THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2015 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE
Every year the Islip Art Museum holds an open call exhibition for members of the global art community. Each year presents a different theme, allowing a wide variety of artists to participate. This year, the Islip Art Museum presents I AM Pocket Sized, which features miniature works of art from artists from around the world. Aside from the size restriction, there were no guidelines in terms of material or subject matter, resulting in a truly diverse exhibition. This year Rhonda Cooper, formerly of Stony Brook University, curated the Annual Open Call exhibition.
For the exhibition, Cooper utilized the exhibition space to fit the variety of artwork that was submitted, designating specific rooms in the museum to exhibit works that are similar in subject matter. By categorizing the work by subject matter, Cooper allows the viewer to easily compare and contrast the many works that are in the exhibition.
Starting in the first gallery, one will find a plethora of seascapes consisting of many scenic beaches and aquatic life. One such work, Baby Steps by Pat Moran, depicts a beautiful night seascape with wispy clouds in reverse ink on glass. Another example, found across the room, is the quilted Greetings From New York: “Spent a lovely day at the beach” by Claudia Mirzaali, which is representative of what one would see while walking along the shore. Blue thread ripples down the composition, meeting a small corner of quilted sand, seashells, and a fictive starfish.
Moving forward, museumgoers would find an abundance of landscapes on view in the second gallery, which are captured in stunning acrylics, pastels, watercolors and more. One included piece, Courtney Young’s Marsh Grass, portrays a receding marsh valley with a nice contrast of reds and blues. While another work, Denise Collado’s Lost Wetland, illustrates a vivid field of dense foliage rendered in rich greens and yellows that pop off the panel.
Continuing through the museum, visitors will find figurative works in the third gallery. The space contains many representations of the human body such as the nude watercolor painting Maria by Lisa Argentieri while other artists express an interest in other parts of the anatomy such as Lorena Salcedo-Watson whose colored pencil drawing Spine resembles a spinal x-ray.
Works that didn’t fit into the galleries adore the museum’s two hallways, with each wall designated to a specific subject such as flora, fauna, and abstraction. In all I AM Pocket Sized features well over one hundred works of art by artists from all over the world. The variety offered by the exhibition almost guarantees that very museumgoer will leave satisfied, finding at least one work of art that fits their artistic preference.
Curator Rhonda Cooper has previously served as the Gallery Director of Stony Brook University’s Paul W. Zuccaire Gallery (formerly University Art Gallery), from 1983 to 2013. In addition to her curatorial work, Cooper has taught art management and Asian art history courses at Stony Brook University, the Art Institute of Boston, and the University of Bridgeport. She is also a co-author of the book, Masterpieces of Chinese Art.
I AM Pocket Sized, curated by Rhonda Cooper, exhibits a large survey of miniature paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures, and more. The exhibition runs in conjunction with the exhibition Stepping Stones, which is on display in the Museum Store. For a complete list of exhibiting artists visit http://www.islipartmuseum.org. I AM Pocket Sized is on display at the Islip Art Museum until September 13, 2015.
Museum Curatorial & Exhibitions Assistant/Jr. Curator