The halls of our spaces are graced with a variety of art. The artwork has its own history–some pieces have been commissioned, some were assignments, others were saved from previous institutions and there are even current pieces that cycle through the space. On a visit to SoMAS, it’s easy to appreciate the artwork, but you may not know there’s more to the story…
Happy Together, 1988
This sculpture is located in Challenger Hall at the entrance to the Marine and Atmospheric Sciences Information Center (MASIC). Artist George Krauter recalls that his “first instinct was to build a very realistic model of some form of sea life,” however the class he was taking at the time “focused on abstract 3d design, so that determined the final design.” The final design shows two whales swimming through a kelp forest.
Sea Level, 1988
This sculpture located in Endeavour Hall near the Dean’s Office.
Gregory Williams spent his last year at Stony Brook University in the sculpture lab, a place he “called home.” In 1987, his instructor, Molly Mason, informed the class of a contest where students could submit a model for a sculpture to be replicated on a larger scale. The winning entries would reside in the Marine Sciences Research Center (now the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences), a place on South Campus that Greg had “never even known existed before”. His class made a trip down there to scout out locations and inspiration for their creations. A few students submitted proposals and were granted funds to purchase the materials for their sculptures. The artists received independent study credit for their efforts.
Greg’s vision was created from sheet metal, and he called on his friend Dickey Makley, whose father owned a metal fabrication business, for help. Dickey was able to get the two sheets of 4’x8′ sheet metal, at 10 and 12 gauge, and also had the machinery Greg could use to shape and form the metal.
While working in the shop from the model he had created, Greg tried to explain his vision to the others working in the shop, who were not very knowledgeable about high art. “The puzzled look on their faces,” he recalls, “was PRICELESS!” As Greg showed that the 4 strips of metal on the floor would be like louvers which represented waves on the ocean, Dickey’s father looked at his son and said “Hey Dickey! Don’t step in the PUDDLE!” The group shook their heads amidst howls of laughter.
Hanging the heavy, steel wall relief was an arduous task and Greg asked his father for help. Greg recalls that he and his father “did not have a great relationship at this particular time” of his life. He notes that his father “didn’t hesitate to jump on board” and that “looking back, this is one of the many traits that defined him–he was reliable.” Greg remembers the experience as “one of the only times we actually worked well together” and his father’s respect for him “was growing and I could tell he was proud of what I was doing.”
Greg said that “I have always been very proud to have my work and name hang so prominently in the entrance to Endeavour Hall.” He returned a few years ago with his family on a trip to Long Island from New Hampshire. He brought his daughters to Stony Brook University to visit “Sea Level.” Greg noticed that his artwork needed to be restored and met Mark Wiggins, the Facilities Manager at SoMAS, who provided “the supplies to bring back its luster.” Greg says that “it is truly an honor to be a part of the great history of the building and the University. “Sea Level” is important to me for so many different reasons, thank you for allowing me to be a part the 50 year celebration!”
On display at the Marine Sciences Center at Southampton are a collection of watercolors from Claus Hoie.
Claus Hoie (1911-2007)
Born in Stavanger, a Norwegian city bordering the North Sea, artist Claus Hoie was fascinated with the sea and its creatures throughout his lifetime. Hoie immigrated to America as a 12 year old, and eventually served as a member of the elite Norwegian-American battalion, the Mountain Ski Infantry in the United States Army during WWII.
One might speculate that Claus Hoie’s affinity for his East Hampton home may have been partly because of the village’s proximity to the sea and the resulting quality of light so often remarked upon by artists: light so perfectly captured by the medium of watercolor with its balanced transparency and translucence.
Claus Hoie studied at the Art Students Lounge in New York City and at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The winner of major awards from such prestigious organizations as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Academy of Design and the American Watercolor Society, he had an extraordinary career of more than sixty years. Hoie’s work is in collections across the United States and at the Akershus Museum in Oslo.
Gifts of the Helen & Claus Hoie Charitable Foundation, 2013
On display in the Natural Sciences Center at Stony Brook Southampton are two collections of photographs from students of Southampton College of Long Island University.
Scott Hughes ’91
Marine Sciences and Biology
Scott is now a Marine Resources Specialist at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Suffolk County.
Brian Wysor ’96
Microscope Photos of Phytoplankton
Brian is now an Associate Professor of Biology at Roger Williams University.
Chris Paparo, manager of the Marine Sciences Center at Southampton has a collection of photographs on display on the walls of the building. The photographs capture the local marine life found in the waters of Shinnecock Bay to Peconic Bay. Check out more of Chris’s photos at Fish Guy Photos.
Sustainability Studies Students
Students in Marc Fasanella’s 2010 EHM 201 Eco-Aesthetics in Art class were assigned to go out into nature and do a three step Micro-Environment Visual Inventory project. First they found something small that captured their interest and photograph it. The photo was then drawn and colored perfectly to scale on graph paper. Accompanying the drawing in another frame just below the image was a brief poetic reflection on the piece.
R. George Rowland (1941 – 1990)
The photographs gracing the walls of the Flax Pond Marine Laboratory are the work of R. George Rowland, Manager of the Flax Pond Marine Laboratory from November 1985 – December 1990.
George loved the innate beauty of coastal environments, their sundry plants and animals. Marsh grass rippling in the October wind, a gull complaining from atop a lonely piling. These remind us of our kind and gracious friend.
Endeavour Hall Room 120 has housed a variety of artwork and sculpture. The SoMAS Photo Competition winners are on display here, as is a large painted map of the New York Bight (pictured below). The room also housed a sculpture/impression of the Hudson River (picture bottom right).
Endeavour Hall Room 171, also known as the Okubo Room, was Akira Okubo’s office when he was a professor at MSRC. The room is now used as a small meeting room. Inside the room is a framed portrait drawn of Akira Okubo by MSRC student Deborah Bray. Former Dean and Professor Emeritus Marvin Geller donated the japanese art print that is also in the room.