Local artist celebrates Bayard Cutting Arboretum with new exhibit in Islip

Bay Shore artist Holly Gordon says she paints landscapes and nature scenes not with a paintbrush but with the lens of her camera.

Her new exhibit, Bayard Cutting Arboretum Visions, a collection of photo-liminal images will premiere at the Islip Town Hall’s second-floor gallery throughout the month of March to celebrate Woman’s Month.

After moving to Sayville with her late husband in the mid-1960s, Gordon quickly fell in love with the nearby arboretum in Great River because of its picturesque landscapes. “Bayard Cutting Arboretum is a town of Islip treasure,” Gordon told GreaterBayShore.

Her collection consists of 26 photos that have been taken over the course of three decades. Three of those images were shot with film, her original love, while the remaining ones were taken digitally.

But although she doesn’t use film anymore, that hasn’t changed how she takes a good picture. “I still shoot with a film mindset,” she said. “I look for a palette of shapes and colors that allows me to make my statement about a beautiful place like Bayard.”

Starting up on March 4 at 655 Main Street in Islip, the exhibit includes scenic images of trees, flowers and butterflies. What’s interesting, she points out, is to the common eye her photos look like paintings — a special technique that she calls Photo-Limitalism.

“I compare it to people in the 1880s when they first saw impressionists for the first time,” she said. “It’s almost like I’m painting… just with a computer mouse and not a paintbrush.”

Her process is unique: she finds a subject in nature and shoots as though she has film in her digital camera to tell its story. When she goes back to her studio, she’ll put the image into Photoshop and use those tools to develop what she saw, by layering colors just as a painter would do on a canvas.

“There are such similarities with painting and photography,” she said. “It shouldn’t be seen as adversaries… I want people to see that photography is a versatile and malleable art form with no parameters. It’s as free as the person doing it.”

The 77-year-old has established her reputation as both a fine art and documentary photographer, creating break-through work in creative fine art photography and nature photography that has been locally, nationally and internationally praised.

Some of the images that will soon be on display will also be featured in a book, “Parallel Perspectives – The Brush/Lens Collaboration” set to be published in September 2020.

Scroll below to check out some of the photos that will be on display at Islip Town Hall courtesy of Holly Gordon.

Back Lawn Vista

Mandarin Orange Azalea


Weeping Cherry

Tiger Swallowtail


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