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Gallery North

'Thirteen Moons: Nature Adapts and Transforms' by Anne Seelbach. Image courtesy of Gallery North

By Tara Mae

Nature’s beauty is at once defiantly delicate and stubbornly resilient. Elements Adrift, on view at Gallery North from Jan. 12 to Feb. 19, considers the alchemy and artistry of the natural world as expressed through Long Island artist Anne Seelbach’s oil, acrylic, and watercolor paintings as well as mixed media pieces.

Seelbach’s first solo show at Gallery North, it consists of approximately 35 works from three different series that organically ripple outward, encompassing the serenity of the sea and the perniciously predatory impact of pollution. Elements Adrift explores the inspiration found in the environment and the toxicity inherent in careless encounters with it.  

‘Thirteen Moons: Nature Adapts and Transforms’ by Anne Seelbach. Image courtesy of Gallery North

“Seelbach’s figural abstraction reflects her fascination and love of nature and interest in pointing to those elements that are polluting and deprecating it. In the past, she has tried to bring attention to that through her work,” said Gallery North’s Executive Director Ned Puchner.

Put together, each individual series transforms from island unto itself to an archipelago of artistic expression, chronicling Seelbach’s relationship with the world around her and transitioning the audience from one sequence into another. 

“Some pieces are really fascinating in that they show [Seelbach] moving on…you see her moving from one series into another, and I think that is really where the excitement in her work lies. She goes from series to series and in each series, she will sort of dwell on a topic and then move on, finding new avenues to build off of,” Puchner said. 

The first collection, “Troubled Waters,” follows the ebbing of natural resources as pollution flows into and interferes with sensitive ecosystems. Drawn to the seascapes of Peconic Bay off Long Beach in Sag Harbor and the Napeague Harbor at Lazy Point Beach in Amagansett, Seelbach’s work evolves to encapsulate the devolution of marine life as the disruption and detritus of humankind menaces it. 

“Instead of painting traditional landscapes, I always ask the question, ‘What is happening?’ in nature, rather than painting a beautiful view,” Seelbach said. “The landscape and seascape are created by forces of nature, the change of seasons, with the rotation of the earth. This is what I try to get at.”

Dance into the Unknown, 2014, oil on canvas, 30″ x 30″ by Anne Seelbach. Image courtesy of Gallery North

The vague abstraction of her fish renderings in this series came from fact, as the pollutants were actually getting into aquatic animal reproductive systems and causing deformities.

“When I started the series the fish were more realistic. I had to find a way to represent the effects of the chemicals. So, I stylized the fish form and duplicated it to create stencils of schools of fish,” she explained. 

Seelbach’s fish and other animal stencils are frequently made from repurposed and up-cycled washed up or left behind bits of metal, plastic, and netting from which she rescues the shoreline. 

While nature may have been shifting and changing around her, with rightful residents being harmed by invasive interlopers, Seelbach’s relationship with it remains steadfast and symbiotic, as reflected in her “Moon Paintings” series. 

These works, conjured from summer trips to Monhegan Island, Maine, illuminate the serenity she found walking along the sea cliffs, gazing at the lunar lit waters below. 

“I am still interested in the edge, where land, water, and sky meet…The moon shining on the sea and in tidal pools inspired these paintings,” Seelbach said. “As the sun nurtures the growth of everything by day, I suggest that the moon nurtures creative thought, ideas and possibility at night. I get most of my ideas at night when my mind is drifting, without a particular thought.”

Primarily painted on paper rather than on canvas, the “Moon Paintings” are imbued with deep blues and other hues that convey the depth of the setting’s nighttime repose. Yet, in these works, the moon is both a light and power source, rejuvenating sea, sky, and artist.

In fact “Earth: The Elements,” the third series to be highlighted in the exhibit, was a concept that came to Seelbach as she sat on the cliffside rocks and boulders. 

Earth: mercury (Vermillion), 2020, acrylic and reflective paint on linen, 30″x36″, relates to the planet Mercury by Anne Seelbach. Image courtesy of Gallery North

“They made me ask ‘What is the Earth?’ And immediately I thought of the elements. Thinking about each individual element, what it was and a bit of its history, I realized that many were acknowledged thousands of years ago, by the scientists of that time, the alchemists and philosophers,” Seelbach said.

