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.