By Harold Egeln
BAY RIDGE — The opening night of Gallery 364’s new exhibit titled “Eclectic” was electric, both in the number of viewers in attendance and artworks on display and for sale.
“It was an amazing turnout, as our crowds keep getting larger,” said Eagle photographer Georgine Benvenuto, founder and owner of the popular gallery in a historic 1902 house at 364 72nd St. “People even came over from Staten Island, willing to pay the high bridge toll just to enjoy the show.”
“It’s also amazing to see the artists’ faces when they come in to set up and mount their artworks, noting the company of creative people who participate,” she added.
The exhibit, which opened last Thursday evening, is composed of 47 paintings, photographs and sculptures, along with 13 of the top artworks from the last show as well as the guest judges’ artworks.
As with most shows, participants are given a word or phrase and asked to decide what artworks and photographs best represent that word or phrase. For “Eclectic,” participants selected their best in methods or styles composed of elements drawn from various sources.
In the “Best in Show” lead category, the judges selected “The Weeping Women of Kosovo,” a huge painting by Hans Bernd Zimmermann. The emotionally riveting artwork shows a group of women mourning over the ashen grey body of a young man killed in the war.
Honorable mentions included a first-time exhibitor, Kathy Libraty, whose large digital photo of a female in a room was titled “Give Peace a Chance.”
Local photographer Dave Foss, contributing to Gallery 364 from its inception more than five years ago, won an honorable mention for his striking “Zoe Nude in Nature #2” showing a female sitting in a woodland stream surrounded by colorful trees and foliage.
A large print photo titled “Circus” by new first-time exhibitor Jessica Donnellan garnered an honorable mention. Guest judge photographer Doug Schwab noted, “This appeared in the online issue of Italian Vogue magazine.”
Yet another honorable mention was given to a wonderful and almost mystical digital photo titled “Dream” by Scott Weingarten, whose works have been seen in previous shows.
Two white, semi-translucent sculptures of heads, called “Untitled” by Tom Blatt, sat on a table, with comments that they would be even more remarkable if backlit.
Blatt wrote that he was “moved by ancient peoples and places,” such as Stonehenge, Oceania and Tuscany.
Photographer Doug Schwab’s photos were on a front room wall shared by another guest judge, Anthony Almedia.
Schwab’s photos used a 19th Century process of palladium prints mixed with current technology. The playful photos included two female costume designers who set up their own creative settings.
He also had a photo of four head carvings he did titled “Heads.”
“I used an 18th Century photo process called kallitype, an experimental technique used in the 1880s and 1890s, and mixed it with 21st Century technology,” Schwab explained.
Among other Gallery newcomers on exhibit are Katina Avino-Baracato with her “Inevitables” and Natalie Katz with “Blue Note.”
The exhibit can still be seen by appointment request only by calling (917) 767-3848.