Keep still

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One antidote to having to go out in a nasty, late winter storm that leaves you cold, damp and itchy is to duck into Rockaway Artists Alliance sTudio 6 for their latest exhibit, “The Life of Still Objects.”

The exhibit is small and intimate, the gallery warm and dry. One is struck by the tranquility of the works — even Susan de Castro’s vibrant oil paintings are peaceful, like walking through a hothouse of exotic flowers.

The first work you come across is Ralph Petagna’s photograph “Tulip,” a sensuous black and white close-up of the flower. Petagna also has evocative photos of the Riis Towers, and the round, gleaming WTC fountain. The reviewer didn’t notice when the photograph was taken and now I wonder if it still exists ...

Nearby is the small, cozy quilt “Blue Teapot” by Mary Ann McEvoy, with its blue teapot — filled with hot tea? — in the center. She has an even cozier “Easy Chair,” another small quilt that features an overstuffed red chair that begs to be curled up in. The chair stands against a pattern of swirling gold.

Dan Guarino presents with “Bunch” a vivid color photo of ripening bananas, “Flight,” an inspired photo of what looks like a World War II fighter airplane suspended in the glow of a skylight, and “Cup,” a photo of coffee in a heavy ceramic cup straight out of Denny’s.

“Still Life” by Sydell Rohafel is an oil on canvas. It’s an arrangement of a jar of olive oil and root veggies. Jessica Schulman has a photo of “Rockport Lanterns,” which shows red, silver/gold and blue lanterns hung on nails on cedar shingles. Her photograph “High Life” makes art out of a crushed beer can on the beach, and her “Victoriana” actually looks like an abstract painting, though it’s also a photograph. Here a Victorian mirror is hung with a top hat and an umbrella on a papered wall.

The photograph “Half Empty” by Mary A. Meade shows a wood carrier half emptied of logs on what looks like a porch. You imagine those other logs burning merrily inside the house. She also has “Buoys for Sale” and “Memories of the Penny Arcade,” a bit of Americana showing an affable wooden Uncle Sam.

Further down there’s the delicious “A Trinity of Ties in Pairs,” Joseph Abbate’s photo of three tiers of beautiful ties in all colors that look like they’re made of the finest silk, and “Water Wheels Of Idaho,” which show the water wheels spraying a field in what looks like early morning sun haze. Susan de Castro’s painting “Felix” shows a bedside clock fashioned after the grinning cat in the shade of an improbably placed mini umbrella. She also has wildly colored paintings of hot peppers and mangos, persimmons and a single martini and gourds.

“Modern Onions In Early 17th C. Japanese Oribe Bowl” is a tranquil work by Audrey Irwin. The onions, fresh and firm, are individually wrapped in blue netting, and arranged in the rustic bowl against a deep blue background. Her “Veronica Cauliflowers in a Strainer” makes you stop, if only because you’ve never seen a veggie that looks quite like it. It’s lime green and looks like a cross between a cauliflower, broccoli and a sea creature. ‘Can your really eat that?’ the reviewer wondered.

The exhibit ends with Stephanie Schmidt’s “Ocean Study V” and “Beach.” The first shows a huge cracked boulder on the shore, in shallow sea water that hasn’t yet retreated. The other shows a hulking wooden thing — maybe part of an old shipwreck — on the beach. Both were photographed on dramatic overcast days, and the positioning of the objects slightly off center both emphasize their heft, and give the photos a pleasing tension.

“The Life of Still Objects” will be at the RAA till March 27.

If You Go

The Life of Still Objects

When: Through March 27, Saturdays and Sundays 12-4 p.m.

Where: Rockaway Artists Alliance, sTudio 6 Gallery, Fort Tilden, Rockaway

Contact: 718-474-0861


Updated 10:48 am, October 12, 2011
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