July 23, 2014
THE AWAKENING: Sited on the Meadow at Grounds for Sculpture, this 2014 cast aluminum work from J. Seward Johnson’s “Points of Departure” series is on display with 136 other works, large and small, in Seward Johnson: The Retrospective is on view through September 21. For extended summer hours and admission, visit: www.groundsforsculpture.org.(Photo by Jeff Tryon)

THE AWAKENING: Sited on the Meadow at Grounds for Sculpture, this 2014 cast aluminum work from J. Seward Johnson’s “Points of Departure” series is on display with 136 other works, large and small, in Seward Johnson: The Retrospective is on view through September 21. For extended summer hours and admission, visit: www.groundsforsculpture.org. (Photo by Jeff Tryon)

A retrospective of the work of sculptor J. Seward Johnson is currrently on view at Grounds for Sculpture (GFS), the sculpture park and arboretum founded by the philanthropic artist on the site of the old New Jersey Fairgrounds in Hamilton.

Known throughout the world for life-like bronze figures inspired by the everyday, Mr. Johnson is something of an institution in Princeton. Several of his pieces: the student with his books on Palmer Square, the gentleman reading a newspaper by Battle Monument, and the man taking a nap on one of Drumthwacket’s garden benches are familiar to all.

Similar works by Mr. Johnson can be see throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia; examples of the artist’s “Celebrating the Familiar” series depicting a trip to the grocery story, say, or arriving at a hospital, or a child enjoying an ice cream cone.

“My starting point was a wish to get people back out-of-doors in the early 70s when a crime wave had people avoiding public spaces,” said Johnson when interviewed for Princeton Magazine in 2012. “I wanted to put sculptures into parks to act like decoys and entice people back to parks.”

To date, “Seward Johnson: The Retrospective” is the largest exhibition mounted at the sculpture park, which is quite an achievement after its showcasing of the massive works of Steve Tobin in 2012. Not only are there 287 works by Mr. Johnson on display, some of his biggest pieces have been dismantled from elsewhere and brought here for the show.

The outsize exhibition is fitting for Mr. Johnson’s outsize personality. Some 150 pieces are installed indoors and outdoors at the 42-acre site and if you haven’t been there recently, make tracks; the show will only last through September 21.

Elements of surprise are characteristic of GFS. The park brings art and nature together. The winning combination drew some 160,000 visitors last year. “Each time you visit, you experience the park differently, the sequence is never the same and there’s a freshness that comes with that,” said Mr. Johnson in a recent interview.

As expected, the retrospective includes some of the 83-year-old artist’s most unforgettable works. His 26-foot-tall 34,000-pound steel-and-aluminum, Forever Marilyn, traveled all the way from Palm Springs back to New Jersey where it was constructed.

This iconic representation captures a moment from the 1955 Billy Wilder comedy The Seven Year Itch, in which Monroe luxuriates in an updraft from a subway air vent, her white skirt billowing around her legs. The sculpture was such a hit in Palm Springs that the town hopes to buy it from its owner, The Sculpture Foundation, and put it back on permanent display once the GFS show ends.

Mr. Johnson’s most famous work, Unconditional Surrender, is a must-see. It’s his 3-D version of the famous kiss between a sailor and a nurse in New York’s Times Square on V-J Day at the end of World War II and it is one of his most charismatic trompe l’oeil painted bronzes.

As anyone who has met the artist will tell you, Mr. Johnson loves to tell a story and relishes a battle. Unconditional Surrender, involved him in a battle of sorts when the owners of the copyright to LIFE magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s image, refused him permission to use it. With typical bravado, Mr. Johnson based his work on another photograph of the same kissing couple taken on the same day at the same time by another photographer, one whose work happened to be in public domain.

When the sculpture was finished it took pride of place in Times Square where a kissing fest was held and written up by The New York Times. Not only did Mr. Johnson write to TIME to tell them about it, he asked them to contribute $50K to the project!

Also on a grand scale at 25 feet in height, the kissing couple has traveled the world from Times Square to San Diego, from Sarasota to Rome.

Besides these massive pieces and the artist’s Beyond the Frame life-size three-dimensional homages to Claude Monet’s Garden at Sainte-Addresse and Edouard Manet’s Le Dejeuner sur l’herbe, smaller pieces from the artist’s five-decade career are on display in three indoor galleries.

“At GFS we try to break down barriers,” says Johnson, who believes in separating sculpture from the landscape so that one “discovers” what is to be found. The avuncular octogenarian enjoys having fun with visitors. The sculpture park has numerous hidden spaces tucked away for quiet reflection: behind doors, through corridors of trees, around corners, over hills, or behind walls.

Were You Invited?, his three-dimensional life-size version of Renoir’s, The Boating Party, playfully allows visitors to get up close and personal with the work.

Such explorations cultivate what Mr. Johnson describes as “the visceral moment,” when viewers engage with art to transcend their own place in space and time. He deliberately provokes engagement between artwork, artist, setting, and viewer. “The real moment of art is in the eye of the beholder,” he said, “that’s a moment of consecration; if the artwork has changed a life, then it has done its job.”

GFS has grown since Mr. Johnson led the team that transformed the once derelict site of the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. What began as an offshoot of the artist’s foundry, The Johnson Atelier, and the need for a place to show the work that artists were doing there to prospective clients, is now a showcase for prominent and emerging artists. It became a non-profit organization in 1992.

Mindful of his legacy, the artist asked Derek Gilman for advice on avoiding some of the mistakes made by Albert Barnes. “There is a need for some flexible thinking here,” he said. “I don’t want what happened to Barnes to happen here. Barnes fell out with everyone. I like a good fight too, but there’s a difference, Barnes had no sense of humor!”

A sense of humor Johnson has. And fun is a huge part of the GFS philosophy. “Let MOMA tell people what good art is, we will find out what people enjoy,” said the artist.

For more information on “Seward Johnson: The Retrospective,” including extended summer hours and admission, visit: www.groundsforsculpture.org.

 

July 16, 2014
DANCING SUNFLOWERS: Christine Ochab-DiCostanzo’s painting of this title will be among her works on display, along with photography by members of PEAC Health at Fitness, during the month of August at 1440 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing, Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the artist, visit www.artsbychristine fineart.com. For more information about the exhibition, visit www.peachealthfitness.com.

DANCING SUNFLOWERS: Christine Ochab-DiCostanzo’s painting of this title will be among her works on display, along with photography by members of PEAC Health at Fitness, during the month of August at 1440 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing, Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information about the artist, visit www.artsbychristine
fineart.com. For more information about the exhibition, visit www.peachealthfitness.com.

As part of its “Art on Display” program, PEAC Health & Fitness will showcase a combined artwork display of photography from PEAC members and paintings from local artist Christine Ochab-DiCostanzo during the month of August.

PEAC’s member photography exhibition will give PEAC members a chance to share their photography skills with others. “It’s a fun way to see the creativity and talents of our members,” said PEAC President, Michael Briehler.

In addition, Christine Ochab-DiCostanzo of Ringoes, will exhibit her paintings. Ms. Ochab-DiCostanzo has been interested in art since she was young, studied at the DuCret School of Art in Plainfield, N.J., and continually takes classes and workshops to develop her skills. She finds inspiration wherever she looks and believes that “art captures the love and feeling you put into it.”

She is a member of Artsbridge artist community. In April 2014, one of her pieces won the “People’s Choice Award” at the 28th Annual Byers Buck’s Fever Art Exhibition. She has also received Honorable Mention for the past two years at the Hunterdon County Library Art Show. This will be her first exhibit at PEAC Health & Fitness.

“Art on Display,” will run at PEAC Health and Fitness, 1440 Lower Ferry Road, Ewing, from August 1 through 31, during regular business hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about the artist, visit www.artsbychristinefineart.com.
For more information about the PEAC Art on Display program, contact Christine Tentilucci, PEAC Health and Fitness, at (609) 883-2000, ctentilucci@peachealthfitness.com, or visit www.peachealthfitness.com.

 

 

July 9, 2014
(Image courtesy of The B Home Project)

(Image courtesy of The B Home Project)

An experimental project to design homes based on sustainable building practices is the focus of a gathering this Saturday, July 12, on the grounds of D&R Greenway Land Trust, from 5 to 9 p.m.

The B Home Project is described as “out-of-the box spaces made from reclaimed materials” as well as “a living arts installation.” These sculptural-architectural-communal dwellings are the brainchild of artist Pete Abrams and engineer Graham Apgar.

The structures are designed to provide low cost shelters with applications ranging from disaster relief, to eco-tourism, to alternative dwellings for under-served populations.

Built from shipping pallets and other post-industrial and natural materials such as steel pipes, recycled tires, and bamboo, examples are currently on display at D&R Greenway, including three single cells and one three-cell structure. At Saturday’s event, a transportable bakery and community gathering space, the mobile bread house, will also be on view.

The B Home modular shelter system was developed several years ago in collaboration with Princeton University professor Wole Soboyejo and the Engineering Projects In Community Service (EPICS) program. The idea is to provide a fast, cheap way to provide shelter and security for those in need. Unlike tents and trailers, the B Home is also designed to support a sustainable community.

As its name suggests, it was inspired by the geometric efficiency of honey bees.

“The display at the D&R Greenway is more of an art installation, although it was originally developed as an emergency shelter system,” said Mr. Abrams who lives in Princeton and works from a studio on North Clinton Street in Trenton. “I’ve been working on this since last August every month on the evening of the full moon. I’m a bit of a hippie, I guess, and the moon is a reminder of how much time I have left before my next effort.”

The installations can be explored outdoors at D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center, 1 Preservation Place (off Rosedale Road), Princeton through August 15.

For more information about the B Home Project, visit: thebhome.wikispaces.com/. To follow the project’s progress, visit: thebhome.blogspot.com or www.facebook.com/bhomenow.

 

June 25, 2014
MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE: From left: a detail from Steve Tobin’s “Steelroot” sculpture, his cast and welded bronze “Syntax,” and his “Earth Bronze.” All are on view in the exhibition “Out of This World: Works by Steve Tobin,” opening at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown this Saturday, June 28. For more information, call (215) 340-9800, or visit michener artmuseum.org.(Photograph by Kenneth Ek)

MONUMENTAL SCULPTURE: From left: a detail from Steve Tobin’s “Steelroot” sculpture, his cast and welded bronze “Syntax,” and his “Earth Bronze.” All are on view in the exhibition “Out of This World: Works by Steve Tobin,” opening at the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown this Saturday, June 28. For more information, call (215) 340-9800, or visit michener
artmuseum.org. (Photograph by Kenneth Ek)

For anyone who missed the incredible New Jersey showing of Steve Tobin’s work at Grounds for Sculpture (GFS) in 2012, the James A. Michener Art Museum in Doylestown offers another chance to view art by this Bucks County native, including the massive Steelroots that dominated the GFS outdoor sculpture garden.

The Michener’s show opens this Saturday, June 28, and continues through October 26. It’s title, “Out of This World: Works by Steve Tobin,” reflects the choice of monumental works in steel, bronze, and clay.

The exhibition features a broad range of the work Mr. Tobin has produced during the last decade including Exploded Earth Vessels, and Forest Floors from his Earth Bronzes series.

Curated by Museum Director and CEO, Lisa Tremper Hanover, the exhibition takes the Michener beyond its usual location and out into the community. In addition to works on view in the Paton/Smith/Della Penna-Fernberger Galleries, the Fred Beans Gallery, the Sculpture Garden and as part of the Outdoor Sculpture Program, the exhibition includes outdoor placements throughout Doylestown. Playing on the sheer size of Mr. Tobin’s works, Ms. Hanover has turned Doylestown into a museum by placing his Steelroots and Walking Roots in the town.

With the cooperation of George Ball, chairman and CEO of W. Atlee Burpee Company, she has also brought sculpture to the grounds and gardens of the nearby Fordhook Farm.

As part of the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days Program, free passes to Fordham Farm will be available from the museum on the opening day of the exhibition with the cost of general admission.

Mr. Tobin is perhaps best known for his epic work, Trinity Root, permanently sited at the corner of Wall Street and Broadway in Lower Manhattan. He cast the root system of the 80-year-old Sycamore tree that had stood across the street from the World Trade Center in the churchyard of the Trinity/St. Paul’s Chapel. First responders to Ground Zero had taken shelter there. Dedicated on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2005, the sculpture was “a massive undertaking of 20,000 man hours,” recalled Tobin in an interview for Princeton Magazine in 2012. “It incorporates the dirt and DNA of that place.”

Mr. Tobin’s work has been shown at numerous museums and outdoor venues across the country in New York City, Chicago, St. Louis, and San Francisco. His larger pieces reference Stonehenge and the monuments of Easter Island and the Great Pyramids.

Initially trained as a scientist, Mr. Tobin has described his work as closer to visual philosophy than art history. After graduating from Tulane University in 1979 with a Bachelor’s in mathematics, he studied glassmaking at the Pilchuck Glass School, founded by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly and others. In 1989, he became the first foreigner invited to build his own studio in Murano, Italy. By 1994, he was building his first foundry and casting in bronze.

Of the Michener show, Ms. Hanover said: “The soaring steel sculptures echo the stretched elegance of his early glass work; and the Earth Bronzes are filled with whimsy and capture the residue of a forest floor, complete with pine needles and insects. Visitors will be confronted with an array of exploded clay vessels that reveal majestic interiors of glass and dynamite-incised textures.”

Mr. Tobin has exhibited extensively throughout the world, including New York’s American Museum of Natural History; the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art campus complex in Los Angeles; and in museums, art fairs, and public sites in Italy, Russia, China, and Finland.

“I thank Lisa and the Michener for the opportunity of bringing it all back home,” said Tobin. “While my work has taken me far and wide, from the deserts of Ghana to the caves of Nutijarva in Finland, its genesis and inspiration originated in the treehouse of my youth, along Philadelphia’s Main Line.”

