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Reneé Caine

Art is in full bloom at the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James with its latest exhibit, Flower Power. The unique show, which runs from June 1 to 29, flows through four gallery rooms and the center hall gallery on the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion.

Artists were invited to submit art that reflects the beauty and uniqueness of flowers — whether represented in realism, impressionism or even abstraction — and to celebrate their colors, textures, shapes, and the emotions they evoke.

Using acrylic, fiber, ceramic, colored pencil, gouache, ink, mixed media, mosaic, oil, pastel, torn paper and watercolor, 83 artists from 46 Long Island communities as well as NYC, Ohio and Virginia accepted the challenge to produce a beautiful bouquet of original floral-themed works. 

Exhibiting artists include Alacia Stubbs, Angela Stratton, Ashley Thorbjornsen, Bernice Corbin, Carissa Millett, Carmela Taliercio Cohn, Carol Ceraso, Carolanne Goff, Caryn Coville, Catherine Rezin, Christine Verga Maday, Christine Woodring, Christopher Krauss, Dale Luongo, David Herman, Debra Baker, Dominique Treboux, Donna Corvi, Eileen Baumeister McIntyre, Eileen Shaloum, Ellen Ferrigno, Felecia Montfort, Gabriella Grama, Gretchen Smith, James Kelson, Jan Guarino, Jessica Rybak, Joan Gould, Joanne Teets, John Mansueto, Joseph Weinreb, Joyce Bressler, Judith Caseley, Judith Musaro, Judy Stone, Julie Doczi, Karen McClendon, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Kathleen Bart, Kathleen McArdle, Khrystyne Robillard-Smith, Kyle Blumenthal, Linda Ann Catucci, Linda Hartman, Lisa Stanko, Liz Jorg Masi, Lori Scarlatos, Lou Charnon Deutsch, Lynn Kinsella, Maddy Stare, Marcie Serber, Margaret Farr, Mark Levine, Marsha Abrams, Mary Ann Hart, Mary Kiernan, Mary Lor, Mary Waka, Maureen Ginipro, Maureen Palmieri, Myungja Anna Koh, Patricia A. Morrison, Patricia Blasius, Patricia Luppino, Patti Peterson, Paula Sherman, Peter Galasso, Renee Caine, Rima Potter, Robert Roehrig, Sally Anne Keller, Samantha Kenny, Scott Hartman, Sean Pollock, Sharon Pearsall, Sheniqua Young, Stefani Jarrett, Stephen Shannon, Theodora Zavala, Tianzhao Zhao, Tina Anthony, Tracey Alemaghides, and Veronica Lawlor.

The public is invited to an opening reception for Flower Power on Saturday, June 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work.

The Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A in Saint James. Hours of operation are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. (closed June 16). Admission to the gallery is always free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

In perfect timing with Earth Day, the Smithtown Township Arts Council presents Surrounded by Water, a juried art exhibit at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James featuring the work of 94 artists from 53 communities in New York whose work shows us the elegance, power, and fragility of the Long Island waters that are a source of beauty and wonder. The show runs from April 20 to May 18. 

From ponds, streams and bays to oceans, the waters of Long Island have long provided artists endless possibilities in which to seek their muse. Artists were invited to submit works that will stir memories and curiosities about our beautiful Long Island waters, inspiring gallery visitors to reflect on their relationship to the water that shapes nearly every aspect of their lives and how we must all work to protect it.

Mediums include oil, acrylic, colored pencil, conté, gouache, ink, mixed media, pastel, pencil, photography, and watercolor. Prizes will be awarded for Best in Show along with second and third prize.

