“You Are Here” at the Patchogue-Medford Library

A VARIENT OF THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE MARCH 2017 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE

Now on view at the Patchogue-Medford Library is a series of black and white, site-specific photographs by Dan Lachacz. The series of work, collectively titled You Are Here, finds the artist using the exhibition venue as his subject matter, as he alters the space until it no longer looks familiar. The photographs are similar to site-specific installations in which an artist creates a new body of work specifically for a designated exhibition space. The exhibition is the fifth of its kind with the artist previously exhibiting his site-specific photography at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, Islip Art Museum, Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company, and the Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery.

Each composition consists of multiple contrasting points that draw the viewer in as Lachacz juxtaposes light with dark, color with shadow, and space with closure. The distorted images of unreal qualities and obscure angles create a sense of intimacy for the viewer, igniting his or her desire to explore the composition and its many stimulating facets. With his photographs, Lachacz presents the exhibition space from unconventional angles, unique perspectives, and other, unconventional points of view. By distorting the perspective in which the venue is normally perceived, the artist challenges the viewer to re-evaluate his or her surroundings, making the viewer conscious of the space he or she occupies.

The settings of some of Lachacz’s photographs are easier to interpret than others. A passing glance at Site-Specific Photograph #6 reveals that the artist has situated himself within the biographical section of Patchogue-Medford Library. Two towering shelves, filled to the brim with books, recede deep within the compositional space to a point just to the left of the vertical axis. The strong orthogonal lines meet at a point well below the horizontal axis, allowing the stacks of book to loom large, well above the created point of view. On closer observation, the viewer can determine some of the Library’s extensive catalogue of biographies including books on Cy Young, Don Zimmer, and Emile Zola. Like many of Lachacz’s photographs, the work’s intriguing perspective pulls the viewer in, imbuing him or her with the desire to study the finer qualities that are hidden within.

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Dan Lachacz, Site-Specific Photograph #6, 2017

Likewise, Site-Specific Photograph #4 is another photograph where the setting is instantly recognizable at a passing glance. The picture finds the artist situated at the top of a set of stairs, which leads the viewer to the lower level of the library. The photograph is symmetrically balanced with the vanishing point found in the center of the composition. The strong vertical line of the central banister divides the photograph into two equal halves. The work has a triangular motif as the walls close in on either side of the picture plane, which opens up a space that is wider at the bottom of the photograph and narrower at the top. Although the work’s setting is familiar, the point in which it is perceived is unique to the inquisitive mind of the artist.

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Dan Lachacz, Site-Specific Photograph #4, 2017

In other works, however, Lachacz directly challenges the viewer to determine his settings and subject matter. One such example of this can be found in Site-Specific Photograph #5, which renders a section of a carved, wooden sculpture situated against a brick and mortar wall. The work is a stunning array of contrasts between smooth and rough surfaces, lights and shadows, and of curved and rigid shapes. The subject matter appears familiar, but unusual, as the artist has omitted some of its more recognizable features. The artist dares the viewer to be mindful of his or her surroundings, opening his or her eyes to the insignificant features of the exhibition space that have blended into the background.

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Dan Lachacz, Site-Specific Photograph #5, 2017

Dan Lachacz is a fine arts photographer from Patchogue, NY. He is an Assistant Director of New York Contemporary Artists Symposium and Co-President of Criterion Contemporary. He is a 2010 alumnus of the New York Foundation for the Arts’ MARK program and has had his artwork exhibited nationally and internationally by the East End Arts Council in Riverhead, Patchogue Arts Gallery, Islip Art Museum, and the Museum of Satu Mare in Romania.

The Patchogue-Medford Library is a School District Public Library serving the residents of the Patchogue-Medford community. The Patchogue-Medford Library is committed to providing resources and opportunities that empower, educate and entertain the community. The library features 12 monthly exhibitions per year in their lower level lobby that highlight the artwork of local artists and various arts organizations. You Are Here, featuring the photography of Dan Lachacz, is on display at the Patchogue-Medford Library during the month of March 2017.