“The long arc of Steve Tobin’s success will be celebrated at the Michener with a dynamic installation that recalls his own roots in Bucks County and the Philadelphia region,” said Ms. Hanover. “We are proud to present Tobin’s work … to an audience eager to interact with articulate and engaging artists.”

“Out of This World: Works by Steve Tobin” is supported by Visit Bucks County and an anonymous friend of the Michener. Along with the show, there will be a lecture about the artist’s work on July 22; tours of his Quakertown studio on August 21 and September 5; and contemporary dance performances on August 27 and September 21.

The James A. Michener Art Museum is located at 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, Pa. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. from 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call (215) 340-9800, or visit www.michenerartmuseum.org.

 

June 18, 2014
SPECIES ON THE EDGE: Calendar Cover Atlantic Green Sea Turtle by Roslynn Jumbo of Essex County’s Ann Street School, Newark.(Photo Courtesy of Ann Street School, Newark)

SPECIES ON THE EDGE: Calendar Cover Atlantic Green Sea Turtle by Roslynn Jumbo of Essex County’s Ann Street School, Newark. (Photo Courtesy of Ann Street School, Newark)

 

An exhibition of artwork by New Jersey fifth graders will be on display in the Olivia Rainbow Gallery at the D&R Greenway Land Trust, through Friday, August 29.

“The Best of Species on the Edge” calls attention to the state’s endangered and threatened wildlife and features work submitted by the state’s fifth-grade students to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.

Conserve Wildlife’s Maria Grace has selected the best of the submissions from 2008 to 2013 for this show. Ms. Grace is the Foundation’s departing Education and Outreach Manager and the show includes an arresting array of personal favorites of winning wildlife art by fifth graders from every New Jersey county.

Named in memory of Olivia Kuenne, the Olivia Rainbow Gallery presents children’s art. Among the items currently on view are multiple winners from Mercer, Hunterdon, Middlesex, and Somerset counties.

They include a bobcat by a Warren County home-schooled student, Joseph Hernandez. It is part of an array of bobcat images that Ms. Grace has curated in order to remind viewers that this elusive wild creature can be found in healthy habitat in our state, primarily the northwest section.

Conserve Wildlife publishes an annual calendar of winners and the 2014 cover image is “Atlantic Green Sea Turtle,” by Roslynn Jumbo, a student at Essex County’s Ann Street School, of Newark. Her fifth grade teacher was Mrs. Cardoso and free copies of the calendar may be obtained at the D&R Greenway gallery.

Also on view are images of the elusive Pine Barrens tree frog, peregrine falcon, shortnose sturgeon, and timber rattlesnake. The variety of subjects and lively representations are tributes to New Jersey’s fifth-grade teachers, as well as to Maria Grace’s management of this program over her years as Education and Outreach Manager.

D&R Greenway exhibits this art annually, joining with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation, to call attention to the urgency and importance of preserving Garden State habitat for all creatures. New Jersey is home to over 80 endangered and threatened species of wildlife. It is not unusual for this contest to result in over 2,000 entries.

““Best of ‘Species on the Edge’” in the Olivia Rainbow Gallery, D&R Greenway Land Trust can be viewed weekdays during business hours. Admission is free, open to public, no need to call for availability. For more information on Conserve Wildlife Foundation of N.J., visit: www.conservewild
lifenj.org; For more on the D&R Greenway Land Trust, call (609) 924-4646, or visit: www.drgreenway.org.

———

 

June 11, 2014
KISSIN’ THE BOSS: Mike Gordon, bass guitarist and founding member of the rock band Phish, couldn’t resist bussing the cheek of his idol, Bruce Springsteen, albeit a scuptured version by Princeton artist Stephen Zorochin. The sculpture, shown here when it was displayed in Long Branch, is now at the corner of Faculty and Alexander Roads. It is featured in a newly published Rock Atlas: “The Musical Landscape of America” by David Roberts, a guide to great music locations across the country.(Image Courtesy of the artist).

KISSIN’ THE BOSS: Mike Gordon, bass guitarist and founding member of the rock band Phish, couldn’t resist bussing the cheek of his idol, Bruce Springsteen, albeit a scuptured version by Princeton artist Stephen Zorochin. The sculpture, shown here when it was displayed in Long Branch, is now at the corner of Faculty and Alexander Roads. It is featured in a newly published Rock Atlas: “The Musical Landscape of America” by David Roberts, a guide to great music locations across the country. (Image Courtesy of the artist).

Commuters to and from Princeton using the Alexander corridor will have noticed new artwork at the corner of Alexander and Faculty Roads. Sited at Larini’s Service Center and gas station, the bust of famed New Jersey rocker Bruce Springsteen is drawing the interest of local residents and tour bus visitors alike.

Titled, “Bruce Springsteen, Soulful Humanitarian,” Steve Zorochin’s sculpture has placed Princeton on the map of rock music history through its appearance in a newly published book, Rock Atlas USA: The Musical Landscape of America by David Roberts, which pays homage to legends of American music. Mr. Zorochin’s sculpture is featured inside and also prominently on the back cover between photos of Janis Joplin and a pink Cadillac.

The cast cement sculpture, which has a hand-patinated finish that gives it the look of bronze, was previously displayed in Asbury Park and Long Branch, places of significance in Mr. Springsteen’s life. Its current location recalls the first day of November 1978, when “The Boss,” performed at Jadwin Gymnasium on the Princeton University campus.

“I really admire Bruce as a humanitarian. He’s keeping it real, man, there’s nothing pretentious about him,” said Mr Zorochin, in a phone interview from his home on Jefferson Street. “I’m grateful to Ken Larini for giving me a location for the Springsteen piece, even though I’m sure he’d probably prefer Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Here it is on the corner of what will be Princeton University’s newest arts campus.”

Born and raised in Princeton, where he graduated from Princeton High School in 1970, Mr. Zorochin lived for a while in Manasquan. But when his home was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, he moved back to Princeton where he is currently recovering from a fall in February on the ice outside his home. He suffered a massive haematoma and credits neurosurgeon Seth Joseffer of the Princeton Brain and Spine Institute for saving his life. “As soon as Dr. Seth saw me, he told me to call my wife. His prognosis was that I had to have immediate surgery, but after five days, I walked home,” he said.

Inspirational Mentors

The artist also credits two major influences on his life and work, his former Princeton neighbor, the folk singer Cynthia Gooding (1924-1988), and noted figure sculptor Joe Brown (1909-1985), a professor at Princeton University until retiring in 1977.

Born in Minnesota and brought up in the midwest, Ms. Gooding moved to New York City, to develop her musical career. She performed there in the mid 1940s, including long standing appearances at the Club Soho in Greenwich Village. One of the first musicians to appear on the Elektra label, she is remembered for a 1962 interview she did with Bob Dylan on the radio show she hosted for WBAI.

“She was a national treasure, pre-Joan Baez,” said Mr. Zorochin. “I had a chance to meet a lot of interesting people who came to her house.” Although inspired by Ms. Gooding, Mr. Zorochin didn’t follow her lead into folk music. When he sang, it was classical music, performed with Princeton Pro Musica.

Professor Brown specialized in sculptures that depicted athletes, which is no surprise, since he had been one himself. The son of Russian immigrants, he grew up poor in South Philadelphia He won a football scholarship to Temple University but left before graduating to work as a professional boxer before turning to the arts. He was the boxing coach at Princeton University until the late 1960s and a professor of art from 1962. His works are featured on numerous college campuses and in collections that include the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. His monumental Benjamin Franklin-Craftsman (1981) sits at the corner of Broad Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard in Philadelphia. “Joe Brown took a kid wandering around campus and gave me direction,” remembered Mr. Zorochin, who went on to study at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Boston Museum School.

Springsteen

Mr. Springsteen lives in Colts Neck and is known for guarding his privacy. So how did the sculptor work without a sitter? “Though it’s always great to model from life, I used shots from movies to inform the work, in particular Bruce as he appears singing ‘One Trick Pony,’ the song he wrote for the Mickey Rourke film, The Wrestler,” said Mr. Zorochin.

“Bruce Springsteen uses his art to help people and that’s what art is all about,” said Mr. Zorochin. “When he played Jadwin Gym, I wasn’t so much a fan of his then, I was more interested in blues and had my own garage band for a time.” Still, the artist is planning a full length portrait of the New Jersey rocker as a way of “paying respects.” “When I showed the head to Springsteen’s first drummer, Jimmy Lopez, who was playing in Freehold recently, he told me: ‘Dead on, man, beautiful.’”

He’s also at work on a portrait of Sid Bernstein, the man who brought The Beatles to Shea Stadium and the Rolling Stones to the Academy of Music in Manhattan.

According to the sculptor, his “real anchor piece,” is a monumental tribute to Captain John T. Dempster that stands outside the Mercer County Fire Training Center on Basin Road. “Dempster, who was know as ‘Cap’ was quite a character in the Trenton Fire Department; he was 85 when I did this life-size portrait of him.” The sculptor was later commissioned to create the bronze award presented to recipients of the David N. Kershaw Award in commemoration of the first president of Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton. In addition, he has created two crosses, one Catholic and one Protestant, for the Princeton University Memorial Chapel, and numerous bronze commemorative plaques.

 

June 4, 2014

When Princeton resident Robert Ross decided to donate his priceless collection of medals and honors to his alma mater Princeton University, he wanted to be sure that the items would be seen and studied by more than a select handful of numismatic experts.

The exhibition “From a Thankful Nation: Latin American Medals and Orders from the Robert L. Ross Collection at Princeton University” displayed in the gallery just inside the door of the University’s Firestone Library in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections does just that.

An enthusiastic collector since he bought his first World War II medal at the age of 13, Mr. Ross has learned over the years that even the simplest of objects has a story to tell.

Take, for example, one tiny medal struck to commemorate the first battle fought in a river by steam ships iron clad for war, “the most technologically advanced warfare at the time,” said Mr. Ross. Or the touching tale associated with a somewhat dull looking metal wedding band created by the government of Paraguay as a token of gratitude to soldiers’ wives who had given up their gold wedding bands in support of the effort during The Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay, considered one of the bloodiest of South American conflicts.

Little known characters from history also step into view, such as William Walker (1824-1860), the American adventurer from Nashville, who organized several private military expeditions into Latin America, intent on carving out his own English-speaking colony. Walker ruled the Republic of Nicaragua from 1856 until 1857 until he came to a bad end. Defeated by a coalition of Central American armies, he was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.

Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794-1877) makes an appearance for his support of the Panama Canal. And there are Brazilian Air Force medals for service during World War II and orders of the Latin American Red Cross orders.

“Some of this history has yet to be written,” said Mr. Ross. For history buffs interested in Latin America and its evolution, the show is a magnet. Displayed chronologically, the exhibition relates a history that began in Europe around the time of the Crusades before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to play out in Brazil, Haiti, and Mexico under the Emperor Maximilian.

Some of the medals and honors were struck to influence power, others to hold on to it, by heads of state eager to encourage and reward loyalty.

Besides plain coin-like medals there are jewel-encrusted and enameled star-bursts on elaborate silk ribbons and bows, the outward manifestations of bravery, self-sacrifice, and hope for freedom as well as self aggrandizement.

THE ORDER OF THE ROSE: This Imperial Order from Brazil is on display as part of the exhibition “From a Thankful Nation: Latin American Medals and Orders from the Robert L. Ross Collection at Princeton University” in Firestone Library. Spanning two centuries from the rise of movements for political independence through to the present, the exhibition includes Spanish religious-military orders that had their origin in the Crusades and the Reconquista; the first medals issued in colonial Latin America; the many decorations awarded during the 19th-century; and a new generation of 20th-century republican orders for diplomatic, military, political, and cultural achievements. For more information, call (609) 258-3184 or visit: http://library.princeton.edu/about/hours.(Photo by John Blazejewski)

THE ORDER OF THE ROSE: This Imperial Order from Brazil is on display as part of the exhibition “From a Thankful Nation: Latin American Medals and Orders from the Robert L. Ross Collection at Princeton University” in Firestone Library. Spanning two centuries from the rise of movements for political independence through to the present, the exhibition includes Spanish religious-military orders that had their origin in the Crusades and the Reconquista; the first medals issued in colonial Latin America; the many decorations awarded during the 19th-century; and a new generation of 20th-century republican orders for diplomatic, military, political, and cultural achievements. For more information, call (609) 258-3184 or visit: http://library.princeton.edu/about/hours. (Photo by John Blazejewski)

Commemorating the bicentennial of the beginning of the movements that would bring about independence in several Latin American countries, the exhibition features selections from Mr. Ross’s definitive collection.

A treasury of history and politics, the exhibition reveals much about the ambitious leaders who bestowed such honors, like the 20th century dictators Rafael Trujillo (1891 -1961), Augusto Pinochet (1915-2006) and Fidel Castro.

“You can learn a lot about a leader by looking at the orders he created,” said Mr. Ross, pointing out that Trujillo’s was a personal dictatorship while Pinochet’s was a military junta. The former created four orders, one for each branch of the military, the army, navy, air, and the militarized police, in contrast with Castro. “In Cuba, you won’t find a street or city named for Fidel Castro. His isn’t a personal dictatorship like Trujillo’s,” said Mr. Ross.

“No modern Latin American country has done more to exploit the traditional medium of the awarded medal as a tool for promotion of its governing regime than Fidel Castro’s Cuba,” commented exhibition curator Alan M. Stahl, in reference to Cuba’s Order of Che Guevara. “Dozens of medals and orders have been created and distributed to recognize efforts on behalf of literacy and agriculture, as well as military and political actions. The Order of Che Guevara is especially emblematic in depicting one of the iconic martyrs of the Cuban Revolution to reward individuals ‘for exceptional military merit in the fight against imperialism and colonialism.’”

Latin America’s political independence is most commonly associated with Simón Bolívar (1783–1830), the Venezuelan revolutionary general who led republican armies to liberate Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru beginning in 1813. Venezuela awards an order named exclusively for him, The Order of the Liberator, which is traditionally worn by the Venezuelan president to symbolize sovereign power and comes in six grades, of which you can see the Collar, the Grand Cross, and the Officer grade on display.

