The latest art on display at the Sea Cliff Village Library features calming local scenes of nature. The artist, Miranda Best, used various mediums, including acrylic paint and chalk pastels, to capture the village’s diverse experiences and vistas.
“The images included in this exhibition, all made within the last few years, represent a shift in my work away from naturalism to a more expressive approach,” Best said. “I’ve become more interested in the power of mark-making while working with acrylic paint and chalk pastel.”
Best, a Virginia native, has lived in Sea Cliff for more than 20 years, and has taught art at Paul D. Schreiber High School, in Port Washington, for 25 years. When she wasn’t working with art students, she was busy raising two children, Jackson, 18, and Maya, 16, and creating her own body of work.
Her artistic process, Best said, typically involves recreating photographs, bringing them to life and focusing on creating pieces that capture the experience of being in a certain place, or the memory of that place. “All of the images begin with an experience in a particular place — watching fireworks explode, walking through Sea Cliff, visiting the Planting Fields Arboretum — recorded through photography,” she explained. “Back in my studio, the photos transform into drawings and paintings that are pulsating with energy and life force. While the photo inspires the start of the work, the drawings and paintings take on a life of their own. The final works attempt to capture the memory of the place and the experience.”
Best draws most of her inspiration from nature, and from her community. “I think [her art] is very thought-provoking, sometimes introspective — I find it somewhat soothing,” Sea Cliff Library Director Camille Purcell said. “Miranda does a lot of nature scenes, which is nice to have in the library. It’s a great way to ‘bring the outside in.’ “Although the library is very beautiful on the inside, we don’t have much light coming in through the windows because they’re stained glass, so to have that little bit of nature in here is great.”
The pieces displayed throughout the library depict varying scenes of nature in Best’s abstract, expressionist style. One work features bright pink flowers surrounded by leaves of varying hue and texture, and another, her interpretation of water lilies in a nearby pond. This month’s exhibition is Best’s fourth at the library.
“I think, historically, the library has been a place where communities gather, so displaying art is just another way to draw the community in,” Purcell said. “They may not necessarily check out library materials, but just to have the community come in and see the artwork opens up potential areas of dialogue. I think it’s part of the library’s job to keep that dialogue open, in a safe space where people can meet with friends or use it as a way to meet new people.”
The Sea Cliff library regularly features artwork displays, with a new featured local artist each month. The artists and their works are chosen by the Sea Cliff Arts Council, which aims to make the arts a prominent and vital presence in the village, and supports and promotes the local art community.
The library is at 281 Sea Cliff Ave. For more information, call (516) 801-3402.