Breaking down these otherwise immovable objects into their most basic essence, Seelbach sought to honor the individuals of the past who had understood better than to take them at face value. So, within some of these paintings, she includes the alchemical symbol of the historical elements and the periodic table designation.

Each element Seelbach selects is thoroughly, albeit abstractly, examined and expressed. Similar to the other two series, “Elements” inner complexity and vitality is amplified by Seelbach’s color palette and painting style. Rich, earthy tones and texture add dimension and definition to the paintings. 

“I was really drawn to the raw energy of them, dark and muddy in certain places,” Puchner said. “In all of her art, there is a kind of an endless search for beauty in nature. Even in the study of the earth’s elements, at root is her trying to explore the minerals and elements that exist within the nature that she brings into her artwork.”

Seelbach’s art is an outlet for her observations, an investigation of the inquiries raised by striving to be attuned to the world around her. At its core, her art seeks to explore and observe rather than obfuscate. 

“I paint what is. I see landscape as formed by the forces of nature, the seasons, the rotation of the planet. The question I ask sitting on the beach or a rock is ‘What is happening?’ What are the forces of nature that underly what I am looking at?” she said. 

Patrons are invited to make their own discoveries about nature through Elements Adrift. An opening reception will be held tonight, Jan. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. As a complement to the exhibition, Gallery North will present a lecture on the marine ecology of New York’s waterways by Patricia Woodruff from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University on Jan. 20 at 6 pm. Gallery North will also host an ArTalk with Anne Seelbach on Feb. 4 at 3 p.m. 

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

'Winter's Warmth' by John Mansueto will be on view through Dec. 23.

‘Tis the season! Gallery North in Setauket kicks off the holidays with Deck the Halls, its annual group exhibition of small original works for holiday giving, on view from Nov. 17 to Dec. 23.

Enjoy artworks by over 50 local and regional artists in a range of media, including painting, printmaking, works on paper, sculpture, glassware, and more. The exhibition offers an excellent opportunity to support local artists, and features a diverse selection of affordable, exciting, original artworks for everyone on your list. 

“11×14 Collage” by Tom Brydelsky will be part of the Deck the Halls exhibit.

In addition, Gallery North also features a large assortment of artisan-created jewelry, handmade crafts, and decorations within the Shop at Gallery North, as well as clothing and artist-made greeting cards produced in the Studio at Gallery North. They also offer the gift of an art class or workshop to an aspiring artist, child, or adult. 

As a complement to the exhibition, Gallery North will host a Holiday Gift Bazaar, a series of three, special holiday gift markets inside the Gallery each Saturday in December (Dec. 3, 10 and 17) from noon to 7 p.m. to provide the community with an alternative to holiday shopping in malls and shopping centers. 

The Holiday Gift Bazaar will offer an excellent opportunity to support local artists and businesses, complete with warm beverages from LevelUp Kitchen. Holiday shoppers will find a diverse selection of affordable, exciting, original paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, pottery, woodwork, glassware, artisan created jewelry, handmade crafts, decorations, and clothing – perfect gifts for everyone on your list. 

Deck the Halls is generously sponsored by WFC Architects, Jefferson’s Ferry, bld Architecture, and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning.

Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org.

Pictured from left, Tasha Boehm, Lois Reboli, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Ned Puchner, and Alex Badalamenti Photo from Assemblyman Engelebright's office

New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright recently presented the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook and Gallery North in Setauket with grant funding obtained through the New York State Assembly Community Capital Assistance Program. 

Pictured from left, Tasha Boehm, Lois Reboli, Assemblyman Steve Englebright, Ned Puchner, and Alex Badalamenti. Photo from Assemblyman Engelebright’s office

Through the efforts of Assemblyman Englebright and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, these two cultural art centers will each receive $150,000 from this funding program to support their organization’s infrastructure improvement projects.

“I am proud to have nominated both Gallery North and the Reboli Center to receive these grant funds,” said Assemblyman Englebright. “Investment into our cultural art centers is essential to cultivating a deeper sense of place and setting our community apart — attracting people to its uniqueness. Artwork helps express a community’s values and creates an elevated sense of awareness for community members and visitors. I would like to thank both organizations for their tremendous work uplifting local artists and empowering our community through art and creativity.”

