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Selections from

The Permanent Collection

Andy Warhol with AIDS / Commemorative March poster / 1988

Tailor Shop Belmont / Color photograph / 1992

Rodger Kingston has been called a connoisseur of the commonplace. His photographs are “straight photographs”—unmanipulated and taken with an ordinary camera and film. The two photographs in the Islip Art Museum Permanent Collection show the range of his work. In 1988, he created Andy Warhol with AIDS, the basis for the commemorative poster for a major march in downtown Manhattan to call attention to the AIDS crisis. Tailor Shop Belmont, done in 1992, is an example of his eye for color, composition and the dazzle of ordinary street life.

Born in Seattle, Washington in 1941 and raised in Montana, Kingston has lived in Massachusetts since 1968. He has a master’s degree in education from Harvard University and is an historian who maintains an extensive collection of antique and rare photographs. In 1995, he published Walker Evans in Print: An Illustrated Biography. He has shown extensively throughout the United States, and his photographs are in many collections, including Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum, and the National Gallery of American Art and Corcoran Gallery of Art, both in Washington, DC.

Conversations / Extacolor print / 1987

Belenna Mesa Lauto was born with an eye disease that left her legally blind in one eye. Although she recovered the use of the eye through years of strenuous exercises, her vision remained blurry and her two eyes never converged.

Despite her affliction—or because of it—she began to photograph the world around her when she was 15 years old. Inspired by the documentary photographer W. Eugene Smith, she took straight photographs of off-kilter moments in everyday life. In Conversations, Lauto presents a collision of youth and age, wealth and poverty, glamour and the ordinary.

As her career progressed, she began to manipulate film by creating collages from photographic prints and found objects. She has published a series of hand-made books, and now works with Photoshop. She received degrees from St. John’s University and New York University in the 1980’s. She is currently a professor of photography at St. John’s University in New York. Her work has been widely exhibited throughout the United States and internationally. She is represented in many museum collections, including the Samuel Dorsky Museum and the Center for Photography in Woodstock, NY.

Blue I / Photo construction inside plexi box / 1986

Katinka Mann’s spare work explores reflected light, illusion, shadow and color using trapezoidal or hexagon forms within a larger form. In Blue I, the juxtaposition of a minimal geometric form within a mirrored plexiglass rectangle plays with perceptions of depth and flatness.

Mann is a New York City based sculptor, painter and paper maker with a studio at the Elizabeth Foundation. She attended Hartford Art School at the University of Hartford from 1957 to 1960. In the 1960s she continued to study at Pratt Institute, the Ruth Leaf Print Workshop in Bayside, NY, and with Master Printmaker Don Stewart. Recently, Mann has been working in heavy aluminum, and continues to mine geometric form as a point of departure. In addition to Mann’s robust studio practice, in 1966 she founded and directed a contemporary arts education business for adults for 25 years.

Mann has exhibited her work extensively nationally and internationally in solo and group shows for over six decades. Her work can be found in more than 100 public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art Print Collection, the British Museum Print Collection, and the Metropolitan Museum.

Chelsea Series #3 / Cherrywood and concrete / 1995

Kirk McCoy is a self-taught artist who lived on Long Island for many years before relocating to Arizona. He was influenced by Michelangelo’s belief that a work of art resides in the material—the artist simply frees it. McCoy works in a variety of media, always seeking the appropriate form based on inherent properties of the material he chooses. In Chelsea 3, Pride, a work in the Museum’s Permanent Collection, McCoy takes his cue from the grain of a cherry wood tree he found after a storm. He donated this piece to the Museum when he decided to move to the far west.

While Chelsea 3 is classical in its spare form, much of McCoy’s work is complex and irreverent, often playing with words as well as materials.

McCoy worked as the operations manager at the Nassau County Museum for many years. In a decidedly non-artistic job he held in 1979 at the Fairchild facilities on Long Island, he helped de-bug the first modern fax machines, the combat ready TAC-FAX adopted by all the armed services and Israel.

Omen / Mixed media / 1993

Annette Merlis creates mixed-media work that incorporates photography in order to explore the area between abstraction and realism. Omen, a work in the collection, generated the Museum’s only public controversy when a second grade teacher with class in tow complained that the image was too frightening for children to see because it resembled an atom bomb explosion. The Islip Art Museum takes care to present adult material in a way that accommodates visitors and, like all museums, is sensitive to content. Although we have shown nudity, political satire and challenging work, Omen—to our surprise—has been the only work in our 40 year exhibition history to prompt a request for removal.

Merlis was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, and received a B.S. in Journalism from Creighton University in Omaha and later studied philosophy and art at the New School in Manhattan. In 1951, Merlis and her husband Dr. Sidney Merlis moved to Bay Shore where she began to study art. She took lessons from many renowned artists, including Maurice Grosman, whose wife Tatyana was the founder of Universal Limited Art Editions, the world famous print studio still located in West Islip, NY.

She has exhibited widely and has been included in shows at most major Long Island museums and galleries. Her work is in many private and corporate collections such as Equitable Life Assurance Company and Russ Togs, Inc.

Board Series, Composition #3 / Conte, charcoal, graphite on board / 1983

Born in 1928, Helen Meyrowitz is a native New Yorker who was a founding member of the cooperative exhibition space Central Hall Gallery. CHG was one of the first artist-run galleries in Manhattan and one of the first to promote women artists in the 70’s. She was also an original member of the National Drawing Association, and served as its president.

Meyrowitz is an illustrator who works in a variety of styles, ranging from realistic to abstract. The two works on view from the Islip Art Museum’s Permanent Collection demonstrate her range and her extraordinary technique. She is known for her poignant images which use familiar imagery, such as upturned pots of flowers, to express deep emotions.

Meyrowitz received her B.S. from SUNY Empire State College and her M.A. from C. W. Post Center. She has exhibited widely throughout her long career, and has been included in shows at the Nassau County Museum of Art, Hillwood Art Museum at C. W. Post, Nassau County Community College, Delaware Museum of Fine Arts, and in many private collections. She now lives in Boston, Mass.

Roman Holiday / Oil paint on paper / 1987

Gifts of Love / Oil paint on paper / 1987

Laurie Ourlicht is a visual artist who was born in 1953. Her work explores African American culture, with particular emphasis on the male and female body. She is among the many artists who studied printmaking with Robert Blackburn at his prestigious studio in Manhattan. In 1990, she received a grant from Dieu Donne Workshop where she explored papermaking. Her cast paper sculptures of body-builders, ordinary couples, and dancers have a wide audience. She exhibited extensively and is in many private and public collections. She died of cancer in 2010.