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.

young_c_breakfastfordinner

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.

young_c_guiltypleasure

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

exhibition-card_decadence_courtney-young

Reflections: Minimalist Photography by Chris Zec

 On display at Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Co. is a solo exhibition featuring a series of minimalist photographs by Chris Zec. This series of photographs finds Zec utilizing seascape reflections to create abstracted minimalist compositions that mesmerizes the viewer as he or she admires the serene natural beauty captured by the artist. The subject matter depicted by the artist, along with the manner in which each image is arranged, invites the viewer to observe the exhibition in quite meditation, as he or she loses his or herself deep in thought, within the tranquil stillness imposed by the pictures.

One piece included in the exhibition is Reed Reflections, No. 1, a photograph that depicts several grass-like reeds that have grown in still waters. Zec voids the photograph of a setting, opting to focus his camera, and the viewer’s attention, on the reeds and its still reflections captured on the water’s surface. The artist magnifies the sharp details of the plant, which pierces the water’s surface with its sharp blades of green with yellow and brown undertones. The grouping of reeds are placed just off-centered, aligned to the left-hand side of the visual plane, allowing the sky-blue listless body of water, caught in the pre-dawn’s light, to fill the remainder of the composition. Upon observing the work, along with others in the exhibition, the viewer becomes transfixed, lost with his or her own thoughts in the void created by the artist.

Reed Reflections, No. 1

Chris Zec, Reed Reflections, No. 1, 2014

Chris Zec is a fine artist from Farmingville, NY. He is a member of several Long Island arts organization including the Art League of Long Island, the Patchogue Arts Council, and North Shore Art Guild. His artwork has been exhibited extensively across Long Island including exhibitions at East End Arts in Riverhead, NY, Phoenix Gallery in Bellport, NY, and Gallery North in Stony Brook, NY. More information on the artist can be found online at http://www.chriszec.com.

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 Co. created the PAC Members Gallery at Roast in the summer of 2013 as an alternative exhibition venue where members of the Patchogue Arts Council can exhibit their artwork. Information on how to exhibit at Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Co. can be found online at http://www.patchoguearts.org.

Reflections: Photographs by Chris Zec is on display at Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Co. from March 28 – May 15, 2016, with an opening reception on Sunday, April 10, from 2 – 4pm. The reception is free and open to the public.

Jay Schuck

Chris Zec

The Mind Unleashed: Textured Paintings by Jamie Mareno

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

On display at Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Co. is a series of new abstract paintings by Jamie Mareno. In her current body of work, Mareno combines vibrant colors with textured surfaces that capture the viewer’s attention as the artist explores the interrelations between color, texture, form, materiality, and their subsequent relations with the viewer.

Using a palette of primarily red, blue, and yellow Mareno creates Incite I. Over a finely painted base layer of red acrylic paint, she rapidly applies heavy strokes of blue and yellow paint, which mixes together with the red on the canvas to create green tonal variations. There is a stunning didactic quality regarding the painting as the artist pairs the stationary, smooth texture of the red paint which dominates half of the composition with the violent, fluid brushstrokes of the yellow, blue, and green that resides in the opposite corner of the canvas. Sprinkled over the painted surface, the artist adds a fine layer of golden sparkles mixed with an acrylic gel, giving the piece a grainy texture.

Jamie Mareno_Incite I_2015

Jamie Mareno, Incite I, 2015

The materiality of Incite II becomes the dominating factor of the fractured painting. Raised, encrusted layers of yellow paint frame the borders of the canvas, which allow for a thin layer of sky-blue paint to fill in the middle. Atop the blue paint, Mareno applies a layer of white crackle acrylic paint that splitters into hundreds of pieces as it dries. There is a sense of tranquility when viewing the work with the knowledge that the artist had no control over the final composition, as the flecks of white paint appear almost rhythmically arranged over the majority of the painting’s surface. Varying in size, the brittle flakes of white break and form individual islands among the sea of blue, resembling sheets of ice that break and float over a chilled winter lake.

Jamie Mareno_Incite II_2015

Jamie Mareno, Incite II, 2015

The artist uses many different methods in creating the textures of her paintings. In her piece Incite III, Mareno achieves a granular quality by applying sand to the surface of the canvas and then painting over it. Again mixing pastel blue and yellow together, the artist’s heavily applied brushstrokes only adds to the final image as she mixes in sections of green along with hints of a pale pinkish-brown. One becomes mesmerized by the work as he or she observes the relationship between the colors, the contrasts of the rough and smooth surfaces, and how the lights and shadows interact with the textured surface.