Jay Schuck


Photo Credits
All images are courtesy of Dan Lachacz
© Dan Lachacz 2017

Leonardo da Vinci Art Talk at Patchogue-Medford Library

I’ll be leading a discussion on the High Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci at the Patchogue-Medford Library on Wednesday, February 1, from 7:00 – 8:30 PM. The talk is designed for those with little to no prior knowledge of art history and for those with an interest in the art produced during the High Italian Renaissance, specifically the artwork of Leonardo da Vinci.

Artists of this period are known for their close observation of the natural world and the human body, their sophisticated use of iconography, and their innovations in composition, perspective, and design. Come learn about the quintessential “Renaissance Man,” as we examine his paintings and discuss his artwork in an informal setting. This seminar will examine select works of art by Leonardo da Vinci including: the Virgin of the Rocks, Lady with an Ermine, Last Supper, Mona Lisa, and more.

More information regarding the talk can be found here.

For those interested in registering for the event, please find the registration link here, or call the Patchogue-Medford Library at 631-654-4700.

Decadence | Soft Pastels by Courtney Young

THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE FEBRUARY 2017 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE

Now on display at Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Co. is Decadence, a solo exhibition featuring a series of still life, pastel paintings by Courtney Young. In this body of work, Young focuses on the rich decadency of comfort food. For the artist, these photorealistic, larger-than-life depictions of her subject matter convey the emotional significance that we as a people place on food in our everyday lives.

Choosing subject matters that are rich in color and texture, Young takes her photographic references and brings them into the studio where she crafts inspiring compositions that serve as faithful representations of their real-world counterparts. Young strives to recreate the memories of her favorite childhood foods, while evoking hunger in others. Sections of her paintings are consciously blurred, which consequentially sharpens other aspects of her works. This conscious blurring, for the artist, creates a sense of emphasis while also conveying a loss of clarity that often occurs if one is an emotional eater and uses food to fill a void.

Her painting Breakfast for Dinner depicts two, larger-than-life, fluffy waffles that are overrun by butter, jam, and maple syrup. The painting is such a faithful depiction of its subject matter that it becomes challenging for the viewer to believe that the work is not a photograph. The accompanying plate and fork are rendered out of focus, allowing the viewer to tantalizingly study the hyper-realistic food that is presented. The composition is bathed in light, creating a stunning array of depth within the work. The viewer is instantly pulled into the painting, and becomes lost in the mesmerizing coffers of the waffles that ooze with melting butter, savory syrup, and succulent jam preserves. Young’s painting has a tranquil quality, inspiring notions of a simpler time such as Sunday brunch with one’s family or, as suggested by the title, the childhood treat of having breakfast for dinner.

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Courtney Young, Breakfast for Dinner, 2014

The viewer often craves the food depicted in Young’s paintings. Another work in the exhibition, Guilty Pleasure, portrays three powdered, jelly-filled doughnut holes stacked atop one another. In the blurred background, the viewer can observe several more jelly-filled pastries alongside a tall, thirst-quenching, glass of milk. The work is so detailed, with the artist going through the trouble of accurately rendering the flaky pockets of dough, the minute specks of powdered sugar, and the translucent, sticky texture of the jelly that oozes out of the fried dough. There is a notion of defined elegance within the painting as Young’s low-pointed perspective establishes a monumentality that is not typically accustomed to unhealthy, junk food. Still, by carefully arranging her constructed composition, coupled with the artist’s masterful lighting and attention to detail, Young emphasizes the dominant role food, especially comfort food, has in some people’s daily lives.

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Courtney Young, Guilty Pleasure, 2015

Courtney Young is a fine artist from Bay Shore, NY. She received her MA in Art Education from Adelphi University and is currently a MFA Candidate at the New Hampshire Institute of Art. Her artwork has been exhibited across Long Island with select exhibitions at the Heckscher Museum of Art, Islip Art Museum, and the Anthony Giordano Gallery. Young is an active member of the Pastel Society of America, the Art League of Long Island, and the Patchogue Arts Council.