As Mr. Ross led a small group through the exhibition recently, he enthusiastically shared his knowledge, relating stories as he went.

“The origin of these orders goes back to the 11th century in the Holy Land,” he said before going on to explain that an order is a confraternity approved by Papal decree, or “bull.” Besides hospital and military orders, religious/military orders were formed to fight Muslims during the Crusades. Today, many such orders have evolved to have humanitarian purposes, like the U.K.’s St. John’s Ambulance Service. Many were founded by kings, although The French Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon.

Also interesting are the indigenous adaptations such as Guatemala’s Order of the Quetzal, named after a beloved local bird. Given to nationals and foreigners for international, civic, scientific, literary, or artistic services of benefit to the nation, according to Mr. Stahl, “it is is one of the few Latin American medals to incorporate indigenous art motifs.”

Asked how he had kept his collection before he donated it to Princeton, Mr. Ross responded “nervously.” It’s easy to see why. While some are worth more in terms of historic interest than monetary value, others are masterful creations of precious metals and stones.

Purchased by Mr. Ross at auctions in Europe, the collection now has a safe home in the Firestone Library where it has been documented by a thoroughly researched and fully-illustrated 700 page catalogue with 969 color photographs, and is being made available for study. The catalogue can be purchased for $125 from the office of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.

“From a Thankful Nation: Latin American Medals and Orders from the Robert L. Ross Collection at Princeton University” will be on display through August 3. Admission is free. For more information and gallery hours, call (609) 258-3184 or visit: http://library.princeton.edu/about/hours.

 

May 28, 2014
MARK ROTHKO: This untitled 1968 (100 x 63.5 cm) oil on paper laid down on canvas by the American painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970) comes from the collection of Princeton University alumnus Preston H. Haskell (Class of 1960) and will be featured in the exhibition, “Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting from the Collection of Preston H. Haskell,” through Sunday, opening Saturday, May 24 at the Princeton University Art Museum. (Image courtesy of Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.)

MARK ROTHKO: This untitled 1968 (100 x 63.5 cm) oil on paper laid down on canvas by the American painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970) comes from the collection of Princeton University alumnus Preston H. Haskell (Class of 1960) and will be featured in the exhibition, “Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting from the Collection of Preston H. Haskell,” through Sunday, opening Saturday, May 24 at the Princeton University Art Museum.
(Image courtesy of Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.)

Princeton University alumnus Preston H. Haskell III (Class of 1960), will discuss the process of collecting modern and contemporary art in conversation with Pulitzer Prize–winning author and art critic Mark Stevens (Class of 1973) this Friday, May 30, at 3 p.m. in the University’s McCormick Hall, Room 101.

The event follows a book signing at 2:30 p.m. and precedes a reception in the galleries.

Mr. Haskell’s talk, “Collecting Abstraction,” highlights Princeton University Art Museum’s newest exhibition, “Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting From the Collection of Preston H. Haskell,” which opened last Saturday.

The exhibition features 27 paintings by some of the most important artists of the 20th century and provides a window onto the evolution of process, mark-making, and abstraction in the second half of the 20th century.

Mr. Haskell is a long-standing Museum benefactor and former chair of its Advisory Council.

“Rothko to Richter,” features work by 23 pioneering American, European, and Canadian artists, including Josef Albers, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Jean Dubuffet, Sam Francis, Helen Frankenthaler, Hans Hofmann, Franz Kline, Morris Louis, Joan Mitchell, Robert Motherwell, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, Mark Rothko and Frank Stella.

The work on display is drawn from the period between 1950 and 1990, an era whose commitment to artistic experimentation is rivaled only by the first decades of the 20th century, when abstraction was first introduced in Europe and America.

These 40 years were a time of extraordinary creative ferment, when the very nature of abstract painting was hotly contested. The world of abstract art saw some dramatic developments. Experimentation with various methods of applying paint to a surface was common, with results that sometimes emphasized and sometimes obliterated traces of the artist’s hand.

Part of the exhibition focuses on artists like Jack Goldstein and Robert Rauschenberg who examine abstraction and mark-making in a way that is self-conscious and with a considerable degree of irony. Such work examines notions of authenticity and expression.

Curated by Kelly Baum, Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, the eponymous exhibition explores how changes in process and technique, specifically in mark-making, signal broader changes to abstract painting. It is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, published by the Museum. The catalogue has illustrations of all 27 paintings on view as well as contributions from Ms. Baum and essays on the artists.

The artists whose work Mr. Haskell collected represent movements as diverse as Abstract Expressionism, Color Field painting, Minimalism, Op art and Postmodernism. They sought to redefine abstraction for new social and cultural milieus.

“Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting From the Collection of Preston H. Haskell” will be on view through October 5. The exhibition will then travel to The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens in Jacksonville, Florida, for an exhibition opening January 2015.

There will also be a lecture by Ms. Baum, titled “Mark, Maker, Method,” in the University’s McCosh 50, on Thursday, July 17, at 5:30 p.m.

Admission to the Princeton University Art Museum is free. Gallery hours are: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. In addition, the exhibition will be open on Sunday, June 1, and Monday, June 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (609) 258-3788, or visit: www.artmuseum.princeton.edu.

 

May 21, 2014
LET YOUR IMAGINATION PLAY: Fine art photographer Martha Weintraub hopes that visitors to her show at Gallery 14, opening this Friday in Hopewell, will provide their own narratives to work that has the feel of children’s book illustrations. Ms. Weintraub is joined by fellow photographer David Wurtzel for an exhibition that runs May 23 through June 22. An opening reception will take place Friday, May 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. and there will be an opportunity to meet the photographers at the gallery Sunday, May 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

LET YOUR IMAGINATION PLAY: Fine art photographer Martha Weintraub hopes that visitors to her show at Gallery 14, opening this Friday in Hopewell, will provide their own narratives to work that has the feel of children’s book illustrations. Ms. Weintraub is joined by fellow photographer David Wurtzel for an exhibition that runs May 23 through June 22. An opening reception will take place Friday, May 23 from 6 to 8 p.m. and there will be an opportunity to meet the photographers at the gallery Sunday, May 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

Gallery 14 in Hopewell features photography by longtime gallery member Martha Weintraub in the Main Gallery and by David C. Wurtzel in the adjoining Jay Goodkind Gallery from May 23 through June 22. There will be an opening reception Friday, May 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. and an opportunity to meet the photographers at the gallery Sunday, May 25, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Ms. Weintraub, who currently serves as Gallery 14‘s president, is a writer and editor of children’s textbooks and has long been involved with the use of photographic images in the course of her professional career. When a friend gave her a single lens reflex film camera, she became serious about her own photography. Digital photography, she said, is her medium. And while she would never want to give up being behind the camera, she admits that time at the computer has become equally important to her photo-based artwork.

Ms. Weintraub spends hours at the computer in order to create images that fulfill a vision informed by her vast experience as a creator of children’s books. Visitors to the Gallery 14 show will see this influence manifest in an exhibition aptly titled “Story Hour.” Jumping off from the reference to the reading sessions that are held for youngsters aged between two and five in libraries across the country, Ms. Weintraub has images on display that have the look of book illustrations.

Some will evoke memories of well-known children’s stories and poems. Others will tempt viewers to search for a forgotten narrative or even supply one. According to the artist, however, they come entirely from her imagination. She hopes that viewers will let their own imaginations supply stories to go with her photographs.

Many of the picture book illustration-inspired images include Ms. Weintraub’s granddaughters Natalie, 6, and Miranda, 3, as models. Both girls are lovers of stories and adventures, and the fun that they must have had working/playing with their grandmother comes across here.

The photographer has studied with David Wurtzel, Ernestine Rubin, Maggie Taylor, Nancy Ori, Ricardo Barros, and Rick Wright. Her work has been shown at Phillips Mill Photography Exhibit, Grounds for Sculpture Photography Exhibit, Artsbridge at Prallsville Mills Exhibit, and the New Orleans Photo Alliance Gallery; an entry in COLOR Magazine’s Portfolio Contest 2011 was selected for a Spotlight Award and her image “City of Books” was Best in Show at Philips Mill in 2012.

Jay Goodkind Gallery

David C. Wurtzel has been active in photography since the late 1940s. He began in his father’s darkroom and maintains one of his own to this day. The photographs he has chosen to display here continue the storytelling theme and are gathered under the title “Other Stories.”

“To me, photography is an art of observation,” said Mr. Wurtzel. “It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place …. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

The digital images in “Other Stories” also invite viewers to supply a narrative, sometimes over several photographs. All were created in the camera using a variety of techniques such as double exposure, and exposures that were either very long or very short. Recorded in color, they were printed in black and white. One image, “Ghosts Rising,” is a joint effort with Martha Weintraub.

Gallery 14 is located at 14 Mercer Street in Hopewell. Gallery hours are Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

 

May 7, 2014
PRESSED: Bob Justin’s acrylic on canvas painting is one of 15 exploring his emotional responses to pain in a one-man show, “Out of Darkness” at Plainsboro Library through May 28. Eleven of the fifteen paintings on show are for sale with prices ranging from $75 to $225. For more about the artist, visit: www.bobjustin.com. A public reception will take place Sunday, May 18, from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call (609) 275-2897.(Image Courtesy of Plainsboro Library)

PRESSED: Bob Justin’s acrylic on canvas painting is one of 15 exploring his emotional responses to pain in a one-man show, “Out of Darkness” at Plainsboro Library through May 28. Eleven of the fifteen paintings on show are for sale with prices ranging from $75 to $225. For more about the artist, visit: www.bobjustin.com. A public reception will take place Sunday, May 18, from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call (609) 275-2897. (Image Courtesy of Plainsboro Library)

Bob Justin is one of a kind, a man who didn’t expect to be an artist but just couldn’t help himself. The creative impulse has led this former Plainsboro resident to one-man shows at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, the Frank J. Miele Gallery in New York, and the Eisenhower Hall Theater in West Point, N.Y. His work has found its way to the Outsider Art Fair sponsored by the American Museum of Folk Art and into the Laumeir Sculpture Park in St. Louis, Missouri.

Discovered over two decades ago as a “folk artist” whose compelling and life-affirming found object assemblages and “primitive” masks rarely fail to elicit a smile, Mr. Justin is now represented in the permanent collections of Plainsboro Township, Bloomfield College and the American Cyanamid Corporation in West Windsor.

Currently 15 paintings by the artist are on display in the Gallery at Plainsboro Library. The exhibition, titled “Out of Darkness,” presents acrylic paintings that are bold in execution and raw in expression. They represent the artist’s emotional journey through years of heart and lung ailments.

Unlike Mr. Justin’s whimsical primitive art, the paintings in the current exhibition come from a dark wellspring of pain.

“Bob has a special talent for creating pieces with personality,” commented the show’s curator Donna Senopoulos. “His intriguing and whimsical pieces have been shown periodically at the library and it is always a pleasure to exhibit his work. This time it was important to him to show paintings that are an emotional response to the pain he has had.”

Given the content of the paintings, Ms. Senopoulos thought carefully as to how they should be presented on the walls of the gallery space. “I decided that a simple straight line was the best way to handle this material. Such a uniform presentation is a departure for me, but I felt that it was needed for these graphically complicated images,” she said.

Describing the work on display, Mr. Justin said: “I find [these] pictures to be difficult to describe rationally, as they were done under the stress of emotions born of illness. Repeated episodes have always triggered renewed sessions of demons that are born of a dark side beyond silence. I leave the public to interpret, accept, or reject the work as they wish.”

Some have detected a West African influence in Mr. Justin’s work, most notably in his masks. It is also evident in these paintings rendered in dark elemental hues. Some are self portraits; some include hermaphrodite figures. A few, like the one shown here, include words and phrases.

A self-described “free spirited non-conformist,” Mr. Justin stands outside the mainstream. His road to art was prompted by illness. Born in 1941, he grew up in Keyport, Monmouth County, and worked in a variety of fields, though never for very long. He jokes that he’s had over 300 jobs, including stints as a real estate agent, Cadillac sales manager, and the head of his own executive search firm, among many others.

A heart attack forced him to retire in 1991, at which time he began selling his collection of tools and other items at the New Egypt Flea Market, where he now maintains a studio in an old Army barrack.

While handling vintage items, Mr. Justin rediscovered a childhood penchant for finding faces in everything. He began constructing what he affectionately called ‘critters” or “guys,” combinations of found objects inspired by tools, dolls, door knobs, discarded industrial and household objects that found new life in his hands.

His first artistic endeavor came about almost by accident when he adorned an old wooden chair with a broken pick axe. He called the assemblage, “Texas Longhorn” and placed it alongside his flea market table. His folk art career was born when someone came along and offered to buy it for $75.

Eventually, Dorothy Spencer, curator for the Arts America Program of the United States Information Agency (USIA), found her way to the self-taught artist. Her interest resulted in several of his pieces being shown internationally and locally. After he was discovered by a noted collector and board member of the American Museum of Folk Art, he had several one man shows.

Mr. Justin is the subject of a Cablevision documentary which can be viewed along with his portfolio at www.bobjustin.com.

A public reception for the artist will take place at the gallery on Sunday, May 18, from 2 to 4 p.m. “Out of Darkness” runs through May 28 in the gallery of the Plainsboro Library, 9 Van Doren Street, Plainsboro. Hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., and Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (609) 275-2897.

 

April 23, 2014
ART FOR HEALING: At the new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, art is playing no small part in patient recovery. Research shows that an environment that includes works of art such as Gordon Gund’s life-affirming sculpture, “Moment,” can help combat stress. Serene images by local artists are all around the building, in corridors and lobbies, waiting areas and patient rooms. And it’s not just patients who benefit, those who work there every day are also finding solace in the artwork.(Image Courtesy of UMCPP).

