What We Created This Summer at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences

By PAT JOHNSON | Aug 29, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson ‘My Right Foot’ alabaster sculpture by Alan Wechsler wins an award.

The juror for this year’s annual Member, Student, Faculty Exhibition at the LBI Foundation of the Arts and Sciences was the distinguished art historian and museum director, Thomas Sokolowski, currently director of the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University. Sokolowski was present at the Aug. 18 opening reception and bestowed 11 blue ribbon awards across most disciplines.

LBIF Executive Director Daniella Kerner said she was gratified to have Sokolowski as a judge and commented on the high quality of the work represented this year. “I think this is the best Member, Student, Faculty show yet,” she said informally on Saturday. Kerner has chaired and co-chaired the arts and exhibition committee at the LBIF for 10 years.

“This has been a summer of high energy; we’ve had something going on every moment, and we’ve had wonderful jurors for the exhibitions.”

This year the Foundation board decided to combine the show with the members’ BBQ summer picnic. Members brought their friends and family to the opening and to meet Sokolowski. “I want to bring attention to the Foundation and to Long Beach Island,” said Kerner.

Since taking over the helm in May as executive director, Kerner has set the tone for a revitalized Foundation: from the redesigned LBIF logo to the bright flowers and chairs and pillows on the patio entranceway to the level of professionalism in all the classes, exhibits and events. It helps that she is coming from 25 years as a faculty member at the prestigious Tyler School of Art at Temple University.

Sokolowski was also director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and his award to Alan Wechsler’s alabaster sculpture “My Right Foot” speaks to that love of Pop Art. Wendy Branzburg’s “Folded Stripes,” made of paper clay, also took a ribbon.

Two more ribbon winners: Carol Nussbaum’s cyanotype “Macy’s Flower Basket Mandela,” and Amy Blicher’s fabric paint quilt “Tulip Delight,” cover the print and fabric art categories.

In the photo department: Howard Weinstone’s “Dreams” was a striking black and white patterned collage of a young man and the shore. Frank Smith’s “Santa Fe Shadows” is a bold and clean design of orange adobe walls against blue sky. Sandy Burton’s “Waiting for Her Toes to Dry” is another foot image, and “Red Lights” by Melinda Wade is an energetic pattern of lights.

Did the ribbon fall off Mark Stoeckle’s beautiful photo “Surf Clams”?  I’m a color junkie, and it knocked me out with the subtle variety of tones found in our ubiquitous natural beach litter.

Two ceramic choices for awards are well placed: Sandi Kosinski’s “Target Series, Rhino” is a message served up on a plate. Nina Gross and Mike Golden created a creature that might be found in the sea. Their “White Stoneware, Crater Glaze” has a spiky but sponge-like texture.

Barbara Koppel-Kiernan’s “Raku Colors” bowl was pretty and won a ribbon.

It may be the Foundation’s policy not to award ribbons to faculty and board members. If that’s the case, then I can understand why there were no ribbons awarded to the excellent paintings and drawings on display. Guna Manheim’s “Loveladies Sketchbook” is intriguing and refreshing. Sketching is unfairly overlooked, I think.

Linda Ramsay’s two acrylic paintings are wonderful. “Bridge Reflection” speaks to Philadelphia’s rust belt pull, and “Calm Morning” of a tiny boat crossing a wide bay is a painting to happily get lost in.

Joan Ganz’s two paintings are also diverse subjects. “Obtuse” is a close-up of octopus coils; “Grove” is (I think) a California landscape that contrasts a deep field and cozy, pillow-like trees.

James Steen’s “Lighthouse @ Daybreak” is a painting of the Barnegat Lighthouse in search of an LBI wall.

But Newell Fischer’s wild, pastel portrait “Royalty” is something else again – emotional and funny and personal.

Just a few more art works that I particularly enjoyed: Ellyn Rosenfield’s totem “Welcome to My World,” and “6 Fish Caught” wall hanging by Maureen Seiffert are both stabs at contemporary folk art.

Oh, and who could walk by Sue Pohanka’s grouping of fish cups, “Progression Ceramics” without casting an admiring gaze at the blowfish, or Anna Salibello’s strong “Black Vessel” or Billy Gellar’s “Flower Power” fused glass platter?

There is much to enjoy in this annual exhibition that shows what is possible during a summer’s worth of art classes at LBIF. It is up only until Sept. 2, so find your way to the Foundation and search out your own favorites.

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

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