By Vanessa Vasquez
When you close your eyes and visualize the essence of Rockaway beach what do you see? Is it the hypnotic murmuring of the waves or perhaps the sun-kissed glow along the shore? Whichever it may be, beaches create a picturesque world.
We spoke with curator Nancy Gesimondo, who brought “Beach Elements V,” to Fort Tilden at sTudio 7 Gallery, for the first time. She teamed up with familiar Rockaway Artist Alliance (RAA) members as well as many fresh faces on Sunday, June 14.
“The previous four shows were hosted in various galleries in Long Island City, but this is definitely the biggest Beach Elements ever,” said Gesimondo. “We’ve also been so fortunate to have Jesse Paris Smith who is the daughter of Patti Smith over. She created the initiative of Pathway to Paris—-which is about the environment and sustainability. Since this show is about the beach and nature it’s so appropriate and I’m pleased that Victoria Barber was able to make this connection and make this possible.”
Also being a featured artist in the show herself, Gesimondo explains how she enjoys fusing quirky elements of nature into her works leaving it’s finished portrayal up to her guests.
“I utilized broken shells, feathers, and seedpods where I create little hybrid creatures or imaginary landscapes that look a bit surreal,” Gesimondo told The Wave. “I’d like to think of it as things an archaeologist would find and years later not really knowing that they didn’t belong together.”
When it came to organizing “Beach Elements V,” Gesimondo had a very specific mindset in motion piecing works next to each other that seem fitting in a similar beach theme or color; where some works show families having a happy-go-lucky beach day while others represented the fear that comes with beaches showcasing hurricanes or accidents on the rise.
For newcomer artist Elinore Schnurr, her portrayal of Solana Beach, located in California comes in a series of 14 watercolor paintings displaying the relaxation people feel as they drift off to the sounds of the pulsing, metronomic gurgling waves.
“Free to begin a new phase in my life and artistic career, I spent the summer of 1981 in San Diego with a friend. He gave me a car to use and I headed for the beach,” states Schnurr. “It was a joyous time; I was captivated by all the bodies laid out on the sand in the glow of the Western sun. I made paintings of them En plein-air, which was possible because the sun and air were always perfect and, when settled, my subjects seldom moved. Bliss!”
Swaying from the beaches of SoCal, we are also introduced to the pristine surrounding area of the beautiful Waimanalo beach and bay located in Oahu, and Lahaina, Hawaii through three photographs shot from a reflective standpoint through a window’s surface.
“It’s a reflection that talks about the layers of life, and the things that we’re not conscious of…the things we don’t see and the beauty behind it all,” Brooklyn-bred artist Lina Perna-Letson told The Wave. “And how we fit into those layers of life…my photos were actually shot with a holga; five dollar plastic film camera…and I love capturing Urban Areas in cities where you can capture a lot whether that be people or shop… it’s so exciting and stimulating but I do love nature too.”
Other artists on the lineup consisted of Chuck Baker, Victoria Barber, Violet Baxter, Ronald Bourque, Phyllis Brachman, Mark Brennan, Amanda Christianson, Casey Concelmo, Susie Concelmo, Lilian R. Engel, Kathy Ferguson, Debra Friedkin, Jeffrey Friedkin, Mary Teresa Giancoli, Susan Handwerker, Beth Heit, Patricia Iranzo, Krysti Keener, Matthew Kirby, Mark Kirk, June Kosloff, Norman Lunde, Joe Lupo, Sandra Mack-Valencia, Marisa Malone, Steve Mantinaos, Elizabeth McAlpin, Lenore Fiore Mills, Maia Nero, Kathleen O’Rourke, Pamela Popeson, Jacqueline Sferra Rada, Renee Radenberg, Jessica Schulman, James Seffens, Helaine Soller, Ian Trask, Lindsay Vitale, and Pam Williams.
The day came to an end with an acoustic set by Alex Storozynski and a special musical performance by Jesse Paris Smith and guests including The BEasy Band.
“Beach Elements V,” is open now until Aug. 4 from 12:00-4:00 p.m. at sTudio 7 Gallery on weekends or by appointment.
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