ART FOR HEALING: At the new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, art is playing no small part in patient recovery. Research shows that an environment that includes works of art such as Gordon Gund’s life-affirming sculpture, “Moment,” can help combat stress. Serene images by local artists are all around the building, in corridors and lobbies, waiting areas and patient rooms. And it’s not just patients who benefit, those who work there every day are also finding solace in the artwork. (Image Courtesy of UMCPP).

Art is playing no small part in the process of patient recovery at the new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro (UMCPP) and local artists feature most prominently among the work on display throughout the building, in corridors and lobbies, waiting areas and patient rooms, and in the Art for Healing Gallery.

The new hospital is not such a surprising place for a collection of artwork as you might at first think. Artists and art lovers have long found solace and comfort in forms of art. Now scientific research is bolstering their intuition by demonstrating ways in which art contributes to healing.

According to Barry S. Rabner, president and CEO of Princeton HealthCare System (PHCS), the design of the new hospital buildings was guided by recent scientific research, which demonstrates the measurable effect that art has on patient recovery. Images of nature in particular, can alleviate anxiety and stress, reduce blood pressure, shorten hospital stays, and even limit the need for pain medication.

A tour of the four conjoined buildings that make up the medical campus (the main hospital, emergency and surgery center, Medical Arts Pavilion, and education building) on Monday revealed that indoor art as well as views onto external gardens with sculpture, not to mention vistas of Princeton set among a landscape of trees on the other side of Route 1, can be seen from multiple vantage points throughout. “Every elevator lobby has a piece of artwork,” said public affairs coordinator Andy Williams, as he described the numerous sculptures, oil paintings, watercolors, and fabric pieces on display, each accompanied by signage with details of the artist and often the donor who made the acquisition possible. Charles McVicker’s 2009 painting, The Sandy Road, for example, was a gift from the Community Connection of PHCS, formerly known as the Women’s Auxiliary.

Flukes, a bronze by the blind sculptor Gordon Gund, takes pride of place in the Meditation Garden, while his Moment, enhances the east entrance to the main hospital building. Ernestine Ruben’s 2008 giclee print with drawing, Waterrings (made possible by Barry Goldblatt) is in the Atkinson Pavilion. Naomi Chung’s 2011 oil on canvas, Mimosa Tree is on the fourth floor in the east elevator lobby and Carol Hanson’s stunning 2010 View of the Delaware from Bordentown distinguishes a lobby space on another floor. Elaine Vrabel’s 2010 pastel on paper, Far View of the Marsh is featured in the Matthews Center for Cancer Care, where you will also find a series by Lucy Graves McVicker.

Cafe visitors, will discover two enormous canvases by Eve Ingalls (also made possible by Barry Goldblatt). Her acrylic on paper, We’ll Leave a Light On dates to 1984, and her oil and acrylic on canvas, Is Someone There to 1995.

It seems that art of some form can be viewed from almost any point in the hospital. This is far from accidental. “When we designed the building, we had art in mind and the specific placement of sculpture and graphic art. We even designed places for them. Besides being beautiful, art can be an effective way of helping people find their way through a building. A huge pink flower is much more memorable than a direction to turn left or right. Art is also placed where people are likely to linger, in waiting areas, in lobbies. Ninety percent of our areas have natural light, which is also shown as having an effect on recovery.”

The “huge pink flower,” referenced by Mr. Rabner is muralist Illia Barger’s large canvas, Natasha, 2009, which provides a focal point at the end of a long corridor and has become a reference point for visitors.

Asked why there was a preponderance of landscapes and organic forms on display, Mr. Rabner explained that the choice was deliberate and was driven by the findings of “evidence-based design.” “A lot of research has shown that art has a measurable impact on the speed of patient recovery and reduce rates of infection,” said Mr. Rabner. “Exposure, particularly to landscapes, can reduce stress and a hospital is a stressful environment not only for patients and their families but also for those who work here every day.”

Still, those choosing artwork for UMCPP’s Art for Healing initiative could easily have gone with cookie cutter reproductions, Monet’s Waterlilies, say, or any number of readily recognizable works of art. Instead, they chose to focus on original works by New Jersey artists.

Made up of physicians and staff members, local art curators and experts from Princeton University and other area colleges, the selection committee included Mr. Rabner, Princeton architect J. Robert Hillier (a Town Topics shareholder), and design expert Rosalyn Cama, who chairs the Center for Health Design, which fosters a respect for natural scenes as well as natural light through its healthier hospitals initiative and its promotion of evidence-based design.

Born and bred in the Garden State, Mr. Rabner is very happy about the committee’s decision. “These are artists who know New Jersey and it is great to be able to showcase the beauty of our Garden State instead of other aspects.”

But none of this would have been possible, he said, without philanthropic support. “If the hospital had to choose between a work of art or a linear accelerator, we would choose the latter, obviously. But we are lucky in having great supporters.” The purchase of artwork is funded by donations to the PHCS Foundation.

The Art for Healing program and a permanent collection boasting some 350 paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other original works by local artists with deep connections to Princeton and New Jersey has artwork by artists familiar to Town Topics readers. Besides those named above, you will find work by Hetty Baiz, Jim Perry, Thomas George, Ernestine Ruben, Yolande Ardissone, Joan Becker, Pier Hein, Francois Guillemin, among others.

In addition to the art on permanent display, UMCPP’s Art for Healing gallery offers rotating exhibitions of work by an artist whose work is in the permanent collection. Each show is up for between three and four months. Currently, “Paper as Canvas: Variations on a Theme,” showcases large pieces by Anita Bernarde, for sale in the range of $575 to $1,250. Twenty percent of each sale benefits the hospital.

Incidentally, if you go to see the artwork, don’t miss the Visitors Chapel on the main floor. It is a serene spot for reflection, whatever your religion, although copies of The Bible and Koran are available as are prayer mats and kneelers.

International Trend

According to Mr. Rabner, the design of the new medical campus illustrates an international trend toward designing healthcare settings that promote healing. The Art for Healing program offers a series of regular talks by experts from the Princeton University Art Museum and is working to engage patients with the arts in the Acute Care for the Elderly (ACE) Unit and, in future, in the Matthews Center for Cancer Care.

On Wednesday, April 23, at 7 p.m. Dr. T. Barton Thurber, associate director for collections and exhibitions will discuss “The Art of Observation: Museums and Medicine Today,” at the hospital, followed by an art tour. Anyone who would like to attend, should call Susanne Hall at (609) 252-8704.

And if you are wondering what happened to Seward Johnson’s lifelike sculpture of doctor and patient, complete with wheelchair, which formerly graced the entrance to the “old hospital” on Witherspoon Street. It can be found just outside an entrance leading to the Medical Arts Pavilion.

 

April 16, 2014
WOULD WOOD COULD SPEAK: The writing desk used by Elizabeth Barrett Browning as she worked on her poems in Italy is on display in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University Library. The desk and one other belonging to her husband Robert Browning are the gift of alumnus Peter N. Heydon, (Class of 1962) and will be on display at the Firestone Library through June 6.   (Photo by Don C. Skemer)

WOULD WOOD COULD SPEAK: The writing desk used by Elizabeth Barrett Browning as she worked on her poems in Italy is on display in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at Princeton University Library. The desk and one other belonging to her husband Robert Browning are the gift of alumnus Peter N. Heydon, (Class of 1962) and will be on display at the Firestone Library through June 6. (Photo by Don C. Skemer)

Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s love story is one of the most famous in 19th century literature. Elizabeth Barrett (1806-1861), one of the most prominent English poets of the Victorian era, was widely popular in Britain and the United States. An invalid from her teenage years, she campaigned against slavery and helped bring about child labor reform.

Robert Browning (1812-1889), six years her junior, was regarded as a bit of a rake by her family. They kept their burgeoning love affair a secret and when they married, Elizabeth was disinherited by her father and shunned by her brothers.

Two desks, his and hers, are on display inside the Special Collections library at Firestone behind the glass window to the right of the entrance doors. Even in the dim light, the desks have a presence “by association” to their former owners. Both are remarkably small and weathered. Hers is more ornately carved, his is inlayed with tendrils of roses, but neither could be called ostentatious.

“The desks have what is known in the book world as iconic value precisely because there can be no substitutes for them, unlike a book of which there are many copies,” said Curator of Manuscripts Don C. Skemer of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. “Seeing her writing desk is a charming and moving experience. The Brownings had a very special relationship. She was often housebound and her disability has been much speculated upon and yet they ran off to Florence together and lived happy and productive lives until her death several decades before her husband.”

To live cheaply, the couple moved to Italy in 1846. Her slant-topped mahogany writing desk was sent from England shortly after they arrived and placed in the drawing room of their rented apartment on the second floor of the 15th-century Palazzo Guidi in Florence.

Writing Her Life

“Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote her ‘novel in verse,’ Aurora Leigh, on this desk and while it’s not as well known as her collection, Sonnets from the Portuguese, its part of the canon as an epic poem about a woman written by a women,” noted Mr. Skemer.

Aurora Leigh is the story of a female writer making her way and balancing work and love and is clearly drawn from her own life: “Of writing many books there is no end; / And I who have written much in prose and verse / For others’ uses, will write now for mine.”

While living in Italy, Elizabeth suffered four miscarriages and, in 1849, at the age of 43, gave birth to one son, Robert “Pen” Browning (1849–1912).

“After her death, her husband was unable to go back to their Casa Guidi apartment and returned to England,” said Mr. Skemer, “but he asked his Greek painter friend, George Mignaty, to record the scene for him as a remembrance of their happy and productive years in Florence.”

In Mignaty’s oil painting, begun the day after Elizabeth’s death on July 1, 1861, the desk sits prominently, front and center alongside her husband’s Northern Italian walnut table as well as silver-plated “traveling” tea kettle, also on display at Firestone.

The University received the items as a gift from alumnus Peter N. Heydon (Class of 1962). They were originally sold at auction in 1913 following the death of the Brownings’ son and heir.

“The University doesn’t own Mignaty’s painting, but Mr. Hayden has a copy that he is planning to donate,” said Mr. Skemer. The items currently on display are the first of several anticipated gifts to Princeton from Mr. Heydon’s extensive collection of Browning first editions, manuscript letters, and other Victorian memorabilia collected over four decades.

Mr. Heydon first became enchanted with the poetry of Robert Browning as a Princeton undergraduate. At the University of Michigan, he earned both MA (1963) and PhD (1970) and then taught English literature and creative writing. He is the founding president of The Browning Institute, Inc., based in New York and Florence, which acquired the Casa Guidi apartment in 1971. As the Institute’s president for 15 years, he oversaw the restoration of the apartment as a museum and study center, now owned and operated, like the Keats-Shelley House in Rome, by Eton College and the British National Trust.

Mr. Heydon has authored a number of pieces on Robert Browning and his circle; he was co-editor with Philip Kelly of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Letters to Mrs. David Ogilvy, 1849–1861: With Recollections by Mrs. Ogilvy (New York: Quadrangle Press, 1973).

Other Browning holdings in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections include dozens of manuscripts and autograph letters, held in the Manuscripts Division..

 

April 9, 2014
THE COMMODORE COMES HOME: Robert Field Stockton (1795-1866), or at least this pastel on paper representation of him by the New Jersey artist Micah Williams (1782-1837), has returned to Morven as part of an exhibition, through September 14, of work by the prolific portrait painter. The exhibition, “Micah Williams: Portrait Artist,” will be unveiled at an opening reception this Thursday, April 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

THE COMMODORE COMES HOME: Robert Field Stockton (1795-1866), or at least this pastel on paper representation of him by the New Jersey artist Micah Williams (1782-1837), has returned to Morven as part of an exhibition, through September 14, of work by the prolific portrait painter. The exhibition, “Micah Williams: Portrait Artist,” will be unveiled at an opening reception this Thursday, April 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Morven Museum and Garden will launch it’s newest exhibition, “Micah Williams: Portrait Artist,” with a public reception on Thursday, April 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The exhibition draws upon a somewhat larger show organized by the Monmouth County Historical Society with one exception, a recent Morven acquisition of a portrait of Commodore Robert Field Stockton, (1795-1866) completed by Micah Williams around 1821. Grandson of the original owner Richard Stockton, who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, the commodore was a third-generation resident of the historic home.

His portrait is one of 40 paintings, mostly in pastel (six are in oil), by the 18th century itinerant painter Micah Williams (1782-1837), a prolific artist with 272 existing works known. Monmouth County was his largest source of patronage, said Morven Curaror Beth Allan. “Happy customers would recommend him to other members of their family and to friends.”

The exhibition, which will be on display through September 14, offers an unmatched look at the state’s 19th century farmers, orchard growers, militia officers, politicians, silversmiths, potters, carpenters, and their families and elucidates much about the life of the New Jersey artist whose works are in many major museum collections and highly sought after by folk art collectors.

“The first time Micah Williams shows up in the historic record is in New Brunswick working as a silverplater alongside his brother-in-law,” said Ms. Allan, interviewed on Monday while she put the final touches to the exhibition. “Economic issues drove him into debtors prison for two months. He had 123 creditors and left prison with only the clothes on his back and $10 worth of tools.”

It seems that at this point, the artist embarked on a new career as a portrait painter working in pastels. One of the first in the exhibition is of his wife, Margaret Priestly Williams (1787-1863), with whom he had seven children, The depiction shows Margaret dressed simply in a black dress and white cap. According to information compiled by Bernadette M. Rogoff, the Monmouth County Historical Society Curator of Museum Collections, who has researched the artist and his patrons for some two decades, Margaret was pregnant with the couple’s fourth child when the Middlesex County sheriff and his men arrived at the doorstep to seize the family’s household possessions.

“Micah Williams: Portrait Artist,” is on loan from the Monmouth County Historical Association. Ms. Rogoff’s research shows that he married in 1806 and later set himself up as a portrait painter in Monmouth County. He spent several years in New York City, where sometime in 1828 or early 1829 he continued his efforts in oil painting. It is not known with whom he studied.

