. The exhibit may be viewed during library hours — Monday to Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-929-4488 or visit www.northshorepubliclibrary.org.