FGM-NY Essay Final JS 1


The first ever Fleiss – Giacummo – McAvoy NY 2013 Contemporary Art Symposium (FGM-NY) was held from September 27 to October 7 on Long Island,NY. The program was inspired by the D.Fleiss & East West Artists International (DFEWA), founded in 1998, whose mission is to establish a working cooperation that encourages and improves the cultural exchange between outstanding artists of varying backgrounds from eastern and western
countries. Born in Romania but a resident of Germany, Fleiss’s own artistic work focuses primarily on book-art.
DFEWA offers ten-day-long artist residencies that include modest housing, workspace, meals, and minimum materials. The residencies are open to artists working in all disciplines, culminate in an exhibition, and have been held in China, France, Romania, and Austria, among other countries.

The FGM-NY symposium is a collaboration between DFEWA and the Islip Art
Museum, the leading exhibition space for contemporary art on Long Island. The FGMNY
came into existence due to the relationship shared between Dorothea Fleiss of
DFEWA and Beth Giacummo, the Islip Art Museum’s Director/Curator. Giacummo, an
artist herself, has participated in several of Fleiss’s residencies in Austria and Romania
and serves as the co-director of the New York sector of Fleiss’s residency program. The
pair first met in Boston at the Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts
presented by Transcultural Exchange in 2011 where Fleiss was giving a presentation on
her DFEWA residency program. After the presentation, Giacummo scheduled a one-onone
consultation with Fleiss in hopes of learning more and how she could be involved.
After her time in Austria with Fleiss, Giacummo expressed her interest in bringing these
experiences here to the United States. Artist residencies have been held on Long Island
before, but this would mark the first time an artist residency would be held here
specifically to bring international artists and local artists together in the hosting
community. Artist Jessica McAvoy, owner of the arts management agency Ma’am,
assisted Fleiss and Giacummo in bringing the concept to fruition. Long-time
collaborators Giacummo and McAvoy have co-chaired several Patchogue Arts Council’s
Walking Arts Tours, creating an alternative exhibition space for artists while filling
vacant storefronts with artwork for 8-12 weeks; as well as the Patchogue Arts Festivals,
day long events filled with art, music, and poetry. McAvoy, a visual artist and avid
traveler herself, recognized the cultural significance this program would have on the
supporting communities and incoming international artists and decided to take this
program head on.




Taking lead from DFEWA, the Fleiss – Giacummo – McAvoy NY Contemporary
Art Symposium 2013 aimed to improve the cultural exchange between international
artists and collaborating communities. The directors of this program hoped to give Long
Islanders a taste of the international art world while giving FGM-NY participants the
FGM-NY 2013 Logo opportunity not only to meet colleagues from around the world, but also the chance to see the splendors of New York. The program brought art professionals together to form new
networks, foster international connections, develop cross-cultural understandings, and
cultivate cooperation. As an FGM-NY collaborator, the Islip Art Museum arranged a
series of events enabling surrounding communities, the general public, local artists, and
art enthusiasts to benefit from this exchange resulting in exposure to the various cultures
and art-making practices of all participating artists. The FGM-NY residency ran
concurrently with the exhibition curated by Fleiss, New York Bound: International Book
Art Biennial, at the Islip Art Museum. In conjunction with the book art biennial, a special
exhibition, Works by FGM-NY 2013, curated by Giacummo was installed in the ballroom
of the Islip Art Museum. The two exhibitions gave museumgoers a taste of contemporary
international art trends, allowing them to see the similarities and differences of the global
art market.

To take the financial burden from the artists, FGM-NY raised funds to provide
them with housing, food, trips to cultural centers in New York City and across Long
Island, select artist supplies, and other living essentials. By eliminating these financial
burdens, the artists were free to explore their creativity and truly immerse themselves in
their surroundings. In order to raise funds for the residency, Giacummo, McAvoy, and
others developed a sponsorship program and connected with local arts supporters, artists,
local colleges, foundations, and community-based organizations for support. The two
largest sponsors were Briarcliffe College, where Giacummo works as a full-time fine arts
faculty member, and the Knapp-Swezey Foundation, Inc., which supports organizations
and programs that promote and improve the Patchogue community. Additional funds
were raised using the crowd-funding website Indiegogo. The symposium’s sponsorship
opportunities offered a number of perks for donors. Depending on their level of
commitment, donors were eligible to receive: their name or logo on all promotional
FGM-NY materials; special art thank you cards and/or select pieces of art made by an
FGM-NY artist; invitations to exhibition preview parties and private tours of the artist
studios; and/or invitation to a privately hosted dinner with the artists. In addition to
monetary donations, the artist symposium received a number of in-kind donations. A
section of this publication has been reserved at the end to thank all FGM-NY supporters
for their contributions and support of the residency program.

