Tags Posts tagged with "Margaret Schedel"

Margaret Schedel

Helen Harrison. Photo by Durell Godfrey

This acclaimed art historian transformed the former home of artists Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner into a thriving national landmark and developed the affiliated Study Center for modern American art at Stony Brook Southampton.

Helen Harrison, director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center at Stony Brook University, is retiring after 34 years of service to the university. Credited with having the Pollock-Krasner House designated as a National Historic Landmark, securing an endowment for the property, establishing the Study Center and more, Harrison leaves behind a new university-endowed fellowship for studies in abstract expressionism.

“This fellowship will help bring more scholars in to use our resources and the resources that are available in this area,” she says, referring to the bustling artists’ community of eastern Long Island. “This is very important, because the first generation of scholars is dying out, and we need to keep this as an active field of study.”

So far, the House and Study Center have contributed five specialists, four conferences and a publication to the field. Harrison’s fellowship, an annual three-month program, will consistently attract new scholars eager to make a contribution of their own. Harrison hopes the Study Center will continue to expand its archive and offerings accordingly.

Prior to her tenure at Stony Brook, Harrison served as a curator at Guild Hall Museum, guest curator at The Queens Museum, and Executive Director of the Public Art Preservation Committee. She has also worked as an exhibition organizer and an art columnist, commentator, critic and feature writer for several news outlets including the New York Times.

Her multifaceted career has earned Harrison dozens of accolades, including multiple awards from the Press Club of Long Island and a 2021 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. Her love for art and writing inspired her to write a series of murder mystery novels, one of which won a 2019 Benjamin Franklin Gold Award presented by the Independent Book Publishers Association. Harrison looks forward to publishing more in her retirement and remains a resource for the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center should her expertise be needed, she says.

“Helen Harrison’s undertakings for Stony Brook University and the Department of Art have gone far beyond her duties as Director of the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center,” says former Interim Chair and Professor, Affiliated Faculty for Art, Margaret Schedel. “She has served the department in every facet of its entity, and at the highest level. As she ends her service to the University I would like to honor her years of dedication to our mission.”

'Illuminations' will be presented during the Long Island Fall Festival on Oct. 7 and 8. Photo courtesy of Heckscher Museum

By Tara Mae 

As Columbus Day weekend draws near, many look forward to the annual Long Island Fall Festival at beautiful Heckscher Park in Huntington. Presented by the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, the four day event, from Oct. 6 to 9, will feature carnival rides, an international food court, music, over 300 vendors, and much more. 

One of the highlights of this year’s festival is a multimedia art installation titled Illuminations 2023: The Many Faces of Home.

If home is where the heart is, then leaving one home for another is perhaps a sort of heart transplant. A fresh lease on life: wistful and wondrous. On Oct. 7 and 8, from 7 to 8 p.m., the digital art show will spotlight the physical and emotional journeys immigrants undertake as they settle in foreign places and seek to make them familiar. 

Featuring the work by Stony Brook University adjunct art professor and digital artist Han Qin as well as other international artists, this digital art show features three intricately connected yet distinctive works, which will be projected onto the facade of an artistic hearth: the Heckscher Museum of Art located in Heckscher Park.

“It feels like the perfect space for such an event,” said Heather Arnet, Executive Director of the Heckscher Museum.

My New Home, by Qin, depicts and celebrates the immigration experience through a 3D image projection showing portraits of diverse community members who immigrated to Huntington and made it home. 

Journey Home, also by Qin, is an animated film projection. In ocean hues, it spotlights a school of fish that transforms into groups of people swimming to their new island home.  

The Grand Finale is a collaborative collection of engaging animation by six different international artists: Blake Carrington, Koi Ren, Yehwan Song, Silent Desautels, Shuyi Li, and Colton Arnold. 

The show is choreographed to original music composed by Professor Margaret Schedel, co-director of Stony Brook University’s Computer Music Program. “Margaret’s music…has dark energy that transforms into immense joy,” Illuminations co-curator Chiarina Chen said.

Shown consecutively, the elements of Illuminations likewise take patrons on a sojourn of the soul: from pensive introspection to audacious hope. The show immerses its audience in artistic excavation of existential inquiries. 

