Elemental Exposures

THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE JANUARY 2017 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE

On view in the Museum Store exhibition space of the Islip Art Museum is Elemental Exposures, a solo exhibition featuring a selection of abstract photographs by Scott Farrell. For Farrell, photography provides an artist the ability to capture the veracity of an object, while also allowing that artist the opportunity to create abstract representations of his or her subject matter. Although his photographs in this exhibition are abstract representations of real world objects and natural landscapes, Farrell is concerned with capturing the integrity of his subject matter through the object’s texture, tone, lighting and compositional arrangement within the camera lens.

Farrell’s images are not digitally manipulated, but by removing the notion of setting through an elaborate technique of cropping and framing, the artist abstracts his images while challenging the viewer to determine and interpret what he or she is observing. The photograph Antediluvian 3513 is one such example of this technique. The image appears to render a frozen body of water of which the sheet of ice has fragmented and fractured throughout the composition. The cool palette of the photograph shifts from a pale, white-blue hue, as seen in the bottom left-hand corner of the composition, to a deeply rich dark-blue that is found in the top right-hand section. The color scheme and almost metal appearance of the body of water could easily lead the viewer to determine that, on first glance, he or she is examining a detail of a metallic surface or some other reflective object.

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Scott Farrell, Antediluvian 3513, 2015

Farrell turns to nature for his abstract revelations. His artwork emphasizes his subject matter’s exposure to the elemental forces of nature over a period of time. Another work in the exhibition, Great Plains Genesis 3104, is the artist’s abstract representation of the formation and evolution of the Great Plains and grasslands of the American Mid-West. Four-fifths of the photograph is composed of a pale, concrete sky consisting of white, brown, and blue-ish hues, which has chipped, cracked, and eroded over time. The lower fifth of the composition comprises of a rust-brown earth color that offers a nice juxtaposition against the pale, craquelure-like surface of the section above. By focusing on the fractures in the surface of his subject matter, Farrell invites the viewer to contemplate the causes of these reactions, whether they are natural or man-made.

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Scott Farrell, Great Plains Genesis 3104, 2015

Through light refractions, Farrell turns his attention to the cosmos. Supernova 1723 is the artist’s abstraction representation of the stars and other interstellar bodies that occupy the Universe. The image captures refractions of light, emitted by the sun, as seen off the pond waters of Cape Cod. The sunlight reflect and dance off the water as shadows are cast and seen through the crystal, clear surface onto the sea floor. Although the artist turns his lens away from the sky, Farrell reminds the viewer that forces outside the Earth’s atmosphere have a great influence on shaping its environment.

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Scott Farrell, Supernova 1723, 2015

Scott Farrell is a fine arts photographer from Long Island, NY. His subject matter varies from natural and urban landscapes to abstraction. Since 2012, his artwork has been exhibited across Long Island, including select exhibitions at the North Shore Arts Guild in Port Jefferson, Southampton Cultural Center in Southampton, and Alex Ferrone Photography Gallery in Cutchogue, amongst others. He is an active member of the Huntington Arts Council, East End Arts, and East End Photographers Group.

Museum Curatorial & Exhibitions Assistant/Jr. Curator Eric Murphy curated Elemental Exposures. The exhibition is the result of Slide Slam 2016, an Islip Art Museum initiative that invited artists to present and discuss their artwork with an audience of artists, curators, and other arts professionals. Farrell, among a select group of artists, was invited to exhibit his artwork in a solo exhibition at the Islip Art Museum in 2017. The exhibition runs in conjunction with the museum’s main exhibition, The Structure of Things, curated by Beth Giacummo. Both exhibitions are on display at the Islip Art Museum from January 15 to March 12, 2017 with a reception on January 28, from 7 – 10 PM.

Jay Schuck

Image Credits
All images courtesy of the Islip Art Museum
© Scott Farrell

3rd International Artist Residency Comes to Long Island

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

For the third time in five years, the Islip Art Museum brought a group of international artists to Long Island for it’s two-week long New York Contemporary Art Symposium (NYCAS). Unlike previous residencies, which included artists from around the world, NYCAS 2016 focused on a specific country, bringing five Chilean artists to New York from September 19 to October 3. For this year’s residency, the Islip Art Museum collaborated with International Meeting of Art, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the arts and cultural exchange while encouraging, supporting, and facilitating the possibility for artists of all mediums and different cultures to work together. The 2016 NYCAS artists included Andrés Achavar, Ignacio Castillo, Paloma Gómez, Marcela Zamorano González, and Nico Huidobro. Like previous residencies, the participants were invited to exhibit their artwork across Long Island and experience all that New York culturally has to offer.

