Over 50 art-pieces in the form of variously embellished clocks lined the walls and shelves installed in Pierce Hall at Trinity Church on Mercer Street last Friday evening. The artists who had made the clocks as well as members of the Trenton After School Program (TASP), which was hosting the event, were on hand. Over 45 people were present and adjectives like “fabulous” and “stunning” could be heard throughout the night as they discussed their impressions of the art.
The clocks will be on display in various businesses in Princeton, Trenton, and Lambertville until Saturday, June 14, when they will be auctioned at the Time for TASP Gala Reception and Auction at the Arts Council of Princeton’s newly renovated Paul Robeson Center for the Arts. The proceeds from the auction will go to benefit the programming at TASP, which serves over 70 children from grades 1 through 8.
Friday’s event was an artists’ party that celebrated the artists themselves and also showcased the clocks. According to TASP’s development director Kay Roberts, the impetus for a collaboration between TASP and the Arts Council began after “a conversation last summer where we realized that our goals are complementary.” Both groups, she added, are interested in “art in the community as well as art that is practically involved in people’s lives.” The artists were selected by the TASP Planning Committee, which invited those who had previously created work for a 2006 fundraiser, as well as artists who had already been recommended and those who work with the TASP after school programs. Each was given a clock to incorporate into an original work of art.
Valerie Ford created a piece entitled “A Day in the Life of Maria Christina” in homage to her grandmother. She used a wooden shadowbox with compartments in which various found objects were placed in order to “tell a story” to the viewer. The objects included a tiny, bright red tricycle toy, three miniature bowling pins, a set of blocks spelling “A-B-C,” and a small clock, almost a pocket watch, in keeping with the overarching theme. Ms. Ford said that she “tried to reflect on how much more simple and beautiful childhood was at the turn of last century” while suggesting some biographical details about her grandmother.
The clocks and the various sculptural objects, paintings, collages, and photographs they were incorporated into, or that they themselves incorporated, represented a diversity of forms, shapes, media, and sizes. Some were round-faced analog clocks with two hands, others were small grandfather clocks complete with swinging pendulums, and still others were of the pocket watch variety.
In “Dilly Dali Time” by Donna Dee Person, the viewer sees a reproduction of Salvador Dali’s “Persistence of Memory” on canvas with a working clock affixed in one corner. Helen Schwartz rendered the adage “Time is Money” literal by collaging reproductions of US currency in various denominations to the frame of her clock. Maia Reim’s “Lily Pad Clock” initially seems to be depicting water, lilies, and a reflected cloudscape framed by the wooden circle encasing the clock, but upon closer perusal the viewer sees that each lily pad is in fact a digitally altered photograph of the clock itself at various moments in time.
Leon Rainbow, a muralist, graffiti artist, and art instructor, saw his “Time Machine” as an extension of his oeuvre, saying, “I’ve been developing the style of hard outlines and bright colors in my graffiti and I thought I’d incorporate that into my clock. ”The petite grandfather clock was covered in splashes of color framed by bold black lines. When asked when he first began making art, Rainbow replied “I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember.”
While united by the common theme of clocks, the artworks simultaneously showcased the personal style and interests of the artists who created them, as well as the subjects from which the artists take inspiration. One artist, Clara Sue Beym, summed the process up by noting, “You have to paint what’s dear to your heart.”
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