The two organizations plan to utilize their respective grant funding to maintain, improve and expand their buildings’ public viewing space and areas where educational programing and the actual creation of art occur. The competition of these projects will provide an enhanced experience for families, children and community residents. 

As staples in the community, the Reboli Center and Gallery North host many arts-centered events and programs throughout the year that are available for the public to attend. For more information about these organizations and to learn about upcoming events, visit www.gallerynorth.org and www.rebolicenter.org.

Gallery North in Setauket hosted its 56th annual Outdoor Art Show & Music Festival on Sept. 17 and 18. 

The two-day event, which attracted over 5,500 visitors, showcased the works of 106 juried exhibitors offering original paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, pottery, woodwork, glassware, artisan created jewelry, handmade crafts, decorations and clothing .

Juried by Marianne Della Croce, Executive Director of the Art League of Long Island; Lorena Salcedo-Watson, Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Art at Stony Brook University; and contemporary artist Tom Brydelsky, awards were granted for each art category, including wood craft, fiber art, glass art, jewelry design, paiting in oil and acrylic, ceramis and pottery, graphic and drawing, watercolor and pastel and photography along with Best in Show and Honorable Mentions. 

Gallery North’s Executive Director Ned Puchner had the honor of presenting the awards. The winning artists will be featured in Gallery North’s Winners Circle Exhibition in 2023.

And the awards go to:

Best in Show: John Deng

Outstanding Wood Craft: John DiNaro

Outstanding Fiber Art: ­Diana Parrington

Outstanding Glass Art: Justin Cavagnaro

Outstanding Jewelry Design: Gail Neuman

Outstanding Painting in Oil and Acrylic:  Mary Jane van Zeijts

Outstanding Ceramics and Pottery: Jessamyn Go

Outstanding Work on Paper – Graphic and Drawing: Cassandra Voulo

Outstanding Work on Paper – Watercolor and Pastel: Myungja Koh

Outstanding Photography: Holly Hunt

Honorable Mentions: Karen Kemp, Diane Bard and Toni Neuschaefer

Photos by Kate Schwarting/Gallery North


Up next for Gallery North in Setauket is Home · Land · Nature, a selection of recent works by artist Han Qin, on view from Sept. 29 to Nov. 13. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, Sept. 29, from 6  to 8 p.m. 

Artist Han Qin

The solo exhibition features small, medium, and large cyanotypes, woodblock prints, and drawings that explore concepts of home and the process of relocation. 

Drawing from her own experience of migration, Qin renders moments of passing through, of conflict, of getting together, and of migrating into form and image. Her artwork incorporates poignant, structural elements of Confucian philosophy, conveying the fluidity of identity and its evolution.

There is a sense of displacement, chaos, triumph, and eventual replanting in Home · Land · Nature. Qin translates social phenomena and movement — among groups and individuals — into works which incorporate traditional cyanotype, woodblock printing, 3D scanning, and digital printing methods. 

‘The Triumph of Wanderers’ by Han Qin

“One of the elements that excites me about the exhibition is that while Han’s work draws on the emotions of her own lived experience of migration, they are universal in their ability to connect with viewers. … The works silently call viewers to explore them and ask where they themselves are or have been among these images,” said curator Kate Schwarting.

In collaboration with the Three Village Community Trust (TVCT), Gallery North will also present an outdoor projection event featuring Han Qin’s multimedia work at the TVCT’s Immigrant Worker Houses, located behind the Bruce House at 148 Main Street in Setauket, on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 7 p.m. This projection event will highlight the important experiences of all immigrant groups throughout the history of the Three Village community.

Gallery North will also host an ArTalk with Han Qin on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 6 pm. 

Generously sponsored by Jefferson’s Ferry, bld Architecture, and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning, the exhibition, reception and affiliated events are free and open to the public.

Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket, is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org.

Gallery North’s Ned Puchner joined state Assemblyman Steve Englebright and the Reboli Center’s Lois Reboli for a special announcement regarding the oil painting ‘Bellport Gate’ by Joseph Reboli. Photo from Steve Englebright's office

The Reboli Center is celebrating a homecoming.

Joseph Reboli’s 1985 “Bellport Gate” painting will soon join the artist’s collection at the Stony Brook center that bears his name.

