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Selections from

The Permanent Collection

Mei Savage Brady
song of desire / mixed media collage / 1986

Mei Savage Brady
song of desire / mixed media collage / 1986

Mei Savage Brady (1921-1999) painted and sculpted on Long Island for over 60 years. She was a familiar figure on the Long Island art scene, and exhibited in all the Museums and galleries here, including Heckscher Museum, The Parrish and the Islip Art Museum. The noted art critic Henry Geldzahler selected her work for a special award at an exhibit at Guild Hall in East Hampton.

Throughout her career she worked in many styles and explored numerous techniques. Although the majority of her work is abstract, her elaborate illustrated collages, which depict fairy tales and fantasy worlds, are among her most admired pieces. The Islip Art Museum is fortunate to have three in its Permanent Collection.

The artist lived in Brookhaven, on one of the area’s many duck farms, and was an active environmentalist. She was instrumental in forming the North Fork Preservation Society.

Katmandu / Mixed media on paper / 2011

When he was 13 years old, Perry Burns’ uncle took him to Beirut, Lebanon, a trip that made a lasting impression on him. As an adult, he returned many times, enchanted by the sensual culture and historic legacy of the Middle East. His work merges the Islamic patterns and motifs he encountered in his travels with Abstract Expressionism, an art movement that has strong roots on the East End of Long Island where the artist has lived and practiced for 25 years.

Burns says he does not reproduce nature, but instead tries to express the dynamism of cultural interchange in a global world. Born in 1956 in Greenwich, Ct, he graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 1988. He has exhibited widely and has had many solo shows throughout the United States.

Desert Series #427K / Acrylic on canvas / 1985

Edith Carlson was a member of a mid-century art movement known as Abstract Luminism. Though often grouped with minimalists such as Donald Judd and Dan Flavin, she considered her works realistic landscapes that capture the quality of light in the Southwestern desert.

Carlson was born in 1923 in Minneapolis and always called herself a “little girl from Minnesota,” even during the decades she maintained a studio and practice in Manhattan where she was represented by Phillips Gallery. She began her career as a writer, and was married to Frank O’Rourke, a well-known author of Westerns and mysteries. When the couple moved to Taos, New Mexico, the artist Emil Bisttram, founder of the Taos Art Association and an old friend from New York, encouraged her to turn to painting full-time.

Carlson died in Utah in 2007. She left her archives to the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis because of its strong holding of work by women artists. The Weisman Museum established the Edith Carlson Gallery, which presents rotating exhibits of her paintings, drawings and works in pencil.

Untitled (Cuban Sea Series) / Painted wall relief / 1983

Humberto Chávez left his native Cuba in the 1960’s to study art in New York City at Parsons School of Design. His paintings and sculptures pay homage to the colors, shapes and natural beauty of his homeland.

This work is among the first gifts to the Museum in 1986, and set the tone for diversity and inclusion, which is a hallmark of the IAM Permanent Collection.

Chavez’s work has been included in more than 70 major exhibitions, including the Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York, the Center for Fine Arts in Florida, many university galleries and several art museums in Europe. Chávez also lived and worked in Portugal, where his sculpture is represented in the permanent collection of the Gulbenkian Museum.

He became a US Citizen and has lived and worked in Manhattan for many years. An activist and curator, he has received a Pollock Krasner grant and numerous other prestigious awards and recognitions.

Flashback #2 / Lithograph / 1977

John Angus Chamberlain achieved global fame for his monumental sculptures made from crushed automobiles. The sculptures seem to translate Abstract Expressionist paintings into three dimensions, and can be found in most of the world’s major museums.

In 1957, while staying with the painter Larry Rivers in Southampton, he drove over a bumper that had fallen off River’s car. Instead of annoyance, Rivers asked him to make a sculpture from the metal. From then on, Chamberlain created his signature sculptures from car parts he found and welded together. After 1967, he also created abstract works on paper, an example of which is this lithograph in the Islip Art Museum’s Permanent Collection.

At the time of his death in 2011 he resided and worked on Shelter Island. Born in Indiana in 1927, the son of a saloonkeeper, he was raised by his grandmother after his parents divorced. He spent much of his youth in Chicago. After serving in the Navy from 1943 to 1946, he attended the Art Institute of Chicago and Black Mountain College in North Carolina.

The Relative Sameness of Difference / Photograph, mixed media / 1988-89

Norman Colp was an important figure in the conceptual art movement of the 1970’s. He explored many mediums, including photography, sculpture, mixed-media and book art. His works are humorous and witty, and often skewer the idiosyncrasies of modern life.

In 1991, Colp’s installation for the MTA through the Art for Transit program generated one of the nation’s first public art controversies when a group of commuters complained that his work was too depressing and demanded its removal. Based on iconic Burma Shave ads, Colp‘s Commuter’s Lament was an 18-word poem printed on a series of signs that lined the corridor between Port Authority and Penn Station. The poem read:

So Tired.
If late
Get fired.
Why bother?
Why the pain?
Just go home
Do it again

Counter-protestors argued that the work was a satire that captured a unique New York sensibility. The year-long controversy ended with the MTA decision to keep the work as a permanent fixture in the subway system. It is still accessible to the public.