Exhibiting artists include Adam Smith,  Al Candia, Anastasia Eswar, Angela Stratton, Anthony Davis,Barbara Bilotta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Barbara Keenan, Barry Feuerstein, Bart DeCeglie, Bernice Corbin, Carissa Millett, Carol Ceraso, Carol Koch, Catherine Rezin, Christine MacDonagh, Christopher Buckley, Daniel van Benthuysen, Diana Aliberti, Diane Oliva, Dominique Treboux, Drigo Morin, Ellen Ferrigno, Frederic Mendelsohn, George Junker, Gia Horton, Hillary Serota Needle, Howie Pohl, Irene Vitale, Jacques Garant, James Fingado, James Kelson, Jan Guarino, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Jared Glennon, Jeanette Martone,  Jim Minet, Joan Rockwell, JoAnn Gushue, JoAnne Dumas, John Mansueto, John Taylor, Judith Musaro, Judy Pagano, Judy Stone, Karen Davis, Karen Mortimore, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Katheryn Laible, Khrystyne Robillard-Smith, Kusuma Bheemineni, Linda Hartman, Lisa Marie Scrima-Castelli, Lori Scarlatos, Lou Charnon-Deutsch, Lynn Staiano, Margaret Governale, Mark Levine, Marsha Abrams, Mary Kiernan, Matthew Lombardo, Melanie Reim, Mike Stanko, Myungja Anna Koh, Nancy Wernersbach, Oscar Santiago, Patricia DiGiovanni, Patricia Venturino, Patti Peterson, Patty Yantz, Paul Edelson, Regina Halliday, Renee Caine, Robert Berson, Robert Roehrig, Robert Wallkam, Sally Anne Keller, Scott Hartman, Sheila Breck, Sheniqua Young, Stacey Schuman, Susan Guihan Guasp, Terry Tramantano, Theodora Zavala, Tianzhou Zhao, Tina Anthony, Tracy Mahler Tekverk, Vanessa Pineda Fox, Vicki Field, Vivian Hershfield, Whitney Bell, and William Reed.

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, April 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, Saint James. Hours of operation are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. (closed May 12). Admission to the gallery is always free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James highlights the talents of 87 of its artists with its annual Member Artist Showcase exhibit of original fine art for sale from Jan. 27 to Feb. 24. 

Celebrating the creativity and rich tapestry of talent that defines our communities, the exhibit features works were created in a wide variety of mediums including acrylic, alabaster, bronze, charcoal, graphite, conte, gauche, ink, medium, mixed media, monotype print, oil, pastel, pencil, photography, photomontage, stained glass mosaic, watercolor and wood.

Juror Susan Van Scoy will select this year’s Member Artist Showcase winners. The four selected winners will be invited to exhibit in next year’s Winners Showcase. Van Scoy is an Associate Professor of Art History at St. Joseph’s College where she teaches courses on the history of photography, and American and Modern art. 

The exhibiting artists hail from 53 communities…Suffolk County, Nassau County, Queens, Yonkers, and Westchester and include Adriena Masi, Amal, Angela Stratton, Anne Eckel, Annette Napolitano, Barbara Bilotta, Barbara V. Jones, Barry Feuerstein, Bart DeCeglie, Bobbie Ludwig, Carol Ceraso, Christopher Buckley, Cliff  Miller, Constance Sloggat Wolf, David P. Doran, Debra Baker, Diane Motroni, Diane Oliva, Don Weber, Ellen Ferrigno, Eugene Adamowicz, Felecia Montfort, Frederic  Mendelsohn, Gabriella Grama, George Junker, Gia Horton, Hillary Serota Needle, Jacqueline DuBarry, Jacques Garant, Jane Corrarino, Janine Menlove, Jeanette Martone, Jim Minet, JoAnne Dumas, John Hunt, Joyce Bressler, Judy Stone, Karin  Dutra, Kirsten DiGiovanni, Kusuma Bheemineni, Kyle Blumenthal, Lisa Marie Scrima-Castelli, Liz Kolligs, Lori Scarlatos, Lou  Deutsch, Lynn Kinsella, Lynn Staiano, M. Ellen Winter, Madeline Stare, Mark Levine, Marsha  Abrams, Mary Ann Vetter, Mary Waka, Matthew Lombardo, Merle McGarrett, Michael Hennessey, Myungja Anna Koh, Nicholas Valentino, Oscar Santiago, Pamela Waldroup, Pat Forie, Patricia  DiGiovanni, Patricia  Morrison, Patty Yantz, Paul Edelson, Paul Mele, Renee Caine, Robert Roehrig, Robert Tuska, Robert Wallkam, Roberta Rodgers, Roger Kramer, Ron Becker, Sean Pollock, Sebastian McLaughlin, Shain Bard, Stephen Shannon, Susan Guihan-Guasp, Teresa Idelowitz, Terry Tramantano, Theodora Zavala, Thomas DiCicco, Tina Anthony, Tracey Alemaghides, Tracy Mahler-Tekverk, Vivian Hershfield and William D. Reed. 

