THIS ESSAY WAS PUBLISHED IN THE FEBRUARY 2016 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE
Now on view at the Patchogue Arts Gallery is New Voices, an exhibition featuring the artwork of a diverse group of young artists that have had limited exposure in the Long Island art scene. The artists, Carrie-Anne Gonzalez, Kristin Macukas, Logan Marks, Caitlyn Shea, and Lauren Skelly, work in a variety of mediums ranging from painting and photography, to mixed media collages and more. Each artist has a unique voice that is expressed in his or her chosen media and works with subjects that have a profound impact on their individuality.
Photography is the media of choice for Carrie-Anne Gonzalez. Originally trained as a military photographer, Gonzalez went on to study at Nassau Community College and is currently pursuing an MFA degree at Long Island University. In her current body of work, Gonzalez captures the struggles of battered women. The subjects in her photographs avoid the camera’s lens, as they sit in contrast against a dark background. In one picture, the woman sits defeated with one hand supporting her head, a gesture of inner turmoil and reflection, which casts her face in shadows. Upon viewing, one can’t help but sympathize with the sitter, hoping that she may soon find herself through this time of physical and mental abuse.
In her collages, Kristin Macukas utilizes a wide variety of found objects, ranging from costume jewelry, reclaimed paper, and industrial-style metals. Adhered to wooden boards, Macukas arranges her compositions by overlapping magazine clippings and newspaper articles, sometimes hidden under a coat of paint, around discard computer hardware and other electronic devices. Her mixed media works beckon the viewer to closer observation as he or she finds recognizable imagery or material that, at a passing glace, would appear insignificant.
Working with found objects, Logan Marks, a MFA candidate at Stony Brook University, creates unique site-specific installations, sculptures, and assemblages that form a semiotic relationship with the exhibition space and the viewer. Discarded as junk, Marks acquires scraps of rusted metal, out of date electronics, and other industrial material, and incorporates it all with organic materials that form an immersive dioramic environment within the space it occupies. Due to the nature of site-specific artwork, the installation takes on a new identity as it is refitted to meet the specific needs of each new space, offering a uniquely different experience every time it is assembled and displayed.
Caitlyn Shea studied painting at the Pratt Institute and Skidmore College before graduating with a BFA in Painting from Adelphi University. Her paintings explore the tactile relationship between acrylic paint, spray paint, and charcoal, while her subject matter can be defined as abstracted figuration. One of her paintings depicts what appears to be a spotted leopard caught in a moment of animation. Its twisted body, galloping legs, and opened mouth, create a sense of drama and movement that is further expressed in the gestural background of reds, blues, yellows, and hints of green. The artist creates an illusion that something just off the left of the painting has provoked this violent response from the subject.
Lauren Skelly’s pre-occupation with the materiality of clay and ceramics have pushed the boundaries of what the artist can accomplish with this media. By experimenting with different glazes, slips, and clay applications, she creates intricate textural surfaces that captivate the viewer. Drawing inspiration from the world around her, Skelly emulates natural elements that provide the viewer with a variety of textured surfaces, often juxtaposing the finely finished against the coarsely granular. Her ceramic works fascinate the viewer as he or she follows the delicate woven twists and turns of each piece.
New Voices was curated by John Cino and features emerging artists that have previously had limited exposure in the Long Island art scene. The exhibition offers a wide range of artwork in form, medium, and subject matter as each artist experiments with the ranges of his or her medium of choice. The exhibition is on exhibit at the Patchogue Arts Gallery until February 27, 2016.
The Patchogue Arts Gallery is a professional art gallery operated by the Patchogue Arts Council, Inc., 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 gallery features five curated exhibitions per year, which reflect current issues and concerns in the contemporary art world, in addition to an annual juried members exhibition.