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

 

November 20, 2013
NEW WORK BY JUDY BRODSKY: Works by acclaimed New Jersey printmakerJudith K. Brodsky, including “How Many Body Parts Can Be Replaced (Male),” shown here, are currently on view at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey (PCNJ) in an exhibition marking the Center’s 40th anniversary. “Roots and Rites: Works by Judith Brodsky and Peter Chapin” at PCNJ, 440 River Road, Branchburg, runs through December 31. Hours are: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call (908) 725-2110, or visit: www.printnj.org.

NEW WORK BY JUDY BRODSKY: Works by acclaimed New Jersey printmakerJudith K. Brodsky, including “How Many Body Parts Can Be Replaced (Male),” shown here, are currently on view at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey (PCNJ) in an exhibition marking the Center’s 40th anniversary. “Roots and Rites: Works by Judith Brodsky and Peter Chapin” at PCNJ, 440 River Road, Branchburg, runs through December 31. Hours are: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call (908) 725-2110, or visit: www.printnj.org.

An exhibition at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey (PCNJ) offers a rare chance to see works by two influential New Jersey artists who have shaped the development of printmaking in the state.

“Roots and Rites: Works by Judith Brodsky and Peter Chapin” opened earlier this month at PCNJ and will continue through December 31. Marking the Center’s 40th anniversary year, the show celebrates the commitment of both of these artists to printmaking. Ms. Brodsky and Mr. Chapin were the moving hands behind two of New Jersey’s most important printmaking institutions.

Mr. Chapin was one of five New Jersey artists who founded the Printmaking Center back in 1973, when it was known as the Printmaking Council of New Jersey. Ms. Brodsky, Distinguished Professor Emerita of the Department of Visual Arts at Rutgers, is the founder and former director of the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, renamed the Brodsky Center in her honor. This is the long-time Princeton resident’s first exhibition of new work since 2010.

Of late, Ms. Brodsky has been so focused on curating shows by other artists that she has had little time to devote to her own artistic endeavors. In conjunction with Ferris Olin, with whom she co-founded and co-directs the Rutgers Institute for Women and Art and The Feminist Art Project, a national program to promote recognition of women artists, she curated “The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art, and Society” last year. The exhibition and accompanying events and book focused on women artists, filmmakers, writers, and composers of the Middle East.

Recently, Ms. Brodsky completed work on a catalog and traveling exhibition of a decade of work by painter Basil Alkazzi, which will arrive at Rider University in February.

“I wasn’t in my studio very much until the PCNJ asked me to have an exhibition there in celebration of its 40th anniversary,” acknowledged Ms. Brodsky. “It was wonderful because it gave me a deadline that would help me shift gears from curatorial and other organizational activities to concentrating on my own work again.”

In September, the artist worked “night and day to finish 10 large pieces that make up the PCNJ exhibition.” Half of them are etchings and the other half consist of digital collages and drawings, part of a new project called “The Twenty Most Important Questions of the 21st Century.” “I was inspired by a list I saw in the science section of The New York Times at the turn of the millennium and that has been on my mind ever since,” she explained.

On view here are the first 10 of Ms. Brodsky’s 20-piece series inspired by the millennium questions. They are large by print standards, one is five feet in length, and bear thought-provoking titles such as What Came Before the Big Bang, How Does the Brain Work, Why Do We Sleep, Can Science Prove There’s a God, and Will We Go to Mars. How Many Body Parts Can Be Replaced, shown here is one half of a male/female a diptych.

Created using digital and traditional mark-making techniques, Ms. Brodsky’s visually provocative images strike a balance between content and formal qualities. They prompt the viewer to an intellectual as well as an emotional response. The artist has said that she has always thought of her work as “visual responses to, and documentation of, the defining elements of the era in which she has lived.” Always conscious of history she believes that people in the future will learn about our time through works of art.

For the exhibition, Ms. Brodsky shares space with fellow printmaker Peter Chapin. Originally from New Jersey, Mr. Chapin now lives in New Mexico. “Works by the two of us make a nice combination,” commented Ms. Brodsky, whose work is in the permanent collections of the New Jersey State Museum, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the Library of Congress, the Zimmerli Art Museum, London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, and Berlin’s Stadtmuseum, among others.