The residency featured a group of artists working in a variety of mediums. Andrés Achavar is a fine watercolorist whose work focuses on the beauty of the everyday. His paintings capture the essence of his subject matters that occupy a brief moment of time, as each work is bathed in a rich atmospheric light that encapsulates its setting. His figures are expressionless, devoid of individualistic features, as they go about their everyday-activities in urban and sub-urban street scenes or interior settings that project a moment plucked from time, forever frozen in watercolor.

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Andrés Achavar, West 20th Street, 2016

Ignacio Castillo’s work is a reaction to the increasing industrialization of his hometown of Santiago City. His small-scale ceramic sculptures rise from the grounds in which they are fired. Some figures tower over the smaller ones, casting them in shadows. These figures, like Achavar’s, are featureless, standing representative of the everyman. His subject matter is not the figures themselves, but the expressions and emotions they project through their poses, gestures, and colors.

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Ignacio Castillo, Art Energetic Gnapo, 2016

Working in oil paint, Paloma Gómez’s subject matter alternates between the abstract and the representational. She is inspired by the relationships between man and their environments as well as their interpersonal interactions. For the basis of each painting, she uses her own sketches, photographs and imagination as references. She builds up the layers of her compositions with vibrant colors until she feels each canvas is complete. Her Headphones and Nocturno series captures sub-urban street scenes at night with her figures and landscapes saturated in the afterglow of street laps that dance across the night sky. Although painted on a squared piece of canvas, her compositions are circular as if the scene is viewed through a hole in a screen.

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Paloma Gómez, Headphones XIV, 2016

In her photography, Marcela Zamorano González turns her camera lens towards what is often overlooked. Broken bottles, graffiti riddled buildings, and the average passerby are all subjects utilized by the artist as she structures her compositions with strong vertical and horizontal lines that zigzag across the picture plane. By turning her attention to the mundane, the artist draws attention to the hidden beauty of the world around her, highlighting it for all to see while urging the viewers to be observant of their surroundings as well.

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Marcela Zamorano González, Untitled, 2015

In his artwork, Nico Huidobro utilizes expression as an interpretive medium with which he attempts to concentrate on the present moment and current happenings of his surroundings. His paintings are visual expressions of his reactions towards music, the people around him, and the conditions of his environment. His works are impulsive and whimsical, created on the fly or at a moment’s notice.

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Nico Huidobro, Untitled, 2016

NYCAS 2016, an Islip Art Museum and International Meeting of Art Collaboration, is a two-week long, international artist residency program based in East Islip, NY. The bi-annual residency seeks to encourage and improve the cultural exchange between participating artists and collaborating communities. In 2016, the Islip Art Museum hosted five Chilean artists working in a variety of mediums from September 19 to October 3. These artists exhibited their paintings, photographs, and sculpture at the Islip Art Museum, Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery in Bay Shore, and the Patchogue Arts Gallery throughout September and October. Additionally, their work is currently on display in the exhibition Made in Chile at Toast Coffeehouse in Patchogue until December 28.

Jay Schuck


Photo Credits
Images of Paloma Gómez and Marcela Zamorano González artwork courtesy of Patchogue Arts Council

Images of Andrés Achavar, Ignacio Castillo, and Nico Huidobro artwork courtesy of Islip Art Museum

Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016

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

Now on view at the Briarcliffe College Gallery is Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016, a group exhibition curated by John Cino. The exhibition highlights the artwork of noted visual artist and art educator Mel Pekarsky, alongside select alumni who have studied under the artist over the course of his 40-plus year career at Stony Brook University. Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016 was organized by the Patchogue Arts Council and is a part of the Patchogue Arts Festival, a month long, multi-venue, downtown centric festival that encompasses the visual arts, music, and cinema in the Patchogue Village.

