Winter Arrives at the Long Island Museum

There may be a chill in the air, but inside the Long Island Museum’s current exhibition, it’s a hotbed of creativity. Eighty-nine artists from all over Long Island, reaching from Montauk to Queens, have joined together in the museum-led artists’ initiative, LIMarts. Their work in painting, photography, printmaking, digital artwork, woodworking, mixed-media and sculpture can be seen in Baby, It’s Cold Outside.

The initiative—the fourth annual LIMarts show—offers artists and the public a chance to get to know one another. It’s also an opportunity to inform, inspire and experience the wide range of talent, visions and voices that characterize contemporary art on Long Island.

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“The show has a nice, cozy feeling when you walk in,” said Alexandria D’Auria, who manages LIMarts for the museum. “There are pieces that put you in the spirit of the winter holidays, family and community. Some make you just laugh out loud.”

Ms. D’Auria is part of the committee that came up with the exhibition’s theme. “Baby, It’s Cold Outside grew from what was going on at the museum at the time,” she said. “Our [other] exhibition, In Harm’s Way is on the history of hurricanes, major storms and Superstorm Sandy and how they’ve affected Long Island.” That one runs through Dec. 31.

Naturally, landscape paintings dominate Baby, It’s Cold Outside, imparting a sense of the season. There’s a snow scene painted in traditional Asian style by one of the group’s newer members, Sungsook Setton, and a masterful pen, ink and watercolor depicting Daigo-ji Temple in Kyoto by Michael White. But, for the most part, LIM executive director Neil Watson said, they “speak to the region.”

Expect to find wonderful depictions of harbor men winterizing boatyards, pools closed up for the season, dogs caked in snow, hockey skates, frozen waterfalls and frosted windows. There’s also an entire miniaturized replica of the ice rink at Rockefeller Center made by model-maker Donald Sadowsky. “The one in the yellow skirt,” he pointed to the tiny skater at center ice proudly, “is my wife.”

LI Marts

Mac Titmus’s “January Dawn”(left), Neil Leinwohl’s “Winter Window” (center), Rita Swanteson’s “Snow Angel” (left), and Donald Sadowsky’s “The Rink at Rockefeller Center” in “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” image: mary gregory

Look also for interior landscapes, ones that reinterpret reality or re-imagine it completely. Ty Stroudsburg’s abstract painting, “Snow Beech,” doesn’t depict a place, but evokes it through her careful observation of sandy-beige, countless tones of white and the soft lavender-pink that blushes the snow during winter sunsets. In Renee Blank’s figure-based abstraction, just the title, “Cold Bones,” is enough to bring on a sense of chill, while Donna Marshall’s painting’s visual mysteries are enhanced by a thought-provoking title, “Our Passing Understanding.”

Watson, who founded the artist’s initiative when he came to the museum five years ago, noted an impressive range of work that includes realism, abstraction and conceptual art. For example, Adel Gorgy’s 3D image, “Beyond the Cold We Know…The Edge of a Synthetic Universe,” imagines a possible realm in space, far beyond the known rules of physics. And photographer Sara Seferian invites a suspension of disbelief in her manipulated digital print, “Overnight Express,” where a child opens a laundromat dryer door, and a blizzard flies out.

At the packed opening of the show, director Watson viewed the work and talked with artists that range from recent MFA graduates to accomplished professionals with scores of exhibitions behind them. Responding to Marsha Solomon’s vibrant, lively still-life painting “Winter’s Tale” based on a favorite book and filled with objects that create a visual metaphor, Watson said, “It’s a narrative, put together like a puzzle.”

At the close of the show, on Jan. 28, the public is invited to a special reception to meet some of the artists in person. And attendance is free during the entire month of January. “There are a lot of professionals in this,” Watson said. “Practicing artists who live in the region are really a core part of what a well working museum should be. We want people to see what these artists are doing.”