Colp’s works are in many public and private collections. The Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan includes several of his artist’s books in its Permanent Collection. In 1992, the Islip Art Museum lent three of the Colp pieces it owns to MOMA for an exhibit focusing on the Conceptual Art Movement. Colp was born in 1947 and died in 2007.

Atomicflowers / Oil On Canvas / 1988

Janet Culbertson’s career path became clear to her during a canoe trip she took with her father on a river in Western Pennsylvania. The water was so polluted her father forbid her to touch it. Though only nine years old at the time, she knew she would become an environmental artist. Her inspiration is singular: an interest in the beauty and fragility of the natural world.

Her paintings incorporate mediums that are not typically found in the fine arts, including iridescent paint and glitter. In Culbertson’s work, these materials—which are traditionally associated with kitsch and craft—convey the toxic and menacing atmosphere of an endangered planet.

Culbertson’s career spans four decades, most of which has been on Shelter Island. With more than 35 one-woman shows and numerous awards, her work is in the permanent collection of museums from the Galeria-Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica to the Fogg Art Museum in Cambridge, Mass.

New York City Bridge Series, # 6 and #8 / Gelatin silver print / 1995

Harry Clayton Davies is a painter, photographer and poet who joined the art department of Adelphi University in 1970 when his childhood friend, Richard Vaux, (also in the Museum’s Permanent Collection) alerted him to an opening for an associate dean in the college of Arts and Science. Three months after accepting the job, he was named acting dean of the College, and soon dean. In 1980, became chair of the Art and Art History Department. Under his leadership, the department expanded from under 40 students to roughly 200, with eight full-time faculty and 30 adjunct faculty. Through Davies leadership, the college art department became one of the most prestigious on the East Coast.

Davies continued to practice his own art while directing Adelphi’s art department. He was featured in many exhibits, and has work in several museum collections on Long Island. In 2004 Davies retired and moved to Maine in order to devote more time to his many literary and visual art projects.

Commerative Column K / Mixed media sculpture / 1980

Claudia DeMonte is known for her playful feminist art works that explore the iconography and mythology of womanhood. She uses the bright colors and vibrant details that characterize folk art, and was influenced by outsider artists Sister Gertrude Morgan and James Son Ford Thomas.

In Commerative Column K, DeMonte created a comic-book version of a column from classical Greek architecture—the kind that historically celebrated the victories of men in war. She topped her column with two young girls in Victorian outfits balancing the planet between their feet. For DeMonte, it is women who literally hold up the world.

Born in the Bronx, NY, in 1947, DeMonte was active in the Women’s Liberation movement of the 1960’s and has travelled to over 80 countries to explore the roles of women in contemporary society. She is the curator of Women of the World: A Global Collection of Art, which has travelled to museums throughout the United States.

DeMonte teaches at the University of Maryland where she has been named Distinguished Scholar Teacher and Professor Emerita. In 2006, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Santa Fe. She has had more than 100 one-person shows and has work in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Stamford Museum, and Boca Raton Museum. Her public commissions have come from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Brooklyn Library, Queens Supreme Court, Prudential Life Insurance, the state of New Mexico and the New York City School system. DeMonte lives with her husband, the artist Ed McGowan, in Manhattan and Kent, Ct.

Deena des Rioux
Modern Family / Digital photo montage / 2002

In Modern Family, Deena des Rioux depicts an ordinary family living in the degraded environment of a dystopian future. In a tableaux of family portraits—the kind that are found in households everywhere—parents, grandparents and children assume typical smiles and familiar poses while wearing gasmasks and hazmat suits as casually as we wear Nike sneakers and track pants today.

des Rioux was born in the England and studied at Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design. Her photographs are computer based, and reflect her interest in science fiction, Dada and the surreal. She has been included in numerous exhibitions and is in many museum collections. She maintains a graphic design studio in Manhattan.

Long Island Sound / Color photograph / 1991

Stanislaus Dubowski was a photographer who collaged strips of Kodacolor film to create images with off-kilter juxtapositions of space and perspective. His work often contained subtle jokes and puns, as in Long Island Sound, which is in the Museum’s Permanent Collection. The photograph is of passengers aboard the Port Jefferson Ferry with faces turned toward the sun. The front of the ferry resembles a huge open mouth, as if the ferry itself is about to speak—to make a “Long Island sound.”

Born in 1922 in the Ukraine, Dubowski work was included in numerous exhibits throughout Nassau and Suffolk, including shows at Guild Hall and the Heckscher Museum. In the late 1990’s he and his wife, Suzan Jivan, moved to Philadelphia where the artist continued to work until his death in 2007.