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, Jan. 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the artists and enjoy their art.

The Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, St. James. Gallery hours are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 631-862-6575, or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

Photo by Rob Pellegrino

IN LOVING MEMORY

On Sunday, November 12, members of the Setauket Artists and the Board of Directors of the Setauket Neighborhood House gathered to commemorate the memory of Irene Ruddock, the President of the Setauket Artists for twenty years and a long time board member of the Neighborhood House. The Setauket Artists, who have been showing at the Neighborhood House for 43 years are grateful to have it as their “home.” A Kousa dogwood tree, donated by Patty Yantz, was planted in the side yard; a plaque will follow.

Pictured from left, Gail Chase, Kyle Blumenthal, Susan Trawick, Marge Governale, Angela Stratton, John Mansueto, Rob Roehrig, Renee Caine, Paul Edelson, Paula Pelletier, Larry Johnston, Patty Yantz, Al Candia, Flo Kemp, Joan Rockwell, Tim O’ Leary, Fred Mendelsohn, Eleanor Meier and Sheila Breck.

— Photo by Rob Pellegrino

By Heidi Sutton

As autumn arrives on the North Shore, so does a perennial favorite, the Setauket Artists Exhibition. Now in its 43rd year, the beloved show returns to the Setauket Neighborhood House on Sunday, Oct. 22 with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. The exhibit with the motto “Art for a Lifetime” will encompass the entire first floor of the historic building which dates back to the early 1700s. 

A total of 35 group members will be participating with approximately 100 pieces of art in a variety of mediums including oil, watercolor, acrylic and pastel along with handpainted photographs and cyanotypes by Marlene Weinstein.

“Because we live in such a beautiful area, many of the paintings are inspired by Long Island landscapes and seascapes of the Sound. This year we are fortunate to have an oil painting of the Neighborhood House itself done by Renee Caine. Other paintings reflect artists’ travels and daily inspirations, which range from the Grand Canyon (by Angela Stratton) to the Stony Brook Grist Mill (by Robert Roehrig),” said Paula Pelletier, publicist for the Setauket Artists.

Judging the show will be Lois Reboli of the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook who will be tasked with choosing Best in Show, Award of Distinction and 5 Honorable Mentions.

This year’s exhibit is bittersweet as it is the first time without Irene Ruddock, the former president of the Setauket Artists who passed away in June. “There will be a memory board where visitors can add their memories of Irene, who did so much for the local art community,” said Pelletier who is also this year’s Honored Artist.

“I thank the Setauket Artists, especially Irene Ruddock, for this accolade. I have multiple watercolors in the show, two painted especially for this show including a watercolor of the Hercules Pavilion in Stony Brook,” said Pelletier who has been a member of the group for over 15 years.

Participating artists include Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Kyle Blumenthal, Sheila Breck, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail Chase, Anthony Davis, Julie Doczi, William Dodge, Paul Edelson, Margaret Governale, William Graf, Larry Johnston, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Joanne Liff, John Mansueto, Terence McManus, Jane McGraw Teubner, Eleanor Meier, Fred Mendelsohn, Muriel Musarra, Paula Pelletier, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig,  Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Carole Link Scinta,  Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Susan Trawick, Marlene Weinstein, and Patricia Yantz.

“All paintings are for sale, except Irene Ruddock’s work, which is on display to commemorate our former president. There will also be matted, unframed works available in bins. Some are originals, others are giclee prints,” said Pelletier.

In addition, four paintings will be raffled off this year including “Dry Dock” an acrylic by John Mansueto; “Shadows” a watercolor by Muriel Musarra, “Welcome” an oil by Robert Roehrig, and “Westbury Gardens” a watercolor by Joyce Bressler

Pelletier is excited to unveil the exhibit to the community. “It will be a beautiful show painted by talented artists who are attuned to the beauty of the local area.”

The Setauket Neighborhood House, 95 Main St., Setauket presents the 43rd annual Setauket Artists Exhibition from Oct. 22 to Nov. 15 daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for special events. For more information, visit www.setauketartists.com.

By Heidi Sutton

May is one of the prettiest times of the year on Long Island with the trees in bloom and the pleasant weather. The month also signals the return of a beautiful event, the Setauket Artists’ annual spring exhibit at Deepwells Mansion in St. James. 