These questions were initially posited by Qin as part of her continuous exploration of, and meditation on, the identity quandaries immigrants may endure as they transition from their homeland to the precarious promise of a settled future. 

“My digital art piece works with the community of immigrants who speak different languages on Long Island. Its purpose is to show this group of marginalized immigrants — who they are looking to become or who their kids are looking to become, who holds the community together…this is a self-help project to figure out who those immigrants become,” Qin said. 

Such an investigation is personal for Qin who, during lockdown, began examining feeling adrift in her own immigrant identity: not quite of China, her nation of birth, nor the United States, her country of choice. 

“I was looking for a way to find people who know who they are,” Qin added. She got involved with different organizations that focused on the immigrant experiences of adolescents and adults. The relationships she formed through these endeavors answered questions her art was striving to ask.   

With a New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA) grant processed through the Patchogue Arts Council, she was able to develop her artistic thesis from a intuitive theory into an expansive experience. 

As Qin crafted personal connections that revealed uncovered communal correlations, she utilized her professional network to recruit colleagues in curating and creating the third segment of Illuminations. 

“We invited six very interesting, talented international artists of various backgrounds. We have six parts in that: traversing memories, dreams, identities that are searching for belonging-cohesive with unique parts…digital art can be a public art form that brings people together, a sort of enchantment,” Chen said. “When connected stories are projected on the building, it becomes another level of togetherness.”  

Schedel’s music both belies and enhances the union. She composed six segments of music. Each has its own tempo and mini theme that nonetheless coalesces into a cohesive whole. Included in the piece are interviews with community leaders as well as water sounds; many people interviewed mentioned water as part of their immigration experience.

“It is a piece of music I composed to go along with the timeline that Han and I developed together, thinking of structure, movement, and emotion,” Schedel said. 

In its entirety, Illuminations is a medley of form, motion, and feeling. At its essence, the art is an overture of communal acceptance and understanding.  

Illuminations celebrates immigrants, their influence on our community, and why they chose Long Island…It [seems] like a wonderful opportunity for the museum,” Arnet said. 

This is the Hecksher Museum’s first exhibition specifically designed for the Long Island Fall Festival, although the concept of home is one that is currently studied in its Raise the Roof exhibit, which is a study of the spaces people inhabit. 

Arnet approached Qin, who has pieces in the museum’s permanent collection, about doing a digital art projection on the front of the building. Qin was already in the process of developing My New Home and Journey Home. Illuminations was born of those discussions.

“What is exciting is that we are trying something new, which always involves risk. This is innovative, we are trying out the unknown, none of us quite know what it will be like…I am very interested in moving beyond four walls, engaging community in unique ways,” Arnet said.

Illuminations 2023: The Many Faces of Home at the Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Ave., Huntington is free to the public. For more information, call 631-380-3230 or visit www.heckscher.org

By Tara Mae

After a 3 year absence, Local Color returns to Gallery North, a proclamation of the connection between art, artist, and community. On view from Aug. 19 to Sept. 26, the exhibit is presented in conjunction with the North Shore Artists Coalition and includes a reception and Open Studio Tour. 

The beautiful show features artists whose work is both universal and local in impact, meaning, and appeal. 

“[Executive Director] Ned Puchner and I decided to bring Local Color back this year and re-envision it to show through these artists what local culture is about. The exhibit is defining the role artists play in shaping identity of community and showing diversity of how artists define community: creating culture, creating beautiful and impactful work, adding to the identity through their outreach, etc,” said curator Kate Schwarting. 

The show’s art is as varied as its interpretation of theme, featuring oil and acrylic paintings, photography, sculptures, and digital renderings. Thirty artists, from St. James to Mount Sinai, will be featured including Kelynn Alder, Arts.codes (Margaret Schedel and Melissa Clarke), Fred Badalamenti, Joan Branca, Sheila Breck, Pam Brown, Nancy Bueti-Randall, Sue Contessa, Micheal Drakopoulos, Paul Edelson, Peter Galasso, Han Qin, LoVid, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Jim Lecky, Jim Molloy, Carlos Morales, Patricia Morrison, Patricia Paladines, Mel Pekarsky, Alicia R. Peterson, Doug Reina, Joseph Rotella, Angela Stratton, Mary Jane van Zeijts, Lorraine Walsh, Annmarie Waugh, Marlene Weinstein, and Christian White.

