Tags Posts tagged with "Sculpture"

Sculpture

Port Jefferson Station’s Zach Gallant, who just earned Eagle Scout, stands next to his project — refurbishing a statue at Comsewogue Public Libray originally created by Mount Sinai’s Pauli Suominen. Photo by Julianne Mosher

An Eagle Scout decided to help out his local library and spruce up a Mount Sinai artist’s sculpture. 

Sculptor Pauli Suominen gifted the sculpture to the Comsewogue Public Library in 1999. After more than two decades greeting visitors outside the library’s doors, Zach Gallant, of Port Jefferson Station, decided to make its restoration his Eagle Scout project. 

The 18-year-old from Troop #354 said that he wasn’t even born yet when the sculpture was first created, but he knew that the community would love to see it shine again. 

“I had been working on it for about nine months from start to finish,” he said, adding it was a complete team effort that included his troop, scoutmaster, the library and Suominen’s oversight.

At first, the Scout wasn’t sure what he wanted to do for his final project. It wasn’t until he visited the library and spoke with Library Director Debbie Engelhardt after a tour of the library grounds.

“We walked the property together and saw the sculpture needed some TLC,” she said. “He got support from his scoutmaster and it became a plan.”

The sculpture, titled “Tiger,” previously was on the opposite side of the library, and could be seen from Terryville Road. With Gallant’s renovation, they moved it to the front door, so it be seen easier by all. 

“It’s a focal point now where it’s going to make people smile,” Engelhardt said. “It’s nice and bright, whimsical and we’re shining a spotlight on it.

Suominen, a Vietnam veteran, was a carpenter by trade, but his passion is as a self-taught artist. He uses scraps of metal, pieces of wood and stone to create abstract sculptures, that are seen throughout the library property and across the country.  

“Pauli was very happy to work with Zach Gallant on the refurbishment project,” his wife, Christine, said. “It is always encouraging when younger people are interested in doing something for the community. Zach and his group did a great job of restoring the sculpture to its original luster.”

Gallant said the sculpture is unique because it’s made from recycled materials. 

“Mr. Suominen had just taken scraps off the ground and things he’d seen and created the sculpture with four chairs and a bike rack,” he said. 

During his project process, he and six other people took the whole sculpture off the library grounds and brought it to their scoutmaster’s garage. There, he sanded it, painted it and made sure all changes were approved from its original artist. 

“It was a lot of work, more than I expected,” he said. “But I’m proud of myself … It’s definitely not something you can just do with no help. You need people to guide you.”

Gallant said the whole renovation took about three months, overall. It was put back in its new spot at the library in January. 

“A lot of people love it already, or can’t wait to see it,” he said.

And the statue can now stand there for another set of decades for people to enjoy.

“It was really a wonderful community partnership,” Engelhardt said. “We’re always so happy to connect.” 

The Eagle Scout said that although it was a lot of hard work, he’s so happy he was able to help his community, and earn his new title.He gave advice to fellow Boy Scouts who are thinking of joining the higher rank.

“If you’re close to becoming an Eagle Scout, just finish it because being so close doesn’t get you anywhere in life — finishing it does,” he said. 

Concept art for Michael Manning’s scultpure which village officials plan to put in Rocketship Park. Port Jeff Mayor Margot Garant said the crab could become a symbol for the village. Image from Manning’s proposal

The crab and the sea turtle, both species harmed by trash in the oceans, could be coming to Port Jeff to represent its beachfront and to remind visitors of the importance of protecting the oceans. 

The sea turtle scultpure designed by Nobuho Nagasawa is expected to be placed in Harborfront Park. Exact location is still to be determined. Photo from Nagasawa’s proposal

Two sculptures, one of each animal, are slated to come into the village courtesy of two artists, one with decades of experience, the other just beginning his artistic career. 

Village of Port Jefferson trustees voted Nov. 2 to appropriate a total of $2,600 from the Farmers Market and Maritime Festival trust accounts to purchase the rights to the designs for the two sculptures. The pieces are designed to be filled with debris people might find on the beach to illustrate visually what is needed to keep both beaches and local waters clean. A similar statue was installed at Sunken Meadow State Park in Kings Park last year. (For more info, search “Shelley the Sea Turtle” at tbrnewsmedia.com.)

Village trustee Rebecca Kassay, who has a background in environmental activism, started work alongside other local leaders before she became trustee in September. She said she, Mayor Margot Garant and PJ resident Karen Levitov had seen some examples of these sculptures all over the world, and thought Port Jefferson, as a harborfront community, needed one as well.