Locating affordable housing on Long Island, particularly along the mid-south
shore of Long Island, was a challenge for the organizers. Giacummo and McAvoy
recognized that housing all of the international artists together, as well as allowing for
space for local artists to join them, under one roof, is an important aspect of the success
of Fleiss’ other symposiums. The shared common space and time allows artist
experiences and collaborations to blossom organically. In addition to size of housing,
space had to be available on the property that could be treated as artist studios. Dowling
College recognized the potential impact this symposium would have on the community at
large and agreed to provide housing that fit these criteria at a nominal fee for the duration
of the residency.
In addition to Fleiss from Germany and McAvoy from the U.S.A., exhibiting
FGM-NY artists included: Andrei Budescu and Vasile Tolan, Romania; Malik Bulut and
Burhan Yilmaz, Turkey; Paz Die Dean and Fernando Barredo de Valenzuela, Spain;
Michał Lach and Justyna Warwas, Poland; Yoshiki Takata, Japan; and John Cino, Dan
Lachacz, and Jamie Mareno, United States. By participating in the symposium, FGM-NY
artists developed a broader understanding of the contemporary arts in their respective
communities around the world.
Romanian artist Andrei Budescu sees photography as the perfect medium for capturing a
sequence in time, a small moment that can be relived forever upon
viewing a photograph. The majority of the artwork he exhibited during
his time in New York was derived from his latest series of wet plate
collodion portraits. The artist’s process involves using a large format
camera and glass plate negatives that are then scanned and printed
digitally. This method involves using both analog and digital technology,
which highlights Budescu’s mastery of the different photography techniques. The result
of this process is an uneven emulated plate that gives each image a unique state and
atmosphere that does not alter the argentic process.

Vasile Tolan, vice president of the Romanian Fine Arts Union, has had a
prosperous artistic career spanning several decades. His work stems from his concerns
with the expression of raw material and the diverse ways its manner manifests itself. For
Tolan, a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other created object must convey a
straightforward message visually without any underlying symbolic meaning. Each new
piece created by Tolan is a manifestation of the artist’s current state of mind paired with
the material around him. In a sense, the artist tends to express himself using whatever
material or object he can find. His current body of work is a collage of different objects
and materials ranging from window frames and outdoor fencing to lawn furniture
padding and slate. He aims to create an emotional response to his work that may mirror
or exceed his emotional input while creating the work.


Vasile Tolan, Romania
Burhan Yilmaz and Malik Bulut are visual artists living and working in Turkey.
Yilmaz is a recent PhD recipient from the Institute of Art at Gazi University. He created
several paintings for the planned FGM-NY exhibitions. His current series is based on
fragmented images that come from his mind, feelings, and life. He uses these fragmented
images to express his feelings or opinions on a current situation, event, or idea. One piece,
Fragment In Here (2013), sees the artist presenting a realistic heart on a painted black
and gray background. The painting is representative of the artist’s work in general.

Malik Bulut, Turkey




Burhan Yilmaz, Turkey
New Work by Vasile Tolan, 2013 Fragment In Here by Burhan Yilmaz, 2013
Bulut is a fine art sculptor who primarily works in marble. Bulut’s artwork
brings to mind the sculpture of the great Michelangelo due to his ability to
manipulate the hard stone, creating works that resemble real world objects. Due to the
time-consuming process of creating a finished sculpture out of marble, the work he
created during the residency was made of sculptural foam and other lightweight
materials. He has a fascination with chains and locks that has become a motif
throughout his current body of work. Locks and chains have positive and negative
connotations, being used for both protection and restricting movement.
The residency also hosted Spanish artists Paz Die Dean and Fernando Barredo
de Valenzuela. Dean uses many different mediums in an attempt to express the duality
of the human being. Through ceramics, she has produced a body of work that expresses
a variety of emotions ranging from emptiness to fullness. Recently her work has taken on
the issue of domestic violence, primarily towards women. Her lectures encourage women
to recognize abuse and to find the courage to regain their self-esteem and to live life
fully. Her artwork focuses on the many dualities in life; of life and death, good and evil,
light and dark. For Dean, only once you are able to recognize the darkness in life are you
able to find strength and come through the other side.


