Each of us comprises a universe, and each of us only truly knows our own. We connect, reflect and crash into others. Yet orbits are discrete.
Art is the human expression of a wormhole in space—in an instant we are transported to another world. We can see, feel and even remember things we’ve never known, through imagery and emotions captured on a page or canvas, in a color or line. This is the 13th edition of Long Island Pulse’s annual Arts & Culture issue featuring local, emerging artists. It’s part of a journey into the consciousness of this diverse, rich and surprising island home. Art poured its foundation here long ago. Countless structures have emerged. What follows are worlds of art by nine promising creators.
These artists share their experiences and dreams, questions and answers, baring a glimpse of their innermost thoughts, a brush with their souls. If there’s a muse to be found in their collective work, it’s no less than history itself. Personal, familial, communal, geological, societal, environmental and art historical references work their ways into the voices of this year’s IX in Art.
Photographer / Shinnecock Nation
Art is a portal to somewhere else—a time, place, state of mind. To look at a French Impressionist painting is to know, in a glance, something of life in Belle Époque Paris. The photographs of Jeremy Dennis bring a momentary connection to his and his community’s history, thoughts and dreams. That link extends to other indigenous people and to the viewer’s own past, if they bring effort to the process. Click to meet him.
Sculpture, Installations / Brooklyn
Fill a space with colors and shapes. Have them dance and dangle. Make them whimsical, gentle and nostalgic, then supercharge them with pure, intense hues. Alter a room in a way that recalls meteor showers, fields of flowers, cell structures, neural synapses, microscopic crystalline forms and macroscopic universes. Imbue it with subtle references to time, memory and the mysteries of other life forms’ consciousness. Then you’ll have a sense of Carson Fox’s installations. Click to meet her.
Painter / Sagaponack
Nature, intellect, emotion and imagination hold court in María Schön’s bright, shimmering landscape paintings. It’s hard to pin down which is dominant, which is supportive. It doesn’t matter. What comes through in her series “Landscape and Memories” is a Rousseau-like world of lush vegetation, vivid colors and harmony, pared down to the elemental forms of 20th-century hard-edge and color field abstraction. Then Schön reduces further but adds textures, narratives, sensuality and romanticism, weaving individual paintings as well as clusters (diptychs, triptychs or grids) into transportive worlds. We end at a place we’d all like to visit. Click to meet her.
Painter / Cold Spring Harbor
Mystery, empathy, a sense of the world of women, personal and universal experiences seep through Janice Sztabnik’s obscure but emotive figures. They slip in and out of focus, approach or recede, but always stay covered behind a veil of abstraction. Click to meet her.
Painter / Southold
“I’ve been getting these pieces of old discarded plywood. I find they call to me.” It’s a call Ted Thirlby has been answering for decades. He’s worked wood, carved it, bent it to his will and found creative inspiration in its grains, textures and surfaces since his early exhibitions in the 70s and throughout a career in construction and cabinetmaking. Lately it’s become a process of rescue, respect, reuse and resurrection. Through a push-pull, yin-yang interaction between the found and the formed, his abstract paintings on salvaged plywood breathe new life into old material. Click to meet him.
Sculpture / Water Mill
When is a glove not a glove? In the hands of Claire Watson—found things are transformed. Just as René Magritte proclaimed “This is not a pipe” on a picture of a pipe, Watson challenges assumptions, changes ideas, subverts and converts objects to her vision. Materials like rope, gloves, household implements and pipes (in a nod to Magritte) are reshaped, reconstructed and reimagined by Watson in works that blend sculpture, imagery, found objects and recycling. Click to meet her.
Painter / New Suffolk
Garance Werthmuller’s paintings bring pictures, words, colors and shapes together to tell stories. They’re about the beauty in simplicity. A bird, flower, word or phrase, bright colors and a sense of optimism fill her canvases and pages. The images she creates are fanciful and playful. Tulips, birds, cats and snippets of text fill her large-scale paintings with wit and wisdom. She wants to change the atmosphere, to remake it into something better. Click to meet her.
Painter / East Hampton
The diligent and prolific Athos Zacharias epitomizes the artist who’s always working, always searching, even after more than 60 years of painting. His abstractions vibrate with energy. They’re lively and engaging, deeply rooted in the history of art, and colorful, much like the artist himself. Click to meet him.
Painter / East Moriches
Melinda Zox cut her baby teeth on abstract art. The daughter of two artists—Larry Zox, a seminal force in geometric abstractions and the color field movement of the 1960s, and Jean Glover Zox—she grew up in the heart of the bustling, buzzing downtown New York art scene. Now, years later, she’s found a deeper serenity in both location and practice. Click to meet her.