THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE JUNE 2016 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE
Now on view at the Patchogue Arts Gallery is Patchworks 2016, the annual juried members exhibition of the Patchogue Arts Council. This year, the annual open call exhibit was juried by Neil Watson who currently serves as the Executive Director of the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook, NY. Patchworks 2016 features 43 local artists who work in a variety of mediums ranging from painting and photography to sculpture and more.
Long Island’s scenic waterscapes are well represented in the works of Howard Beckerman, Krystle DiNicola, and Chris Zec, all of whom are working in the photographic media. Their calm, tranquil compositions have a strong correlation to Beth Giacummo’s glass-blown jellyfish, Big Pinky, along with the other works inspired by nature such as Linda Abadjian’s Clouf Mountains, Linda Beckerman’s Pond Reflections and Alan N. Johnson’s Bonsai I.
The past serves as inspiration for ceramicist Tina Folks and sculptor Dwight Trujillo, whose work recalls votive sculptures and colossal monuments of long extinct civilizations. Likewise, artists also recall memories of their own to serve as muses for their works. One such artist is Kristen Hadjoglou whose setting and narrative is captured in quick brush strokes, which invokes the feeling of something remembered but with hazy details. Alternatively, artists like Bryan Gutman, whose painting is a composite of several overlapping female figures rendered in wallpaper-like designs and colors, is purely imaginative in subject matter and bears no influence from past events or experiences.
Many works in the exhibition offer hidden details that are only brought out upon closer observation. Courtney Young’s stunning depiction of a grilled cheese sandwich appears photographic despite being drawn entirely in pastels. The drawing is so appealing that on first glance the viewer may overlook the fly that is trapped in the gooey cheese that oozes through the toasted bread. The piece offers a strong juxtaposition to Kathryn Ko’s Death by Water. What appears as a classically realist painting of a woodland river scene offers a hidden feature planted by the artist. Washed up on shore is the drowned Syrian boy whose body appeared on the front page of every major newspaper last fall. The imagery instantly brings the viewer out the imaginary world created by the painting back into the real world with its social-political struggles.
Formalists attracted to line, color, and shape will also be satisfied with the exhibition. John Cino’s small sculpture, Wafting, captivates the viewer as he or she studies the elegant curves that dances rhythmically upward, while Lawrence Lee’s dense bronze sculpture offers an interesting relationship between positive and negative spaces. Similarly, the viewer will instantly be drawn to Larry Monat’s linear painting A Not So Simple Truth, which is composed of a variety of different colors and strong intersecting horizontal and vertical lines. Whether one is a formalist or a realist, interested in representational art or abstraction, prefers sculpture to painting or vice versa, the viewer will leave the exhibition with a sense of fulfillment.
Patchworks 2016 features 44 works of art by 43 members of the Patchogue Arts Council. All artists with valid memberships to the Patchogue Arts Council were invited to submit two works of art, free of charge, to the organization’s annual open call exhibition. Neil Watson, Executive Director of the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook, served as the juror of the exhibition. Watson has previously held directorial positions at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, DE, and the Katonah Museum of Art in Westchester, NY. As the Executive Director of the Long Island Museum, he has instituted the LIMart, an artist lead collaborative group that develops programing and other opportunities for contemporary Long Island artists. Patchworks 2016 is on view at the Patchogue Arts Gallery through June 26.
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. 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.