Mr. Chapin’s drypoint prints, other works on paper, and acrylic paintings are in the collections of J. P. Morgan Chase, Prudential Insurance Company, and the estate of Elaine deKooning. He served as executive art director of the Printmaking Council of New Jersey and co-directed Skylight Conversations in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

“Roots and Rites: Works by Judith Brodsky and Peter Chapin” runs through December 31 at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey, 440 River Road, Branchburg. Hours are: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call (908) 725-2110, or visit: www.printnj.org.

 

November 6, 2013
FINE FEATHERED FRIENDS: Award winning wildlife sculptor Pat Godin will show what it takes to become a world champion in the art of decoy carving when he speaks at the Johnson Education Center this Friday, November 8, at the invitation of the D&R Greenway Land Trust off Rosedale Road. To register for the event, contact (609) 924-4646 or rsvp@drgreenway.org. For more on Mr. Godin, visit: www.godinart.com.

FINE FEATHERED FRIENDS: Award winning wildlife sculptor Pat Godin will show what it takes to become a world champion in the art of decoy carving when he speaks at the Johnson Education Center this Friday, November 8, at the invitation of the D&R Greenway Land Trust off Rosedale Road. To register for the event, contact (609) 924-4646 or rsvp@drgreenway.org. For more on Mr. Godin, visit: www.godinart.com.

Nature lovers and art enthusiasts alike will take their seats at the D&R Greenway this Friday, November 8, for a presentation by one of the world’s leading experts in the art of wildlife sculpture.

Canadian Pat Godin is a biologist and ornithologist whose decorative bird decoys have been named “Best in World” no less than 13 times. Following a public reception at 5:30 p.m,, he will speak from 6 to 7 p.m. about his life and the combination of art and science that is evident in his work.

In addition to his skills in carving and painting, Mr. Godin is a respected writer and lecturer known for sharing his technical discoveries. He has written, illustrated, designed, and published three instructional books for bird carvers and a reference guide to waterfowl as well.

Mr. Godin’s visit to Princeton coincides with the D&R Greenway’s current exhibition from its Jay Vawter collection of fine-art decoys: “Champions, the Best of the Best,” which is on view during business hours of business days through April 4.

Donated to the Land Trust by Princeton resident Mr. Vawter, the collection includes work by Mr. Godin as well as other masters such as Jimmy Vizier; Greg Pedersen; Jim Sprankle; Elmer Crowell; Bob Guge; Victor Paroyan, and Lemuel Ward, one of the legendary Ward brothers of Maryland whose decoy and decorative bird art is the focus of the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art there.

“I first saw Pat’s work in 2000 at the Wildfowl Festival in Eastern Maryland, an important venue for decoys and art,” said Mr. Vawter. “I was looking at top-notch examples when I spotted a Cinnamon Teal drake, primarily a western bird with a red breast. I told him that I was interested and returned the next day to buy it. Later I asked him to make me a hen to complete the pair.”

The Cinnamon Teal pair are in the exhibit and are part of the Jay Vawter collection at the D&R Greenway, along with a Godin Merganser whose feathers look as if they would ruffle at the slightest breeze. Recently, Mr. Vawter commissioned a pair of Mandarin Ducks from the artist. These too hold pride of place in the exhibition and although Mr. Vawter is holding on to them for the time being, he said that they will ultimately be donated to the Land Trust.

The Vawter Collection focuses on decorative decoys as distinct from earlier hunting or craft decoys and are much more intricately carved. Nonetheless, for show purposes, they must meet the standards of a hunting decoy. “They have to be able to float in the water like a duck,” said Mr. Vawter. “The gunning decoys that you shoot birds over are rather plain in comparison to these, these are works of art, people reach out and want to touch them,” he said.

Asked what makes Mr. Godin’s work special, Mr. Vawter explained the difference between craft and art.

“Gunning decoys are working birds made with skill but not painted in great detail. This is craft. Decorative birds, such as I collect, are made to the same standards in that they must be able to float as well as any working decoy, but the skill involved in their painting is of a different order. The look is absolutely realistic. This is art,” he explained.

“When Pat made the Mandarin Ducks for me, he had never seen these ducks in real life, but he did an enormous amount of research and the result is stunning. One expects them to move at any moment.”