The juried show, which opens on May 21, will feature approximately 100 paintings in various types of mediums including oil, watercolor and pastel along with etchings and painted photographs by Setauket Artist members in addition to two guest artists: Charles Wildbank, a well known and respected artist from Jamesport, and Russell Pulick, founder of Pulick Pottery. 

This year’s distinguished judge is Joshua Ruff, Co-Executive Director at the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook. Ruff will have the difficult job of choosing winners from a pool of incredible local talent.

“Because we live in such a beautiful area, many of the paintings are Long Island landscapes and seascapes of the Sound. Other paintings reflect artists’ travels and daily inspirations, which range from tea cups to trailers,” said Paula Pelletier, a member of the Setauket Artists for over 10 years and whose painting “Flax Pond Inlet” will be in the show.

“Recently, my husband and I discovered the walk at Flax Pond Marine Lab. The views took my breath away; I had to paint them,” she explained.

The exhibit will also feature a gift boutique with matted unframed smaller works, cards, and books written by the artists. The group will raffle off four paintings including “Watching the Stillness of a Setting Sun” by Shain Bard, “Daffodils by Joanne Liff, “Along the Coast” by Renee Caine, and “Road in Mt. Sinai” by Angela Stratton on June 18, the exhibit’s last day. Visitors can enter the raffle throughout the exhibit’s run and do not need to be present to win. 

According to Pelletier, the show will fill the Deepwells Mansion’s first floor and extend to the upstairs. The back rooms on the second floor will house three of the Setauket Artists’ personal “studios” with additional artwork available for sale.

The mansion, which is part of the Suffolk County Parks Department, was built in 1845 in the 16th century Greek-Revival architecture for Joel Smith, a descendant of Smithtown’s founder Richard ‘Bull’ Smith. It is now managed by the Deepwells Farm Historical Society.

“It’s wonderful to return to Deepwells,” said Pelletier. “The rooms are expansive with natural light flooding in from the floor to ceiling windows. For visitors, it’s an opportunity to view the period wallpaper and distinctive crown moulding.”

This year’s Honored Artist is Irene Ruddock, the Setauket Artists’ president and mentor for the past 18 years. “A woman of elegance, grace and great kindness, she has worked tirelessly ensuring that our exhibitions are successful, professional and beautiful. Her artistic talents inspire us all. We send her our love and a sincere thank you,” said Pelletier.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS:

Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail Chase, Anthony Davis, Julie Doczi, William Dodge, Paul Edelson, Margaret Governale, William Graf, Melissa Imossi, Larry Johnston, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Joanne Liff, John Mansueto, Jane McGraw Teubner, Eleanor Meier, Fred Mendelsohn, Muriel Musarra,  Paula Pelletier, Russell Pulick, Catherine Rezin, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Carole Link Scinta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Susan Trawick, Maria  Lourdes Velez, Marlene Weinstein, Charles Wildbank, and Patricia Yantz.

The Setauket Artists’ Spring Exhibit will be held at Deepwells Mansion, 2 Taylor Lane, St. James from May 21 through June 18. The community is invited to an opening  reception on May 21 from 1 to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission is always free. For more information, visit www.setauketartists.com.

'Perennial Chrysanthemum' by Natalie Preston

What is your favorite childhood memory? Going to the beach, strawberry picking, holidays, road trips? From April 22 to May 20, the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James will present Childhood Memories, an exhibit featuring 74 works from 69 artists who were asked to explore the early rituals, the rites of passage, and the innocence of early life experiences that celebrate the passionate world of childhood. 

Juried by Seung Lee, the exhibit reveals that many artists integrate their life experiences into their work either consciously or unconsciously, often incorporating what they see and sense in the present with their memories. 

“Memories are often the inspiration for art. Artists give life to the characters and environments of our childhood memories, recording fragments of dreams, snippets of passing time, and experiences that have shaped our lives,” said Lee. 

Some works evoke happy memories with vibrant colors that portray the playfulness of childhood, while others echo personal struggles in the artist’s inner emotional world of their childhood. Visitors will see artwork in a wide array of mediums including photography, painting, drawing, sculpture and more.

