By Tammy Scileppi
Lots of folks got their culture on last Sunday at the Bayside Historical Society’s 17th Annual Winter Art Show, where they viewed outstanding works by 49 local artists in the categories of painting, drawing, mixed media, three-dimensional and photography.
Along with an awards ceremony, visitors enjoyed a gallery talk by one of the show’s two judges: Neill Slaughter, professor emeritus at Long Island University, who is an artist with 30-plus solo exhibits under his belt, and by artist, historian, art educator Robert Mehling.
“As a practicing artist and professor for the past four decades, I feel strongly that creating art is intrinsically linked to interpretation,” Slaughter said. “All visual artists become inspired by something, which is generally motivated by visual stimuli, and then interpreted as well as communicated visually. While I certainly value skill and technique, ultimately I look for honesty and truth in artwork.
“During careful analysis, in the best art there is a transcendence, whereby the viewer is emotionally taken to another place by the artist’s interpretation. I think it is important that the artist’s intention is communicated as well. If we as viewers sense or recognize an inconsistency in intent or approach, then the work suffers.”
Here’s a sampling of works by the winners in each category. The other talented artists received honorable mentions.
Elaine Hajian, “Winter Woods” (Best Drawing Award): The aggressive application of the pastels creates an agitated energy that when combined with the unusual color choices convey a rather haunting atmosphere.
Christina Vandian-Dosttur, “Defined Superstition” (Best Mixed Media Award): There is an otherworldly quality about this artwork, which draws in the viewer only to discover a glittery brightly colored world contained within each of the bulbous mounds raised up and protruding out into space from the largely monochromatic black and gray canvas.
Joseph Rossi, “Surprise” (Honorable Mention): This wooden sculpture of what appears to be a pregnant female figure is aptly titled as it begs the viewer to see what she is holding behind her back, which appears to be an egg. The jurors were also impressed with how the artist effectively utilizes the grain of the wood to accentuate various forms.
Trudy Fritschi, “Highline View” (Best Photography Award): Being able to transcend reality, without any noticeable manipulation (such as a Photoshop program), is quite a feat of accomplishment, which is why this photo is so visually compelling, because it works on several levels.
Geoffrey Atkin, “P.S. 41 Summer” (Best Painting Award): This ambitious oil painting works on a number of levels, beginning with the conceptual thought-provoking narrative in which there is a dynamic juxtaposition between architecture and nature.
Sheila Blunt, “Gray Cat on Vessel” (Best 3-D Award): This ceramic pot conveys a contemplative quality with a sleeping cat cleverly coiled around the top of simulated cord that encircles the opening of the vessel. Something about the powder-gray glaze offset with the shiny earth colored glaze is reminiscent of an orientalist aesthetic, which is quietly arresting.