90-Year-Old Sculptor Highlights Annual Members, Student, Faculty Art Show at LBI Foundation

By PAT JOHNSON | Aug 23, 2017
Photo by: Pat Johnson Artist Marvin Levitt and his wife, Pat, pose with Levitt’s paper maché  creation, ‘Blue Goose.’

As soon as you walk through the doors of the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, you see artist Billy Geller’s “Thumbs Up” iron and steel sculpture, and that says it all for the Member, Student and Faculty Show now at LBIF through Sept. 3. This annual show is the traditional way for LBIF to close out a successful summer season.

This year the highlight of the show is a large paper mâché sculpture of a boy, “Blue Goose,” made by 90-year-old artist Marvin Levitt. Levitt has a long and productive history with the Foundation, serving as a teacher and sculptor in its nascent days through the ’90s. His bronze sculpture of founder Boris Blai is a Foundation treasure.

During the show’s reception held on Saturday, Levitt was surrounded by friends and fellow artists admiring his work. “It’s in my DNA to get my hands dirty every day,” said Levitt. “I can’t work in bronze anymore, so I work with paper mâché. It’s a happy medium.”

Juror Catherine Le Cleire was asked to award 10 ribbons to the pieces she felt the most strongly about. “I hoped to be fair to both two- and three-dimensional works and realistic and abstract works.,” she said. Le Cleire teaches printmaking and book arts at Pratt and Montclair State and has taught at the LBIF.

The Foundation’s ceramics department is the backbone of the arts programming, and it is apparent from the works on display just how good it is. Nina Gross’s pot “White Stoneware” was created under Kerith Creo’s tutelage. The crumbling white surface glaze on the multi-flanged pot made it a unique combination of modern and ancient pottery. It won a ribbon.

A raku vase by Sandra Kosinski “Horsehair and Feather Vase” also garnered a ribbon. Kosinski said the Member, Student and Faculty exhibit is her favorite. “It’s great to see what everyone does.”

Sue Pohanka’s bowls “In the Bay” and “Koi” are decorated by hand with fish schooling around the bottoms and sides.

“I Remembered” by ceramic instructor Jeff Rumeli combines his two passions of ceramics and glass.

Everyone in the ceramics department knows there are two Lynn or Lynne Bermans, so they refer to them as the north or south Berman for which part of the Island they come from.

Lynne M. Berman is north (or was it south?). Her “Boardwalk Bottle Series # 7” received a blue ribbon and a red dot marked it “sold.”

That’s another thing: All the work is for sale unless it says NFS.

Lynn K. Berman held her nesting bowls for a photo and showed how much she loves turquoise.

Melissa Bragg-Krishnamurthy held up her “Fish #4” vase near her “Untitled” ceramic sculpture, which is made of thrown pieces with a mixture of funky glazes to make a bottom-of-the-sea-type creature. “That’s what I should have called it,” she said. “I used a lot of colored oxides, iron for red and copper for green, and it’s covered in wet clay and a ‘lichen’ glaze that makes it look crusty.”

Carole Goldman’s “Rhapsody in Blue” ceramic pot with lid is expertly made. The pot is decorated stylishly and weighs less than its volume suggests – all-important when making functional but beautiful pieces.

A stunning glass dish by Billy Geller, “Dreaming in Stripes and Plaids,” shows off in a window.

Oil paintings by Susan Barnes are always in the winner’s circle, and that was true for her impressionistic, “Seining the Bay.”

Joan Gantz also won a ribbon for her abstract “Bayview Sunset.” “Sea Goddess” by Ardeth Schuyler was beribboned and is just one of a series of fantasy creature paintings she has created, she explained.

Whimsy is also on display in Harris Ross’ “Self Portrait” of a sheep and two made-up characters in “Cocktail Chatter.”

Realism comes back in soft alabaster sculptures by Alan Wechsler, who won a ribbon.

Tony DiBella displayed his abstract photos “Road Less Traveled” and “Mind the Step.”

Tyler Nussbaum’s Giclee prints “Puddles” are wonderful graphic images.

Small does not mean less when viewing Lydia Owen’s photo “Clouds at Sunset.”

Gail Sidewater also displayed two photos of LBI ,“Untitled.”

Fabric arts are not neglected: Melanie Fisher won a ribbon for “Power,” a pop-art soft sculpture of a cleaning spray bottle and a cartoon flash. A quilt, “Lions and Tigers Oh My,” by Amy Bucher also won a ribbon.

Also showing as a companion exhibit is a selection of Marvin Zipin’s works. Zipin was a LBIF founding artist and made dean of the faculty and event director in 1954. His influence extended through the ’60s. His unique “cut-out” acrylic paintings play with color temperature and cubism to suggest three dimensions on his two-dimensional canvas. For his paintings of commercial fishermen, he painted on textured burlap, a type of fabric that fishermen used as sacks for clams or oysters.

His prints on paper are mid-century modern and extremely well priced. Collectors of regional artwork should be on notice.

Gallery coordinator Bernadette Fitzgerald said she was pleased with the show and thanked Gail Sidewater, Tony DiBella and Jeff Reumeli for their help. “There are so many different mediums, and it’s great to see everyone come out to view the work,” she said.

Though the summer is almost gone, programming at LBIF continues all year and offers a full fall season, including the next exhibit, “Island Life: Plein Air Plus,” opening Sept. 8 with a reception planned for Sept. 24. This 90-painting exhibit is the culmination of summer-long plein-air painting events by chosen artists who will sell their work.


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