At the D&R Greenway, Mr. Godin will talk about the levels of competition and what differentiates carvings at each level. In other words, he plans to share his knowledge and experience of how competitions work and perhaps convey some of his enthusiasm for the wild life that his art celebrates. For although much of his work has been inspired by competition, Mr. Godin’s deepest concern has always been the cultivation of bird sculpture as an art form.

This is work that combines art and science, informed by Mr. Godin’s studies at the University of Guelph and with the Canadian Wildlife Service and the Delta Waterfowl Research Station in Manitoba, where he helped graduate students conduct studies on Redhead Ducks, Wigeons, Mallards, and the Western Grebe.

Born in 1953, Mr. Godin lives in Paris, Ontario. A childhood fascination with the natural world inspired him to carve his first bird in 1967. At first, he carved solely for his own pleasure but before long, he began entering his work in competitive exhibitions of decorative duck decoys and other wooden bird sculptures.

His work quickly became competitive at the “World Class” level and he is now recognized across the globe not only for accuracy in form and color but also for imbuing his birds with the spirit of their live counterparts.

In 1976, Mr. Godin’s world championship streak began with a pair of Common Goldeneyes. He went on to win titles in 1980, 1984, 2008, and 2009 in “Decorative Decoy Pairs” and in 1982 and 1995 in “Decorative Lifesize Wildfowl Sculpture.”

Examples of Mr. Godin’s work with titles such as “Prairie Courtship,” “Spruce Grouse on the North River,” and “Prairie Dance — Greater Prairie Chicken,” part of a series of miniatures showing birds involved in breeding displays, go beyond simple representation to feature birds in action in their habitat. Mr. Godin’s close attention to wildfowl in their environment led to his unprecedented achievement in 2001 when he entered a pair of Black Ducks with a drake Mallard Black Duck hybrid into a 2001 competition. Although such hybrids are common in nature, this was the first time that they had been portrayed in the competitive arena. Needless to say, Mr. Godin took first place yet again.

His most recent win, in 2011, his 12th World Championship, was for a miniature scale Prairie Chicken entitled “Battle on the Lek.” Besides the D&R Greenway, his pieces are in numerous private collections and in the Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Maryland. He has exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and has been inducted into the Waterfowl Festival Hall of Fame, Easton Maryland.

The D&R Greenway Land Trust’s Johnson Education Center is located at One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, Princeton.

To register for the event, contact (609) 924-4646 or rsvp@drgreenway.org. For more information, visit: www.drgreenway.org. For more on Mr. Godin, visit: www.godinart.com.

 

October 30, 2013
TAMAR’S PAINTING: Daniela Bittman’s acrylic and colored pencil on canvas painting is a staggering 10 by 12 feet. Inspired by a still life by another artist, it hangs alongside several other mural size pieces in the Rider University Art Gallery, where Ms. Bittman will discuss her work Thursday, October 31, at 7 p.m. For more information, visit: www.rider.edu.

TAMAR’S PAINTING: Daniela Bittman’s acrylic and colored pencil on canvas painting is a staggering 10 by 12 feet. Inspired by a still life by another artist, it hangs alongside several other mural size pieces in the Rider University Art Gallery, where Ms. Bittman will discuss her work Thursday, October 31, at 7 p.m. For more information, visit: www.rider.edu. (Photo by Jon Naar)

At an opening reception last Thursday, the art gallery at Rider University was filled with art enthusiasts marveling at the large-scale canvases by Princeton artist Daniela Bittman.

“I’ve been running this gallery for years and this is the first time I’ve observed people stopping to stare through the windows,” said longtime Gallery Director Harry I. Naar. “Daniela’s images are striking, and not just because of their immense size, but because of their subject matter and composition. People are also amazed to find that they are colored pencil over acrylic wash, this is unique to Daniela.”

Ms. Bittman, who lives in Princeton and works from a studio in her home, hasn’t shown her work for almost a decade. For many, her work is something of a revelation. The Rider show features six mural size canvases 10 by 12 feet in dimension, two large canvases of eight by eight feet, and several groupings of pencil on paper works. In addition there is an eight by four feet acrylic on canvas wall hanging that was a special commission to recreate a large scale version of an 18th century Japanese print of The Geisha Itsutomi that Ms. Bittman described as a joy to do since she has been an enormous fan of the Japanese masters since discovering their work in her teens.

