North Hempstead artists featured in Hecksher’s Long Island Biennial exhibit

Rebecca Klar
"Rocks and Rays" by Rachelle Krieger, of Port Washington. (Photo courtesy of the Heckscher Museum)

The upcoming Long Island Biennial exhibit at the Hecksher Museum in Huntington isn’t focused on one theme or type of art, but is rather centered on Long Island artists.

This is the fifth edition of the Biennial. Jurors received more than 350 pieces of art from artists across the island. Fifty-two pieces were chosen, including work from Port Washington’s Rachelle Krieger, New Hyde Park’s Pat Detullio and Sands Point’s Jane Breskin Zalben.

The exhibit opens on Aug. 4 and will run until Nov. 11.

Detullio’s piece is a painting that depicts the view of Brooklyn from someone on the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive going toward the South Street Seaport. It shows the frame of the bridge against the Brooklyn backdrop.

“My Husband and I were both born in Brooklyn, and it just … spoke to me when I took that photograph,” Detullio said.

Detullio said she was shocked when her piece was chosen.

“Brooklyn” by Pat Detullio, of New Hyde Park.
(Photo courtesy of the Heckscher Museum)

She hasn’t been painting too long, only about 10 years, she said. It’s something she always wanted to pick up, but never had the time to explore when she was working and raising children, she said.

“Then I had a health issue, and I thought well, what would you regret not doing?” Detullio said. “And it wasn’t traveling Europe or anything like that, it was that I hadn’t done anything with the arts.”

Zalben had a similar experience that spurred her into painting. Though she had always done art, and went to school for it, she had primarily done illustrations for most of her life.

Painting large canvas pieces was always “the elephant in the room,” she said. It was an area she said she wished to explore.

When her mother died a couple of years ago, it served as a push for her to further pursue painting, she said.

“You sort of say, you got to do it now,” she said.

Zalben also said she found gauze and bandages “squirreled away” among her mother’s belongings.

Rather than tossing them, she used them in her art.

“Off the Grid” by Jane Breskin Zalben
(Photo courtesy of the Heckscher Museum)

Zalben started a series of acrylic paintings, dyeing and spray-painting the gauze. She also added her mother’s household cleaners to experiment with mixed media.

When painting the canvasses, Zalben said she can “really move.”

“You can listen to loud music and you can dance while working, whereas at a drafting table you’re very still,” Zalben said. “So it’s a very different experience.”

For Krieger, there was never a question about whether she would pursue art, she said.

“I always knew I was an artist,” Krieger said.

If she didn’t pursue art, though, Krieger would have gone into the sciences, she said. She draws on her science interest in her artwork.

Her piece in the exhibit is from a series called “Rocks and Rays,” which she calls an “ode to Mother Earth and our environment” and shows the correlation between art and science.

“It generally focuses on the kind of dance between the invisible part of the environment, electricity, lightwaves, wind and air patterns, as well as the solid elements of earth, like rocks,” Krieger said.

The jurors for the exhibit were Christine Berry, of Berry Campbell Gallery, Robert Carter, a professor of art at Nassau Community College, and Bobbi Coller, an independent art historian and curator.

“The art world needs as many venues as possible for new artists; this is so important and very much appreciated,” Carter said in a museum release. “The artist entries were surprising in how they varied in media use and subject matter – touching on nature, social issues and more. And, each juror brought their own unique perspective to the judging.”

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