“What is so special about this exhibition is that each artist brings a different thing to the exhibition,” explained Schwarting. “A plein air painter captures the essence of a familiar location and allows us to see it in different light; someone else [deals] with a scientific topic that is so difficult to comprehend, but creates art that enables us to know through physical form and visual cues.”   

Several of the participants are also activists who champion social, technological, and environmental awareness and change through their art. 

According to Schwarting, a number of the artists were recruited through the gallery’s association with the North Shore Artists Coalition, while others were invited by her and Puchner. 

Pam Brown, a sculptor who lives in Stony Brook and co-founder of the coalition, helped facilitate the partnership between the group and the gallery. Her piece, Armour, is a sculpture fabricated out of sheet metal, wire, boar bristles, and vinyl. Brown’s efforts in facilitating the relationship between Gallery North and the North Shore Artists Coalition reflect the connection she sees between art and community outreach. 

“Community engagement creates an opportunity for the arts and artists to be seen by their communities — it initiates new ways for the public and artists to build connections between different groups. It brings together communities so they can articulate their own history and culture and to acknowledge that art is taking place in a larger context,” she said. 

For artist Doug Reina of Stony Brook, who has exhibited at Gallery North in the past, showing his work in Local Color is reconnecting with a “fun, summertime tradition.” 

“My work is about sharing the interesting, touching, emotional, funny, beautiful, sad human things that mean something to me with the viewer,” said Reina. His oil painting, titled Boys Night Out, depicts 4 teenage boys sneaking out of the house on a summer night. “The painting is based on real life experiences we had when our son was that age,” he explained.

Interpersonal connection is a recurring subject of the show’s art. This focus extends outward into explorations of our interactions with and responsibility to the world-at-large.

Han Qin of St. James will be entering her cyanotype on paper, White Goddess, which incorporates digital photo editing, drawing, and papermaking. It was inspired by two poems: “The White Goddess” by Robert Graves and “Quiet Night Thoughts” by Li Bai. 

“I started the White Goddess series during my pregnancy and have been developing it until now. Poetry and life experience are the main inspirations. The idea behind the artwork becomes a shared experience that brings people together,” she said.

“We as a people have a long continuous personal storyline. Artwork is the moment on the storyline. My moment connects with others’ moments in their individual storylines; thus, a web of emotional connections builds up. That is a community, too,” said Qin.

Such cultural connections are enhanced through community involvement. In this spirit, exhibiting artists of Local Color will also be featured in an Open Studio Tour hosted by the North Shore Artists Coalition and Gallery North on Sept. 25 and 26, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. 

“With one piece from each of the selected artists in the exhibit itself, the Open Studio Tour allows for an expanded view of the individual artists,” said Schwarting. 

Gallery North, 90 North Coutry Road, Setauket presents Local Color from Aug. 19 to Sept. 26. Join the artists for an opening reception tonight, August 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. The gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit www.gallerynorth.org.

Standing near one of the X-ray scattering instruments, Kevin Yager holds a collection of samples, including a self-assembling polymer film. Photo courtesy of BNL

By Daniel Dunaief

Throw a batch of LEGOs in a closed container and shake it up. When the lid is opened, the LEGOs will likely be spread out randomly across the container, with pieces facing different directions. Chances are few, if any, of the pieces will stick together. Attaching strong magnets to those pieces could change the result, with some of the LEGOs binding together. On a much smaller scale and with pieces made from other parts, this is what researchers who study the world of self-assembled materials do.

Scientists at the Center for Functional Nanomaterials and at the National Synchrotron Light Source II at Brookhaven National Laboratory experiment with small parts that will come together in particular ways based on their energy landscapes through a process called self-assembly.

Every so often, however, a combination of steps will alter the pathway through the energy landscape, causing molecules to end up in a different final configuration. For many scientists, these so-called nonequilibrium states are a nuisance.