Participating artists include Nari Ahn, Kirsten Angel-Lambert, Brenda L. Bechtel, Michelle Bond, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Steve Caputo, Linda Ann Catucci, Cynthia Celone, Rocco Citeno, Linda C. Clune, Jane Corrarino, Donna Corvi, Robert Crawford, Daniela Crimi, Eleanor Day, Patricia  DiGiovanni, Beria Dumankaya, JoAnne Dumas, Paul Edelson, Barry Feuerstein, Noah Hanselman, Gia Horton, John Hunt, Genesis Johnson, George Junker, Moritz  Kellerman, Lynn  Kinsella, Susan Kozodoy Silkowitz, Mark Levine, Ellie Liu, Bobbie Ludwig, Caitlin Marx, Suzanne McLeod, Avrel Menkes, Jonathan Mills, Alison Mosher, Frank Musto, Monica Nask, Loretta Oberheim, Raissa Oliveira-Silva, Eileen Palmer, Paula Pelletier, Rima Potter, Kelly Powell, Linda Prentiss, Natalie Preston, Toni Raiten-D’Antonio, Jesse Ramirez, William Dunham Reed, Jairid Rossow, Irene Ruddock, Michael Sapone, Gisela Skoglund, Mike Stanko, Robert Stenzel, Christine Kane Stevens, Judy Stone, Angela Stratton, Tracy Tekverk, Terry Tramantano, Robert Tuska, Carlos Vega, Daniela Velez, Judy Vine, Mary Waka, Steve Walker, Patty Yantz and Tianzhou Zhao.

The community is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, April 22 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James is open Wednesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Please note the gallery will be closed on May 14. Admission to the gallery is always free. For more information, call 631-862-6575, or visit www.millspondgallery.org. 

Join the artists for a reception on March 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. 

Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery highlights the talents of 72 of its artists with its annual Member Artist Showcase exhibit of original fine art for sale from March 4 to April 1. 

Exhibiting artists, who hail from 41 communities across Long Island as well as New York City, New Jersey, North Carolina  and Maryland, were able to select the work that they wish to display, affording them the opportunity to show public audiences a work that may be new, or something they created experimenting with a new medium or a work they love but have never had an opportunity to exhibit anywhere.

Works were created using a wide variety of mediums including acrylic, bronze, charcoal, etching, graphite, mixed media sculpture,  oil, origami, pastel, photography and watercolor.

Participating artists include Marsha Abrams, Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Karen Bennett, Kyle Blumenthal, Daniel C. Boyer, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Linda Ann Catucci, Karen Celella, Carol Ceraso, Lou Charnon-Deutsch, Rocco  Citeno, Donna Corvi, Teresa Cromwell, Julie Doczi, Jacqueline DuBarry, JoAnne Dumas, Karin Dutra, Paul Edelson, Deidre Elzer-Lento, Ellen Ferrigno, Modern Fossils, Vivian Gattuso, Joyce Greenbaum, Francesca Guddemi, Michael Hennessey, David Herman, Gia Horton, George Junker, James Kelson, Lynn Kinsella, Myungja Anna Koh, Susan Kozodoy Silkowitz, Paul Mele, Fred Mendelsohn, Patricia Morrison, Karen George Mortimore, Roni Murillo, Annette Napolitano, Gail Neuman, Diane Oliva, Eileen W  Palmer, Sean Pollock, Catherine Rezin, Robert Roehrig, Oscar Santiago, Lori Scarlatos, Anita Schnirman, Joan Schwartzman, Kenneth Schwartzman, Hillary Serota Needle, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Stephen Shannon, Gisela Skoglund, Sílvia Soares Boyer, Lynn Staiano, Mike Stanko, Madeline Stare, Angela Stratton, Mark Strodl, Robert Tuska, Nicholas Valentino, Mary Ann Vetter, Pamela Waldroup, Steve Walker, Robert Wallkam, Don Weber, M. Ellen Winter, Patricia Yantz and Theodora Zavala.

The public is invited to an opening reception Saturday, March 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A in Saint James. Hours of operation are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

By Tara Mae

One of the most generous gifts of an artist is the ability to translate private inspiration into communal offering so that viewers experience, rather than simply assess, art. 