Aside from this commission, Ms. Bittman’s work is figurative and fantastic. Her juxtapositions tickle and tease the imagination. Think Gerald Scarfe and the elder Bruegel with a touch of Hieronymus Bosch. Her scenes are peopled with ambiguous figures bordering on the absurd. And there is an enormous amount of fun here, as is evident from titles such as: Dogs and Hardware, Pigs in Clover, and The Side Effects of Coffee. 

One cannot pass lightly over this work. It captures the attention, draws your eyes to marvel at Tonka trucks, cabbages, clarinets and cat’s cradles. Here is beauty and humor, roses and bathing suits, grotesquerie, a man with a crab on his head, copulating dogs, pregnant nudes, plump sleeping babies, faces from the Renaissance.

Ms. Bittman’s pictures, which could be of any time or place, seem teeming with the myriad methods and madnesses of life. Viewers will find themselves recalling art from other periods and puzzling over their own responses.

When asked about influences, the artist cited myriad sources including authors Jorge Luis Borges, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann, and Belgian-born French novelist and essayist Marguerite Yourcenar. As is clear from her work, she is also drawn to pre-Renaissance and Renaissance masters. “More to the German, Dutch, Flemish and Spanish painters than the Italian,” she said. “But I believe that I am influenced by everything I see, be it art or life, whether I like it or think I don’t. Especially if I don’t.”

In an interview with Mr. Naar, included in a brief catalog that accompanies the show, Ms. Bittman describes her artistic beginnings: “I started to draw not long after I started to walk; and I mean draw; I would fill whole notebooks, or any paper at hand, with obsessive attempts at drawing hands, legs, feet, and faces, in all kinds of positions, foreshortened, etc.; no color. . . . My mother kept some of them, and they were very funny.”

Born to Jewish parents in Bucharest, Romania, in 1952, Ms. Bittman went to an art high school where she was trained not just to looked at things, but to see them. In 1970, she moved with her family to Israel, where she attended the Bezalel Art Academy in Tel-Aviv before going on to study classics at Tel Aviv University. She has been in the United States since 1984.

When she exhibited two large canvases at Ellarslie in Trenton, as part of a group show, Mr. Naar was captivated by her work and determined to find out more.

Ms. Bittman claims no knowledge of where her ideas come from. About one thing she is clear, however: contrary to what many viewers conclude, they do not come from dreams. “I am always amazed, and greatly amused, by what people seem to see in my work: all kinds of hidden symbolism, or stories that show great imagination (on their part), but which I definitely didn’t put in there,” she said.

The artist acknowledges a penchant for the absurd and is conscious of the humor in her paintings as well as the influence of music.

Describing Tamar’s Painting, she explained that the work was inspired by a small still life painted by her son’s girlfriend, Tamar. Ms. Bittman looked at the still life of three bottles with red onion and fennel in the foreground and “saw” the work that she wanted to produce. Tamar’s still life is replicated in Ms. Bittman’s work which takes off from it in the way a jazz musician might riff on a theme.

You might well say that this artist “orchestrates” a painting. Tamar’s Painting, for example, is like a fugue in which its subject is restated in different pitches and in various keys. In Ms. Bittman’s composition, the bottles, onion and fennel surface in the colors and shapes of the three standing figures. Look, there they are again on the tray in the lap of the seated figure.

The major works, the massive 10 by 12 feet canvases, take about a year to complete. Those in the show are not for sale save for one titled, Life Complications, priced at $10,000. Several small sketches are $250, others pencil and paper works are between $230 and $950.

“Her work is the most surreal and unique I’ve ever seen and to think that it is done using color pencils on canvas is beyond belief. Everything she does tests your imagination,” commented Albert Stark of Princeton, who bought two pencil drawings.

The artist will discuss her work at the Rider University Art Gallery, Bart Luedeke Center, 2083 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville, Thursday, October 31, at 7 p.m.

“Daniela Bittman: The Colony Within,” will be on view through December 1. Hours are: Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. For more information, visit: www.rider.edu.

 

October 23, 2013
LOOK AND LISTEN: Karen McLean’s photographs of trees are currently on view in her solo exhibition, “Conversations Between Nature and Myself,” at the D&R Greenway along with an exhibition of work by members of the Princeton Artists Alliance, “The Fallen and Unfallen: Trees in Peril.” For more information, visit: www.drgreenway.org.

