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Stan Brodsky

'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.

Stan Brodsky in his studio. Photo by Peter Scheer

By Melissa Arnold

For Stan Brodsky, painting was so much more than just a skill or even a career. It was a language, a love affair, a truly sensual experience. The artist shared those feelings openly with students over the course of a renowned teaching career that spanned more than 50 years. 

Several months ago, the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills began to prepare Stan Brodsky and Friends, a springtime exhibit celebrating Brodsky’s work along with nearly 30 of his dearest friends, many of whom were former students and mentees.

‘Woman in a Car,’ oil/acrylic on canvas by Doug Reina

On March 30, just two weeks before the exhibit’s scheduled opening, Stan Brodsky passed away at the age of 94. He had continued to work and teach until the final weeks of his life, just as he wanted it. Brodsky’s students noted that the World War II veteran tried to retire a few years ago, but he couldn’t stand being away from doing what he loved. 

The Art League is moving forward with the show as planned, with the exhibit running from April 13 to 28. A reception on April 14 at 3:30 p.m. will allow the artists and those who loved Brodsky to honor his life and legacy.

Participating artists include Ennid Berger, Susan Bird, Susan Canin, Denise DiGiovanna, Simon Fenster, Stuart Friedman, Peter Galasso, Lenore Ann Hanson, Ginger Balizer-Hendler, Caroline Isacsson, Vincent Joseph, Deborah Katz, Marceil Kazickas, Denise Kramer, Barbara Miller, Catherine Morris, Pamela Long Nolan, Dianne Parker, Alicia R. Peterson, Doug Reina, Fran Roberts, Susan M. Rostan, Ellen Hallie Schiff, Laura Powers-Swiggett, Janice Sztabnik, Lois Walker and Hiroko Yoshida.

Stan has touched so many lives, inspiring them to pursue their passions,” said Susan Peragallo, coordinator and curator of the Art League’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery. “The exhibit will be a chance for everyone to celebrate him — the 27 artists in the show are only a small segment of those who were influenced by him over the years.”

A master abstract expressionist, Brodsky studied photojournalism and fine art before receiving a doctorate in art education from Columbia University in 1959. Originally from Greenwich Village, he moved to Huntington in 1965. Most of his teaching years were spent at Long Island University’s C.W. Post Campus in Brookville, and a collection of his notes and sketches from 1951 to 2004 can be found at the Smithsonian Institution.

‘Superficial Information,’ oil on canvas by Marceil Kazickas

Brodsky’s relationship with the Art League began in the late ’90s when he became an instructor. The classes were small in the beginning, with just five students enrolled in 1994, but grew rapidly, and eventually people had to be turned away from lack of space. “It’s not so much that he was popular, but he was inspiring and generous in his critiques, and people really responded to that,” Peragallo said.

Peter Galasso of Setauket remembers that Brodsky could often be found in the same way over the years as students arrived for class — sitting at his desk, usually eating an egg sandwich, always poring over an art history text.

“He had a contagious passion, and was constantly reading and continuing to study,” said Galasso, who began studies under Brodsky 20 years ago, eventually becoming a friend and traveling companion. “He was always looking to travel somewhere new or different. He wanted to be inspired by the local color of a place.”

Susan Rostan of Woodbury remembers entering Brodsky’s classroom for the first time while pursuing a master’s in fine art. Brodsky arranged the students in a circle and asked each one to introduce themselves. When it was her turn, Rostan simply told him, “I’ve heard I’m either going to love you or hate you, but I’m cautiously optimistic.”

‘She Wears Her Heart on Her Sleeve …,’ mixed media by Susan Canin

Many years later, Rostan was sitting in a different class of Brodsky’s, this one at the Art League. But she was stunned by the striking realization that nothing had changed: He still wore the same striped sweaters and paint-splattered jeans. She painted a full-length portrait of him that day that will appear in the exhibit.

“He taught us as much about ourselves as he did about painting,” said Rostan, who is now working on a biography of Brodsky. “He was an unusual teacher in that he approached his students as equals and opened himself up to be vulnerable and form friendships with them, which allowed him to encourage them particularly well.”

Brodsky’s friendship and deep encouragement were beloved by so many of his students, said Doug Reina of Setauket. In fact, some of them continued to take his classes for decades just to spend more time with him.

“Stan had this ability to make you feel special. He was genuinely curious about you, and that means a lot,” Reina said. “In the old days before taking his classes, I would look at a scene and just try to copy it. But through him I learned to paint in a way that also expresses how I feel about the subject and the sensuousness of the paint itself. Stan painted with his own language and created something truly unique for the world.”