The Patchogue Arts Council (PAC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 2008 to promote, encourage, and support the arts on the greater south shore of the Town of Brookhaven. The Patchogue Arts Council and Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Company created the PAC Members Gallery at Roast in the summer of 2013 as an alternative exhibition venue where PAC members can exhibit their artwork. In addition to exhibiting artwork and brewing award-winning coffee, Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Co. hosts a monthly poetry night on the first Saturday of every month.

Decadence: Soft Pastels by Courtney Young is on display at Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Co. now through March 5, 2017. An opening reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Sunday, February 5, from 2 – 4 P.M. The reception is free and open to the public. For more information on Courtney Young, visit http://www.courtneyyoungart.com.

Jay Schuck


Image Credits
All images are courtesy of the artist
© Courtney Young

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Elemental Exposures

THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE JANUARY 2017 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE

On view in the Museum Store exhibition space of the Islip Art Museum is Elemental Exposures, a solo exhibition featuring a selection of abstract photographs by Scott Farrell. For Farrell, photography provides an artist the ability to capture the veracity of an object, while also allowing that artist the opportunity to create abstract representations of his or her subject matter. Although his photographs in this exhibition are abstract representations of real world objects and natural landscapes, Farrell is concerned with capturing the integrity of his subject matter through the object’s texture, tone, lighting and compositional arrangement within the camera lens.

Farrell’s images are not digitally manipulated, but by removing the notion of setting through an elaborate technique of cropping and framing, the artist abstracts his images while challenging the viewer to determine and interpret what he or she is observing. The photograph Antediluvian 3513 is one such example of this technique. The image appears to render a frozen body of water of which the sheet of ice has fragmented and fractured throughout the composition. The cool palette of the photograph shifts from a pale, white-blue hue, as seen in the bottom left-hand corner of the composition, to a deeply rich dark-blue that is found in the top right-hand section. The color scheme and almost metal appearance of the body of water could easily lead the viewer to determine that, on first glance, he or she is examining a detail of a metallic surface or some other reflective object.

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Scott Farrell, Antediluvian 3513, 2015

Farrell turns to nature for his abstract revelations. His artwork emphasizes his subject matter’s exposure to the elemental forces of nature over a period of time. Another work in the exhibition, Great Plains Genesis 3104, is the artist’s abstract representation of the formation and evolution of the Great Plains and grasslands of the American Mid-West. Four-fifths of the photograph is composed of a pale, concrete sky consisting of white, brown, and blue-ish hues, which has chipped, cracked, and eroded over time. The lower fifth of the composition comprises of a rust-brown earth color that offers a nice juxtaposition against the pale, craquelure-like surface of the section above. By focusing on the fractures in the surface of his subject matter, Farrell invites the viewer to contemplate the causes of these reactions, whether they are natural or man-made.

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Scott Farrell, Great Plains Genesis 3104, 2015

Through light refractions, Farrell turns his attention to the cosmos. Supernova 1723 is the artist’s abstraction representation of the stars and other interstellar bodies that occupy the Universe. The image captures refractions of light, emitted by the sun, as seen off the pond waters of Cape Cod. The sunlight reflect and dance off the water as shadows are cast and seen through the crystal, clear surface onto the sea floor. Although the artist turns his lens away from the sky, Farrell reminds the viewer that forces outside the Earth’s atmosphere have a great influence on shaping its environment.

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Scott Farrell, Supernova 1723, 2015

Scott Farrell is a fine arts photographer from Long Island, NY. His subject matter varies from natural and urban landscapes to abstraction. Since 2012, his artwork has been exhibited across Long Island, including select exhibitions at the North Shore Arts Guild in Port Jefferson, Southampton Cultural Center in Southampton, and Alex Ferrone Photography Gallery in Cutchogue, amongst others. He is an active member of the Huntington Arts Council, East End Arts, and East End Photographers Group.