The Exhibition

The exhibition is in four galleries on the second floor. Don’t miss Commodore Stockton’s portrait, bought recently at auction. Ms. Allan wouldn’t say what had been paid for the piece, but whatever it was, it was worth it for the brooding “Heathcliff” quality of the man that the artist has captured. Stockton who would become a U.S. Senator, would have been 27 when he sat for the artist, and recently returned from service off the coast of Liberia as captain of the U.S.S. Alligator.

Compare it with Thomas Sully’s 1821 full-length oil on canvas on view in the first floor of the West Wing, the first and last room that visitors will pass through on the way to and from the galleries. There, too, you will find a daguerreotype of Stockton taken later in life.

“Williams lined his work with newspaper and it was amazing to find pages from the January 22 edition of the Trenton-based newspaper, The True American, on the back of this new acquisition,” said Ms. Allan.

All but one of the images on display are by Williams. The exception is a portrait of the artist, presumed to have been painted by his teacher. It shows the artist with his oil palette complete with daubs of paint and two thin paint brushes and may have been made when he was studying oil painting in New York City.

The small oval, only ten inches high, painted on a thin wood panel shows Williams to have been a slightly built man, with thinning sandy-colored hair above a narrow face. He is dressed simply in a plain white shirt without ruffle or bow under a somber black coat and waistcoat.

The likeness descended within the Williams family to his great granddaughter Anna I. Morgan, the last direct descendant to own the portrait, which was purchased by the Monmouth County Historical Association in 1980 after her death.

The exhibition demonstrates the progression in the artist’s skills and his rise in portraiture. Among his sitters was Clarkson Crolius (1773-1843) who was also painted by Albany portrait painter Ezra Ames, a work from the collection of the New-York Historical Society.

Eight years after he painted Daniel I. Schenck and his wife Eleanor Schenck (they were first cousins) he painted Daniel’s brother DeLafayette and his wife Eleanor (Nelly) Conover Schenck (a daguerreotype shows them in later years).

One nice touch is the inclusion of objects that are directly related to the images, such as the chair with a painted yellow rose border that is depicted in the portrait of Dinah Van Winkle Morgan the wife of Jonathan Morgan, stoneware potter of Morganville, Monmouth County (1823-1826). The chair is on loan from a descendant of the sitter.

Another feature is an interactive photo-booth which offers visitors a chance to have their own portrait made, courtesy of a museum staff photographer. Some period props are available.

Ms. Rogoff will share her unique perspective on the artist and his works in a brief powerpoint presentation followed by a gallery walk focusing on individual works on Thursday, April 24 at 10 a.m. Admission is $10, ($7 for Friends of Morven); reservations are required. Contact (609) 924-8144 ext.10, or msheridan@morven.org.

Morven Museum & Garden is a National Historic Landmark. Hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call , or visit: www.morven.org. 609.924.8144.

 

March 26, 2014
LOTUS: The lotus in all its stages is captured by artist Dallas Piotrowski, whose acrylic painting will be on view in “The Curators’ Exhibit” opening at the Gallery at Chapin School on April 1. Including Ms. Piotrowski’s work, the show will feature work by five artists who are also gallery curators. The exhibition will run from April 1 through April 30, with a reception for the artists on Wednesday, April 2, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the Gallery at Chapin, 4101 Princeton Pike, on view during school hours by appointment by calling (609) 924-7206.

LOTUS: The lotus in all its stages is captured by artist Dallas Piotrowski, whose acrylic painting will be on view in “The Curators’ Exhibit” opening at the Gallery at Chapin School on April 1. Including Ms. Piotrowski’s work, the show will feature work by five artists who are also gallery curators. The exhibition will run from April 1 through April 30, with a reception for the artists on Wednesday, April 2, from 5 to 7 p.m., in the Gallery at Chapin, 4101 Princeton Pike, on view during school hours by appointment by calling (609) 924-7206.

Dallas Piotrowski has been walking the paths of Grounds For Sculpture for years, finding inspiration in the grounds of the park itself. Most recently, the lotus plants there made such a profound impression that she is currently working on a series of paintings that will show the plant species in its many varied stages of development. “I generally work in themed series and I was captivated by the transformations of the lotus,” said the artist, who is curator of the Gallery at the Chapin School on Princeton Pike.

“I became fascinated by this mysterious and ancient plant as I watched it evolve into many different forms over the course of the seasons,” said Ms. Piotrowski. “The flowers are particularly spectacular with their huge pink blooms. The pods are the most interesting. I look for abstraction and the rhythm of the repeated pattern in nature and create my painting from its design.”

Ms. Piotrowski is curating an unusual exhibition opening at the Gallery on Tuesday, April 1. “The Curators’ Exhibit” will feature work by five artists who are, like Ms. Piotrowski, also gallery curators from local private schools. It gives curators a chance to shine a light on their own artwork while allowing members of the community to meet the people who are so often behind the scenes.

The exhibition will run from April 1 through April 30, with a reception for the artists on Wednesday, April 2, from 5 to 7 p.m.

The artist’s initial interest in the plant’s biology led to further explorations of the history and symbolism. “The flowers are called ‘enlightenment’ and also ‘the Buddha’ and they have been revered and honored in the cultures of Asia for five thousand years,” she said. “I’m looking forward to catching the buds this spring and to seeing again how they sink back into the water at night and rise again in the morning, fresh and pristine. It amazes me that they never get dirty.”

So far, she has completed three paintings which will be on view in “The Curators’ Exhibit.” She expects the series to comprise six paintings. Currently she is at work on a painting of the blossom that she began last November. As for the Chapin exhibition, it has been a challenge to hang work by such different artists, especially when there is just 10 feet of wall space available for each. “Many curators have a strong background in the history of art, but all of the curators shown here are also artists in their own right,” said Ms. Piotrowski,

Joining Ms. Piotrowski are Dolores Evangelista Eaton of the Silva Gallery of Art at the Pennington School; Jody Erdman of the The Anne Reid Art Gallery at Princeton Day School; Jamie Greenfield of the Marguerite and James Hutchins Gallery at the Lawrenceville School; and Phyllis Wright of Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart.

Ms. Eaton, who paints and works in clay, feels issues of identity and voice continue to dominate art making. “In these recent works I am exploring the idea that we are all in a constant state of emerging,” she said. “Over and over again we adjust our relationship to the world by realizing new ways of being, and new ways of knowing ourselves. Sometimes this is a struggle; sometimes it is as natural and quick as a snake shedding its skin; and sometimes we are given experiences that in a way force us, and we do not resist, to use new lenses through which we see the world and ourselves.”

Ms. Erdman uses photography as a means to explore parts of the world around her that she loves. “It’s a means of self expression, to better understand my reality and to embrace the parts of the world which are important to me,” she said. “I like to explore the world as fragments and as abstract form. I like to focus on things which are timeless; to stop in a meditative space which is timeless.”

Known for her drawings of figures, Ms. Greenfield is also a painter of nature whose work draws upon inner sources of personal history in combination with close observation of light and form. “In much of my work, objects, like thoughts, are held in tenuous relation to one another, seemingly unrelated yet anchored in a structured pictorial space,” she said. “Some affinities are provided to the viewer while others remain ambiguous and, as in dreams, may be the result of memory, longing or prescience.”

Ms. Wright is a photographer and painter with a deep interest in the mysteries surrounding ancient cultures, archeology, and the language of symbols. “My art-making helps me make sense of the world around me,” said the artist, who travels a great deal learning about indigenous cultures and attempting through color, texture, and form to convey through her art the mystery and wonder of the world.

The exhibit in the The Gallery at Chapin, 4101 Princeton Pike, can be viewed during school hours by appointment by calling (609) 924-7206.

 

March 19, 2014
TARASCON STAGECOACH: “La Diligence de Tarascon” by Vincent van Gogh is just one of the masterworks on long-term loan to the Princeton University Art Museum from the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation that museum visitors will have to wait for some time to see again. The 1888 oil on canvas, along with the rest of the collection, began a five-venue international tour when it opened at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford last week. It won’t be back in Princeton until September 2015.(Courtesy of the Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection).

TARASCON STAGECOACH: “La Diligence de Tarascon” by Vincent van Gogh is just one of the masterworks on long-term loan to the Princeton University Art Museum from the Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation that museum visitors will have to wait for some time to see again. The 1888 oil on canvas, along with the rest of the collection, began a five-venue international tour when it opened at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford last week. It won’t be back in Princeton until September 2015. (Courtesy of the Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection).

A collection of major modern artworks in the Princeton University Art Museum (PUAM) has been carefully packed up and sent to Europe where it will be seen by art lovers in England and France before returning to the United States later this year. Then, the collection, including paintings by Cézanne, Degas, Manet, Modigliani and Van Gogh, will go on show in Atlanta and Vancouver before coming home to Princeton in September of 2015. 

According to a museum press release, this is the first time in 40 years that the works will go on tour. Titled “Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection,” the international touring exhibition is now on view at the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford.

Amassed by the American entrepreneur Henry Pearlman (1895–1974), it includes 16 Cézanne watercolors that have been described as “the greatest collection outside of France,” as well as some 50 modern masterworks from the late 19th through early 20th centuries.

“We at Princeton are delighted to share the Pearlman collection with a wider international audience on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Henry Pearlman’s death,” said Museum Director James Steward. “This spectacular collection is a testament to Henry Pearlman’s dedication to the transformative power of the creative avant-garde, to his passionate engagement with artists, and to his self-taught discernment.”

Formally known as the Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection, the paintings have been on long term loan at the Princeton University Art Museum since 1976. Paintings from the collection, which is regarded as a critical research and teaching tool, are regularly on display. Half of the artworks are by Cézanne, and the collection offers insights into the development of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism as well as the history of collecting avant-garde art in the United States.

Among the highlights are Paul Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire (ca. 1902), Vincent van Gogh’s Tarascon Stagecoach (1888) and Amedeo Modigliani’s portrait of Jean Cocteau (1916–17). Other artists represented in the exhibition are Gustave Courbet, Honoré Daumier, Edgar Degas, Paul Gauguin, Oskar Kokoschka, Wilhelm Lembruck, Jacques Lipchitz, Édouard Manet, Camille Pisarro, Alfred Sisley, Chaïm Soutine and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Co-curated by Betsy Rosasco, PUAM’s research curator of European Painting and Sculpture, and Laura Giles, PUAM’s Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Class of 1970, Curator of Prints and Drawings, the exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with contributions by more than a dozen members of the Princeton University community as well as a personal narrative, “Reminiscences of a Collector,” by Mr. Pearlman.

A lifelong New Yorker, Pearlman founded the Eastern Cold Storage Company in 1919. He began seriously collecting avant-garde art in the 1940s with purchases of work by Soutine and Modigliani and by some of the artists who influenced them, including Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cézanne. He built close relationships with a number of art dealers in the U.S. and abroad, and befriended artists directly. Over three decades, he assembled one of the finest collections of European art remaining in private hands.

Residents of Princeton will have to wait for some time before seeing the collection on its return from its travels. After the Ashmolean in Oxford, it goes to the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence (July 11 through October 5); to the High Museum of Art in Atlanta (October 25 through January 11, 2015); and then to Canada’s Vancouver Art Gallery (February 7 through May 18, 2015). It will be on display at PUAM, from September 12, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

 

March 12, 2014
MAKING MUSIC: Sheila Bodine’s black and white photographs of musicians’ hands playing instruments are complemented by her 17-year-old granddaughter Grace Glovier’s shots of abstract architectural patterns in an exhibition titled “Generations” at the RWJ Hamilton’s Lakefront Gallery. Both photographers are members of the Princeton Photography Club. The exhibition features members of the club and opens with a reception on Thursday, March 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call (609) 584-5900.

MAKING MUSIC: Sheila Bodine’s black and white photographs of musicians’ hands playing instruments are complemented by her 17-year-old granddaughter Grace Glovier’s shots of abstract architectural patterns in an exhibition titled “Generations” at the RWJ Hamilton’s Lakefront Gallery. Both photographers are members of the Princeton Photography Club. The exhibition features members of the club and opens with a reception on Thursday, March 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call (609) 584-5900.

Lakefront Gallery will debut “Generations,” an exhibition of photography by members of the Princeton Photography Club with an opening reception on Thursday, March 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The exhibition will continue through June 12.

The generations featured are: mother and daughter Sandy and Rachel Shapiro; grandmother and grandson Janet Hautau and Sam Klein; brother and sister Michael and Lynn Padwee; father and son Daniel and Adam Goldberg; grandmother and granddaughter Sheila Bodine and Grace Glovier; father and son Richard Trenner and Winslow Radcliffe Trenner; fathers and daughters: Irwin Vogel and Karen Neems; and Randy and Taylor Koslo; and the three-generation, father, daughter and granddaughter John (Jack) Diehn, Ellen and Caitlin Rogers.

It stands to reason that the basic rule of organization would dictate placement. But simply grouping like items together just didn’t seem right to Princeton curator Sheila Geisler. As she plotted the layout for the upcoming juried exhibit at Lakefront Gallery at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (RWJ Hamilton), she knew it called for something more.

“They all had a flow so much so that I didn’t have to group them by individual artists,” Geisler said of “Generations” an exhibit of photographs taken by generations of nine families. “It must be in the genes,” she said.

Whether it is nature or nurture, this collection of images captured by grandmothers and granddaughters; mothers and sons; fathers and daughters will express the differences and commonalities that are present in all families. These expressions, Geisler thinks, connect people to the art and help people connect to each other.

That’s not only true for the patrons, but also for the artists.

Princeton’s 76-year-old Sheila Bodine whose black and white photographs of musicians’ hands playing instruments were paired with her 17-year-old granddaughter Grace Glovier’s shots of abstract architectural patterns. It was Bodine who brought the idea of the “Generations” exhibit to Geisler after seeing a similar show elsewhere. Both women belong to the 287-member Princeton Photography Club that has been supplying some of the subject matter for Lakefront and other local galleries. Geisler, whose husband Carl has been president of the club for the past eight years, said members are always looking for ways to bring the community together.