Stan Brodsky and Friends will be on view at the Art League of Long Island’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery, 107 E. Deer Park Road, Dix Hills. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-462-5400 or visit www.artleagueli.net

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'Blue in Green' by Peter Galasso

By Ellen Barcel

“You rarely see a show of all abstract art,” said artist Peter Galasso, of the Art League of Long Island’s new show, Long Island Abstraction: 2 Generations, on view at the league’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery now through April 15.

‘Accents Red’ by Frank Wimberley

Four artists, Stan Brodsky, Laura Powers-Swiggett, Frank Wimberley and Galasso have filled the gallery with approximately 50 of their abstract works. What else unites these four artists? They are all award-winning artists with strong ties to Long Island. Two, Galasso and Powers-Swiggett were influenced by their mentor, Brodsky. The fourth, Wimberley was added to the exhibit by Galasso.

“I’ve been showing for 25 years. I met Frank [Wimberley] about 10 years ago at a gallery show. I admired his work,” said Galassao in a recent interview. The two became friends and Galasso suggested his work for an exhibit held at the Art League about two years ago. When the concept for the current exhibit was broached, “I told him of my idea of two generations of abstract artists from Long Island …” The idea was very specific. “He could see how this would work.”

Where did the two generations come from? Both Brodsky and Wimberley are in their 90s, the senior members of the foursome. Powers-Swiggett and Galasso, the younger members, were both students of Brodsky. Brodsky was not only a mentor to these two, but many, many others as professor of art at C.W. Post College for over 30 years. In his artist’s statement, Brodsky noted, “I’ve been an exhibiting artist in New York City for more than 50 years — and my passion for painting is a strong now as ever.”

‘Descending Light 2’ by Stan Brodsky

Galasso described Wimberley’s work saying, “I admire his work — movement and color. He uses a lot of acrylic medium, a very thick mixture. It moves spontaneously across the canvas.”

Susan Peragallo, gallery coordinator, said that abstract art is nonrepresentational and “about expressing an idea or emotion using color, line and form.” But what inspires each of these four artists? In his artist’s statement Brodsky noted, “I have traveled extensively absorbing the colors and textures of new landscapes,” and Powers-Swiggett’s paintings are landscape-based abstractions exploring spatial and color relationships. Galasso’s works have been described as “an exploration of feeling, memory and a unique vision …”

Abstract art can be very freeing for both the artist and the viewer. The realist must represent the scene accurately, but the abstract artist uses a scene as inspiration. Said Wimberley in his artist statement, “The abstract painter can commence his drawing or canvas generally with only a preconceived notion, reflection or emotion … he has far less guarantees than perhaps the realist painter or photographer that the finished expression with extended from calculated reason or logic. This for me provides the excitement of taking the theme or feeling from the very first stroke, and following it to its own particular conclusion. It is very much like creating the controlled accident.”

‘Wawapek’ by Laura Powers-Swiggett

While each of the four artists decided which of their works were to be shown, it was Peragallo who decided which paintings would be hung together, making them, “flow together. That was my job. It was sort of like putting a puzzle together. You want the works to speak to each other but one shouldn’t overpower the other. They should gradually draw the viewer into the show.” “It’s a wonderful show, really beautiful,” said Peragallo. “People who don’t normally like abstract art come in and say ‘Wow.’ It’s a happy show, so colorful and uplifting,” she added.

Long Island Abstraction: 2 Generations will be on view at The Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery of the Art League of Long Island, 107 East Deer Park Road, Dix Hills through April 15. The gallery is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For further information, call 631-462-5400 or go to www.artleagueli.org.

Artist Stan Brodsky in his studio. Photo from Pam Brown
‘Santa Barbara #5’ by Stan Brodsky

Stan Brodsky, noted Huntington painter and C. W. Post professor emeritus of art, will be featured at the Reboli Center for Art and History’s second Third Friday event to be held Friday, Jan. 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. This event is one of a series of free monthly cultural programs sponsored by the Center, located at 64 Main St., Stony Brook, that bring new perspectives on art and artists.

Stan Brodsky has been painting for more than 60 years and is known for his colorful abstract landscape paintings. He exhibits at a number of galleries and his paintings were the subject of a retrospective at the Hecksher Museum in 2013. Joe Reboli was an admirer of Brodsky’s paintings.

Doug Reina, a well-known local artist who has studied with Brodsky, will be interviewing Mr. Brodsky about his evolution as an artist, his sources of inspirations, and his observations about the art world in general. Although Mr. Brodsky is now 91, his passion for painting continues and his current work reflects his vigilance to his work as an artist.

The Reboli Center’s Third Friday program is free to the public and no reservations are required. For more information about the event, go to www.ReboliCenter.org or call the Reboli Center at 631-751-7707.