“We thought, ‘How cool would it be to have a unique version in Port Jeff?’” Kassay said. “They’re functional — they’re empowering people not just to recycle, but be more conscious.”

One of the sculptures, also made to resemble a sea turtle, is designed by renowned artist Nobuho Nagasawa, a professor at Stony Brook University. Plans give two options for the turtle, one where the shell can be lifted and the trash dropped in, and another with the shell as a wire mesh. In her design document, Nagasawa said the artwork is inspired by “the wonderment of life in the ocean which is in danger.” The sculpture is destined for Harborfront Park. 

Nagasaawa, with years of experience in the art world, said it was good training for artists only just coming into their own. The professor worked with Port Jefferson in helping the village format the request for qualification, which allowed them to establish what kind of cost estimates they were looking at. 

The second sculpture, which the village hopes to install in Rocketship Park, resembles a giant crab, its pincers held up to the sky. SBU Undergraduate student Michael Manning wrote in his proposal that a crab is defensive, tenacious and can persevere, making it a great example to express the work to protect local waters. The crab’s thorax is a cage-like design, with one part made to hold trash and the other to hold bottles. Garant said they are looking to get the high school’s environmental club involved in designing a placard to go along with the sculpture.

“The crab was something we thought the kids could definitely get involved with,” she said. “We imagine the crab could become — like the horse is to Saratoga — the crab could be to Port Jefferson.” 

Michael Manning

Unlike other sculptures and pieces Nagasawa has worked on, even ones that had an interactive element, the professor said this was the first project where function was the main driving force. It was an interesting challenge for students, and now that Manning’s piece was chosen, the SBU art professor said she’s looking for the young artist, with some guidance from her, to carry through on the responsibility for getting the project completed. Her bigger hope is that the village considers even more such student art pieces in the future.

“I really appreciate the village trusted the students’ ability to make this proposal,” she said. “Students normally have very little chance of doing something like this, and I hope this can turn into something much bigger.”

Levitov, SBU’s Paul W. Zuccaire gallery director and curator, helped get the ball rolling with her connections to SBU’s artists. This project also dovetailed with an exhibition she was planning on environmental art.

Levitov said all the projects the committee received were “wonderful,” adding “the students were really innovative in their approaches — animal forms, glacial and nautical shapes, and baskets inspired by Native American weaving were all considered. “

“My hope is that this collaboration will lead to future opportunities for creative partnerships between Stony Brook University and the surrounding communities,” she said. 

The 11 submissions were adjudicated by a committee that included Kassay, Garant and Levitov, as well as Lisa Perry, president of Port Jefferson Harbor Education & Arts Conservancy, and Port Jefferson Conservation Advisory Committee member Dreania LeVine. A decision was made on the two designs Oct. 26. They also gave an honorable mention to SBU student Marta Baumiller.

Kassay said the village is currently looking to work with Environmental Sculptures, a company that specializes in such designs and is responsible for the Sunken Meadow sculpture as well. The next step, the trustee said, is to apply for some environmental grants for the projects. Kassay added with her experience she expects it won’t be too difficult to acquire grants from for such projects, as they tick off “a lot of boxes.”

The trustee put the tentative date of fall 2021 for fabrication of the two sculptures.

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‘Woman and Dog’ by Marisol, 1964 Image from Philip F. Palmedo

By Elizabeth Kahn Kaplan

Just a few weeks ago, the Museum of Modern Art opened its exhibit, Picasso Sculpture, to critical acclaim. The exhibit is so chock full of fascinating objects that it can be daunting to take them all in properly, and so it is fortunate that Philip F. Palmedo’s latest book has appeared, just in time to guide us. The book can help even a newbie to understand, appreciate and delight in modern sculpture, not only by Pablo Picasso but by 93 other sculptors who expanded the boundaries of what is considered great art.

Enriched by 155 illustrations, and satisfactorily printed on thick glossy stock, ‘The Experience of Modern Sculpture: A Guide to Enjoying Works of the Past 100 Years’ makes a joyous introduction to the subject, with informative, user-friendly notes. It is also, with its carefully chosen bibliography, a worthy addition to the bookshelves of art historians.

Palmedo, a resident of Head of the Harbor, seamlessly achieves his objective, which is to enrich the experience of modern sculpture, “particularly for those who have found it uninteresting, mute, or simply baffling.” He guides a willing learner to experience a work’s power, originality, and, often, humor, by absorbing the artist’s purpose in its creation. We are encouraged to dismiss previously held intellectual distinctions of what is art. Palmedo believes, “The appreciation of sculpture is first of all a visual and sensuous affair. It is the encounter and the experience that are important.”

