DISPATCH - MARCH 22, 2013 (3:27 p.m.)


A trio of art professors at Stony Brook University are putting themselves and their art on the line in a new show at Gallery North. "Elementary" features artworks by Mel Pekarsky, Nobuho Nagasawa and Howardena Pindell. The show opens tonight with a reception from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. The exhibition continues through April 26, 2013. An artist talk takes place on April 3, 2013 at the Long Island art gallery.

The understated show title ("Elementary") doesn't grab the conceptual power of the art manifested by each of the exhibiting artists. All have exhibited nationally and internationally. Art by all three are separately held by major private and public collections. Nagasawa's art has been selected for biennials held around the globe. Pindell's work his held by the major art museums in New York City (The Met, MoMA and the Whitney). Pekarsky's work was a pioneer in the environmental movement and helped carve the way for the Public Art Fund of NYC.

If attending tonight's opening isn't in the cards, here is a sneak peek of a few artworks and the passions that move each of the artists.

Nobuho Nagasawa is the MFA program director at Stony Brook University (SBU). Nagasawa has exhibited nationally and internationally and is known for her site-specific projects and public art that incorporates the site's history and the people with a spacial narrative, according to an artist statement on Artnet.com. The location and social context influence materials, form and media.

"...I see this process as an excavation of meanings – cultural, geopolitical, social, personal – that lie hidden within the materials themselves," she writes about her public works. "By revealing personal memories, collective histories, unacknowledged myths, and contradictory issues, I try to open up key social and personal reserves that can galvanize public interaction. Art, after all, has the power to deconstruct the blockages of social energy and serve as a catalyst to new vision and public self-discovery. My goal is to create artwork that provokes and revives a site and wakes people up to the poetry of place. "

For the last 10 years, Nagasawa has focused on materials that meld biological building blocks and natural elements, according to Gallery North. Her interactive projects are wrapped in a conceptual framework and explore the material's sensory properties as manifested in natural phenomena and human perception.

Highlights of Nagasawa’s exhibitions include the Royal Garden of the Prague Castle (Czech Republic), Ludwig Museums (Germany and Hungary), Rufino Tamayo Museum (Mexico), Alexandria Library (Egypt), the Getty Center for the History of Art and Humanities (US) and museums in Japan.  Her work has selected for multiple biennials including the Asian Art Biennial (Bangladesh, 2002), International Art Biennial (Egypt, 2002, 2004, 2005), Sharjah Biennial (United Arab Emirates, 2003), Echigo-Tsumari Triennial (Japan, 2003) and Sinop Biennial (Turkey, 2006).


"Ring of Time" by Nobuho Nagasawa. Courtesy Gallery North.


"Nuke Cuisine, Cloud of Mushroom Soup" by Nobuho Nagasawa. Aluminum can and printed paper. Courtesy Gallery North.


Pekarsky's creates representational and abstract artworks that are inspired by nature. For decades, Pekarsky’s art has used the lens of desert landscapes as an icon for the earth's fragility. His work walks a tightrope between abstraction and representation while making sure not to lay claim to either. Pekarsky was a founding member of City Walls, Inc., an artist-run public art corporation that evolved into New York's Public Art Fund.

Pekarsky has exhibited nationally and internationally. His paintings, drawings, prints and artist’s books are held by public, private and corporate collections. Pekarsky is studio faculty at SBU.


"Pretty Poisoned" by Mel Pekarsky. Mixed media on canvas, 54 x 66 inches. Photo: Max Yawney. Courtesy Gallery North.


"Burnt" by Mel_Pekarsky, 2013. Oil, pencil, colored pencil on canvas. 12 x 16 inches. Courtesy Gallery North.


Howardina Pindell's large works address issues of racism, feminism, violence, slavery and exploitation, according to Gallery North. Recently, Pindell colorful mixed media artworks haven taken a circular discs form and conjure the notion of whirling confetti. These artworks are created through a mix of planned and random placements.

Pindell is studio faculty at SBU. Pindell has a storied education, teaching and art career. She received an MFA from Yale University's School of Art and Architecture in 1967 and a BFA in Painting from Boston University's School of Fine and Applied Arts in 1965. She has two Honorary Doctorates: one from the Massachusetts College of Art (Boston, MA) and one from Parson School of Design of New School University (NYC).

Pindell worked for 12 years at MoMA as Associate Curator of Prints and Illustrated Books. In addition to teaching at SBU, Pindell was a visiting Professor of Art at Yale University's School of Art. Awards received include a Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts grants and others.

Pindell's art is part of collections held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Yale Art Museum, New Haven, The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, The Rhode Island School of Art Museum among many others.


1 by Howardena Pindell. Oil stick, crayon, ink, watercolor and gouche on museum board. Courtesy Galley North.


"4D" by Howardena Pindell. Oil stick, crayon, ink, watercolor and goauche on museum board. Courtesy Gallery North.


Stony Brook University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in Fine Art at its campus in Stony Brook, NY. The New York State university offers a BA in Studio Art and Art History. A minor in Digital Arts is also offered. The school offers an MFA in Studio Art and an MA and PhD in Art History and Criticism.

The university has around eight studio faculty professors, five affiliated faculty and five part-time faculty in the Studio Arts programs, according to Stony Brook University's website. An additional 11 professors teach art history and criticism.

Artists connected with the Stony Brook art program have exhibited at Gallery North before. Several years ago, MFA students were part of a edgy contemporary art group show. Last month, Stony Brook University studio faculty Stephanie Dinkins exhibited in the group show "A Celebration of Color."

BASIC FACTS: "Elementary" opens today and remains on view through April 26, 2013. The show features art by Nobuho Nagasawa, Mel Pekarsky and Howardina Pindell. All three are art professors at Stony Brook University. An artist talk will take place on Wednesday, April 3,2013 at 5:30 p.m.

Gallery North is located at 90 North Country Road, Setauket, NY 11733. For information, visit gallerynorth.org.


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