As an artist, Pekarsky is fascinated by the bareness of desert landscapes. For the artist, the desert is vast, fragile, and forever changing. The desert sand buries long-abandoned structures and decomposing fauna, swallowing them whole underneath the surface; incorporating them into the desert itself. The desert is beautiful with its open, tranquil landscapes that begs contemplation, but is also unforgiving with its extreme temperatures and weather conditions that can be lethal for those unable to adapt. For Pekarsky, the desert stands as an icon for the earth’s fragility and functions as the artist’s muse as he examines the relationship between abstraction and representation.

For the exhibition, Pekarsky lends Dry (1998), a monumental mixed media work on un-stretched canvas. The artist depicts an immense desert landscape from an elevated point of view. The yellow-brown pigmentation of the sand is peppered with plots of pale-greens and dark browns, which is representative of the desert’s vegetation and sediment. The figurative is abstracted into solid patches of color and gestural sketch work, allowing the viewer to fill in the details mentally. There is an introspective quality to the work as one examines it. Perhaps due to the painting’s large size and spares subject matter, the viewer may feel as if he or she is lost in the desert, trapped in his or her own thoughts, tolling around looking for something of significances that has been lost to time. As with any living thing, the desert signifies the passage of time as what was once filled with life, vibrancy, and potential inevitably leads to death, deterioration, and impotence.

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Mel Pekarsky, Dry, 1998

Pekarsky began his career at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, studying painting and art history before transferring to Northernwestern University where he received his BA in Studio Art (1955) and MA in Art History (1956). After serving in the United States Army, Pekarsky taught at Kendall College from 1960 – 1967 and served as the Associate Dean at the School of Visual Arts from 1967 – 1970. In 1973 he accepted a position at Stony Brook University, where he would spend the next 41 years of his academic career. Throughout his time at Stony Brook University, Pekarsky served as the Chairman, MFA Director and Studio Programs Director of the Department of Art, where he rewrote the department’s BA in Studio Art program and implemented its MFA program in Studio Art. Pekarsky retired from Stony Brook University in 2014 but continues to maintain an active studio.

The Patchogue Arts Council, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, founded in 2008 to promote, encourage, and support the arts. The council features five curated exhibitions per year at its Patchogue Arts Gallery, in addition to an annual juried members exhibition. The Patchogue Arts Council also operates a satellite gallery in Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Co. and has initiated several community-centric events, such as the Patchogue Arts Festival and Arts on Terry Street.

Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016 is on view at the Briarcliffe College Gallery from October 1 to October 31. The exhibition features the artwork of Michelle Carollo, Yeseul Choi, Donna Levinstone, Bruce Lieberman, Maureen Palmieri, Jason Paradis, Mel Pekarsky, Andreas Rentsch, Dan Richholt, Lorena Salcedo-Watson, and Athena La Tocha. Stony Brook: 1973 – 2016 is part of the Patchogue Arts Festival, a month long, multi-venue, downtown-centric festival, which encompasses the visual arts, music, and cinema. For more information on the Patchogue Arts Festival, visit http://www.patchoguearts.org.

Jay Schuck


Photo Credits
Dry © 1998 Mel Pekarsky
Image courtesy of the Patchogue Arts Council

Ceramics in the Community | Tina Folks

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

Tina Folks is a Patchogue-based fine artist who works in ceramics and public art projects. Inspired by primitive art, along with her fascination for rituals that honor the natural world, Folks’ art is an expression of spiritual growth and the interconnected energies between Mother Earth and her inhabitants. Folks’ artwork incorporates the ideas from various civilizations that emphasize the importance of personal growth, spiritual awakening, and community togetherness.

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Tina Folks, Reptilian Totems, 2012

Working in red clay, Folks sculpts pedestal-based Animal Totems and Kachina Dolls that are inspired by the sculptures of primal and indigenous cultures. Each sculpture is unique and has personal significance to the artist. In her totems, the Reptilian Totems, the crocodile represents the artist’s personal spiritual animal, which in many cultures signifies the primal energies of birth and initiation. Her Kachina Dolls are inspired by the kachina dolls of the Arizona-based, Native American Hopi tribe, which represent different spiritual entities that are believed to be present in all living being. Folks creates ceramic sculptures that fuse animal with man, which are then decorated with inventive color palettes and fabric textures of the artist’s own design. Her figures encourage the viewer to contemplate on the indigenous culture’s rich history as well as his or her own relationship with the natural world and those that occupy it.