Above, Kevin Yager listens to sonified data. When data is sonified, it is translated into sound. Photo by Margaret Schedel

For Kevin Yager, they are an opportunity. A group leader at the CFN who works closely with the NSLS-II, the McGill University-educated Yager wants to understand how the order of these steps can change the final self-assembled product. “In the energy landscape, you have these peaks and valleys and you can take advantage of that to move into a particular state you want,” Yager said. “The high level goal is that, if we understand the fundamentals well enough, we can have a set of design rules for any structure we can dream up.”

At the CFN, Yager manages a nanofabrication facility that uses electron-beam lithography and other techniques to make nanostructures. He would like to fabricate model batteries to show the power of nanomaterials. He is also determined to understand the rules of the road in the self-assembly process, creating the equivalent of an instruction manual for miniature parts.

In future years, this awareness of nonequilibrium self-assembly may lead to revolutionary innovations, enabling the manufacture of parts for electronics, drugs to treat disease and deliver medicine to specific locations in a cell and monitors for the detection of traces of radioactivity or toxins in the environment, among many other possibilities.

Yager’s colleagues saw considerable opportunities for advancement from his work. Nonequilibrium self-assembly has “significant potential for a broad range of nanodevices and materials due to its ability to create complex structures with ease,” Oleg Gang, a group leader in Soft and Bio Nanomaterials at the CFN, explained in an email. Yager is an “excellent scientist” who produces “outstanding results.”

One of the things Yager hopes his research can develop is a way to “trick self-assembly into making structures they don’t natively want to make” by using the order of steps to control the final result.

As an example, Yager said he developed a sequence of steps in which nanoscale cylinders pack hexagonal lattices into a plane. These lattices tend to point in random directions as the cylinders form. By following several steps, including sheer aligning a plane and then thermal processing, the cylinders flip from horizontal to vertical as they inherit the alignment of the sheered surface. Flipping these cylinders, in turn, causes the hexagons all to point in the same direction. When Yager conducted these steps in a different order, he produced a different structure.

Broadly speaking, Yager is working on stacking self-assembling layers. In his case, however, the layers aren’t like turkey and swiss cheese on a sandwich, in which the order is irrelevant to the desired final product. Each layer has a hand in directing the way the subsequent layers stack themselves. Choosing the sequence in which he stacks the materials controls their structure.

Yager is working with Esther Takeuchi and Amy Marschilok at Stony Brook University to develop an understanding of the nanostructure of batteries. Gang suggested that Yager’s expertise is “invaluable for many scientists who are coming to the CFN to characterize nanomaterials using synchtrotron methods. In many cases, it would probably be impossible to achieve such quantitative understanding without [Yager’s] input.”

Yager and his wife Margaret Schedel, an associate professor in the Department of Music at Stony Brook University who is a cellist and a composer, live in East Setauket. The couple combined their talents when they sought ways to turn the data produced by the CFN, the NSLS and the NSLS-II into sound.

Scientists typically convert their information into visual images, but there’s “no reason we can’t do that with sound,” Yager said. “When you listen to data, you sometimes pick up features you wouldn’t have seen.”

One of the benefits of turning the data into sound is that researchers can work on something else and listen to the collection of data in the background, he said. If anything unexpected happens, or there is a problem with a sample or piece of equipment, they might hear it and take measures more rapidly to correct the process. “This started as a fun collaboration,” Yager said, “but it is useful.”

Schedel is working on sonifying penguin data as well. She also sonified wave data on Long Island. “By listening to the tides quickly, larger patterns emerge,” she said, adding that Yager thought the idea was theoretically interesting until he listened to misaligned data and then he recognized its benefit.

Schedel’s goal is to see this sonification effort spread from one beamline to all of them and then to the Fermilab near Chicago and elsewhere. She wants sonification to become “an ear worm in the science community.”

While Schedel introduced Yager to the world of sound in his research, he introduced her to sailing, an activity he enjoyed while growing up in the suburbs of Montreal. When she sails with him, they are “half in and half out of the boat,” Schedel said. It’s like two people “flying a kite, but you are the kite. You have to learn how to counterbalance” the boat. They hike out so they can take turns faster without tipping over, she said.