Fernando Barredo de Valenzuela, Spain

Much of Fernando Barredo de Valenzuela’s artistic activity focuses on street and sculptural
installations. He creates a large-scale totem statue for each of his residencies and leaves it behind. He and longtime
collaborator Paz Die Dean often develop performance art pieces together. A lot of Valenzuela’s work is based on the idea of man coming from the earth. He often depicts women covered in clay. Once the clay hardens, even the slightest movement causes breaks in the surface.

In addition to being a co-director of the FGMNY, Dorothea Fleiss exhibited her own artwork during her stay. Fleiss’s work was shown along side her fellow FGM-NY artists in exhibitions at Briarcliffe College and the Islip Art Museum. Additionally, a solo exhibition of
Fleiss’s work, Diary: The Continuous Present, was organized at the Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery in
Bay Shore. It consisted of loose pages that the artist New Work by Malik Bulut, 2013 New Work by Dorothea Fleiss, 2013 created over a period of time. The abstract imagery adorned the gallery’s walls and hung from the ceiling. Fleiss sees the diary as the ultimate mode of self-expression as it is often
thought of as a place to confide one’s deepest feelings, hopes, and dreams.


Susanna Fleiss, Germany
FGM-NY welcomed Polish two-dimensional artists Michał Lach and Justyna Warwas. Michał Lach is a fine artist who uses painting as a form of self-expression. Each of his paintings is an attempt to connect spontaneity, openness, and social simplicity of
wisdom occupying his subconscious. He feels that the process of painting is very
therapeutic, and it provides him with inner peace. He does not attempt to hide his
brushstrokes, and his process often reveals itself inside his subject matter, which is a
fusion of kitsch, pop culture, and surrealistic wisdom.
Justyna Warwas explored painting very early in life and developed her passion
while in high school. When she discovered photography, Warwas found it to be the
perfect vehicle for expressing human emotions. Currently, she blends painting with
photography and uses strong, vivid colors to depict the human form and emotion. Her
work is noted for its use of geometric forms and emphasis on line, and she aims to
capture the inner characteristics of her subject matter. In addition to the artwork created
during the residency, both Lach and Warwas brought additional works in progress.
During FGM-NY these pieces were completed and exhibited in a special two-person
exhibition, Made in Poland, curated by Giacummo at Gallery at 40 South in Patchogue.
The two also participated in special artist talks at Briarcliffe College where they
discussed their techniques with studio art students.
Yoshiki Takata, from Japan, is a conceptual artist who works in a minimalist style. His work contemplates the possible relationships between humans and objects and humans and occurrences, people, and places. He is also interested in the concept of time. During FGM-NY, Takata created an installation piece, a large calendar from 1944 to 2013, at the Islip Art Museum. He invited museumgoers to mark on the calendar a specific day of significance in their lives. Most marked their birthdays on the calendars, but other important life events included weddings, trips abroad, deaths, and other significant life events. The final piece reveals the connectedness of people with complete strangers
finding meaning on the same day.