LOOK AND LISTEN: Karen McLean’s photographs of trees are currently on view in her solo exhibition, “Conversations Between Nature and Myself,” at the D&R Greenway along with an exhibition of work by members of the Princeton Artists Alliance, “The Fallen and Unfallen: Trees in Peril.” For more information, visit: www.drgreenway.org.

Two exhibitions currently on view in the Marie L. Matthews Galleries at the D&R Greenway Land Trust focus on the beauty of trees and the dangers to them from storm and weather, from natural decay, and from humans and the changing world environment.

“The Fallen and Unfallen: Trees in Peril,” will be celebrated at an artists reception Friday, November 1, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Here is art that celebrates trees as they feature in the world and in art and legend. Included are drawings, paintings, and sculpture by members of the Princeton Artists Alliance. Works on the exhibition theme range from the majesty of trees to those damaged and/or lost during last year’s Superstorm Sandy. As one might expect, there is much that celebrates endurance and resilience.

The exhibition is on display in the upstairs gallery of the former barn that now serves as the D&R Greenway’s headquarters. The wooden beams provide a perfect backdrop to a distinctive sculptural piece by James Perry and paintings by Hetty Baiz. Other exhibitors from the Princeton Artists Alliance with works on display include Joanne Augustine, Joy Barth, Anita Benarde, Zenna Broomer, Jennifer Cadoff, Rajie Cook, Clem Fiori, Thomas Francisco, Carol Hanson, Shellie Jacobson, Margaret Kennard Johnson, Nancy Kern, Charles McVicker, Lucy Graves McVicker, Harry I. Naar, Richard Sanders, Madelaine Shellaby, Marie Sturken, and Barbara Watts.

The tree theme continues downstairs in the Evelyne V. Johnson Room where works by local photographer and fine artist Karen McLean are on show. The artwork in her appropriately named exhibition, Conversations Between Nature and Myself,” includes images that make one think of ancient Rome and Byzantium. Ms. McLean spends much time in Italy and her images of olive trees are a marvel. She begins with a photograph, and by embellishments that involve gold and the manipulation of multiple images, forms the borders. She brings a new perspective to her gnarled subjects that renders them full of character. One expects them to impart words of wisdom from some ancient soul.

Ms. McLean will share her secrets and her techniques in a painting workshop, titled “The Gilded Tree” on Thursday, November 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. She will lead participants through the process by which she enhances her own original photographs so that they learn to practice the technique on images of their own. Admission to the workshop is $40. If you want to participate you should contact rsvp@drgreenway.org for further instructions.

Conversations Between Nature and Myself presents work that glows. Viewers are drawn to move up close for an intimate look at Ms. McLean’s highly individual approach to her subjects and her methods, which involve a combination of photography, pastel, and gilding. According to a press release, the artist uses “acrylic gilding.” The effect she achieves imparts an ancient icon-like quality to her art, which the release describes as a “cross-pollination” of forms.

Both of these exhibits represent “contemporary interpretations” of trees as well as the threats to their continued beauty, says D&R Greenway Curator Diana Moore. Both can be viewed at the Johnson Education Center during weekday business hours. All of the artwork on display is for sale with a percentage supporting D&R Greenway’s preservation and stewardship.

“The Fallen and Unfallen: Trees in Peril” runs through December 14 at the D&R Greenway Land Trust, One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road. The exhibition and the reception are free and open to the public. To register for the reception, contact rsvp@drgreenway.org. For more information, and to check that the galleries are open, visit: www.drgreenway.org.

 

October 16, 2013
ATHENA TACHA RETROSPECTIVE: Grounds for Sculpture will showcase work by Athena Tacha in the mezzanine gallery of its Domestic Arts Building. The exhibition titled, “Sculpting With/In Nature (1975-2013),” includes the 11 x 20.5 x 18 inches mixed media “Wave (partial view against sky), 2004-05,” shown here.(Image Courtesy of the Artist)

ATHENA TACHA RETROSPECTIVE: Grounds for Sculpture will showcase work by Athena Tacha in the mezzanine gallery of its Domestic Arts Building. The exhibition titled, “Sculpting With/In Nature (1975-2013),” includes the 11 x 20.5 x 18 inches mixed media “Wave (partial view against sky), 2004-05,” shown here. (Image Courtesy of the Artist)

This weekend, Grounds For Sculpture (GFS) will open its Fall/Winter Exhibition Season with five new exhibitions by renowned artists as well as a selection of highly talented student sculptors and accomplished early career artists.

