By Tara Mae
Bold colors, rich compositions, lush imagery. Gallery North invites individuals to immerse themselves in the resplendent renderings and impactful art by late contemporary artist Stan Brodsky with Recastings: Stan Brodsky, a memorial retrospective on view from Aug. 11 to Sept. 18. An opening reception will be held on Aug. 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.
“Stan is a very influential artist to many artists practicing right now in our area. We felt it was important to show his work, keep it being viewed by the public and continuing to influence other artists. He has a great collection of work that is still available. The work itself is timeless and it’s important for it to be out there,” said Curator Kate Schwarting.
Brodsky, who died in 2019 at the age of 94, was an artist and educator based out of Huntington. Recastings, the third solo exhibit at Gallery North of the artist’s work, is a cultivated exploration of Brodsky’s more abstract art.
Through his 75 year career, Brodsky created both representational and abstract art. The 1960s and 1970s were mainly periods of representational art, but by the 1980s, Brodsky was incorporating different texture, tones, and styles — developing the abstract techniques he would continue to cultivate for the next 40 years.
Recastings primarily highlights the pieces he created during this era. The exhibit includes approximately 15 oil on canvas paintings of various sizes as well as large framed works on paper, unframed works on paper, oil on paper, and mixed media pieces, reflecting three hallmarks of his career: a powerful command of color, a profound connection to nature, and the support he provided to other artists.
Color is a dynamic and defining character in Brodsky’s art, recognized by each individual interviewed for this article, while nature is a recurrent catalyst and muse.
“Stan Brodsky was renowned for his use of color. One critic called his colors ‘unnameable.’ The paintings change with the light, and so provide endless fascination,” Jeanne Hewitt, Brodsky’s widow and Trustee of the Stan Brodsky Trust, said.
The artist’s distinct use of color showcases the power of his brushstrokes and indicates the impression of the natural world on his work. According to Schwarting, these traits allow a larger audience to relate to Brodsky’s art and are part of what drew her and Gallery North’s Executive Director Ned Puchner to the art that they chose to display.
“There are all different ways to connect with [Brodsky’s] work His use of color is really incredible — the color just vibrates, it is so vibrant and electric; his inspiration from nature; and his mark making is exquisite. There are so many details in his pieces, the push and pull, the layering, each one is very complex,” Schwarting said.
The exhibit is the continuation of a nearly 50 year relationship between Brodsky/his estate and Gallery North. Brodsky exhibited his work nationally and internationally but always maintained and nurtured his ties to the local artistic community of Long Island, including acting as teacher and mentor to many working artists in the area.
“He encouraged and taught other artists up until a few months before his death…Stan was beloved for the encouragement he offered to other artists, and for the help he offered,” Hewitt said.
Delving into Brodsky’s imprint on artists, “Stan Clan: Discussion on Brodsky’s Influence,” a panel talk with six of Brodsky’s former students reflecting on how he affected their creative development, will be held on Aug. 31 at 6 p.m.
When asked about this event, Puchner said he was most looking forward to the stories about Brodsky and his philosophy.
“It seems like he was such a charismatic, emotional person. When watching some of the videos of his previous talks, you see he was not afraid to talk about things like love and the more heightened emotional aspects of the creative process. What elements of his creative process have been picked up by the next generation of his students? How that was imparted to his students and how they and whether they continue to do that themselves will be really interesting,” he added.
Artist Doug Reina, who recently had a solo exhibit at Gallery North and will be one of the guests at the panel discussion, views Brodsky’s roles as artist and educator to be lasting gifts. “For those who know and appreciate his work, Stan Brodsky will always be remembered as a great painter who combined gorgeous colors, shapes, and compositions in a truly unique way,” he said. “For those lucky to have been his students, he will be remembered for his deep knowledge of painting that he always shared so generously. Perhaps the most important part of his legacy is how he helped so many artists grow, to take chances, to push beyond their limits.”
Reina will be joined at the discussion by fellow artists Susan Rostan, Peter Galasso, Marceil Kazickas, Ellen Hallie Schiff, and Alicia R. Peterson, each of whom studied and/or worked with Brodsky.
As a complement to the exhibit, on August 24 at 6 p.m., Art of NYC and Long Island, in conjunction with Brodsky’s estate, will provide a presentation at the gallery about art conservation techniques: identifying and treating condition issues in paintings, works on paper, and also sculptures. The exhibit, panel discussion, reception, and presentation are free and open to the public. A photo catalogue with a short essay about Brodsky and his art will be available to visitors.
Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket, is open Wednesdays to Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. Recastings: Stan Brodsky is sponsored by Nancy Goroff, Jefferson’s Ferry, bid Architecture, and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning. For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org.