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Tina Folks, Kachina Dolls, 2013

Due to working as a solitary artist in the confines of her studio, Folks felt the need to become involved in something that was larger than her. Since the turn of the century, she has been engaged in multiple community projects that promote pride as well as personal and communal growth within one’s environment. Some of her earliest community projects include the 2000 The Community Wall Mosaic completed in conjunction with the East End Arts Council in Riverhead and 2002 9-11 Memorial Mosaic held at the Westhampton Beach Middle School. Through the East End Arts’ JumpstART program, Folks initiated the WE ARE ALL CONNECTED experiential fire ceremony. The ceremony incorporated 4 ceramic totem sculptures that acted as ‘spirit keepers.’ Each sculpture was placed alongside a circle, like points on a compass, alongside a circle, of which the public were invited to occupy. The circle symbolized the infinite cycle of life and the artist highlighted the connection that one has with his or her own spirit as well as one another by having the public stand alongside its parameter. The multi-media event included a drum circle and fire ceremony where the public was invited to write down their betterments for themselves and the community onto a piece of paper that they could then throw into the fire. Folks later brought her WE ARE ALL CONNECTED fire ceremony to her hometown of Patchogue in the fall of 2014 during the village’s PAC MAC Festival.

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Tina Folks, WE ARE ALL CONNECTED – Riverhead, 2014

Currently, Folks is collaborating with Gallery North on their MAKE YOUR MARK community garden wall project. The initiative invites children, adults, families, and professional artists together to decorate their own 6-inch stoneware tiles that will be permanently installed on the grounds of Gallery North. The next MAKE YOUR MARK workshop with the artist will be held at the Community Art Center of Gallery North on September 10th and 11th from 10 – 5PM, as part of the organization’s annual Out Door Art Show. Tiles cost $100 to decorate and install on the garden wall or $50 to decorate and take home. Proceeds from the fundraiser will help expand the arts programming of Gallery North.

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Community tiles from MAKE YOUR MARK, 2016

Tina Folks is a fine artist who lives and works in Patchogue, NY. She received a BA from Marrymount College in Tarrytown, NY and a BFA from Parson School of Design in New York City. She is the Owner and Co-Founder of Fee-Fi-Faux, Inc., a decorative painting, handmade tile and wallpaper business, alongside her husband Bryan Gutman. She has served on the Board of Directors of East Ends Arts from 2010 – 2014 and was a mentor to the East End Arts’ JumpstART program in 2015. Currently, Folks is an active member of the Art League of Long Island and the Patchogue Arts Council.

Jay Schuck

© Miranda Gatewood-4331 Class shot

MAKE YOUR MARK Workshop with Tina Folks, 2016, photo credit: Miranda Gatewood Photography


Photo Credit
Photographs of MAKE YOUR MARK Workshop © Miranda Gatewood Photography
All images courtesy of the artist

Bryan Gutman | Mindscapes

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

Bryan Gutman is a fine artist from Patchogue, NY. In this series of work, reviewed here, Gutman creates immersive, multi-planed paintings that seamlessly integrate diverse visual images that are overlapped on top of one another and rendered in highly glossed enamels in conjunction with traditional oil paints. Since the early 1990s, Gutman has developed a personal iconography; incorporating images grounded in reality and imagined imagery stemming from the subconscious mind. Inspired by newspaper photographs, neon signage, and elements of the urban landscape, the artist layers his imagery into a singular mindscape that blurs reality with the fictive, through imposing lines that travel throughout multiple layers of vibrant colors.

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Bryan Gutman, Chris’s Dream, 2008

Exemplary of Gutman’s style is Chris’s Dream, which blends together several different visual motifs into one composite scene. Encased in a border of repeating bands of blue, orange, and beige rectangles, the visual representation in the center of the composition appears to be that of a couple in the act of love making. The pair appears not grounded in reality, but is rather surrounded by a sea of green and pink polka dots and a multitude of pink-hued bands of white, arranged in a variety of forms that is resemble of neon signage. Within the yellow-orange silhouette of the female figure, one finds the contours of a seated man sitting amongst a rocky landscape with a shovel resting on his shoulder. This overlapping of the rural man within the silhouettes of the sensual couple offers a stunning juxtaposition between the communal and the intimate, the public and the private, of virtue and vice; the didactics of man. What is revealed upon close observation is often lost in the initial glimpse. Gutman’s mastery in fusing together his diverse subject matters through form and color allows him to hide details within his paintings, which are only revealed when one carefully digests each piece.