In the north gallery of the Museum Building, “Edwina Sandys: Provocative and Profound,” features work Sir Winston Churchill’s granddaughter created over four decades. Ms. Sandys’s subject matter addresses essential issues regarding society, human nature, and life as a woman, in ways that are both playful and thought-provoking.

Her style conveys the concept of balanced opposites (i.e., solid and void, dark and light) that has increasingly unified her work across materials and dimensions. Her exhibition at GFS includes large-scale, painted aluminum sculptures, one prominently sited in front of the museum, models of commissioned and proposed works, pedestal sculptures in bronze, marble, and stainless steel, and a selection of collages, prints, and paintings.

The south gallery of the Museum Building features “William Knight: Out of Context” which includes sculptures from his series incorporating black tire and rusted belt wire fragments that he finds along New Jersey highways. These thoughtfully worked compositions become either suspended forms composed of solid and empty space or gestures of open form affixed next to the wall and enhanced by the dramatic shadows they create.

The exhibition also includes Knight’s recent explorations into other found materials, both natural and man-made, some of which he combines with the tire pieces and some that travel in a new direction. His latest works are represented by four ingeniously quirky pedestal sculptures that combine the delicate glass and wire mechanisms from inside various light bulbs with bits of wire, hardware, plastics, mirrors, wood, and so on, and seem to have a purpose that is mysterious and a bit magical.

In the Museum’s Loft Gallery which features the work of accomplished early career artists in the GreenLight
series, Lauren Clay and Rachel Udell have been selected to present their work in two consecutive exhibitions during the Fall/Winter season. In her exhibition running through January 5, 2014, Ms. Clay shows new work comprised of variously scaled versions of modern sculptor David Smith’s sculptures, taking his late tendency to interconnect the experience of geometric solid and reflective surface further.

IMAGES OF PERU AND ECUADOR: Works of Peru and Ecuador by photographer Ed Greenblat, such as this schoolgirl with her pet alpaca, are currently on view at Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell. The exhibition, which continues through November 10, also has a series of “Vintage Views of France” by Martin Schwartz, and images by Ken Kaplowitz from his “Searching for Tranquility” studies. Mr. Greenblat’s images include brightly colored and arresting subjects including a group of tortoises titled, “You Talking to Me?” Hours are Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, contact galleryfourteen@yahoo.com, or (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

IMAGES OF PERU AND ECUADOR: Works of Peru and Ecuador by photographer Ed Greenblat, such as this schoolgirl with her pet alpaca, are currently on view at Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell. The exhibition, which continues through November 10, also has a series of “Vintage Views of France” by Martin Schwartz, and images by Ken Kaplowitz from his “Searching for Tranquility” studies. Mr. Greenblat’s images include brightly colored and arresting subjects including a group of tortoises titled, “You Talking to Me?” Hours are Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, contact galleryfourteen@yahoo.com, or (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

The main gallery of the Domestic Arts Building highlights the work selected for International Sculpture Center’s (ISC) 19th Annual Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Awards. The program was established by ISC in 1994 to recognize, support, and encourage highly talented young sculptors. This year, 414 student artworks were nominated by college and university professors. A distinguished panel of jurors selected 12 artworks that effectively integrate aesthetic proficiency with meaningful content.

The Domestic Arts Building’s mezzanine gallery features a “mini-retrospective” of work by internationally acclaimed artist Athena Tacha, entitled “Sculpting With/In Nature (1975-2013).” In the early 1970s, Tacha was one of the first artists to create sculptural environments bridging nature and humanity, turning her back on the commercial art world and choosing to work in the area of public art — large scale projects not just to be looked at, but to be experienced. Tacha has won over 50 competitions for permanent public art commissions, and her work has changed the face of urban public spaces in the United States.

