THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE MAY 2015 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE
On view in the Museum Shop Exhibition space of the Islip Art Museum is a selection of kiln glass-worked portraits, Polariods, and a site-specific window installation by Kathy Seff. The artist is drawn to the structure of horizontal and vertical lines, using simple linear designs that are saturated with complex multi-firing techniques. Linear compositions serve as a canvas for inking, as textural elements are melted on the surface.
Her series, entitled What’s Our Future, features a collection of children’s portraits all with stunned or scared expressions on their faces. The fear they exhibit as they contemplate their futures would be unusual for their age, but is perhaps meant for the viewer to contemplate their own future and the loss of innocence. Children are often unaware of the responsibilities that come with growing older and the uncertainty of what is to come. By giving her subjects such complex emotions, the viewer cannot help but sympathize with these children, wanting nothing more than to consul them.
Her latest body of work, #artglasspolaroids, comes from a month long solo road trip taken by the artist in the fall of 2014. Equipped with a box of rectangular clear and transparent colored glass blanks, Seff set out to capture particular scenes of things and places she came across on her travels. After her return, Seff quickly went to work on creating a Long Island series of glass Polaroids, painting unique compositions of familiar places. Also on view is a selection of Polaroids from her latest series, completed in Ireland. Each glass Polaroid is 3.1 x 3.1 in. and is fired at 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. After this first firing, the artist then paints the work and re-fires it at a lower temperature, allowing the paint to set into the glass.
One piece taken from her Long Island series, Patchogue Bagels, depicts a street view taken from inside a local bagel shop in Patchogue, apparent by the reversal of the stores lettering on their glass window. Any Patchogue native would instantly recognize the United Methodist Church found at the corner of Terry St. and South Ocean Ave., seen here as the farthest building on the left-hand side of the composition.
The site-specific installation, Color Set: Monochromatic Yellow @ Islip Art Museum, consists of a set of linear pieces of colored glass, arranged in a manner that is reminiscent of Piet Mondrian and the De Stijl movement of the early 20th century. The installation consists of yellow, hand cut strips of glass that are mounted to the existing windows of a designated section of the Islip Art Museum. By using existing windows as an exhibition space, Seff’s Color Set installations forms an interrelationship with the location, drawing the viewer’s attention to the unique architectural details of the museum
Seff is a 2nd generation glass artist, who lives and works on Long Island. She has worked at Colorful Visions since 2001, and has served on the Board of Directors of Women Sharing Art. She is also a member of the Patchogue Arts Council and has had her artwork exhibited across Long Island.
INKED, runs in conjunction with the museum’s main exhibition, Print Up Ladies, which exhibits contemporary female artists exploring the various techniques in printmaking that are both traditional and non-traditional. Both exhibitions are curated by Museum Exhibitions Director & Curator Beth Giacummo and are on display at the Islip Art Museum from April 19 – June 1, 2015 with a reception on Sunday, May 3, from 1 – 4pm.
Museum Curatorial & Exhibitions Assistant