Yoshiki Takata, Japan

American artists who participated in the FGM residency include John Cino, Dan
Lachacz, Jamie Mareno, and FGM-NY co-director Jessica McAvoy. John Cino is a
sculptor who currently primarily works in wood. His pieces are intuitive, based on a
New Work by Yoshiki Takata, 2013 period of observation, imagining the final form in the uncarved material. He sees his
work as a union between himself and the material. His work brings to mind aquatic
vegetation that is captured mid-movement and is to be viewed in the round.
Dan Lachacz is a fine art photographer who works in contrasts, whether light and dark,
focused or unfocused, near or far objects. Lachacz creates bizarre landscapes and
distorted objects captured at obscure angles, thus drawing in the audience. He is interested
in capturing images of places that evoke familiarity, but are abstract enough that they
make it impossible to pinpoint the location. Jamie Mareno explores the simplicity
of life by amplifying the beauty of overlooked objects, magnifying the color and texture, and
bringing the object to the forefront of the viewers’ attention. Mareno works in mixed
media including both natural and man-made materials. Each work is the embodiment of
her unique self-expression.
In addition to being co-director of FGM-NY, Jessica McAvoy is a twodimensional
visual artist who is interested in translating emotion through displaying an
expressive approach to form and space. Both her oil on copper paintings and charcoal
drawings convey a visual intrigue that speaks to McAvoy’s sensibility and her visceral
reaction to her surroundings.
All FGM-NY artists participated in a series of gallery exhibitions and artist talks
arranged by the Islip Art Museum and the Patchogue Arts Council. These events were
open to the general public free of charge. The events enabled the community, local
artists, students, and supporters of art to benefit from this exchange, as well as allowed
the community at large the opportunity to interact with the participating FGM-NY artists.
The opening weekend of the FGM-NY residency saw the artists spending one day
out on eastern Long Island in the Hamptons and the other in New York City. The artists
started their Saturday at the new Parrish Art Museum, which held exhibitions featuring
the artwork of Pollock, Ossorio, Dubuffet, and other prominent artists from the east end
of Long Island, followed by a trip to the Pollock-Krasner House with a special tour
conducted by director Helen Harrison. In between trips to the museums, the artists were
treated to the clean beaches on the east end of Long Island and partook in an American
tradition, pumpkin picking. To end their day out east, the artists were taken back to
Patchogue where they were treated to a traditional American style Thanksgiving dinner.
The next day the group took their first trip into New York City. The artists paid a visit to
the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum. To cap off the weekend, the
group ate Famous Ray’s Pizza and took an evening boat tour around Manhattan.
The rest of their stay was dedicated to creating artwork. The artists split their time
between working in the studio, going on supply runs, visiting the Islip Art Museum for
installation logistics, and taking excursions out into town or back into the city. An
exhibition curated by Giacummo, Artists of the Fleiss-Giacummo-McAvoy NY
Contemporary Art Symposium 2013, was installed in the art gallery on the Bethpage
De-unification of Line by Jamie Mareno, 2013 campus of Briarcliffe College, and a
reception was held during the week. This exhibition allowed Briarcliffe students
the rare opportunity to meet art professionals from around the world. In
addition to meeting the artists at the reception, a special collaborative project
was organized, allowing the students to work on a group drawing with their
fellow classmates and FGM-NY artists. The collaborative piece was on display
along side the artwork of FGM-NY artists. The exhibit was on view at
Briarcliffe College from October 2 – November 8.
A special event was held Friday night for donors of the FGM-NY symposium.
Individuals who supported the residency at a specific level received exclusive tickets to
the museum’s Prosecco Poppin’ Bookart Preview Party. Supporters were able to privately
see the museum’s New York Bound: International Book Art Biennial curated by FGMNY
co-director Dorothea Fleiss, as well as meet the FGM-NY artists. Prosecco and
sweets were provided. Similar to their first two days, the final weekend for FGM-NY artists was filled to
the brim with art activities. The Patchogue Arts Council organized a day in Patchogue; it
consisted of an artist talk at the Plaza Cinema and Media Arts Center and back-to-back
opening receptions for the exhibitions held at the BrickHouse Brewery and Gallery at 40
South. Small Works from FGM-NY 2013, exhibited in Shand’s Loft Gallery at the
Brick House Brewery, was a pop-up exhibition only on display for the duration of the
residency; the special exhibition, Made in Poland, featuring the artwork of Michał Lach
and Justyna Warwas, was on display at the Gallery at 40 South
from October 2 – November 20. After the planned activities with
the general public, the artists enjoyed dinner with specially
invited FGM-NY supporters at Patchogue’s Dragon Palace
Chinese Restaurant and finished the day at the Patchogue Theatre
for the Performing Arts where they received VIP treatment including a
backstage tour and seats to see Amber Ferrari in Joplin’s Pearl, a performance highlighting American women rock icons.
The following day artist receptions were held for the New York Bound:
