2007-09-21 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Morphing Cacti and the First Hint of Halloween
Rockaway Artists Alliance Commenary by Susan Hartenstein

Singers Apryl Green, Mary Kelly and Dan Guarino performing at opening reception of ARTSPLASH and Project Diversity. Photo courtesy of John J. Grillo. Singers Apryl Green, Mary Kelly and Dan Guarino performing at opening reception of ARTSPLASH and Project Diversity. Photo courtesy of John J. Grillo. RAA CONTACT INFO: Phone: 718- 474-0861; Fax: 718-474-4373; e-mail: rockart116@aol.com; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

TWO EXHIBITIONS ON VIEW @RAA: Saturday, September 8-October 7, 2007: ARTSPLASH 2007: RAA's annual juried, multi-media cultural event presents a wide variety of visual, literary and performing artists. Location: sTudio 7 Gallery, Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA), Fort Tilden, Queens. QCA's PROJECT DIVERSITY QUEENS EXHIBIT: "Town and Country": Urban, Suburban and Rural Communities. Project Diversity Queens showcases the dynamic multicultural style of our borough. Organized by Queens Council on the Arts (QCA) in partnership with Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. Location: sTudio 6 Gallery, Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA).

Gallery hours for both exhibits: Saturdays 12-4 p.m., Sundays 1-4 p.m.

GALLERY SITTER'S EVENT: Sunday, Sept 30 - Poetry reading with Shirly Holt and open mic. Location: sTudio 7 Gallery, 1-4 p.m. If you are interested in reading, please call RAA office to confirm: 718-474-0861.

HALLOWEEN PLANNING MEETING: Monday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m., in sTudio 7. Werewolves, witches and warlocks of all ages are welcome to bring their bodies and brains, separately, if necessary.

DEADLINE for receipt of entries for "Gifted 2007," an RAA member exhibition: October 4, 2007. For prospectus and entry form visit: www.rockawayartistsalliance. org.

RAA is saying goodbye to Mary Kelly, her husband Sean and son Connor, at the end of September. They are moving to California. Mary has served RAA in a variety of capacities. Over the years these have included RAA business office manager, Secretary on the Board of Directors, Chair of the Elections Committee, exhibition juror, exhibiting artist, and there has hardly been a reception in recent years at which Mary has not contributed her generous words of welcome, her lovely singing voice and accompanying guitar playing. Sean has been our "computer whiz extraordinaire." In recognition and with gratitude for all she has done, at the opening reception for ARTSPLASH and Project Diversity, Mary received a plaque made by RAA President Geoff Rawling. Earlier, board member and quilter Maryann McEvoy gave Mary a hanging quilt piece that she made by hand. We will miss the Kellys very much, as friends and colleagues. We are sad to be losing them. But we wish them great success and happiness in their new adventure.

RAA's reception for ARTSPLASH and Project Diversity was a great success, attracting hundreds of visitors to the two exhibitions. The delicious food came from the Boardwalk Bagel Restaurant. It was beautifully presented by Janet Dever, Penelope Atheras and Mary Kelly. Entertaining were Apryl Green, Dan Guarino, Mary Kelly, James McKay and Seaside Enterprise, poet Shirly Holt and the new improvisation group, No Shame Theater. We thank them all for their talents. As reported last week, Tom Finkelpearl, Executive Director of the Queens Museum of Art, judged the prizes for excellence at ARTSPLASH. We thank him once again.

PROJECT DIVERSITY CLOSE-UP: The exhibit showcases Queens artists of various ethnic origins, presented in 13 galleries throughout the borough, including RAA's sTudio 6. This bright, open space is just the right size so that the visitor can scan the full variety of the work from the center of the gallery. However, each piece is so interesting, it beckons up-close examination. The art mediums include installation, photography, oil and acrylic painting and printmaking. Here is a sampling;

One of the most intriguing works is the installation, "A Red Cactus," by Lami Sung.

The artist explores the same subject in many incarnations, what she calls "transforming images in collusion with fantasy." In the center of the room is a huge red cactus with green spines made of a canvas-like material stretched over a framework, placed in an equally oversized red pot.

A long, gray fabric shadow runs along the floor and up the wall, where the spines turn, once again, to color - now, red. Morphed into an acrylic painting, the cactus, shadow and pot exist in a non-specific surreal and symbolic environment. The final transformation is as a foot-high version housed in three plastic cases of alternating orientation. In a completely different style, Madeline Lovello's "The Overlook" is a gorgeous, warm, fall landscape in oil paint. "The Ordinary Unseen" (#3 and #4) are two hauntingly beautiful, atmospheric black and white silver gelatin prints by Takako Kido. Finally, in blueprint-like images, Helen Denis' two prints on photo paper, "45th Street, Court Square" and "Davis Street," express in lacy delicacy, the elegance and complexity of the lines of architecture, and the solidity and power of their abstract forms.

AT THE POST THEATER IN FORT TILDEN: "Rockaway Café: An RTC 10th Anniversary Musical Salute." Some of the best numbers from several of the great musicals produced by the Rockaway Theatre Company in its 10-year history. Remaining performance dates: September 20, 22, 28, 29 at 8 p.m.; September 23 at 2 p.m.; September 30 at 5 p.m.

The September 23 performance is the Third Annual Carol Jasper Memorial Benefit - all proceeds from performance will be used to benefit RTC's "Pet Project". Pets from the North Shore Animal League, needing adoption by good, loving homes, will be available in the theater lobby.

For tickets and other information, call 718-850-2450.

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