Gallery North’s Kate Schwarting, Ned Puchner and Nancy Goroff joined state Assemblyman Steve Englebright and the Reboli Center’s B.J. Intini and Lois Reboli for a special announcement regarding the oil painting ‘Bellport Gate’ by Joseph Reboli. Photo by Rita J. Egan

At a small gathering at Gallery North in Setauket, an announcement was made that the oil painting would be permanently gifted to the Reboli Center for Art & History. The event included Reboli’s widow, Lois; state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket); Gallery North’s Executive Director Ned Puchner, board of trustees President Nancy Goroff and curator Kate Schwarting; also B.J. Intini, vice president of the Reboli Center’s board of trustees.

Gallery North in Setauket has owned the painting since 2007. When “Bellport Gate” became available for sale in Chicago, the gallery became the steward of the artwork due to a state grant secured by Englebright for $10,000. Additional donations to secure the purchase were raised with $5,000 from Lois Reboli, who is the founder and president of the Reboli Center, and $100 each from friends and neighbors of the Rebolis as well as other community members. The fundraiser became known as the Reboli 100 Fund.

The Reboli Center didn’t open until 2016, and since Joseph Reboli once sat on the board of Gallery North and his first art shows were there, many felt that this spot was an appropriate home for “Bellport Gate.”

Lois Reboli remembered when she first saw the painting at Gallery North.

“It was hanging right there on that wall in the other room, and when I saw it, I almost felt like I could see Joe in front of it,” she said. “It’s something that we really needed to keep in the community, and we’re very grateful that Gallery North had it — and that we’re going to be able to have it.”

Reboli added that the plan is to keep it on display most of the time. Her husband was inspired by a white gate featuring wrought iron hardware in Bellport when creating the painting. The gate was crafted in the 1800s by blacksmith Joseph Merritt Shaw.

“I think Joe just found a lot of different things interesting, but I think he liked the fact that there was a lot of depth to it,” Reboli said, adding that she believed he loved the coloring and light.

Goroff agreed.

“One of the things that is a characteristic of Joe Reboli’s paintings is the attention to light and finding interesting light,” Goroff said. “You see that very well here in this painting.”

Lois Reboli thanked Englebright for his help in facilitating the original purchase and transfer of the painting, as well as Reboli 100 for raising funds. She also thanked Gallery North for being willing to give the painting to the Reboli Center.

Englebright said the collaboration was heartening.

“It’s wonderful that these two major art centers for our community are cooperating and collaborating and coming together,” he said. “Ned has called this the beginning of an arts summit for the community. I think that’s quite accurate, and it’s something that really is going to reinforce the identity of the community.”

Puchner said it was a pleasure working with everyone at the Reboli Center.

“We see the arts community as a family, we want everyone to work together,” he said. “As the title of this painting sort of suggests, we’re hoping that it opens the gate to more collaboration within the arts community moving forward.”

Englebright added Joseph Reboli had a strong sense of place and credited the artist for being one of the reasons the area is considered an arts destination.

“Assembling his collection is really heartening, and the symbolism, for all practical purposes, means that this community is enhanced, still,” the assemblyman said. “Even though Joe Reboli is no longer with us, he continues to be a gift to the community.”

The painting is scheduled to be moved to the Reboli Center at the end of the month.

TIME TO SHOP! The 56th annual Gallery North Outdoor Art & Musical Festival returns this weekend. Photo by Heidi Sutton/2021

Gallery North in Setauket will present its 56th Annual Outdoor Art Show and Music Festival on Saturday, Sept. 17 and Sunday, Sept, 18 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The two-day event will feature over 100 exhibitors offering a diverse selection of affordable, exciting, original paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, pottery, woodwork, glassware, artisan created jewelry, handmade crafts, decorations, clothing, and so much more! The event will be free and open to the public.

The Outdoor Art Show and Music Festival hosted by Gallery North has featured some of the finest art and craft from regional artists and artisans over its long 57-year history, making it a vital part of the regional art community and a significant tradition for the public. Keeping with the event format of past years, the Outdoor Art Show and Music Festival will include art in a vast range of media, as well as delicious and exciting food vendors, St. James Brewery, raffle prizes, and an area devoted solely to kids’ activities. In addition, Gallery North is teaming up with WUSB 90.1 fm/107.3 fm Stony Brook this year to present live musical performances.

