‘Weather’ Art Exhibit at LBI Foundation

‘Fury VII’ photographic print mounted on UV Plexiglass by Dalton Portella.

The exhibit “Weather” now at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences transports us to storms at sea, hurricanes off the coast, blasts of summer lightning as well as serene evenings at dusk and mellow moonlit nights.

The Foundation exhibit committee knew a show with a one-word theme would bring a wide selection of photographs and art, and was willing to see what would blow in, so to speak. Internationally known artists, professional local photographers and Island natives all had something to show and say about the weather.

Having a home in North Beach allows photographer Frederick Ballet an intimacy with weather on Long Beach Island, and it shows in his serene shot “Snow on the Beach” and vibrant “Summer Storm I” and “Summer Storm II,” printed on metallic paper.

The artist made this statement on his website: “The beauty of the natural world has always filled me with an existential fascination. As a young boy I would often go down to the sea, never disappointed in her embrace of peaceful solitude. I now revel in capturing her special moments of equanimity, movement, color, light, power and immortality. …My goal remains the same, for the viewer to leave with a meditative sense of beauty, peace, and timelessness.”

Photographer John Vlahakis of Harvey Cedars knows the LBI environment and has always had an interest in protecting it. He is the original founder of Earth Friendly Products and, more recently, the founder of Earthy, a holistic household and personal care products brand. He maintains a blog at earthlyreport.com. He is also the author of Green Bites- Ecological Musings From The Front. His images -“Reflection” (sunrise on the beach), “A Reminder from Zeus” (of a lightning storm over Harvey Cedars) and “Climate Schimite” (a stab at politics in a photo of a high tide impacting a home) reflect his interest in the natural world and the need to create dialogue regarding our place in it. The prints are large and released in limited, numbered series of five or fewer.
Dalton Portella is an artist, photographer, musician and surfer living and working in Montauk, N.Y. His “Fury VII” keeps us humble in the face of a storm at sea. How lucky we are to be on dry land, we think as we view monolithic waves sweeping across a turbulent sky.

Photographer George Mattei lives in Little Egg Harbor. His beautiful print “Route 72 Supermoon” of the Causeway Bridge captures a night to remember. “Slurpee Swells” is of a cold day at the beach when ice creates slush in the saltwater breakers.

Shawn Casey gives us chunks of ice floating in the fishing port of “Viking Village,” a scene most summer day-trippers would find hard to imagine.

Christopher Smith’s drone shot “Beach Replenishment Dredge” remind us that what the ocean gives, it often takes away, and a drone shot of the “Chatsworth Fire” reminds us we live between two potentially dangerous areas.

Although much of the exhibit relies on weather captured in the moment by photography, there are thought- and mood-provoking paintings.

James Graham is a painter living in Astoria, N.Y. and painting in Montauk. His works are made of thick impasto oil paint applied with expression to subjugate a familiar landscape.

Kevin Coogan’s incredible seascapes break the surface of waves into myriad reflections of the sun. “Blows of the Rain” and “Waves Break Land” are both powerful large works that mesmerize with their implied movement. If you have never seen Coogan’s work (he is represented at Wildflower’s Too in Barnegat Light), then be ready to be astounded.

Other home-grown artists include prolific painter Linda Ramsay of High Bar Harbor, who maintains a winter studio at the Foundation. Two of her paintings are exhibited, “Last Light” of a marsh at dusk and “Summer Storm” of an approaching storm on LBI.

Lisa Budd from West Creek on the mainland finds inspiration down various Dock Roads such as “Around the Bend” inwatercolor and “Rising Tide” in oil.Her paintings of the defunct fish factory on Crab Island are evocative of a lost time.

Paul Hartelius from Manahawkin focused on the subject of climate change as it affects us locally. “Beach Haven Down Under” shows the downtown immersed in a flood tide. “Aftermath ” is of a shattered, landlocked boat brought to ruin by Superstorm Sandy.

Andrea Sauchelli of Manahawkin’s abstract oil painting “Withstand” uses verdant greens, splashes of blue and warm brown calligraphy to evoke the interplay of sea and land.

Internationally known batik artist Mary Edna Fraser of South Carolina paints with wax and dyes on silk to create topographic maps of the East Coast. For the Foundation, she exhibits “Hurricane Florence” as it approached the coast of Florida.

We all talk about the weather, and here are artists who have done something thought-provoking and beautiful about it.

The Foundation plans to incorporate some ofits programming around the exhibit, so stay tuned. “Weather” continues through March 29. Keep in mind the Foundation is closed Sundays and Mondays until spring.

-Pat Johnson

Reposted from The Sandpaper, Feb. 6, 2020