Rockaways see red in ‘Vemilion’ exhibition

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The Rockaway Artists Alliance has once again put on a stellar show with its latest exhibit, “Vermilion,” now at sTudio 6 at Fort Tilden.

Many of the artists, like M. Elliott Killian, Roger Carreau, and Janet Dever, are veterans of the RAA, but many were new. The works, which include painting, sculpture and mixed media either have vermilion, or some shade of red in them.

In some of the works red is the dominant color, in some the color is merely a spot that pulls your eye to it, and other works depict love or passion.

In keeping with the theme, everything was red at the exhibition’s opening reception this weekend. Artists and visitors wore red. One woman wore a wildly red coat with a karacul lamb collar, and had a tattoo of red lips on the back of her neck. Cranberry punch, tomato canapes, twizzlers, red hots, red grapes and red wine were served. Red heart-shaped lights winked in the boughs of a fig tree. One of them was attached to a stuffed bird. A Chihuahua, who seemed to belong to no one, wandered around in a red and black sweater.

Anthony Scariolo’s untitled collage is a small wooden artist’s model, taken apart and put in a shadow box. In the middle of the figure’s chest there’s a button that says “I Am Loved.”

Callie Danae Hirsch’s oil on wood painting “Vibrant Desire” is another of her delectable works jeweled with champagne bubble/plant and animal cells. In this work a beautiful red bromeliad emerges from a sea of other plants made up of bubbles and dots.

Amanda Sunderland’s oil and acrylic “Physgill Glen” is a grove seen through a haze of fiery red, as in a dream or through a furnace. Add to that the fact that the section of the wall it was hung on was creaking and swaying a bit lent it an added intensity. Its companion piece, Sunderland’s “My View From Roxbury,” is a cityscape scene through the same smoky red.

Shri Brahnan’s “Anda Sarasuati” is a photo of a dignified man dressed in red, while in Ralph Faillace’s “Romeo and Juliet” a couple mug as the ill-fated lovers — at least the guy had a reddish beard.

M. Elliott Killian was represented by her evocative seascapes. In her watercolor “Fate of the Lady Grace,” the bottom of the stranded trawler is a rusty red.

Lois Stiene’s “Gaillardia,” “Standing Sunflowers” and “Cardinal,” all oils, are flowers and a not quite red bird — a female or juvenile cardinal maybe? Jacqueline Hoffstein’s “Tres Amigos” are three enormous red feathered macaws. The one in the center seems to be giving the avian equivalent of the peace sign.

Roger Carreau’s “Glowing Red” is a photo of a scarlet vine draped over a fence before a shadowy tree and a sunlit meadow, while Arthur Bongiorno’s “Agita” looked like drinking glasses seen from above on a red table, or bubbles of acid indigestion moving through the inflamed red of a hurting stomach.

Igor Gushchin’s oil painting “Spring Morning” was my favorite, though the color red didn’t predominate. The work shows a stunning neverland that make those Edy’s Dreamery ice cream commercials look unappealing. The foreground was full of exuberantly blossoming ornamental bushes and in the background lavender and green fields and hills march toward a city at the foothills of the blue mountains. Tucked into the fields and hills are knots of blossoming apple trees. I wanted to just throw myself into the picture and live there.

In Maria Lambasa’s “Swimmer In Red,” a tiny swimmer in red bathing gear emerges from the surf; the painting’s bright red frame helps guide the eye to her, the way a good frame should.

Nora Funaro’s “Colin” and “Pensive Lucia” are amazing; both are done in colored pencil, though they have the rich texture of oil paint. In “Pensive Lucia,” the red of a little girl’s shirt peeks out from her denim jacket, while “Colin” is a confident little boy in red tinted deadlocks and a red shirt.

Julia Kozlyansky’s oil painting “Reverberat­ions” looks like the interior of an exotic red flower or a uterus, and in Steve Berman’s arresting “Wahiba” a woman stands serenely against a red background. Her skin is dark and her gown is glowing white.

In A. Irizarry’s “Tree on 81st Street,” an oil on a 42-by-52-inch canvas, what’s probably an ordinary old tree is transformed into the kaleidoscopic, glowing, sheltering mother of all trees.

Denis Macrae’s oil paintings of a vermillion flycatcher and scarlet tanager are in the bathroom — make sure you check them out as well.

In Joseph Morales’ “Consumed by Passion’s Flames,” the lovers embrace in swirls of black, red and pink. Alan Cyprys’ “Slave of Love (A1, A2 and A3)” are hearts and a form wrapped tightly in silvery wire. Erica Cyprys has beautifully and simply painted watercolors of “Avocado and Persimmon” and “Pomegranate.”

Laverne Jenkins’ “Squares in Motion” and Marcy Yablonski's’ “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner” are quilts. “Squares in Motion” looks like an op art painting of a red and white checkerboard while “Guess Who's Coming to Dinner” seems at first more traditional. From a distance it looks like something you’d put over a sleeping baby, though up close you see the squares have patterns of fruit and hungry ants.

Maria Lambasa’s “Red Outhouse” is a red, birdhouse-sized shed with an equally diminutive garden and picket fence. A bear emerges cheerfully from the door.

Palma Genovese’s “Pomegranate Server” is an especially delicious piece, made of hammered copper and brass with a silver vine on one side and five little red crystals like pomegranate seeds on another. It’s as sensuous as the fruit that’s served in it.

Vermilion will be at RAA till March 9. Rockaway Arts Center’s sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden, Gateway National Recreation Area, Rockaway. Call 718-474-0861 or go to

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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