By Sophia Ricco
The work of three artists comes together in harmony to transport viewers through Long Island at the recently opened Huntington Arts Council exhibit, Beyond the Sound.
This invitational exhibit features the works of Grainne de Buitlear, Jean Cohn, and Michael Ricigliano, Long Islanders who think outside the box and feel they go “beyond the Long Island Sound.” The artists came up with the name of the exhibit and feel this title encapsulates all three of their bodies of work, with two artists focusing on water-based pieces and the other taking influences from nature and putting it into his work. The exhibit will run from September 21 through October 13.
Taking a stroll around the gallery, it is evident which pieces come from a particular artist due to their unique styles. Their style and subjects all come from their different paths of life. Buitlear is primarily a painter and works with pastels, Cohn is an art teacher for children pre-kindergarten to sixth grade and weaves mixed mediums, and Ricigliano practices law and creates figurative work based on what he sees.
“You’d be able to tell by looking at it, their different perspectives on basically what beyond the sound is,” Emily Dowd, Grants for the Arts Coordinator at Huntington Arts Council, said. “You can see how they interpret their different experiences and bringing it into one cohesive show.”
Artist, Grainne de Buitlear has fallen in love with the Long Island coast and the nature that surrounds it. Originally from the east coast of Ireland, she finds many similarities between living on the coasts of these places and finds herself gravitating toward it.
“I really try to be inspired by what I see,” Grainne de Buitlear, one of the artists, said. “I take my inspiration from nature around me, I find beautiful spots. I love the sea, I love what I’ve grown up with I guess.”
After moving to New York in her 20s to pursue acting, Buitlear found love and decided to stay in the States. She now has a studio in her home in Port Jefferson, that has given her a creative outlet between raising four kids. Buitlear reflects on her time as a child as a time when she developed her creativity, with a mother as a set designer, she has been painting since she was seven years old.
“My family has always been involved with arts, my uncle was a wildlife filmmaker. My mother and uncle went around Europe and to Ethiopia making these films,” Buitlear said. “So I spent my summers and every trip surrounded by wildlife.”
Although, Buitlear knew she loved nature and wildlife, she did not start painting landscapes with pastels until two years ago. This is when she began to submit her work to galleries around Long Island and joined the LIMArts collaborative arts group.
“They had asked me to do a show a year ago and I said, ‘No way, I couldn’t have the time to make such a body of work.’ And they asked me again and I just thought that was a challenge that would make me work harder and pour my heart into,” Buitlear said.
What’s unique about an invitational show is the amount of work that is displayed by each artist. Typically, an exhibit would allow only one or two works from each artist but an invitational displays an artist’s body of work. The artists were selected by Emily Dowd and Kieren Johnson, co-curators in exhibition program, based on the cohesiveness of their works.
“We look into the submissions and take a look at what we think really works well together,” Dowd said. “And that’s how these three artists were selected to be a part of the show.”
The Huntington Arts Council holds two to three invitationals a year, that allows artists to showcase their pieces, selected by them. Buitlear choose to display her landscapes created at West Meadow Beach, Belle Terre Beach, the Hamptons, Montauk, and other coastal areas on Long Island.
“I really did base my work on the edge of the Sound and kept my work very coastal based, just beyond the water, the greens, and the vascity of that landscape around it,” Buitlear said.
All pieces on display are for sale and can purchased during the duration of the exhibit. The gallery is open 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on weekdays and 12 - 4 p.m. on Saturday.