As for Bodine, she said she is certainly excited about displaying her family’s work. While she and her granddaughter both enjoy photography, they have never collaborated together. “I wanted to do something I’d never done before and I thought it would be great to do it with her.”

“That’s what art is all about,” Geisler said. “Involving the community around us — so that the community will walk into RWJ Hamilton before they need it and see what else is there and have them excited about what they can come in for before they need hospital services.”

Ilya Genin, a Hamilton cardiologist and director of Lakefront Gallery, agrees. “The gallery brings original photographic art to the walls of the hospital, enriching the patient, visitor, and staff experience.”

For more information, call (609) 584-5900.

 

March 5, 2014
TENDERNESS CAPTURED: “Ternura,” the title of Miek Boltjes’s photograph showing graffiti art in Miami is intended to evoke not only the tenderness so obviously shown in the mural but also the vulnerability of the artists who painted it. A series of photographs of street and graffiti art and artists by Ms. Boltjes will go on view at Gallery 14 in Hopewell next week, Friday, March 14, alongside a collection by fellow Gallery 14 member Rhoda Kassof-Isaac. For more information, visit: www.photogallery14.com.

TENDERNESS CAPTURED: “Ternura,” the title of Miek Boltjes’s photograph showing graffiti art in Miami is intended to evoke not only the tenderness so obviously shown in the mural but also the vulnerability of the artists who painted it. A series of photographs of street and graffiti art and artists by Ms. Boltjes will go on view at Gallery 14 in Hopewell next week, Friday, March 14, alongside a collection by fellow Gallery 14 member Rhoda Kassof-Isaac. For more information, visit: www.photogallery14.com.

Hopewell’s Gallery 14 will showcase the work of the Dutch photographer Miek Boltjes in an exhibition opening next week. Ms. Boltjes is a relative newcomer to Princeton. Her “Street Art Portrait(s)” will be displayed in the main gallery alongside an exhibition of work, titled “Autumn’s Beauties,” by longtime Gallery 14 member Rhoda Kassof-Isaac in the Jay Goodkind Gallery.

Both shows will run from March 14 through April 13, with an opening reception on Friday, March 14, from 6 to 8 p.m. and a “meet the photographers” event on Sunday, March 16, from 1 to 3 p.m.

“Miek Boltjes presents eye-catching photographs that intrigue and make you smile,” said Gallery 14’s Martin Schwartz. Her 17 framed color prints record artwork as painted on buildings together with the artists who produce it; passersby and posing models are also shown in their environment. The end result is a portrait of contemporary street art painted within the past 18 months.

Taken together, Ms. Boltjes’ photographs form a contemporary portrait of street art culture. They also shine a spotlight on the significance of eyes in street art. “The focus of everybody’s immediate attention, well executed eyes are the artist’s signature and pride,” said Ms. Boltjes, for whom this work has become an ongoing exploration of the street art and graffiti writing of Wynwood, Miami. She plans to publish a book of her photographs in the near future.

Ms. Boltjes came to Princeton from the Netherlands two years ago when her husband took up a position at the Institute for Advanced Study. By profession, she is a mediator in intra-state conflicts and an editor of publications on that subject.

Her photograph “Ternura,” for example, was shot last December in Wynwood, a Miami neighborhood that Ms. Boltjes describes as “formerly a rough warehouse area that is being transformed into a hip and happening destination” primarily because of commissions to famous street artists who have been asked to express themselves on its walls.

Art Basel is the Miami event by which this transformation is being wrought and the two artists in Ms. Boltjes’s photograph, “Ternura,” are known jointly as EntesYPesimo. “They flew in from Peru for the week of Art Basel, which attracts visitors to the many galleries that have moved into the neighborhood,” said the photographer. “Ternura translates as ‘tenderness’ in English, and is both a reference to the expression of warm and affectionate feelings and to the quality or state of being vulnerable,” she explained. “It speaks to the gentleness and care with which the man holds the woman and the couple holds the bird, but it also hints at the relationship between the artists and their art, both imagined and real,” she said.

“At first sight we are taken by the contrast between the tough-looking tattooed man in the foreground and the soft loving scene in the background. A closer look at the tattoos on both establishes the man as one of the artists and reveals that he has put a part of himself into his art,” said Ms. Boltjes, whose photograph allows the viewer to see both graffiti writer and his work in a new way, not juxtaposed but connected. “Looking at the art is seeing part of the artists,” she said.

The images in her exhibition provided the photographer with a revelation of sorts. “After a week-long immersion in the street art and graffiti writing scene in Wynwood, I came away with the realization that the artists care intensely about their creations both in terms of the subject matter and the execution; they really put their heart into it, making themselves vulnerable to all of us.”

“The beauty of our brain is that it allows us to ‘see’ the woman in the mural looking affectionately at her creator, who is sweating in the midday heat. This touch, together with the reflection on the car and the way the temporary fence happens to complete the bird cage, both firmly placing the art in its environment, make this photograph stand out among others,” she acknowledged.

For more information on Ms. Boltjes’s work, visit: miek-boltjes.artistwebsites.com.

Fall Foliage

The images on show in “Autumn’s Beauties” were inspired by brilliantly colored autumnal leaves gathered by Ms. Kassof-Isaac, who is both photographer and painter. “These fallen leaves are jewels dropped,” said Ms. Kassof-Isaac in her artist’s statement. “The colors are blindingly beautiful. The reds run from blood red to glowing fire. Orange vies with red for superiority with yellow gold not far behind. The yellows move in, either turning to greens or brown.”

According to the artist, each leaf has its own finger print. She gathers and rearranges her finds into new patterns and combinations. “By turning a leaf over, we find colors faded, but still lined with delicate veins,” she said. “With light coming from above or below, the opaque or transparent quality is seen.”

The long-time resident of Princeton has been an artist for most of her life. Living in Switzerland and Italy for many years, taught her to “value the almost hidden secrets when looking at tiny veins, lines, cracks, breaks, textures and other messages in objects and things that surround us.”

While living in Europe, she graduated as a Jungian psychotherapist and is well versed in the healing values of the arts. She has worked as an art teacher, given seminars, and exhibited her art, and trained in art therapy. “Her photography is unique,” said Mr.Schwartz. “Since she paints on every photograph, each is a ‘one of a kind’ piece of art.”

“Autumn’s Beauties” is described as combining the art of the camera with the art of painting to make the lasting visions of the brilliant colors of fallen Autumn leaves.

Gallery 14 is at located at 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell, N.J. 08525. Hours are Saturday, Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For an appointment, call (609) 333-8511.

For more information, email galleryfourteen@yahoo.com, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

 

February 26, 2014
OH TO BE IN MAINE IN SUMMER: This pristine summer image by Tasha O’Neill, titled “Branching Out,” is part of the exhibition of her work, “Mainely Delights,” opening at the Nassau Presbyterian Church on Nassau Street this Sunday. The exhibition will be on display in the Conference Room during business hours, Monday to Friday. There will be a reception for the artist on Sunday, March 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. For more on Ms. O’Neill’s photography, visit: http://tashaphotography.com.

OH TO BE IN MAINE IN SUMMER: This pristine summer image by Tasha O’Neill, titled “Branching Out,” is part of the exhibition of her work, “Mainely Delights,” opening at the Nassau Presbyterian Church on Nassau Street this Sunday. The exhibition will be on display in the Conference Room during business hours, Monday to Friday. There will be a reception for the artist on Sunday, March 9, from 2 to 4 p.m. For more on Ms. O’Neill’s photography, visit: http://tashaphotography.com.

Since 1993, fine art photographer Tasha O’Neill has pondered the beauties of coastal landscapes on annual trips to Maine, where the Down East home she shares with her husband sits on the quiet wooded side of Mt. Desert Island in an area that is part of Acadia National Park.

“Mainely Delights,” an exhibition of iconic images, subtle and intimate, opens at the Nassau Presbyterian Church, 61 Nassau Street this Sunday, March 2 and will be on view through March in the Conference Room. The exhibition will be open during business hours, Monday to Friday, and there will be a reception for the artist on Sunday, March 9, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Curated by Sue Rodgers, the show is a selection of some of the photographer’s best work and the images will be available for purchase. “The Nassau Presbyterian Church is pleased to open its space to local artists and the community at large and takes no commission on any of the work sold,” said Ms. Rodgers.

Ms. O’Neill is a member of the group Art+10 and it was a word-of-mouth recommendation from fellow member Meg Michael that led to the current exhibition. A 20-year resident of Princeton, Ms. Rodgers has been curating shows at the church for some 15 years and had previously mounted an exhibition of acrylic paintings by Ms. Michael. After viewing Ms. O’Neill’s images online, she unhesitatingly contacted the Princeton-based photographer to suggest a show.

Exhibitions at the Nassau Presbyterian Church change monthly from October through May and feature local artists working in a variety of media including oil and acrylic painting, pastel, watercolor, and photography.

With these shots of Maine, the photographer presents a distillation of summers spent exploring such places as Seal Cove. As soon as Ms. O’Neill and her husband arrive, they make for the rustic Bass Harbor restaurant, Mainely Delights, “where the warm welcome always makes us feel immediately at home,” she said. Hence the title of this exhibition.

Delight is clearly the hallmark of Ms. O’Neill’s time spent Down East where the artist speaks of finding certain moon phases that bring about extreme low tides and grant access to beaches otherwise inaccessible. Unique arrays of seaweed and rocks create natural abstractions which the photographer invites viewers to explore, alongside evocative images of gardens and seascapes.

The artist taps a poet’s sensibility for the titles of her images: Entwinings, Wending, Ripening, A Whispering of Sloops, Pasta of the Sea and Vanished Guests, to name but a handful.

“Mainely Delights” will feature 22 pieces in two sizes, 16 x 20 inches and 20 x 24 inches. For more on Ms. O’Neill’s photography, visit: http://tashaphotography.com, or http://tasha-oneill@artistwebsites.com.

 

February 19, 2014
DREAMS FOR THE WINTER WEARY: If the storms are getting you down, what better solace than a visit to Rider University’s latest art show: “Basil Alkazzi: An Odyssey of Dreams — A Decade of Paintings, 2003-2012,” currently on view in the Bart Luedeke Center on Rider University’s campus, 2083 Lawrenceville Road. Admission is free. For more information, call (609) 895-5588.

DREAMS FOR THE WINTER WEARY: If the storms are getting you down, what better solace than a visit to Rider University’s latest art show: “Basil Alkazzi: An Odyssey of Dreams — A Decade of Paintings, 2003-2012,” currently on view in the Bart Luedeke Center on Rider University’s campus, 2083 Lawrenceville Road. Admission is free. For more information, call (609) 895-5588.

Are contemporary artists eschewing the secular and returning to the metaphysical? For the philosophically minded, that might well be the question prompted by Rider University Art Gallery’s current exhibition of watercolor and gouache paintings by the Kuwaiti-born artist Basil Alkazzi.

“An Odyssey of Dreams: A Decade of Paintings 2003-2012” features 34 vibrant abstracts that, some think, speak to renewed interest in the metaphysical in art after a period of secular involvement.

The question will be discussed this Thursday, February 20, at 7 p.m. when Michael Royce, executive director of the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) introduces a conversation by two leading art historians/critics, prompted by Mr. Alkazzi’s work.

In “From Secularism to the Mystical in Contemporary Art,” Donald Kuspit and Matthew Baigell will discuss the artist’s work within the broader context of a perceived turn from secularism to the expression of inner feeling, particularly the spiritual, among contemporary artists.

One of the most eminent art critics in the United States, Mr. Kuspit is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Art History and Philosophy at Stony Brook University and a senior critic at the New York Academy of Art. His writings appear in Artforum, Artnet Magazine, Sculpture, and Tema Celeste magazines, and he is the editor of Art Criticism. An influential author, his art criticism includes The Rebirth of Painting in the Late Twentieth Century; Psychostrategies of Avant-Garde Art; Redeeming Art: Critical Reveries; and The End of Art (and that just since 2000).

Mr. Baigell is one of the nation’s leading art historians. His books include A Concise History of American Painting and Sculpture, The American Scene: American Painting of the 1930s, and Artist and Identity in Twentieth Century America, which examines the work of such artists as Edward Hopper, Ben Shahn, and Frank Stella, relating their art to the social contexts in which it was created, and identifying recurring themes, such as the persistence of Emersonian values, the search for national and regional identity, aspects of alienation, and their personal and religious identities as revealed in their works.

A public reception will follow the program, which was organized by Harry I. Naar, director of the Rider University Art Gallery and Judith K. Brodsky, Distinguished Professor Emerita at Rutgers and founding director of the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions, who also curated the exhibition.

But one needn’t be an art historian or an art critic, to enjoy Mr. Alkazzi’s vividly colored large-scale works on hand-made paper.

Enigmatic and Mystical

The paintings are abstract in an organic rather than geometric way. Enigmatic and mystical, they conjure up warmth, pre-verbal memories, other-worldly landscapes; just the thing to transport the winter weary from the reality of snow shovels and slushy sidewalks.

They range in size from 13 x 18 inches to 40 x 30 inches and their titles convey a romantic and tender sensibility: Kiss of the Butterfly, Ascending Angel, Whispering Dreams, and Ascension in Beatitude II, on the cover of the full-color 136-page exhibition catalog.

Mr. Alkazzi has said that he hopes the show will inspire viewers with “a feeling of awe at the sublime soul within life and nature, and so, within themselves.”

In speaking of his work, Mr. Naar makes comparisons to Wassily Kandinsky and Mark Rothko; Mr. Kuspit, who has written two books on Mr. Alkazzi and has been observing his oeuvre since the 1960s, speaks of Jung.

“My paintings of nature are the Life-Force embodied in nature, all of nature, and that includes mankind,” said Mr. Alkazzi, who describes himself as a man of faith rather than of any particular religion.