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Bryan Gutman, Highway Dreaming, 2014

Likewise, the painting Highway Dreaming utilizes imagery that, on first observation, may be lost on the viewer. What is immediately recognizable, however, is the nude female figure that is situated just above the center of the composition. The figure is rendered in a deep dark blue with her contours marked in neon-purple sign-like delineations. She inhabits a shape reminiscent of a rearview mirror and, paired with the title of the painting and its relatively bare surrounds, which consists of a gradual transition of yellow-green to red-orange, one can adopt the perspective of a man that is lost in thought while travelling down a barren desert highway. Gutman’s paintings transport the viewer to another world, to one that flawlessly fuses fantasy with reality.

Bryan Gutman, Olympia, 2015

Bryan Gutman, Olympia, 2015

If one is well versed in art history, the subject matter of Gutman’s Olympia is easier to identify. The center of the composition features the reclining nude of Édouard Manet’s Olympia, reduced here to a series of black contour lines that outline the figure and the setting in which she is situated. The outer boundary of the painting, consisting of ambiguous abstracted forms rendered in varying degrees of cool blues and purples with hints of red and yellow, is inspired by the work of Parisian avant-garde artist, Jean DuBuffet. What may be overlooked on first observation is the silhouette of Vincent van Gogh as seen in his painting Self Portrait in a Straw Hat. The silhouette of van Gogh, which contains Manet’s Olympia, is only noticeable when the viewer disregards its nude inhabitant and the painting’s elaborate peripheries, opting instead to focus on the yellow coloring that fills the area of van Gogh’s portrait. Layering these works together, Gutman offers the viewer a timeline of artistic achievement spanning roughly 150 years, which highlights three pivotal art movements and three innovative artists.

© MG Bryan Head Shot-BEST

Photo of the artist (c) Miranda Gatgewood Photography

Bryan Gutman is a fine artist who lives and works in Patchogue, NY. He received a BFA from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque and a MFA from Brooklyn College in New York. He is the Owner and Co-Founder of Fee-Fi-Faux, Inc., a decorative painting, handmade tile and wallpaper business, alongside his wife Tina Folks. His artwork has been exhibited across Long Island at the Patchogue Arts Gallery, Heckscher Museum, East Ends Arts Council, and Guild Hall. Gutman is an active member of East Ends Arts and Patchogue Arts Council.

Jay Schuck


Photo of Bryan Gutman © Miranda Gatewood Photography

All images courtesy of the artist

Wood, Waves & Words: The Sculpture of John Cino

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

Now on view at the Patchogue Arts Gallery is Wood, Waves & Words a solo exhibition highlighting the recent works of sculptor John Cino. Upon invitation from the Patchogue Arts Council’s Board of Trustees, Cino showcases his sculpture in the exhibition space of the Patchogue Arts Council as he introduces his artwork to the community. The exhibition features a dozen sculpted works completed by the artist within the past year, including several pieces completed during a recent artist residency at Stony Brook University. Several sculptures in the exhibition incorporate a variety of sounds and languages, creating three-dimensional structures that stimulate not only the viewer’s sense of sight and space, but also one’s sense of sound as well. The viewer becomes fully immersed within the exhibition.

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John Cino, Wafting: Padouk #1, 2016

For the artist, a carved wooden sculpture recounts the story of a tree’s life through its unique grain patterning. By highlighting the unique grain pattern from each piece of lumber he uses, Cino gives his source material new life. Through his sculpture, the artist also simultaneously recalls memories of his childhood. As a boy, Cino would often spend hours climbing trees and reading books in them. Many works included in the exhibition, such as Wafting: Padouk #1, are slender, freestanding, wave-like sculptures that ripple and flow vertically toward the sky. For this body of work, the artist draws inspiration from the natural flow of the ocean’s waves that ascends and recedes on the many shores of Long Island, an action that often fascinated the artist as a child. Cino renders his sculptures as if each piece is dancing to its own song or is drifting among the ocean’s waves.