Museum Curatorial & Exhibitions Assistant/Jr. Curator Eric Murphy curated Elemental Exposures. The exhibition is the result of Slide Slam 2016, an Islip Art Museum initiative that invited artists to present and discuss their artwork with an audience of artists, curators, and other arts professionals. Farrell, among a select group of artists, was invited to exhibit his artwork in a solo exhibition at the Islip Art Museum in 2017. The exhibition runs in conjunction with the museum’s main exhibition, The Structure of Things, curated by Beth Giacummo. Both exhibitions are on display at the Islip Art Museum from January 15 to March 12, 2017 with a reception on January 28, from 7 – 10 PM.

Jay Schuck

Image Credits
All images courtesy of the Islip Art Museum
© Scott Farrell

Fabric and Fibers: Quilted Works by Claudia Mirzaali

THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE DECEMBER 2016 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE

On display at Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Co. is Fabric and Fibers, a solo exhibition featuring a series of quilted works by fiber artist Claudia Mirzaali. In this body of work, Mirzaali utilizes the vibrant colors and textures of fabric and fibers, often incorporating found natural objects, to create naturescapes that are inspired by the scenic environment of Long Island.

Mirzaali is inspired by the natural, local, and familiar, which are always in a constant state of change. As the seasons change so do the colors of the leaves from a vibrant green to an auburn red, as they slowly fall off the trees only to be reborn anew in a continual rhythmic system. The color patterning of Mirzaali’s artwork often evokes the seasonal changes or natural landscapes of her subject matter. Exemplary of this is Memories of an Autumn Day, which is a fanciful patchwork of reds, yellows and oranges that are mixed with a varying degree of greens, browns and blues. The blue patterning near the top of the composition is representative of the vivacious blue sky that one can find on any given fall day while the greens and browns near the lower third of the composition is representative of the grass and earth. In between these two sections, the artist fills the composition with a splendid mixture of reds, oranges, and yellows, which is indicative of the stunning autumn sunlight that reflects off of the changing tree leaves. Stitched over this patchwork arrangement, the artist sews in a stemming swirl of curves, which appears to be reminiscent of the veins of a leaf. Upon seeing the work, the viewer can feel the seasonal changes that the artist is expressing through her patchwork imagery.

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Claudia Mirzaali, Memories of an Autumn Day, 2013

In addition to her fabric and fibers, the artist incorporates found natural objects to further enhance the notion of representation. One such example of this is My Little Slice of Paradise, which is a seascape that could be representative of either Long Island’s South Shore, Sound of the North Shore, East End or the North Fork. In the piece, the artist uses light blue fabrics near the top of the composition to signify the sky and dark blue fabrics, mixed with lighter blues and whites, to signify the crashing and receding waves that wash up upon the shore. In the bottom right hand corner, on an inclined angle, is the beach, which is peppered with small seashells that adds to the overall texture of the piece. Upon viewing the work, one is transported to a warmer climate and to a more serene state of mind.

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Claudia Mirzaali, My Little Slice of Paradise, 2015

Claudia Mirzaali is a quilter and fiber artist from Patchogue, NY. She received a B.S. Ed. and a M.S. Ed. in Art Education from Buffalo State College in 1980 and 1982 respectively, and currently manages photography at St. Joseph’s College. Her artwork focuses on capturing the visual elements of color, contrast, and texture through fibers, fabric, and other materials. She is fascinated by the scenic nature of Long Island, often incorporating her surroundings into her artwork to create textual naturescapes. Mirzaali’s artwork has been exhibited locally at the Patchogue Arts Gallery, Islip Art Museum, ArtSpace and the Board Room Gallery at St. Joseph’s College.

The Patchogue Arts Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation founded in 2008 to promote, encourage, and support the arts on the greater south shore of the Town of Brookhaven. The Patchogue Arts Council and Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Company created the PAC Members Gallery at Roast in the summer of 2013 as an alternative exhibition venue where PAC members can exhibit their artwork. In addition to exhibiting artwork and brewing award-winning coffee, Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Co. hosts weekly open mic nights on Fridays and a monthly poetry night on the first Saturday of every month.

