BELLPORT VILLAGE

Art show draws hundreds

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With mass-gathering art taking a bow for the foreseeable future (Broadway is now dark until at least June 2021), local art shows carry a heavier burden of filling that gap for the art lovers’ community.

With over 400 attendees, the South Bay Art Association’s Discover the Arts fair on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society, helped fill that void for an art-hungry public.

With 20 artists, all properly socially distanced on the grounds of the Historical Society, event-goers were treated to a wide spectrum of media, from classic acrylic paintings to fiber art.

The South Bay Art Association typically hosts a July 4th event that takes up all of Bellport Lane with over 70 vendors, but that event had to be cancelled this year due to the pandemic.

This first annual Discover the Arts event has proven to be popular enough to be a staple of South Bay Art Association’s fall lineup.

Hoping to have a gala this January, as it is the association’s 65th year in 2021, members are cautious, but optimistic. The association consists of over 100 members, many in their 80s, who were founding members.

The vendors for Discover the Arts included photography, wire trees, acrylics, water colorists, T-shirts, and woodworking.

Caroline Slovensky, the youngest member of the association, presented her unique medium of pastel on wood canvasses. Coming upon this unusual canvas for pastels happened during a trip to Michael’s with Slovensky’s mother, who pointed out the wood panels. Studying illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Slovensky’s eye for detail and incorporation of realism is superb.

Taking an unexpected turn for traditional nautical painting, Slovensky’s near-human portraiture of sharks and other predatory sea creatures belies a connection with these feared ocean-dwellers that comes out as a sympathetic artistic flair.

“I will take coloring from a photo, posing from another photo, and use three to four references,” said Slovensky of her work.

In her portrait “Moonlit Hammerhead,” Slovensky’s attention to the ambient light creates a portrait of a beast almost in repose and harmony with the world around it, as it takes a break from the hunt and engages with the sea as a resident.

In other works, Slovensky is careful to keep the realism of her subject, but to tell their stories in nuanced ways with her coloring and chosen poses.

Holly Hunt’s series, “Abandoned Beauties,” breathes veneration and contemplation into forgotten structures.

Inspired by elements of her own life, each picture taken by Hunt tells a story of struggle that may or may not be resolved by the end of the viewing. In “A Dancer’s Dream,” Hunt tells the story of her shattered dreams on stage through a cruel teacher’s words. The portrait features a Degas print of tragic ballerinas in the background. The sensitivity and symbolism in Hunt’s portraits spans a universe in each shot and begs the viewer to enlist their most empathetic viewing.

In “The Prayer,” Hunt’s choice of cubicle-esque pews brings to light a commentary on organized religion that is contrasted to the praying/pleading self-portrait contained in the piece.

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