The WUSB Music Stage will feature four music groups each day of the festival, some of which will be featured on WUSB Radio in advance of the Outdoor Art Show and Music Festival. Art show awards and recognition will also be granted for Best in Show within several categories, including crafts, fiber art, glass art, jewelry, painting, photography, pottery, printmaking, and more. This year’s judges will include Marianne Della Croce, Executive Director of the Art League of Long Island; Lorena Salcedo-Watson, Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Art at Stony Brook University; and contemporary artist, Tom Brydelsky. All award winners will be featured in Gallery North’s Winner’s Circle exhibition in 2023.

The Outdoor Art Show and Music Festival will be situated outside along North Country Road in Setauket, between 25A and Ridgeway Avenue, and on the grounds of Gallery North (90 N. Country Rd, Setauket). For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org.

'Sicilian Blue' by Stan Brodsky

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. 

‘Edge of Summer’ by Stan Brodsky

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.  

‘Sun and Soil’ by Stan Brodsky

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.

'Early Summer at Cedarmere' by Marceil Kazickas
Over 50 local and regional artists featured in group exhibition

Gallery North celebrates the beginning of summer with a new group exhibit, Inside/Out, featuring the artwork that has emerged from Gallery North programs including the recent Wet Paint Festival and workshops at The Studio at Gallery North. The exhibition will be on view from July 7 to August 7. The community is invited to an opening reception will be held on July 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.

‘Shibori Quilt’ by Andrea Baatz

The Wet Paint Festival and workshops at The Studio at Gallery North both serve as creative catalysts for artists, encouraging experimentation, and engaging with and supporting an inclusive, multigenerational artist community. These programs take place both inside the gallery’s Studio space as well as at locations in the broader community, and they often reflect the impact of the ecological, historical and cultural composition of the region on local artists. Whether the subject of the composition or the natural materials used in its creation, nature plays a role in many of the works in Inside/Out.

Inside/Out includes artists Marceil Kazickas, Nancy Bueti-Randall along with over 50 local and regional plein air artists who participated in the 18th annual Wet Paint Festival at the Sherwood Jayne Farm in Setauket. Artists representing the studio programs include John Benevento, Andrea Baatz and more than 20 other local artists working in a wide range of techniques and media, such as shibori dyed textiles, encaustic and intaglio prints.

As a complement to the exhibition, Joy Cirigliano of Four Harbors Audubon Society will present The Importance of Biodiversity in the Urban Forest on July 16 at 6 p.m.. 

This exhibition is generously sponsored by Jefferson’s Ferry, bld Architecture, and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning. The exhibition, reception and lecture will be free and open to the public.

Gallery North is located at 90 North Country Road, Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org.

This year's Wet Paint Festival will be held at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm in East Setauket. Photo courtesy of Preservation Long Island

By Melissa Arnold

Since 2004, Gallery North’s annual Wet Paint Festival has invited artists from far and wide to revel in nature’s beauty. For a week or a weekend, artists enjoy each other’s company and a healthy dose of plein air painting — the tricky, constantly changing art of working outdoors.

This year’s festival, scheduled for June 4 and 5, will be held at the historic and picturesque Sherwood-Jayne Farm on Old Post Road in East Setauket and seeks to build upon past events where visitors can watch the artists work and ask questions about their creative process. There will also be the opportunity to tour the Sherwood-Jayne House, go bird watching, enjoy live music and more.

An artist paints plein air at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm. Photo from Preservation Long Island

“The landscape of the show has changed in a variety of ways over the years, not just in location but in the way it’s structured,” said Ned Puchner, executive director of Gallery North. “During the pandemic, people could paint remotely for a two-week period. Last year, we had a few different locations to choose from. This year, we’re returning to the traditional style of having a specific site where everyone will come together and paint for a weekend, with some additional activities for the public to enjoy.”

The Sherwood-Jayne Farm was originally slated to host the Wet Paint Festival in 2020, and planning for the event was nearly complete when the pandemic shut things down.  

“Gallery North reached out to us a few years ago looking to change up the festival from the way it was done in the past,” said Elizabeth Abrams, Assistant Director of Operations and Programs for Preservation Long Island, which cares for the property. “We used to team up with the gallery for an apple festival, and considering we are just down the street from each other, it was natural for us to work together again.”