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John Cino, Song Wave, 2014

Several pieces in the exhibition incorporate hidden speakers that project different sounds and languages. For his sound pieces, the artist craves into his rectangular slabs of timber, creating rhythmic waves-like gestures that are seen through the voids that are left behind. The carved works are then embedded into bases that conceal the artist’s sound system. One such piece, Song Wave, was created with the aid of a New York State Council on the Arts’ Decentralization Grant that was administered through the Huntington Arts Council. For Song Wave, the sounds that are projected are songs sung by humpback whales. Likewise, the artist includes four sound sculptures from his recent residency at Stony Brook University. Entitled, Dialogue with each individual sculpture taking the subtitle of its respected material, the works are composed of freestanding slabs of wood with two incised lines that runs through each piece. For the current exhibition, the voices projected from each of these sculptures recite random passages from Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha and Reverend Dwight Lee Wolter’s “Peace Chant,” which were originally incorporated into Song Wave’s whale song recording.

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John Cino, Dialogue: Maple, 2016

John Cino is the Chair of the Patchogue Arts Council’s Visual Arts Committee as well as its Director of Programing. He has been the lead curator of the Patchogue Arts Council since its inception in 2008 and has introduced many artists to the Patchogue community over the years. He received his MFA in Sculpture from CUNY Hunter College and his BFA from Stony Brook University. His artwork has been exhibited extensively throughout the New York area at venues such as the Islip Art Museum, Omni Gallery, and the Vanderbilt Museum. His public sculpture, The Library of Babel, is currently situated outside of the Patchogue-Medford Library.

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John Cino, Dialogue: Maple (detail), 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. 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.

Wood, Waves & Words: The Sculpture of John Cino is on view at the Patchogue Arts Gallery from July 9 to August 21. An artist reception is scheduled for Sunday, July 10, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. The reception is free and open to the public.

Jay Schuck

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Remembering Richard Smith

In April, British artist Richard Smith passed away. Richard had a long, prosperous career with solo exhibitions at the Tate Gallery (1975), the Jewish Museum (1968), and the Whitechapel Gallery (1966), among others. He represented Great Britain in the Venice Biennale (1966, 1970), as well as the Sao Paulo Biennale (1968). His artwork is in the public collection of many renowned fine art institutions including the British Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I first met Richard in 2012 at his Patchogue studio. The Patchogue Arts Gallery had just opened with an exhibition featuring a selection of Richard’s recent paintings and works on paper. I was tasked with helping the artist compile images of his artwork from over the years for a slideshow presentation he would use for an artist talk scheduled at the end of the exhibition. I met Richard in his studio where he had a few sketches and smaller works out on the table with volumes of works wrapped and tucked away in storage.

Richard was personable and friendly as he took the time to discuss with me the details of his life, career, artistic interests and influences. We spent the afternoon huddled around my laptop as he reflected on his career and body of work. The longer we spoke, the more I came to admire him and appreciate his artwork as he would recall the details of his oeuvre, some of which he remembered better than others. We often got sidetracked as a particular painting would remind him of a story involving a close friend, studio visit, or of his inspiration for the piece.

I was fortunate to work with Richard several more times over the years. One such time was in late 2014-early 2015 when John Cino and I were curating the Remembering Things Past exhibition at the Islip Art Museum. Richard happily agreed to be a part of the exhibition and we all met at his studio to review possible works to include. Upon arriving, John and I were greeted by a large, three-piece kite painting that Richard created in the late 1970s. It was my first time seeing one of his kite paintings in person and I was in immediate awe of delicate yet imposing presence and wonderful ascetics. Needless to say we included the work along with a smaller four-piece kite painting and a painting produced in the late 1990s that depicts a silhouette of the artist.

The last time I spoke to Richard was in early March. We discussed the possibility of a retrospective exhibition that would coincide with his 85th birthday and commemorate his life and body of work. Despite being ill, Richard happily agreed to the idea and we scheduled another studio visit. Although he passed before we could work on the project, I am flattered that Richard was interested in working with me one more time. As far as I am considered, when it comes to Richard Smith, the only thing more admirable than his artwork is his character.

Thank you for everything, Richard. Working with you will always be a highlight of my career.

Jay Schuck

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With Richard Smith’s Portrait (1997) at the Islip Art Museum