2012-01-06 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

New Public Art: ‘In Search Of Harmony Bay’
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein


Artist Esther Grillo in front of “In Search of Harmony Bay,” her painted relief sculpture that has been installed on the exterior wall of Channel View School for Research on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 100 Street. Artist Esther Grillo in front of “In Search of Harmony Bay,” her painted relief sculpture that has been installed on the exterior wall of Channel View School for Research on Beach Channel Drive and Beach 100 Street. The final submission date for “Abstract Point of View” has been extended to Sunday, January 8 at 12 p.m. If interested, please bring a maximum of six abstract artworks to sTudio 7 Gallery. Be prepared to pay an entry fee ($35- members; $80-non-members) and, if possible, a completed entry form (see RAA website).

Opening reception for “Abstract Point of View” is Sunday, Ja-nuary 15 in sTudio 6 Gallery, 12-4 p.m. See gray box for dates and gallery hours. Admission is free. Refresh-ments and live entertainment will warm the winter’s afternoon.

“Abstract Point of View” pushes the bounds of reality and the walls of the artist’s (and viewer’s) imagination. Come stretch!

Enhancing and echoing the natural beauty of our Jamaica Bay is a newly installed monumental relief sculpture by RAA’s Esther Grillo, the same artist whose wave shelter murals grace the beauty of our oceanfront along Shorefront Parkway. After months of anticipation, organizational hard work and backbreaking labor, “In Search of Harmony Bay,” an allegorical artwork that looks with hope to the future, has been installed on the previously bare exterior wall of Channel View School for Research.

Grillo’s inspiration for the piece, she says, came from tales of ancient mariners who saw the huge manatee creatures of the sea and re-envisioned them as voluptuous mermaids. Grillo extended the visual metaphor into what she refers to as “mer-creatures.” She has created a surreal underwater seascape inhabited by these mer-creatures.

Her artistic metaphor is carried even further. Inspired as well by musical notes, Grillo says the creatures “flow [across the work] like notes written across a sheet of music.” “They look forward toward harmony, thus portraying hope for our future; for harmony in our present day life.”

Originally sponsored by NYCATA/ UFT with a matching grant in services and public and private donations, the 40-foot by 4-foot sculpture hung on the Howard Beach/JFK Manhattanbound subway platform for almost nine years, beginning in 1992. The piece was funded by an MTA Creative Sta-tions Program Grant.

Grillo has donated the artwork to Channel View School for Research, thus becoming part of the Department of Education Artwork Collection. She repainted the piece to reflect her artistic growth, and spent many hours of work preparing it for its Beach Channel Drive premiere. But she credits many, without whom the installation of “In Search of Harmony Bay,” one of the few pieces of public art sculpture in Rockaway, would not have been possible. The school’s principal, Patricia Tubridy, was instrumental in getting the donation of the sculpture to Channel View. Adam’s European Construction generously donated the installation work. Ammann & Whitney Architects generously donated architectural drawings.

“All through our history,” says Grillo, “art has helped to inspire social movements. Maybe ‘In Search for Harmony Bay’ will inspire a quest for peace and harmony.”

The next RAA general meeting is Monday, January 9, 7:30 p.m. in sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA at Fort Tilden. All are welcome.

The guest speaker is scheduled to be Karl Lorenzen who will present an interactive lecture/demonstra-tion on “Sacred, Symbolic and Creative Geometry.”

According to Lorenzen, “Sacred Geometry, the confluence of art, science and spirituality, constitutes a common ground between many of the world’s cultures and traditions. Its language of number and symbol (circle, triangle, and square) can be used to express profound ideas about the nature of existence.” Through particular interactive exercises using materials that include paper, the audience members “will see how energy crystallizes into form along the lines of Sacred Geometry.”

Lorenzen sits on RAA’s Events Committee. He is a teaching artist on the faculty of the NY Open Center and a member of the Gamelan Kusuma Laras (the gamelan is a Javanese instrument) which has played at major performance venues in New that include Lincoln Center.

“RAA on Jamaica Bay” continues through February 5 at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. The center is open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. “Glass & Thread,” the excellent exhibit curated by Renee Radenberg that joins glass art with fiber art, continues through January 15. www.wahcenter.org.

The grand opening reception of YYY Fine Arts Studio (RAA’s Yuri Yurov) is Saturday, January 7 at 5 p.m., 502 Main Street in Boonton, New Jersey RAA CONTACT INFO:

Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474- 4373; e-mail: info@raa116.org; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

Fort Tilden Highlights

NEXT RAA GENERAL MEETING: Mon., Jan. 9, 7:30 p.m. in sTudio 7 Gallery, RoCA(Rockaway Center for the Arts) at Fort Tilden. All are welcome. See column.

NEXT RAA EXHIBIT AND RECEPTION: “Abstract Point of View,” on view Jan. 14-Feb. 19, sTudio 6, RoCA. Reception: Sun., Jan. 15, 12-4 p.m. Free admission. Gallery hrs.: Sat. and Sun., 12-4 p.m. and by appointment.

NEXT WRITERS GROUP MEETING: Sun., Jan. 15, 4-6 p.m., sTudio 6. All are welcome.

PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Instructor: Jeffrey Berman. Tues. 7-9 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-12 noon. sTudio 6. Class will include instruction in acrylic, watercolor, pastel, drawing, water soluble oil. Call RAA office for details.

THURS. NIGHT OPEN MIC: Performing artists of all disciplines invited. sTudio 7 stage. Sign-up: 7:45 p.m. Start time: 8 p.m. Join us. Free.

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