Preservation Long Island is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting Long Island’s history and culture. Founded in 1948, their focus is on education, advocacy, and the stewardship of historic buildings and artifacts.

Abrams explained that the Sherwood-Jayne House was built in 1730 as an early colonial, lean-to salt box dwelling. The house and surrounding farmland were cared for by the Jayne family for more than 150 years. In 1908, it was acquired by the founder of Preservation Long Island, Howard Sherwood, who lived in the home and displayed a variety of antiques there.

Throughout the weekend, the Sherwood-Jayne House will be open for tours with Preservation Long Island curator Lauren Brincat. Keep an eye out for the Tallmadge wall panels, and the incredibly beautiful wall mural in the parlor that’s meant to look like wallpaper — they are very rare to see, especially on Long Island, Abrams added.

“The house contains a large portion of Howard Sherwood’s personal antique collection and other bits of history from colonial Long Island. This area had a foundational role in American history — exploring the house and its collections are a unique way to learn more about that important time period,” she said.

There will be plenty of outdoor inspiration for the artists at the festival as well. The property is also home to a variety of outbuildings and trails, gorgeous old-growth walnut trees, an apple orchard, and all kinds of wildlife. 

The Four Harbors Audubon Society will lead tours exploring the wildlife and ecology of the area, with a particular focus on local birds. If the barn is open, you might be lucky enough to meet some goats, a few sheep, or an old, sweet white horse named Snowball.

Visitors are free to wander the grounds at their leisure, watch the artists work or ask questions, Puchner said. For those who are feeling shy or not sure what to ask, an artist will offer a guided tour and lead discussions once each day.

“The whole objective of the Wet Paint Festival is to help people understand what goes into the process of creating a painting, and to meet local artists. It’s a great way for someone who has no artistic experience to learn how it all works,” Puchner said.

Nancy Bueti-Randall, pictured in her studio, will join over 40 other artists at this year’s Gallery North Wet Paint Festival.
Photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

Over 40 artists will be participating this weekend including Nancy Bueti-Randall of Stony Brook who began to paint outdoors as a way to recharge while raising her three children. She’s spent more than 20 years creating and showing her work, which runs the gamut from pictorial to abstract, figures and landscapes. Most of the time, though, she’s painting in her garden or other familiar surroundings.

Sometimes, she’ll start a painting with the idea to focus on one thing, but something else in a landscape will catch her eye instead.

“There are a lot of challenges with plein air painting. It’s very fleeting — a landscape is always changing, even from day to day,” Bueti-Randall explained. “You have to be fast and responsive to what’s going on around you. It’s about becoming engaged with the thing you’re painting. I can get overwhelmed by beauty, and I try to capture the essence of what I’m seeing in a process of give and take.”

Marceil Kazickas of Sands Point considers herself an artistic late bloomer. She started drawing and painting to cope with a health crisis, and found that when she was being creative, she wasn’t in pain. Kazickas prefers to work in oil, which she loves for its luscious, sensual properties.

“When you go outside, there’s an overwhelming amount of information to take in — the views are always changing, the clock is running, and you want to get your design done quickly because the light and shadows are constantly evolving,” she explained. 

“I’m not as focused on painting exactly what I see … People can get caught up in producing a finished, frameable piece of art, but for me it’s exciting to be outside and come up with whatever I can in the short time I’m out there, even if it’s nothing. It’s about the painting process.”

Puchner hopes that the variety of activities, including a scavenger hunt for kids and live music from the Keenan Paul Zach Trio and Tom Killourhy, will appeal to all kinds of people.

“These new additions will give the public the opportunity to enjoy nature, the arts and history all in one place, and our artists will have a fun new location to experiment and be creative in,” he said.

The 18th Annual Wet Paint Festival will be held June 4 and 5 at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Road, East Setauket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rain date is June 18 and 19. The event is free and open to the public. 

All participating artists will have their festival work on display in an exhibit at Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket, from July 7 through Aug 7. A free opening reception will be held at the gallery from on July 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. 

For more information about the festival or to register to paint, visit www.gallerynorth.org or call 631-751-2676. Learn more about Sherwood-Jayne Farm at www.preservationlongisland.org.