Island-y, Ocean-y Influences Felt in Wide-Ranging Works in LBI Arts Council Members’ Exhibition Now on Display at LBIF

Feb 01, 2017
Artwork by: Matt Burton ‘Shark,’ stoneware by Matt Burton.

The LBI Arts Council Members Winter Exhibition is hung and ready for viewing at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, now through Feb. 27. Roughly 50 pieces from 14 artists adorn the walls of the Main Gallery, open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The public’s first opportunity to view the work was during Friday night’s Deep Freeze Fest, a fundraising social gathering that drew about 100 revelers – “a good turnout for the end of January,” Ceramics Studio and Gallery Manager Jeff Ruemeli remarked. The space had been transformed to look like a ski lodge, cozy and casual, offering beer, ice cream, coffee and soft pretzels, as well as live music by the Dreadful Sea Shanties.

“We hope to do it again next year,” Marketing and Special Events Coordinator Lydia Owens said.

The formal reception for the exhibition is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4, from 1 to 3 p.m., featuring live music by Halley Feaster and Sahara Moon.

Informally in conjunction, an art opening for “Celebrating George Washington” at the Long Beach Island branch of the Ocean County Library will take place Saturday from noon to 2 p.m., so the council encourages art lovers to visit the Surf City show first and then make their way to Loveladies.

The art on display at LBIF is a representative sampling of the LBI Arts Council members’ diverse styles, from paintings, drawings and photography to ceramics and fibers.

Take in painted soft coastal landscapes, almost postcard scenes, by Lori Bonnani, Alice McEnerney Cook and Franny Andahazy, and Linda Ramsay’s marsh views in addition to everyday summertime objects (a beach umbrella in repose, beach bikes doing their balancing act). Judith Johnson’s mixed media pieces celebrate the monarch butterfly. From Firefly Gallery in Surf City, Joanne Dozor’s watercolors are poetic and evocative, simultaneously sparse of technique with much depth and movement in visual impact.

Gwenn Seemel’s portraits of people and animals are explosively colorful; Erin Daniels’ abstractions are gentle bursts (“love notes” to Ballenger Creek and Mullica River); Matt Burton’s ceramics are no-nonsense and user friendly. Laura Maschal and Eric Setzer contribute photographs of beloved local imagery (and one outrageously cute “Stowaway,” a bright blue bird perched on Setzer’s hand), while Sara Setzer’s felted wearables are at once unique handcrafted accessories and sculptural wonders.

Leyna Kmiechick achieves interesting designs (“Spineless” jellyfish, LBI, self-portrait) by winding thread around and through many, many nail heads. Audrey Schwind creates textural watercolor paintings of waves with a lacquered look. Jacalyn Bak’s “Hard Flight” is an oil painting on linen, and her “She Rests” is a graphite drawing of a nude figure. Cathleen Engelsen has a number of her detailed watercolor paintings of iconic local scenes in the show.

The LBI Arts Council was formed in 2013 as a nonprofit entity for local artists to share their work with each other, to exchange feedback and ideas, to share resources and information on upcoming events, classes and workshops, and, in general, to cultivate a thriving creative community. Its online home is the LBI Arts Council Facebook page.

The Winter Exhibition at LBIF is the council’s first formal exhibition, Ruemeli said. While there is no strict unifying theme, many of the artists draw from similar inspirations; others stand out as being “on a different trip.” The purpose of the show is to get the word out to the community about the arts council, he said. Science Saturday program participants, too, are exposed to the visual arts as they pass through the building, which advances the LBIF mission, to promote the arts and sciences on Long Beach Island and in the surrounding communities by enlightening, educating, and stimulating thought and discussion about current trends in the arts and sciences and by providing broad educational and cultural programs for all ages.

To learn more, visit

— Victoria Ford

‘Self-Portrait,’ nails and string on wood by Leyna Kmiechick. (Artwork by: Leyna Kmiechick)
‘You Ain’t Nothing But an American Citizen (Australian American Jimmy),’ acrylic on canvas by Gwenn Seemel. (Artwork by: Gwenn Seemel)
‘Wave Series,’ watercolor and mixed media by Audrey Schwind. (Artwork by: Audrey Schwind )
‘Chicken Confidence,’ acrylic on canvas by Gwenn Seemel. (Artwork by: Gwenn Seemel)
‘Leaving Home,’ photo by Eric Setzer. (Artwork by: Eric Setzer)
‘LBIF Nature Walk III,’ oil by Linda Ramsay. (Photo by: Linda Ramsay)
‘Forest,’ photo by Laura Maschal. (Photo by: Laura Maschal)
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