The-Experience-of-Modern-Sculpture-jacket-wConstantin Brancusi’s graceful “Bird in Space “(“L’Oiseau dans l’espace”), 1932–1940, is a case in point. A commanding presence of polished brass, almost 5 feet tall, it evokes the thrill we experience when a bird celebrates its freedom in flight; we need no artist to sculpt its wings or beak to confirm its identity.

As the 20th century progressed, sculptors began to appropriate materials that were either previously unavailable or simply not considered for use in the past. In 1909, when Picasso first transitioned within cubism from painting to sculpture, he chose bronze for the head of his mistress and muse, “Woman’s Head (Fernande).” “Contrast this with his 1942 ‘Bull’s Head’ — an assemblage of the leather seat and metal handles of a bicycle.

“No matter that the bull has an unusually pointy snout; we recognize it immediately because of its gently curved, symmetrical horns,” Palmedo writes. “The two aspects of the sculpture — the simple, familiar objects, and the form of the bull — seem to first oscillate in our consciousness and then coexist. A simple and captivating magic trick is performed before our eyes.

“You often wonder, looking at a piece of abstract sculpture, whether you are feeling what the artist intended you to feel, whether you are getting it. When you get the joke . . . in Picasso’s ‘Bull’s Head,’ you have the pleasure of knowing you are indeed connecting with the artist’s intent. You are getting it — as long as you don’t think that the joke is everything.” Both of these works are included in Picasso Sculpture at MoMA.

Another work that incorporates unusual materials along with a dose of humor was created in 1964 by Marisol — one of 15 women artists whose work is recognized in this book. Her life-size “Women and Dog,” in which the four women are said to be self-portraits, is on exhibit at the new home of the Whitney Museum of Art, and incorporates wood, plaster, synthetic polymer, a taxidermic dog head and miscellaneous items.

Palmedo likens a perfectly balanced abstract sculpture to a great musical composition. In Anthony Caro’s complex construction of bright yellow-painted steel “Fanshoal,” 1971–1972, Palmedo senses that any alteration of the relationship between the disparate parts would lessen the perfection of the whole. He likens it to a Bach partita that contains no superfluous note.

Another work, created in homage to a master of musical composition, is Kenneth Snelson’s “Mozart I,” in stainless steel, 1981–1982. Palmedo sees Snelson’s act of creating a work of art as very similar to composing music, in its clarity, lyricism and rigor of composition.

"Swing Dance," fabricated bronze, 2005 by Bill Barrett
“Swing Dance,” fabricated bronze, 2005 by Bill Barrett

The movement of dance and music has inspired many sculptors past and present. Bill Barrett’s “Swing Dance,” 2005, of fabricated bronze, captures the vitality of a couple swept up in the music and rhythm of a boogie beat. “Capturing evanescent movement in bronze is no mean feat,” writes Palmedo, who pays tribute to Barrett’s distilled, subconscious sense of grace and melodic line.

Lin Emery’s sculpture, “Sunflower of 2009,” photographed here in motion, underscores her fascination with movement. Early in her career she used flowing water as the motive force for kinetic metal sculptures. In later works such as this, ball bearings create delicately balanced works moved by the wind. Polished aluminum surfaces resembling parts of the flower reflect the changing colors of clouds and sky, and we respond as we do to the beauties of nature. The skill of an engineer is required to achieve a kinetic work, a balancing act between beauty and the machine.

The pleasure that Palmedo derives from art in all its manifestations is a defining characteristic of his persona. He writes, “There are times looking at a sculpture when I am profoundly struck by the absolute perfection of the relationship between all of its elements and for a brief moment I experience something as close to joy that a physical object can grant.” This magnificent book brings the willing reader into that delightful state.

Palmedo will be speaking and signing copies of his book at The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook on Friday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m. The book may also be purchased from the publisher, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., the gift shop of The Long Island Museum, and at Amazon.com.

Late sculptor planted the love of art in the hearts of many

LT Cherokee works with art student Michael D. Kitakis, 12, at the Spirit of Huntington Art Center. Photo from Spirit of Huntington Art Center

By Rita J. Egan

When prolific sculptor and avid motorcycle rider LT Cherokee passed away last year at the age of 58 due to complications from an accident, he left behind his love of art and life. To honor this legacy, the Spirit of Huntington Art Center presents an exhibit titled Seeds starting May 15.

