The Island Today: Local ‘abstractions’ in the spotlight

Grace McQuade

The Art League of Long Island presents the abstract artwork of four notable local artists in the Art League of Long Island’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery.

Participating artists are Peter Galasso and Laura Powers-Swiggett and nonagenarians Stan Brodsky and Frank Wimberley.

Long Island Abstraction:  2 Generations will be on view March 25 through April 15.

The artists’ reception takes place Sunday, April 2 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Stan Brodsky 2_cmyk

Stan Brodsky, a life-long resident of the New York metro area was born in Brooklyn in 1926, lived in Greenwich Village and New York City until moving to Huntington in 1965.

After serving in WW II, he was fortunate to be able to study art in Missouri and Iowa before returning to New York City to earn his doctorate in art education at Teacher’s College, Columbia University.

He was a professor of art at C.W. Post for 31 years.

His influence on succeeding generations of artists also extends to the artists he mentors at the Art League of Long Island, Peter Galasso and Laura Powers-Swiggett among them.

About his work, Brodsky said:  “I have been an exhibiting artist in New York City for more than 50 years — and my passion for painting is as strong now as ever. I have traveled extensively absorbing the colors and textures of new landscapes.”

Brodsky’s works can be found in the permanent collections of the Baltimore Museum of Art, Guild Hall, Parrish Museum of Art, the Long Island Museum, the Heckscher Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts (St.Petersburg, Fla.), Dayton Art Institute (Ohio), among many others.

The “Stan Brodsky papers” a collection of his notes and sketches from 1951-2004 can be found at the Smithsonian Institute.

Paul Galasso

Peter Galasso is a painter of large gestural abstracts.

His current work is an exploration of feeling, memory and a unique vision laid out on canvas in a style which is both original and inviting and offers a fresh, new look at color and form.

He is especially drawn to American Abstract Expressionism made popular in the 1950s here on Long Island by such luminaries as de Kooning, Pollock, Frankenthaler and Joan Mitchell. Galasso has won awards at numerous juried exhibitions throughout Long Island. New York Times art critic, Phyllis Braff, awarded Peter “Best in Show” at an international juried exhibition, Abstraction 2003.

He has shown his work twice at the Nassau County Museum of Art. Other recent exhibits include the Heckscher Museum’s 48th Long Island Artist’s Exhibition and several solo exhibitions at the Alfred Van Loen Gallery in South Huntington, New York and Ripe Art Gallery in Huntington.

Galasso was born in Brooklyn, New York and currently resides on Strong’s Neck, Long Island.

He formerly studied the figure for five years with renowned Long Island artist, Betty Holliday. He went on to study abstract art with Stan Brodsky at the Art League of Long Island.

Laura Powers_cmyk

Laura Powers-Swiggett has lived and painted on Long Island for most of her life.

She works in a variety of media, including acrylic, oil and gouache, and draws on direct observation, memory and intuition as part of her painting process.

Powers-Swiggett’s landscape-based abstractions explore spatial and color relationships between land, sea and sky, and the possibilities they suggest for dividing the picture plane. Intuitive explorations of light, color and paint, they are rooted in the natural world, yet hint at mysteries beyond the scope of vision.

Powers-Swiggett is long time member of the Art League of Long Island, where she has studied with Stan Brodsky, Paul Wood and Christian White.

She served on the Art League’s Board of Directors for 12 years, from 1997-2009, and was actively involved in planning and fund raising for the Art League’s current home, the Elizabeth Livingston Center.

Powers-Swiggett has also served for the past 25 years on the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Association of Nassau County and is dedicated to advocacy for children and families challenged by emotional and developmental disabilities, receiving the MHA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2006.

Since 2011, Powers-Swiggett has led a partnership between St. John’s Church in Cold Spring Harbor and a primary school in Haiti, developing a deep appreciation for Haitian art and culture.

Powers Swiggett received her BA in Visual Studies from Dartmouth College in 1979 and began her career as a marketing executive in the cable television industry.

She now devotes herself fully to painting and community service. She has three children and lives in Lloyd Harbor with her husband, Brian.

Frank Wimberley

Born in Pleasantville, New Jersey in 1926, Frank Wimberely now lives and works in New York City and Sag Harbor.

He studied with James Porter, Lois Mailou Jones and James Wells at Howard University and was awarded the prestigious Pollock-Krasner Grant for 1998.

Wimberley’s works are in the collections of The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, NYC; The Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY; The John Hoskins Estate, Atlanta University, GA; Time Warner, NYC; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., among others.

Wimberely describee his approach to his art:  “The abstract painter can commence his drawing or canvas generally with only a preconceived notion, reflection or emotion. The end result, whether finished or still seeking a conclusion is then determined by tools, paint, the colors or tones employed, and the size of the work as well as the mood of the moment. He has far less guarantees than perhaps the realist painter or photographer that the finished expression will extend from calculated reason or logic. This for me provides the excitement of taking the theme or feeling from the very first stroke, and following it to its own particular conclusion. It is very much like creating the controlled accident.”

The Art League of Long Island is a not-for-profit visual arts organization that offers classes and workshops for children and adults, from beginner to advanced levels.

Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m, Fridays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on weekends 11 a.m. to 4 p.m..

The Art League is located at 107 East Deer Park Road in Dix Hills.  For information about classes, exhibits, and events call (631) 462-5400 or visit

Share this Article