This traveling exhibition started at the Bradbury Gallery at Arkansas State University and traveled to The Anne Kittrell Gallery at the University of Arkansas before arriving at Rider where it will continue until March 2. After that it goes to the Rosenberg Gallery at the Maryland Institute College of Art and then to the Sheldon Museum of Art at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Long Career

The artist’s long career dates from 1973. He first discovered a talent for drawing and painting as a child at boarding school in Beirut. After attending art school in London, he spent time in Greece and then Crete and regularly exhibited his work at London’s Drian Gallery, from 1978 to 1987. Since 1985, he has lived on and off in New York and was granted U.S. residency as “an artist of exceptional ability in the arts.” Currently, he lives in Monaco.

A prolific and self-described “compulsive” painter, he has work in the public collections of museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum of the Smithsonian Institution.

“An Odyssey of Dreams — A Decade of Paintings 2003 — 2012” is at the Art Gallery in the Bart Luedeke Center on the Rider campus, 2083 Lawrenceville Road, through March 2. Gallery hours are: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call (609) 895-5588.

 

February 12, 2014
MUNCH AS PRINTMAKER: Edvard Munch’s woodcut “Two Women on the Shore”is among 26 works by the artist on display in a new exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum. All of the works are from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Image Courtesy of the Princeton University Art Museum)

MUNCH AS PRINTMAKER: Edvard Munch’s woodcut “Two Women on the Shore”is among 26 works by the artist on display in a new exhibition at the Princeton University Art Museum. All of the works are from the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
(Image Courtesy of the Princeton University Art Museum)

Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print: Masterworks from the Museum of Modern Art, New Yorkopened Saturday at the Princeton University Art Museum. The show features 26 of the artist’s most powerful and well known compositions. But don’t look for his famous 1893 painting, The Scream. Instead, look for variations of his best-known painted compositions.

Highlights from the show are his woodcut/lithographs Madonna, Vampyr II, Two People: The Lonely Ones, and lithographs Anxiety and Death in the Sickroom. As their titles suggest, the themes here are typical of Munch, whose work is distilled from memories of his own troubled past and explores anxiety, sex, and death.

Curated by Calvin Brown, the University Art Museum’s associate curator of prints and drawings and organized by MoMA curators Deborah Wye and Starr Figura, the exhibition includes some of his most arresting images from MoMA’s Collection of Prints and Illustrated Books.

The exhibition focuses on the Norwegian artist’s works on paper in a wide range of printmaking methods. The selection demonstrates the artist’s innovation as well as his singular artistic vision. Munch (1863-1944) is well known as a Symbolist and Expressionist painter. He is less well known, at least outside of museum circles, for his prowess as a printmaker and this show reveals why he’s considered among the greatest printmakers of the modern period.

Born in a Norwegian village, Munch was raised by a deeply religious father. “From him I inherited the seeds of madness. The angels of fear, sorrow, and death stood by my side since the day I was born,” Munch wrote.

The artist’s mother died of tuberculosis in 1868, as did his favorite sister Johanne Sophie in 1877. Munch was often ill and kept home from school. He occupied himself by drawing in an atmosphere where even the entertainment had a somber note (vivid ghost stories by Edgar Allan Poe, for example). It is any wonder he had macabre visions and nightmares?

One of his younger sisters was diagnosed with mental illness at an early age and Munch spoke of his two inheritances: consumption and insanity. Many of his early drawings depict miserable interiors and medicine bottles.

According to Mr. Brown, who has been at the Art Museum since 1997, the Munch show is a perfect companion to the current show of Italian drawings curated by his colleague Laura Giles.

Pushed to pick a favorite item from the show, Mr. Brown singles out the woodcut version of The Kiss, of which the exhibition has two versions: an etching and drypoint in which two lovers meld into one iconic figure and a nearly abstract color woodcut, coarsely carved and printed from a weathered pine board.

“Almost all of these prints were made as reproductions of Munch’s paintings. He made them to get his work out but he also used printmaking to experiment and explore themes and ideas that go back to key early memories,” said Mr. Brown. “It’s important to remember that Munch was a contemporary of Freud; you could say that he is trying to make sense of his own life while searching for something that is universal; his creative process involves revisiting important memories over and over again; he meditated on fundamental memories like the deaths of his mother and sister and crystallized his experiences to discover the universal conditions of modern existence.”

Asked whether he might enjoy the artist’s company, Mr. Brown said: “I think he would have been a difficult but engaging fellow. He was very well-connected to poets, writers, and painters so he must have been a good companion but he was was given to depression and he drank a great deal.”

If all anyone knows about Munch’s work is The Scream, then they would be missing out, said Mr. Brown. “The Scream is just one of a handful of images he produced around the theme of anxiety, and anxiety is just one aspect of his work.”

The Scream is the best known of Munch’s intensely psychological works and a version (there are several) was sold at auction for $119.9 million in May 2012, at the time the most expensive artwork ever sold at an open auction; another version was stolen and recovered from the National Gallery in Oslo in 1994; and another version was stolen in 2004 from The Munch Museum in Oslo, but recovered in 2006.

The etchings, lithographs, and woodcuts are arranged according to the techniques that Munch explored, from the first etchings and drypoints that he made in Berlin in 1893, to the Frieze of Life: A Poem about LIfe, Love and Death that was shown at the Berlin Secession of 1902. The Frieze is a collection of works that examine the artist’s major motifs: the stages of life, the femme fatale, the hopelessness of love, anxiety, infidelity, jealousy, sexual humiliation, and separation in life and death.

Also explored are Munch’s collaborations with some of the finest printers in Berlin and Paris. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Nazis labeled Munch’s work as “degenerate art,” putting him in company with the likes of Picasso, Klee, Matisse, and Gauguin.

“The visual intensity of these prints plumbs depths that may be even greater than Munch’s paintings due to the nature and immediacy of his graphic achievement,” said Museum Director James Steward. “His profound connection with audiences over the last century is a testament to his ability to fuse our shared human experiences with his own expressive vision.”

“Edvard Munch: Symbolism in Print, Masterworks from the Museum of Modern Art, New York” will be at at the Princeton University Art Museum through June 8. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays.

 

January 29, 2014
art lead 1-29

EAST WEST HARMONY: Titled “Fish,” this silk painting by Chinese American artist Shaomei Zhong Wan is on view among others of her work at the Plainsboro Public Library. An artist’s reception will be held Saturday, February 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. as part of the library’s annual Chinese New Year celebration. For more information, call (609) 275-2897.

A gallery exhibition by artist Shaomei Zhong Wan will usher in the Chinese New Year at Plainsboro Public Library later this week with a collection of watercolors and silk paintings that are influenced by both Eastern and Western traditions.

The Chinese New Year begins on January 31 and the animal associated with this year, which is not 2014 but 4712 according to the Chinese calendar, is the horse.

“I am very excited with the exhibit and very grateful for such a wonderful opportunity,” said Ms. Wan, who has featured in Plainsboro Public Library events in the last several years, regularly demonstrating the techniques of Chinese and watercolor painting.

Born in Guangzhou, China, Ms. Wan graduated from the South China University of Fine Arts there. She is a member of the Guangzhou City Artist Association and Chinese American Art Association and has lived in the United States for 11 years, at present residing in East Windsor.

After serving for many years in the creative arts and advertising design industries, Ms. Wan currently works as an independent artist and design consultant. She has entered and won prizes in various professional exhibitions, and her work was exhibited in Flushing, New York and in the Mercer County Artists Exhibition at the Mercer County Art Gallery every year for the past five years.

Of the current exhibition and its influences, Mrs. Wan said: “In my youth, I focused on watercolor, engraving, and oil painting. My education was in Western fine art, but my spirit remained in the East. After immigrating to the United States, I discovered that none of the various forms of Western fine art could provide a sufficient outlet for the emotions that I wished to articulate. Several years ago, through serendipitous chance, I was introduced to silk painting, and I have been enamored of it ever since.

“Silk-weaving is an ancient Chinese invention, and silk painting has been alive in China for millennia. However, the fine brushwork painting techniques used in the ancient periods required that the colors be added layer by layer due to limitations in pigment technologies in ancient times, making it a difficult medium for the freehand brushwork of traditional Chinese painting on paper. The use of modern Western dyes and watercolor techniques has helped me discover my own artistic language, enabling the expression of those emotions I feel while facing the conflict and confluence of Western and Eastern cultures.

“Ancient Chinese civilization made its way from East to West through the Silk Road. While I physically traveled from East to West, my creative inspiration moved in the opposite direction, from Western art forms back to my Eastern roots. This exhibition is my first step in a new artistic path, and I hope that my exploration can bring fresh sentiments and inspiration to my audience as well.”

Timed to coincide with the Chinese New Year, the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar, the exhibition has allowed Ms. Wan the opportunity to explore some of her recollections of the celebration. In China, months are reckoned by the lunar calendar. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the fifteenth, when the moon is brightest. In China, people may take weeks of holiday from work to prepare for and celebrate the New Year.

“In the city of Guangzhou, one major event of Chinese New Year celebration is the flower market and lantern festival,” Ms. Wan recalled. “It’s very much like carnival celebrations in other parts of the world and when I was little, the whole family used to go together. My father would put me on his shoulders so that I could see all the beautiful flowers and lanterns as well as the traditional firecrackers. I still remember the loud cracking sounds and the smells of the burning firework powders. The purpose of the firecrackers is to send off the old year and welcome the new year. At midnight, everybody lit them up at the same time. The noise was so loud that it seemed like the whole city was exploding. And the echoes seemed to vibrate in the air for a long time.”

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. When twelve showed up, he named a year after each one and said that the people born in each year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in horse years are cheerful, skillful with money, perceptive, witty, and good with their hands. They include Rembrandt, Aretha Franklin, Chopin, and President Theodore Roosevelt.

As for Ms. Wan, she was born in the year of the snake, which puts her in possession of great wisdom, passion, and perception.

A reception for the artist will be held Saturday, February 8, from 1 to 3 p.m. to coincide with the library’s annual Chinese New Year celebration, which also features performances, crafts, and cooking demonstrations. The exhibition of Ms. Wan’s work will continue through February 26 at the Plainsboro Library, 9 Van Doren Street, Plainsboro. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday through Sunday; 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. For more information call (609) 275-2897.

 

January 8, 2014
MOONRISE OVER MANSET: Trudy Glucksberg’s 24”x36” acrylic on canvas work will be on view as part of the Arts Council of Princeton exhibition “Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press, Contemporary Works,” which opens with a reception on Saturday, January 18 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Paul Robeson Center. The exhibition is part of the overarching project,“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Birth of Artists’ Communities in Central New Jersey” that includes several art exhibits, as well as film, gallery talks and panel discussions.

MOONRISE OVER MANSET: Trudy Glucksberg’s 24”x36” acrylic on canvas work will be on view as part of the Arts Council of Princeton exhibition “Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press, Contemporary Works,” which opens with a reception on Saturday, January 18 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Paul Robeson Center. The exhibition is part of the overarching project,“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Birth of Artists’ Communities in Central New Jersey” that includes several art exhibits, as well as film, gallery talks and panel discussions.

“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Birth of Artists’ Communities in Central New Jersey” is a series of art exhibits, film, gallery talks, and panel discussions focusing on notable art communities that developed in central New Jersey beginning in the late 1930s. The project explores the role New Jersey has had as a creative cauldron since the mid-20th century and it opens at the Arts Council of Princeton, the Historical Society of Princeton and the Princeton Public Library on January 18. It will also open in the Gallery at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) on January 21, and at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton on February 15. 

Much of America’s creative activity took root in small but important enclaves all across the country. Beginning in the mid-20th century, central New Jersey became one such hotbed, and played an important role in American cultural life of the last century. The accomplishments of the artists who lived and worked here are documented in the paintings, drawings, and sculpture they produced.

Among the groups being explored are the original Queenston Press artists; the artists of Roosevelt; Princeton Artists Alliance; the Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA); and the Princeton Art Association (now ARTWORKS in Trenton).

Original artwork and portfolios, featuring both historical and contemporary works, will be displayed in participating venues in Mercer County and its environs now through spring 2015. Concentric Circles overlaps with “New Jersey as Non-Site,” an independent exhibition organized by the Princeton University Art Museum that focused on experimental artists of the postwar era, another group of artists in central New Jersey.

Concentric Circles organizers Ilene Dube and Kate Somers originally set out to celebrate a group of women artists who came together in Princeton in the 1960s to learn printmaking from Judith K. Brodsky. From this small group, along with other artists who established the Princeton Art Association during the same period, many other art groups eventually formed. Just as interests during this period began to overlap as artists joined multiple groups and influenced one another’s work, the original project grew to encompass more of these “Concentric Circles.”

“We discovered that not only had the women artists’ group come together at this time, but other important artists in the area were taking classes with each other, interacting, and influencing each other,” says Dube. “Although the artists of Roosevelt had formed in the 1930s, many were still active in the 1960s and 70s, and knew the artists of the Queenston Press. In addition, there were connections to artists who had taught at Mercer County Community College, as well as the artists who formed the Trenton Artists Workshop Association.”

“Today our region continues to flourish in the arts with artist groups such as the Princeton Artists Alliance and MOVIS,” says Somers, who has curated exhibitions of most of these artists.

Exhibitions will take place as follows. “Concentric Circles of Influence: the Queenston Press, The Woman Portfolio” at Princeton Public Library, January 8 through April 15, with a reception Saturday, January 18, from 3 to 6 p.m. For more visit: www.princeton
library.org.

“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press Bicentennial Portfolio” at Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, January 18 through July 13 with a reception Saturday, January 18, from 3 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit: www.princeton
history.org.

“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press Ten Crucial Days Portfolio” at Historical Society of Princeton, Updike Farmstead, January 18 through July 13, with a reception Saturday, January 18, from 3 to 6 p.m.

For more information, visit: www.princetonhistory.org.

“Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press Contemporary Works” at Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, Taplin Gallery, January 18 through March 8, with a reception Saturday, January 18, from 3 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit: www.artscouncilof
princeton.org

“Left of Central: TAWA, Artworks and Art in the Capital Region” at The Gallery at Mercer County Community College, January 21 through February 20, with a reception Saturday, January 25, noon to 2 p.m.For more information, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery

“Artists of Roosevelt” at New Jersey State Museum, February 15 through May 25. For more information, visit: www.statemuseum.nj.gov

“America: Through Artists’ Eyes” at New Jersey State Museum, October 25, 2014 through April 5, 2015. For more information, visit: www.statemuseum.nj.gov

The PNC Foundation is the generous Lead Funder for the 2014 Concentric Circles of Influence: The Queenston Press exhibitions at the Arts Council of Princeton, Historical Society of Princeton, and the Princeton Public Library.

The Arts Council of Princeton and The Gallery at MCCC are supported, in part, through a grant from the Mercer County Cultural & Heritage Commission, in partnership with the NJ State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

 

January 2, 2014
“LAUGHTER IN THE DARK:” Portraits such as the one shown here by local photographer Richard Trenner will be in the main gallery at Gallery 14 in Hopewell, where images by his son, Winslow Radcliffe-Trenner, 16, will also be shown in a exhibition that opens with a reception this Friday, January 3, from  6 to 8 p.m. and a meet the artists open house on Sunday, January 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call (609) 333 8511, email: galleryfourteen@yahoo.com, or visit: www. photogallery14.com.                                        (Photo Courtesy of R. Trenner)

“LAUGHTER IN THE DARK:” Portraits such as the one shown here by local photographer Richard Trenner will be in the main gallery at Gallery 14 in Hopewell, where images by his son, Winslow Radcliffe-Trenner, 16, will also be shown in a exhibition that opens with a reception this Friday, January 3, from
6 to 8 p.m. and a meet the artists open house on Sunday, January 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. For more information, call (609) 333 8511, email: galleryfourteen@yahoo.com, or visit: www.
photogallery14.com. (Photo Courtesy of R. Trenner)

Photographers Richard Trenner and Winslow Radcliffe-Trenner will be showing the best of their recent work at Gallery 14 in Hopewell this month when their two-man show opens with a public reception this Friday, January 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. 

There will be an opportunity to meet both photographers on Sunday, January 5, from 1 to 3 p.m. In addition to being a photographer, Richard Trenner is a writer, teacher, and consultant. He runs his own Princeton-based company, Advanced Communication Training, and he’s written and co-written books on communication and edited some 20 titles for the Lodima Press, a publisher of fine art photography books.

His part of the two-man show, titled “People, Places, and a Parrot Called Pancho,” includes portraits, landscapes, cityscapes, as well as the intriguing image that inspired the show’s title: a picture of “a wise-looking parrot contemplating a beautiful woman’s knee.”

Mr. Trenner’s work comprises the main part of the exhibition and, as such, will be displayed in Gallery 14’s main gallery. Images by his 16-year-old son, known as “Win,” will be displayed in the Jay Goodkind Gallery that is attached to the main space. A junior at the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, Connecticut, where he boards, “Win” is named after the painter Winslow Homer.

The Gallery 14 exhibition is not the first for the father and son photographers who might be said to have image-making in their genes. Their first joint show was last spring, also at Gallery 14. That show was Win’s debut and the beginning of his part in a family tradition that goes back to his great-grandfather, George L. Trenner, a Londoner by birth, who arrived in New York City around 1894 at the age of 20. His grandfather, Nelson R. Trenner, was a serious amateur who fostered Win’s father Richard’s interest. This makes Win the fourth generation in this family of keen photographers.

Richard Trenner began making photographs when he was 12 and in recent years has had several solo and group shows. He has won a number of awards, and had several of his photographs published in magazines and books. His first solo show was sponsored by the Arts Council of Princeton at the Princeton Public Library in 2009 was followed by a second at the Chapin School Gallery in 2010.

Last year’s exhibition at Gallery 14 was titled “Where The Land and Water Meet” and featured mostly landscapes. Those by Richard, shot mainly on the coast of Maine but also in coastal areas of New Brunswick, Canada; Cape Ann and Nantucket, Massachusetts; and Europe. Win exhibited photographs from a school trip to Chile, Argentina, South Georgia Island, and the Southern Ocean (weather kept them from reaching Antarctica).

This year, Win is showing images gathered on two recent study trips to Shanghai and Beijing. His section of the display is titled “One Heart, One Mind,” and pays tribute to a Chinese philosophy to which he found a deep response. “The Chinese idiom ‘one heart, one mind’ is the driving force behind my decisions in life,” said the young photographer. “It means to have the undivided attention of the spirit by linking what your heart and your mind want.”

As with all Gallery 14 shows, the work on display is for sale. Last year Win out-sold his father by a large margin. Did he mind? “Intensely, for about ten minutes,” laughed Trenner. “Win’s success reminded me to get out there with my camera, which was no hardship because I’m a photography addict.”

Almost all of the recent works by Mr. Trenner were taken on travels in New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, as well as Castine, Maine, and St. Andrews, Scotland.

Mr. Trenner has been a full member of Gallery 14 for three years. The group meets regularly for member to critique each other’s work and provides exhibition space once a year in the main gallery and once in the Goodkind Gallery. The former holds about two dozen images, the latter about a dozen.

“People, Places, and a Parrot Called Pancho,” photographs by Richard Trenner and “One Heart, One Mind,” photographs by Winslow Radcliffe-Trenner will be at Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell N.J. 08525, from January 3 through February 2. Gallery hours: Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call (609) 333 8511, email: galleryfourteen@yahoo.com, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

 

December 18, 2013
ICED BERRIES: Tasha O’Neill’s photograph will be on display at the D&R Greenway as part of the exhibition, “Artistic License and the Land,” from December 18 through January 15. For more information, call (609) 924-4646, or visit: www.drgreenway.org.

ICED BERRIES: Tasha O’Neill’s photograph will be on display at the D&R Greenway as part of the exhibition, “Artistic License and the Land,” from December 18 through January 15. For more information, call (609) 924-4646, or visit: www.drgreenway.org.

A new exhibition of landscapes by members of the Princeton Photography Club (PPC) opens today, December 18 and runs through January 15, 2014.

“Artistic License and the Land” showcases traditional and experimental images by 50 artists. The exhibition was created by the Club at the request of D&R Greenway President and CEO Linda Mead as a means to convey the importance of land use and land preservation.

All of the artwork is for sale with a percentage supporting the land trust’s preservation and stewardship mission in the Garden State. “We delight in our ongoing partnership with D&R Greenway Land Trust,” commented PPC President, Carl Geisler, who explained that the PPC holds regular meetings and workshops open to the public at the D&R Greenway, where members gather at 7:30 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month from September through June.

Founded in 1982, PPC has almost 300 members, from beginners through professionals. It provides local photographers with community, as well as workshops, exhibits, group travel, and a series of talks by invited speakers. Its goal is to promote artistic excellence, while helping members enhance their expertise in photographic techniques.

This exhibition “is a wonderful opportunity to spread the word about PPC,” commented exhibition curator Sheila Geisler. “Our exhibition reception coincides with our January 8 general meeting, which is free and open to the public.”

Noted local photographer, Tasha O’Neill, joined in 2004 at the invitation of former Town Topics photographer Ed Greenblat, who will be among the participants. Born and raised in Germany, Ms. O’Neill credits her mother for teaching her to be a thorough and inquisitive observer. Her work displays this aspect of character in landscapes, blooms, cobwebs, insects, reflections, or shadows, captured from all angles and distances.

Ms. O’Neill came to Princeton in 1973 and tried her hand at many things: foreign languages, catering, being a licensed private pilot, running a small restaurant, until deciding on photography. “Nothing has held my attention more than being a photographer,” she said.

The largely self-taught photographer experienced an epiphany of sorts when observing “frost flowers” on the D&R Canal. The experience prompted her to study at the New York Institute of Photography. Nature is her mentor, said Ms. O’Neill, who enjoys summers in Maine, finding inspiration in dew, cobwebs, seaweed, rocks, water, reeds, waterlilies, flowers, marshes, and boats.

When the image of Ice Berries, shown here, was taken, Ms. O’Neill was on her way to Maryland. It was Valentine’s Day and she considered canceling her trip because of freezing rain but, since the roads seemed to be clear, had decided to go ahead.

“The further south we drove from Princeton, the more the trees were coated with ice. Dark stormy clouds and rays of sun transformed the landscape into a magical winter wonderland,” she recalled. At some point along the road, she spotted the tree and its red berries. “I consider myself an ‘opportunistic photographer.’ I know it when I see it. So I asked my husband to stop, got out with my Canon D40, walked around the tree and photographed it from every angle. I used a shallow depth of field to isolate the tree from the background and later cropped the image to focus more on the icy berries.”

Photography out-of-doors has its own special challenges, one of which, said the photographer, “is that you see something you want to capture but it is difficult to get a clear view of it, or else it has a distracting background.”

Ms. O’Neill documented “Princeton Writers Block,”  “Healing through Creativity” and other nature, arts, and preservation efforts. Her work has been featured in newspapers and magazines, exhibited in regional shows in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maine and is in numerous private collections around the world.

She has served as vice-president of Hopewell’s Gallery 14 and is known for abstract flower portraits, reflections in water, notably at Ken Lockwood Gorge and Barbara Smoyer Park, and portraits of Frank Gehry buildings that “distill” the architect’s iconic style.

In 2012, she joined the newly-formed group ART+10, contributing photographic and organizational skills to painter colleagues. In addition, examples of her work can be seen year-round at Another Angle on Nassau Street, at the dental offices of Dr. Lekha Tull on North Harrison Street and in Gelavino’s at the Princeton Shopping Center.

Artistic License and the Land” is in D&R Greenway’s Marie L. Matthews Galleries, One Preservation Place, Princeton, on business hours of business days, through January 15. Call (609) 924-4646 to be sure galleries are not rented on the day of the prospective visit. For more information, visit: www.drgreenway.org.

For more about Tasha O’Neill, visit: www.tashaphotography.com. For more about the Princeton Photography Club, visit: www.princetonphographyclub.org.

The public is also welcome to the PPC’s January 8 open meeting, for a light reception followed by a presentation by Mike Peters who will speak on creating film-like digital images. This event begins at 7:30 p.m. No registration is required.

 

December 11, 2013
THE ART OF MEDITATION: “Being Still,” an exhibit of paintings imbued with Buddhist thought by local artist, S.L. Baker will be on view in the East Lobby Gallery at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike (Bus. Route One), Lawrenceville, through December 31. Ms. Baker works mostly in acrylic on canvas and uses her fingers instead of brushes. Her work is often influenced by meditation practice. Born in Princeton, Ms. Baker is a retired New Jersey public school teacher and also a published poet and lyricist. For more information and hours, call (609) 989-6920, or visit www.mcl.org.

THE ART OF MEDITATION: “Being Still,” an exhibit of paintings imbued with Buddhist thought by local artist, S.L. Baker will be on view in the East Lobby Gallery at the Lawrence Headquarters Branch of the Mercer County Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike (Bus. Route One), Lawrenceville, through December 31. Ms. Baker works mostly in acrylic on canvas and uses her fingers instead of brushes. Her work is often influenced by meditation practice. Born in Princeton, Ms. Baker is a retired New Jersey public school teacher and also a published poet and lyricist. For more information and hours, call (609) 989-6920, or visit www.mcl.org.

“Steel Ice & Stone: An Experiential Sensory Exhibition,” a multi-media interactive installation by Anita Giraldo, opens at the Artworks ArtLab in Trenton this Saturday, December 14, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. and runs through January 4, 2014.

The installation comprises nine suspended LED panels with sensor-triggered sound that is intended to create an environment for memory recall. According to Ms. Giraldo, “the work aims to open a discourse on how technology and abstract media can awaken nuanced memories in our lives.”

Sounds vary according to the presence of viewers in the exhibition space. Images plus sound plus viewer create an interactive environment with different sounds playing simultaneously in an impromptu composition that depends on the number and location of viewers in the room. The artist uses diesel engines in idle mode and bird calls for the mini-computer embedded sound units that are programmed to respond to visitors. When viewers are absent, there is no sound.

“I began work on “Steel Ice & Stone” as a ‘chapter’ of a larger work. But as I photographed the objects, the piece took on a life of its own and my commitment changed to the creation of an independent installation,” explains the artist on her website. Her previous installation, “See My Voice,” contained spoken word sound bites that accompany photographs of people’s faces. In “Steel Ice & Stone,” both images and sound are abstract.

This is the latest multi-media work created by the New York-based artist and it melds the latest technology in transmitted imagery and micro-controller sound playback.

Although LED technology is not new, thin, light-weight HD panels are, and Ms. Giraldo’s backlit photographic film prints are in vibrant, high-resolution color.

“Memory recall is at the heart of the piece,” said the artist. “I was thinking about fleeting events in my life and how I could make sense of what held them together. I had to share this experience: How could I get others to feel the same way I did?”

“To recreate the experience, I made photographic images of what I was sensing. I taped the sounds similar to what I heard inside and outside my head. I came up with an arrangement that would be confrontational yet allow passage through it. And, there had to be interplay only with those present in that environment. By adapting visual and sound technology, I layered sensory experiences to create a surreal environment and bring dormant subtleties to the forefront. A discourse opens on how technology awakens nuances in our lives.”

Ms. Giraldo grew up in New York City and has been a photographer since her teens. She earned a BFA from Cooper Union in 1982 and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in Photography and Related Media in 2004. She taught a seminar at the International Center for Photography and won a fellowship from The Puffin Foundation to continue her multimedia installation work in 2005. Her work has been shown in Germany, and Holland and she designed James Rosenquist’s catalog for the Whitney Museum of American Art.

“Steel Ice & Stone: An Experiential Sensory Exhibition” at Artworks is located at 19 Everett Alley, Trenton, N.J. 08611. For more information, call (609) 394-9436, or visit: artworkstrenton.org