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Gerry Hirschstein

As the world slowly reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions are lifted, the art world celebrates as well. Over at the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills, a new exhibit is ready to be unveiled this weekend. Titled “Awakening,” the show is described as “an exploration of the world of the past 16 months as seen through the eyes of artists.” Juried by Kathleen Gurchie of Gurchie Designs, the exhibit opens on July 17 in a virtual gallery format and runs through Sept. 6. 

Artists were challenged to submit their best works “representing their expressions of our world as we re-awaken and acclimate to a new post-pandemic normal.” 

“The title, ‘Awakening’, reflects our joy at finally awakening from the long pandemic “sleep” and stepping slowly and carefully into public life again. But that is not all! We are awakening in many other ways, including social, political and environmental,” said  Susan Peragallo, Gallery Coordinator and Curator at the Art League. “Juror Kathleen Gurchie approached her task with thoughtful care and did a wonderful job selecting some of the most powerful and beautiful interpretations of that theme.”

Of the 221 works submitted by artists from across the United States, Ms. Gurchie selected 59 to show in the virtual gallery in a range of mediums including; oil, acrylic, watercolor, ink, collage, sculpture, digital, fiber, encaustic and monotype. Of those 59, six were singled out for awards. 

Awards of Excellence were give to Gerry Hirschstein of Old Bethpage for “Standing Twice as Tall,” pastel on canson paper; Margaret Minardi of Northport for “First Awake,” colored pencil drawing; and Beth Wessel of Huntington for her plaster sculpture titled “Joy.”

Honorable Mentions were handed out to Sooltan Madsen of Savannah Georgia for “Can You Spare a Fag,” oil on canvas; Regina Quinn of Gilboa, New York for “Salmon and Blue,” encaustic, oils and beeswax; and Philip Read of Long Island City for “On the Wings of a Dream”, drawing with watercolor.

“This skillful, wide ranging visual banquet can put a face to the complex mix of emotions from 2020’s extremes,” said Ms. Gurchie. “Sculptor Lloyd Lilly once told me ‘It’s in the tightest parameters of a system (ie: Awakening Theme) that our truest uniqueness shines forth.’ Additionally, it’s in viewing this, and experiencing that bond of commonality, that can help us to heal.”

“The timeliness and diversity of this show can do much more than entertain. It can lend you a perspective that you may not have considered. It can inform and help deepen your conversation,” she said. “It can show you that the indomitable human spirit, the timeless beauty and joy are very much present.”

The Art League of Long Island, 107 Deer Park Road, Dix Hills will present “Awakening,” a virtual gallery exhibition, from July 17 to Sept. 6 at www.artleagueli.org. For further information, call 631-462-5400.

Images courtesy of Art League of LI