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Daniel van Benthuysen

By Heidi Sutton

It is said that the past is always an important part of the present. It is also said that a picture is worth a thousand words. The Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James has taken those two adages and melded them into an exciting new summer exhibit, Visualizing the Past. The juried show opens Aug. 7 and runs through Sept. 5.

Juror Carol Strickland, who selected 52 works for the exhibit, was intrigued by Emily Dickinson’s lines — Memory is a strange bell, both jubilee and knell. She asked artists to respond to that in visual terms—both the celebratory memories and sad ones. The call was very open-ended, leaving a lot of room for varying interpretations. 

“Selecting artworks to include in the exhibition was very difficult because we received so many entries that were both technically proficient and evocative. I was especially moved in deciding what to accept by those artists who took risks and showed me new perspectives,” said Strickland. “Art conveys what can’t be communicated in words, and my response to so many entries was non-verbal, like an inner vibration that brought a shock of recognition.”

Allison Cruz, Executive Director of the Mills Pond Gallery, is pleased with the beautiful show which incorporates many types of mediums including acrylic, charcoal, colored pencil, collage, fused glass, ink, mixed media, oil, pastel, watercolor and welding. 

“The artists have shared memories or recalled stories and events and assembled them in a variety of media to be seen and experienced by others. Their works offer narratives open to a wide range of interpretation and expression. For me, that is the strength in this exhibit. I hope it encourages the viewers to reflect on their own memories and hopefully learn that art is a wonderful tool to explore different points of view, gain understanding and experience the world in different ways,” she said.

Participating artists include Amal, Tina Anthony, Victoria Beckert, Sheri Berman, Jean Marie Bucich, Frank Casucci, Eric Chimon, Donna Corvi, Caryn Coville, Brigham Dimick, Paul Edelson, Elizabeth Fusco, Kathleen Gerlach, Ashley Rose Gillin, Maureen Ginipro, Jan Guarino, Heidi Hogden, Elizabeth Kelly, Julianna Kirk, Sueim Koo, Cara London, Dorothy Lorenze, Margaret Marzullo, Briana McGinley-Downey, Georgia Rittenhouse McKenna, Avrel Susan Menkes, Cliff Miller, Gail Neuman, Lily Newland, Catherine Rezin, Alan Richards, Roberta Rogers, Oscar Santiago, Alaina Scheffer, Stacey Schuman, Alisa Shea, Faith Skelos, Erica Perjatel Stolba, Angela Stratton, Hui Su-Kennedy, Daniel Van Benthuysen, and Taylor West.

The Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James will present Visualizing the Past from Aug. 7 to Sept. 5. The public is invited to an opening reception on Aug. 7 from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

'Feeling Blue,' acrylic, by Cheryl Cass-Zampiva Image courtesy of Mills Pond Gallery

Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery highlights the talents of 67 of its artist members with its annual Member Artist Showcase exhibit of original fine art for sale from June 19 through July 18. Exhibiting artists hail from 40 communities across Long Island as well as New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina and Florida.

A wide variety of media is represented including acrylic, digital art, ink etching, mixed media, oil, pastel, photography, plaster & found objects, silk dyes on silk, solar plate etching, torn paper collage, and watercolor.

‘Christmas Cactus’
Photograph
By Kathee Shaff Kelson, Stony Brook
Image courtesy of Mills Pond Gallery

“The Member Artist Showcase is an important show to me. We have such an abundance of talent in our membership,” said Allison Cruz, Executive Director of the Mills Pond Gallery. “I love to give artists the opportunity to choose a piece of their work to exhibit. I know artists are usually under many constraints of Juried Exhibits due to requirements of style or medium or size. It is great to give them an opportunity to show something that maybe they haven’t had the opportunity to exhibit due to those constraints or maybe something they have created using a new medium or style. I am always excited to see what they enter!”  

This year’s juror is freelance art consultant and curator Pam J. Brown, the Director and Curator of The Anthony Giordano Gallery at Dowling College for 16 years. Brown will choose four winning artists to participate in a future Winners Exhibit at the gallery.

Participating artists include Marsha Abrams, Lucia Alberti, Tina Anthony, Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Renee Blank, Kyle Blumenthal, Joyce Bressler, Alberto Jorge Carol, Cheryl Cass-Zampiva, Linda Ann Catucci, Carol Ceraso, Rocco Citeno, Donna Corvi, Teresa Cromwell, Tania Degen, Julie Doczi, Beth Drucker, JoAnne Dumas, Karin Dutra, Paul Edelson, Ellen Ferrigno, Donna Gabusi, Vivian Gattuso, Maureen Ginipro, Jan Guarino, Margaret Henning, David Herman, David Jaycox, Jr., Modern Fossils: Judith Marchand & David P. Horowitz, James Kelson, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Myungja Anna Koh, Susan Kozodoy Silkowitz, Ann Legere, Frank Loehr, Terence McManus, Paul Mele, Margaret Minardi, Karen George Mortimore, Annette Napolitano, Diane Oliva, Catherine Rezin, Robin Roberts, Robert Roehrig, Lori Scarlatos, Gia Schifano, Anita G. Schnirman, Joan Schwartzman, Kenneth Schwartzman, Hillary Serota Needle, Faith Skelos, Gisela Skoglund, Mike Stanko, Madeline Stare, John Taylor, Tracy Tekverk, Oxana Uryasev, Nicholas Valentino, Daniel van Benthuysen, Mary Ann Vetter, Pamela Waldroup, Don Weber, M. Ellen Winter, Patty Yantz, and Theodora Zavala.

“This show is about celebrating the talents of our artist members and I feel it does just that,” said Cruz.

The Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James presents its Member Artist Showcase from June 19 to July 18. The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, June 19 from noon to 2 p.m. or 2 to 4 p.m. (reservations are required) to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. Admission to the gallery is always free. 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. The gallery is closed Mondays and  Tuesdays and July 3 and 4. Please call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org for more information.