International Book Art Biennial and the special FGM-NY exhibition, Works from FGMNew Work by Michał Lach, 2013
New Work by Justyna Warwas, 2013 NY 2013, which was installed in the ballroom of the Islip Art Museum. Attendance for
these receptions was high for the museum with an estimated total of 500+ guests. Spanish
artists Fernando Barredo de Valenzuela and Paz Die Dean treated those who came to the
reception to a special performance piece. Both exhibitions were on display at the Islip Art
Museum until December 29. The museum saw an increased demand for special group
tours as many from across the island heard of the international exhibitions and hoped to
see the artwork first hand. Following the events at the museum, the group then went to
the Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery in Bay Shore, which held an opening reception for
the special solo exhibition of Dorothea Fleiss, Diary: The Continuous Present. The
exhibition was on view from October 3 – November 2. The residency concluded on
October 7th with a final artist talk at the Islip Art Museum.
A special thank you must be given to all the donors of the FGM-NY
Contemporary Art Symposium 2013. To Briarcliffe College and the Knapp-Swezey
Foundation for providing the lion’s share of the FGM-NY budget and for allowing our
artists to truly immerse themselves in Long Island’s Great South Bay communities;
Dowling College for providing affordable housing for the duration of the residency; Blue
Point Brewery for donating twenty cases of Summer Ale and some relaxing nights by the
bonfire; Lowe’s Home Improvement for their gift card donation, which was used to
purchase specific artist supplies; Whole Foods and Bobbique for their gift card donations
that provided meals for our residences. Special thanks must be given to JoAnne and Bob
Dumas who opened their home and hosted Polish artists Michał and Justyna for a week
before Dowling housing was made available and for providing transportation support for
our many excursions. Thank you to Karl and Kelleen Guyer for inviting us into their
home for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner; Carol Pichney and Linda Carlsen for
bringing dinner to the FGM house. Thank you to Tom and Karen Ferb and James
McPeak for providing outstanding financial support and to James Skidmore for
generously providing lunch to the artists during their day in Patchogue. Thank you to the
members of the Patchogue Arts Council for coordinating a Patchogue Day and John
Ashline at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts for VIP treatment. Thank you
to Plaza Cinema and Media and Arts Center for providing space for one of the two
scheduled artist talks; to Ad Apparel in Patchogue for donating and creating a true
souvenir of the program, special FGM-NY shirts for our artists and supporters. Thanks to
the Second Avenue Firehouse Gallery in Bay Shore for providing an exhibition for our
FGM director Dorothea Fleiss, and to the Gallery at 40 South in Patchogue for showing
the artwork of our Polish artists. And to our many individual supporters, too numerous to
mention, for your financial contributions. Your contributions and support were essential
to the success of the symposium.
A very special thank you must also be given to all participants of the Fleiss –
Giacummo – McAvoy Contemporary Art Symposium 2013. Thanks must be given to the
staff and volunteers of the Islip Arts Council and Islip Arts Museum; to Executive
Director Lynda Moran for securing housing for the duration of the residency and to
Financial Director Rosa Ramos for keeping track of donations and ensuring all
sponsorship packages and perks were sent to all donors. Special thanks must be given to
USA FGM-NY artists Dan Lachacz and Jamie Mareno for additional program assistance,
including, but not limited to: installing exhibitions, transporting artists, maintaining the
FGM-NY household, archiving the symposium, developing written materials regarding
the symposium, and caring for the artists needs. We must also give thanks to all
participating FGM-NY artists for their involvement in the first ever artist residency of its
kind on Long Island and for giving us a taste of artist trends from around the world. And
last but not least, a final thank you must be given to our three directors, Dorothea Fleiss,
Beth Giacummo, and Jessica McAvoy, for without their hard work and dedication, the
symposium would not have been possible. These three spent endless months working out
the logistics of the symposium with countless hours donated to soliciting funding,
coordinating events, curating exhibitions, developing sponsorship packages, utilizing all
available resources, and bringing everyone together.
The Fleiss – Giacummo – McAvoy NY Contemporary Artists Symposium 2013
was met with overwhelming success. All who attended the many artist receptions and
artist talks praised the program for bringing artists from all over the world to their
community and greatly appreciated the opportunity to meet the artists. Visitors to the
Islip Art Museum have raved about the international exhibitions and have expressed their
desires to keep them up longer. Only two months have passed since the conclusion of the
residency, and the program has already received renewed housing support from Dowling
College and art supplies donated for next year. After the success of their first artist
residency on Long Island, the directors are already in the early stages of what is to come
next. Be sure to keep your eyes open for the Fleiss – Giacummo – McAvoy NY
Contemporary Artists Symposium 2014.
Jay Schuck, Museum Curatorial Assistant
Program Assistant, FGM-NY 2013
Islip Art Museum
50 Irish Lane
East Islip, NY 11730
[email protected]