Fabric and Fibers: Quilted Works by Claudia Mirzaali is on display at Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Co. now through January 9, 2017. An opening reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Sunday, December 11, from 2 – 4 P.M. The reception is free and open to the public.

Jay Schuck


Image Credits
All images are courtesy of the artist
© Claudia Mirzaali

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3rd International Artist Residency Comes to Long Island

THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE NOVEMBER 2016 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE

For the third time in five years, the Islip Art Museum brought a group of international artists to Long Island for it’s two-week long New York Contemporary Art Symposium (NYCAS). Unlike previous residencies, which included artists from around the world, NYCAS 2016 focused on a specific country, bringing five Chilean artists to New York from September 19 to October 3. For this year’s residency, the Islip Art Museum collaborated with International Meeting of Art, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the arts and cultural exchange while encouraging, supporting, and facilitating the possibility for artists of all mediums and different cultures to work together. The 2016 NYCAS artists included Andrés Achavar, Ignacio Castillo, Paloma Gómez, Marcela Zamorano González, and Nico Huidobro. Like previous residencies, the participants were invited to exhibit their artwork across Long Island and experience all that New York culturally has to offer.

The residency featured a group of artists working in a variety of mediums. Andrés Achavar is a fine watercolorist whose work focuses on the beauty of the everyday. His paintings capture the essence of his subject matters that occupy a brief moment of time, as each work is bathed in a rich atmospheric light that encapsulates its setting. His figures are expressionless, devoid of individualistic features, as they go about their everyday-activities in urban and sub-urban street scenes or interior settings that project a moment plucked from time, forever frozen in watercolor.

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Andrés Achavar, West 20th Street, 2016

Ignacio Castillo’s work is a reaction to the increasing industrialization of his hometown of Santiago City. His small-scale ceramic sculptures rise from the grounds in which they are fired. Some figures tower over the smaller ones, casting them in shadows. These figures, like Achavar’s, are featureless, standing representative of the everyman. His subject matter is not the figures themselves, but the expressions and emotions they project through their poses, gestures, and colors.

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Ignacio Castillo, Art Energetic Gnapo, 2016

Working in oil paint, Paloma Gómez’s subject matter alternates between the abstract and the representational. She is inspired by the relationships between man and their environments as well as their interpersonal interactions. For the basis of each painting, she uses her own sketches, photographs and imagination as references. She builds up the layers of her compositions with vibrant colors until she feels each canvas is complete. Her Headphones and Nocturno series captures sub-urban street scenes at night with her figures and landscapes saturated in the afterglow of street laps that dance across the night sky. Although painted on a squared piece of canvas, her compositions are circular as if the scene is viewed through a hole in a screen.

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Paloma Gómez, Headphones XIV, 2016

In her photography, Marcela Zamorano González turns her camera lens towards what is often overlooked. Broken bottles, graffiti riddled buildings, and the average passerby are all subjects utilized by the artist as she structures her compositions with strong vertical and horizontal lines that zigzag across the picture plane. By turning her attention to the mundane, the artist draws attention to the hidden beauty of the world around her, highlighting it for all to see while urging the viewers to be observant of their surroundings as well.

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Marcela Zamorano González, Untitled, 2015

In his artwork, Nico Huidobro utilizes expression as an interpretive medium with which he attempts to concentrate on the present moment and current happenings of his surroundings. His paintings are visual expressions of his reactions towards music, the people around him, and the conditions of his environment. His works are impulsive and whimsical, created on the fly or at a moment’s notice.

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Nico Huidobro, Untitled, 2016

NYCAS 2016, an Islip Art Museum and International Meeting of Art Collaboration, is a two-week long, international artist residency program based in East Islip, NY. The bi-annual residency seeks to encourage and improve the cultural exchange between participating artists and collaborating communities. In 2016, the Islip Art Museum hosted five Chilean artists working in a variety of mediums from September 19 to October 3. These artists exhibited their paintings, photographs, and sculpture at the Islip Art Museum, Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery in Bay Shore, and the Patchogue Arts Gallery throughout September and October. Additionally, their work is currently on display in the exhibition Made in Chile at Toast Coffeehouse in Patchogue until December 28.