Jamie Mareno_Incite III_2015

Jamie Mareno, Incite III, 2015

Mareno’s graphic design background is prevalent in Incite IV. As in Incite I, the artist covers the entirety of the canvas in a rich red layer of acrylic paint. She then applies strong drips of black that are poured over in controlled measures, which run along the dominant crisscrossing diagonals created by the strips of black velvet ribbon that are adhered to the surface. The manner in which the artist conceals the ribbon, openly among the poured drips, almost guarantees that this aspect would be lost on anyone that gives the work a passing glance. To truly appreciate Mareno’s work, one must dedicate the time to fully examine every minute detail.

Jamie Mareno_Incite IV_2015

Jamie Mareno, Incite IV, 2015

Mareno is a graphic designer, photographer, and mixed media artist from Long Island, NY. She received a Bachelors of Fine Art degree from Briarcliffe College in 2012 and is a participating artist of the New York Contemporary Art Symposium. Her artwork has been exhibited across Long Island at Briarcliffe College Gallery, Patchogue Arts Gallery, and Islip Art Museum.

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 Tuesdays and Fridays and a monthly poetry night on the first Saturday of every month. The Mind Unleashed: Textured Paintings by Jamie Mareno is on display at Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Co. from January 18 – March 7, 2016, with an opening reception on Sunday, February 7, from 6 – 8pm.

Jay Schuck, Curator

Satellite Exhibits - 1.2016.rev

 

 

NY Surf: Photographs by Jeff Henson

THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE AUGUST 2015 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE

Now on display in the PAC Members Gallery at Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Co. is a series of oceanic photographs by Jeffrey Henson. In his work, Henson explores the relationship between the winter light and the chilling cold of the water. With the beach attracting only the diehard surfers and swimmers in the winter months, the artist is able to connect with nature in peaceful solitude while witnessing the sheer force of the natural world.

Jeff Henson, Crisp Wave, 2015

Jeff Henson, Crisp, 2015

Armed with his camera in a waterproof case, Henson visits the beaches of Long Island. Swimming among the surfers and waves, the artist is able to capture unique, and inspiring photographs. Follow the Light depicts the rising sun through the tube of a curling wave, a truly instantaneous moment that required a great deal of precision, timing, and a bit of luck. The photograph simulates the experience of riding the wave, as the water beings to crash onto the artist, and by extension the viewer. The relatively cool palette of the picture, consisting mainly of white, light blue, and hints of yellow-brown, further stimulates the viewer’s mind as he or she imagines a refreshingly brisk swim in the cold ocean water.

Jeff Henson, Sunrise Through the Tube, 2015

Jeff Henson, Follow the Light, 2015

There is a nice contrast when comparing this photograph to another one in the exhibition, First Light. Here, the photograph contains vivid reds, yellows, and oranges that appear in the sun, the sky and its reflection in the curling wave. Like the previous image, the viewer finds his or herself in the tube of another wave with the rising sun situated just below the center of the composition. But unlike the pervious image, First Light captures the sun as it peaks above the horizon. The blurred reflection of color gives the water an almost metallic quality as it wraps around the artist.

Jeff Henson, Sunrise Wave, 2015

Jeff Henson, First Light, 2015

Henson’s photography captures split-second moments that are almost impossible to duplicate. One such moment is found in Love, which again, was taken inside the tube of a wave. In the center of the composition, the viewer finds the beach shore, which is framed on all sides by a yellowish-white heart-shaped wave. The center of the picture is highly concentrated, with the viewer able to examine the droplets of water in fluid detail, which juxtaposes nicely against the blurred corners of the photograph. The viewer can feel the embrace of the natural world, as the wave washes over the camera lens.

Jeff Henson, Heart Wave, 2015

Jeff Henson, Love, 2015

Henson has had a passion for photography since childhood and has studied the subject at Manchester Community College and the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. He is a member of the Patchogue Arts Council and of the PAC Photographer’s Group.

Jeff Henson, Surfer Backlit, 2015

Jeff Henson, Morning Cruise, 2015

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 Tuesdays and Fridays and a monthly poetry night on the first Saturday of every month. NY Surf: Photographs by Jeff Henson is on display at the PAC Members Gallery at Roast from July 6 – August 25, 2015. An opening reception will be held at Roast on Sunday, July 12, from 2 – 4 PM.

Jay Schuck
Exhibition Coordinator/Curator

Jeff Henson Roast Card