The latest exhibit at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James, Winners Showcase, features six local artists associated with the Smithtown Township Arts Council (STAC) who employ their craft as a means of communication with the world around them, enabling patrons to appreciate the simple intricacies of both everyday existence and the natural world. 

On display from Jan. 28 to Feb. 24, the exhibition presents approximately 55 pieces in multiple styles by Rhoda Gordon of Port Jefferson Station, Paul Mele of Island Park, Renee Caine of Holtsville, Karin Dutra of Port Jefferson, Catherine Rezin of Nesconset, and Angela Stratton of Selden, all of whom have shown at the gallery before. 

Gordon, Dutra, and Mele were winning artists from the 2022 Winners Showcase while Caine, Rezin, and Stratton were winning artists from the 2022 exhibit Long Island Landscape: From Awe to Action. 

“I love the Winners Showcase, as it is an opportunity to see a larger body of work from each artist. It is so interesting to sometimes discover that even in works of different mediums or color palettes, a common thread connects all their work either in technique or their creative voice and what they are trying to say in their work,” said Allison J. Cruz, Executive Director at the Mills Pond Gallery.

More than entertainment and aesthetics, art is an intimate conversation between creator and consumer. Featuring works in oil, acrylic, and pastel as well as photography and mixed media works in pastel and watercolor, pastel and ink, and watercolor and gouache, this exhibit is a dialogue in which the artists speak through their work. 

 What they choose to say is at their discretion. Winners Showcase has no particular theme and, once invited to participate, artists submit any pieces they choose, demonstrating a range of perspectives and portfolios.

“Even artists who I am familiar with will sometimes surprise me in a Winners show with a style or subject that I had no idea they pursued,” Cruz added.  

Divergent in style and substance, these works include abstract townscapes, reflective portraits, contemplative still life, tranquil nature scenes, and evocative photography. Not bound by an overarching topic, the art is uniquely personal and unflinchingly universal. It encompasses the whimsical and wondrous, the pastoral and pensive. 

Paul Mele’s photography series Confinement,  chronicling his grueling years’ long recovery from a car accident, explores dark, seemingly abandoned spaces that nonetheless offer a hint of relief, from a door ajar or a window that permits stubbornly optimistic sunlight to stream inside. 

“I kind of feel my work balances between a positive and negative, light and dark. I tend to be drawn to images that are more dark, but there is a lighter overtone in my work,” said photographer Paul Mele. “This is the most personal thing I have ever done.”

Hope is perhaps the component that appears in each print and on every canvas throughout the show: hope for a brighter future, hope to be understood. In subdued tones and vivacious palettes, realistic renderings and abstract observations, this ambition transcends from artists to audiences. 

Sharing art is an inherently brave act, making one vulnerable to public consumption while seeking understanding from those who observe and perhaps, admire. “It is nice when people see your work, relate to it, and appreciate it for it is,” Mele said.  

Catherine Rezin, a multi-genre artist, shares this sentiment, and views art as a means to forge a benevolent connection.

“In general, I want to portray the positive feeling I have of the subject to my viewer,” she said. 

Through strokes of watercolor and gouache paints, this attitude is revealed in her vibrant vistas, lush landscape, and affectionate portraits alike. She began exhibiting her art three years ago, after retiring from her career as a commercial artist. 

“I am now enjoying creating art for the love of it,” she added. 

Such passion is evident throughout Winners Showcase, a celebration of the courage of creation and ecstasy of expression. 

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, Saint James. Hours of operation are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. 

For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

Looking for that perfect holiday gift? The Smithtown Township Arts Council’s annual Fine Art for the Holidays exhibit and marketplace kicks off at the Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James on Dec. 4 and runs through Dec. 18.

The exhibit features more than 65 original works created by the Setauket Artists. Exhibiting artists include Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Sheila Breck, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail L. Chase, Anthony Davis, Julie Doczi, Margaret Governale, William Graf, Flo Kemp, John Mansueto, Celeste Mauro, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Eleanor Tyndall Meier, Frederic Mendelsohn, Muriel Mussara, Paula Pelletier, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Carole Link Scinta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Marlene Weinstein and Patricia Yantz.

An opening reception will be held on Dec. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists, view their work and have the opportunity to purchase affordable, one-of-a-kind, original fine art for friends or loved ones while supporting the creation and sale of locally produced fine art.

Gallery hours are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.