Jay Schuck


Photo Credits
Images of Paloma Gómez and Marcela Zamorano González artwork courtesy of Patchogue Arts Council

Images of Andrés Achavar, Ignacio Castillo, and Nico Huidobro artwork courtesy of Islip Art Museum

Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016

THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE OCTOBER 2016 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE

Now on view at the Briarcliffe College Gallery is Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016, a group exhibition curated by John Cino. The exhibition highlights the artwork of noted visual artist and art educator Mel Pekarsky, alongside select alumni who have studied under the artist over the course of his 40-plus year career at Stony Brook University. Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016 was organized by the Patchogue Arts Council and is a part of the Patchogue Arts Festival, a month long, multi-venue, downtown centric festival that encompasses the visual arts, music, and cinema in the Patchogue Village.

As an artist, Pekarsky is fascinated by the bareness of desert landscapes. For the artist, the desert is vast, fragile, and forever changing. The desert sand buries long-abandoned structures and decomposing fauna, swallowing them whole underneath the surface; incorporating them into the desert itself. The desert is beautiful with its open, tranquil landscapes that begs contemplation, but is also unforgiving with its extreme temperatures and weather conditions that can be lethal for those unable to adapt. For Pekarsky, the desert stands as an icon for the earth’s fragility and functions as the artist’s muse as he examines the relationship between abstraction and representation.

For the exhibition, Pekarsky lends Dry (1998), a monumental mixed media work on un-stretched canvas. The artist depicts an immense desert landscape from an elevated point of view. The yellow-brown pigmentation of the sand is peppered with plots of pale-greens and dark browns, which is representative of the desert’s vegetation and sediment. The figurative is abstracted into solid patches of color and gestural sketch work, allowing the viewer to fill in the details mentally. There is an introspective quality to the work as one examines it. Perhaps due to the painting’s large size and spares subject matter, the viewer may feel as if he or she is lost in the desert, trapped in his or her own thoughts, tolling around looking for something of significances that has been lost to time. As with any living thing, the desert signifies the passage of time as what was once filled with life, vibrancy, and potential inevitably leads to death, deterioration, and impotence.

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Mel Pekarsky, Dry, 1998

Pekarsky began his career at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, studying painting and art history before transferring to Northernwestern University where he received his BA in Studio Art (1955) and MA in Art History (1956). After serving in the United States Army, Pekarsky taught at Kendall College from 1960 – 1967 and served as the Associate Dean at the School of Visual Arts from 1967 – 1970. In 1973 he accepted a position at Stony Brook University, where he would spend the next 41 years of his academic career. Throughout his time at Stony Brook University, Pekarsky served as the Chairman, MFA Director and Studio Programs Director of the Department of Art, where he rewrote the department’s BA in Studio Art program and implemented its MFA program in Studio Art. Pekarsky retired from Stony Brook University in 2014 but continues to maintain an active studio.

The Patchogue Arts Council, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, founded in 2008 to promote, encourage, and support the arts. The council features five curated exhibitions per year at its Patchogue Arts Gallery, in addition to an annual juried members exhibition. The Patchogue Arts Council also operates a satellite gallery in Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Co. and has initiated several community-centric events, such as the Patchogue Arts Festival and Arts on Terry Street.

Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016 is on view at the Briarcliffe College Gallery from October 1 to October 31. The exhibition features the artwork of Michelle Carollo, Yeseul Choi, Donna Levinstone, Bruce Lieberman, Maureen Palmieri, Jason Paradis, Mel Pekarsky, Andreas Rentsch, Dan Richholt, Lorena Salcedo-Watson, and Athena La Tocha. Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016 is part of the Patchogue Arts Festival, a month long, multi-venue, downtown-centric festival, which encompasses the visual arts, music, and cinema. For more information on the Patchogue Arts Festival, visit http://www.patchoguearts.org.

Jay Schuck


Photo Credits
Dry © 1998 Mel Pekarsky
Image courtesy of the Patchogue Arts Council