STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The grounds of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden were buzzing with artistic excitement Saturday as the Newhouse Center of Contemporary Art and Art Lab combined to display three art exhibits.
The two buildings, which are connected, allowed Staten Islanders easy access to all three collections.
Art Lab Summer Invitational: Marie Roberts
Portraits of sword swallowers and mermaids lined the Art Lab gallery room, showing off the work of Coney Island painter Marie Roberts. Her specialty is painting circus talent like the Turtle — a noted wrestler in Coney Island — and Nati, “The Patchwork Girl.”
“My father used to take me [to Snug Harbor] when I was a little girl,” Roberts said. “It’s an honor to present my collection here. I feel like Staten Islanders will like it a lot.”
Marie Roberts is an artist in residence at the nonprofit art center in Coney Island USA and a professor of art at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Perhaps, she is most known as the banner painter for the Coney Island Sideshow.
Marie has a rich family history with Coney Island and the Sideshow performers as her uncle, Lester, was the talker for the sideshow and she grew up with traveling “freaks” who would stay at the family home when in town for performances. Marie is known for her sideshow banners, but also makes banners for the annual Mermaid Parade and is immersed in the community, sketch pad always in hand, recording people at protest rallies and marches. Most recently, she completed a Coney Island Art Wall mural.
“It is inconceivable to me that painting could exist without drawing,” the artist wrote in a pamphlet given out at the artist reception. “I have attempted here to give viewers a glimpse into my process.”
“Almost Like We Know” by David Jacobsen Loncle
When he’s not teaching at the College of Staten Island, David Jacobsen Loncle is displaying his abstract art at the Newhouse Center of Contemporary Art.
An array of multi-colored paintings from 2008 on set a unique tone for Loncle’s collection.
Abstract art gives the viewer the freedom to interrupt what they see for themselves, but Loncle says context is key.
“What abstract art represents to you might be incredibly different than what it represents for me,” said Loncle. “That’s the beauty of it.”
“Mexico/Staten Island” by Irma Bohorquez-Geisler
The “Mexico/Staten Island” collection, led by photographer Irma Bohorquez-Geisler, is a part of an evocative, ongoing…