The center, dedicated to working with veterans and special needs children in an artistic environment, is the ideal venue to display the work of the sculptor who for the last few years of his life taught sculpting to the children at the facility. The teaching venture began when, through his uncle who owns L&L Camera in Huntington, Cherokee met Spirit of Huntington founder Erich Preis, according to the center’s director Michael Kitakis.

LT Cherokee’s last work, ‘Faces of Eve,’ in bronze, plaster and plaster recast. Photo from Spirit of Huntington Art Center
LT Cherokee’s last work, ‘Faces of Eve,’ in bronze, plaster and plaster recast. Photo from Spirit of Huntington Art Center

“LT was amazing. He was just so calm and connected. I guess that was why he worked so well with children with special needs. He had this calm presence, and he just let you really be free and creative. He wasn’t into the sky had to be blue and the grass green. He was let it be what you think it is, and feel and express it, and the children kind of thrived on that. They really got it,” Kitakis said.

The director said the exhibit will include 38 pieces of Cherokee’s that have been on display in galleries and private collections all over the United States and Canada. The sculptor, who first starting working with wood that he collected during his motorcycle rides, later worked with bronze castings. Kitakis is looking forward to the public viewing and interpreting the work, which the director said he himself doesn’t like to label as any one genre.

“When you see it, you just see all the energy and the abstract coming together. I mean that’s really what I think; it was more about that duality. I don’t think it was just abstract or just impressionistic. It’s kind of just both blending in together, and that gave that whole perception of what he was seeing as his human nature and as his life, and what he was seeing when he was exploring the road and life,” the director said.

Kitakis said Cherokee wasn’t the type to be locked in his studio all the time. For inspiration, he would get out in the world to explore, especially on his motorcycle. The director admired the artist not only for his artistic ability but also as a teacher who easily identified with the children with special needs at the center. “That takes a gift. You kind of have it or you don’t, and he really did have it. That was really what was so beautiful about his work, that here he is this sculptor who is getting $30,000 to $40,000 a sculpture and then coming in and hanging out with the kids,” Kitakis said.

After his passing last year, Cherokee’s mother, Tina Ambrosio, said all of those who offered their condolences, and knowing her son’s teachings positively affected his students comforted her. She said the artist, who was single and had no children of his own, “was married to his motorcycle and his art.”

His mother said that Cherokee, whose birth name was Leonard Totoro, picked his art moniker because even though he wasn’t Native American he always had an interest in Native American history. As a youngster, the future artist also would dream of becoming a forest ranger or doing missionary work. “Luxury to my son meant nothing. He was down to earth,” Ambrosio said.

‘Eve and Adam,’ in bronze by LT Cherokee. Photo from Spirit of Huntington Art Center
‘Eve and Adam,’ in bronze by LT Cherokee. Photo from Spirit of Huntington Art Center

Eventually Cherokee’s main career influence was one of his uncles, a pharmacist who painted and sculpted on the side, according to his mother. Later as a young man, the artist would lend his artistic talents while laying and refinishing floors with his father, who was a carpenter and floor finisher. Ambrosio said whenever a customer would ask for a design to be added to the floor, her son could easily create it.

As Cherokee became more involved with sculpting, his work, with names such as “Reach,” “Contemplation,” “The Gate” and “Eye of the Storm,” began to sell. In addition to his work being displayed in galleries and private collections, larger pieces were featured at places such as John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson as well as the transportation area of the Consulate General of the United States in Montreal, Canada.

Kitakis said some of Cherokee’s students are currently working on a collaborative piece that will replicate the artist’s Consulate General sculpture and will debut at the May 15 opening of the exhibit. The original piece features various heads along a train track, and in the students’ version, each child has his or her own person to sculpt. Other works by Cherokee’s students and apprentices will also be on display at the exhibit.

Kitakis said the title of the show, Seeds, seemed appropriate because of the way Cherokee lived his life. The director said the artist always wanted to give back to people and share his art and saw it as spreading seeds.

“He always believed in spreading ‘seeds’, planting them, getting them going. He did a lot of that,” Kitakis said.

The director hopes that visitors to the exhibit will get a feel of how much Cherokee loved creating and sharing his sculptures. “I’m hoping when people walk away they feel that inspiration as well — to get a little more understanding or love of art and then it kind of spreads on,” Kitakis said.

Besides enjoying Cherokee’s work, exhibit-goers will have the opportunity to purchase many of the pieces on display where a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the center. The Spirit of Huntington Art Center is located at 2 Melville Road North in Huntington Station. The Seeds exhibit will open on May 15 with a reception at 6 p.m. and will run through July 15. For more information, call 631-470-9620 or visit www.spiritofhuntingtonartcenter.com.