For more information, including hours and admission, visit: www.groundsforsculpture.org

 

LUCKY FOX: Holly Roberts captures the pouncing gate of the fortunate as he happens upon a windfall nest of eggs. Work by the artist is showcased in a solo exhibition that opens at the Morpeth Contemporary art gallery in Hopewell this weekend. The opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 19. For more information, contact (609) 333-9393 or info@morpethcontemporary.com.

LUCKY FOX: Holly Roberts captures the pouncing gate of the fortunate as he happens upon a windfall nest of eggs. Work by the artist is showcased in a solo exhibition that opens at the Morpeth Contemporary art gallery in Hopewell this weekend. The opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 19. For more information, contact (609) 333-9393 or info@morpethcontemporary.com.

An exhibition of painting and photography by Holly Roberts opens at the Morpeth Contemporary Gallery in Hopewell this Saturday, October 19 with a reception for the artist from 6 to 8 p.m.

Ms. Robert’s career is an evolution of methods and materials, which has determined, along with the changing curiosities of her mind and eye, an evolution of her narrative driven imagery as well. She studied and trained in printmaking, painting, and drawing, initially turning to photography as a source for reference material. Yet for the past three decades the photograph has had an essential presence in her work, even though she considers herself a painter foremost.

The artist’s early work focused on transforming the photograph with paint: applying oil paint over a gelatin silver print, at times completely obscuring the photograph, but most often pulling out bits and pieces of the photo to define the image. She eventually reversed the manner in which she constructed her images, starting with an abstract painting and then adding photographic elements so that the painted surface became the substrate for the photographic collage that was to follow.

“What I am trying for is a painting that can stand alone but that won’t dominate the photo collage that is to follow. Once I start forming the story (made from my photographs), I allow the photos that I’ve chosen to inform the image, starting with only a vague idea of what it is that I am trying to define. The collage works best when constructed of photographic pieces that make metaphorical or poetic connections to the subject matter, rather than literal representations.”

Ms. Roberts’ work comprises elements of portraiture, nature, and narrative, and are often about the psyche and soul. The visual language in which she speaks has been influenced by myriad sources in varied disciplines: primitive art, folk art, both abstract and figurative painting, as well as photography. With her unique combination of photography and paint Holly Roberts processes the world through her eyes and her hands. Her art is a personal response to experience and a critical response to society, imbued with intuition, wit, pathos, and humor.

A two-time recipient of the National Endowment of the Arts for Photography, Ms. Roberts has exhibited her work extensively since 1980, both nationally and internationally. Her work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Photographic Art in San Diego, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. It has been published in three monographs.

A catalog accompanies the exhibition, which continues through November 16 at the Morpeth Contemporary, 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell, New Jersey 08525. For more information, contact (609) 333-9393 or info@morpethcontemporary.com.

October 9, 2013
OLD FRIENDS: David Olsen’s 2006 drawing demonstrates his usual attention to detail. The pen and ink drawing is part of a solo exhibition of his work at the gallery in the Plainsboro Library through October 23. A reception for the artist is this Sunday, October 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call (609) 275-2897.(Image Courtesy of the Artist)

OLD FRIENDS: David Olsen’s 2006 drawing demonstrates his usual attention to detail. The pen and ink drawing is part of a solo exhibition of his work at the gallery in the Plainsboro Library through October 23. A reception for the artist is this Sunday, October 13, from 2 to 4 p.m. For more information, call (609) 275-2897. (Image Courtesy of the Artist)

The Gallery at Plainsboro Library is currently showcasing work by a special education and American history teacher at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North. David Olsen, who has been teaching for two decades, will be on hand to discuss his highly detailed pen and ink drawings and imaginative cartoons at a reception this Sunday, October 13, from 2 to 4 p.m.

Mr. Olsen is largely self-taught and has been drawing as far back as he can recall. He works primarily in graphite, colored pencil, pastels, and pen and ink. His work demonstrates a fascination with the lyrical elements of drama. He is drawn to faces that show life lived, old weather-beaten barns, and characters created from his own imagination.

Preferring to draw people and characters in action rather than in static pose, Mr. Olsen credits local artist and teacher Joe Gyurczak with helping him to understand the power of line and light. “I love exploring ways in which line can create depth,” he said. “Under Joe’s influence, my work is becoming looser. He’s a painter and I’ve watched him go to work and allow a painting to emerge. That’s something that I have been doing, experimenting with the free flow of line and form, working in an improvisational way, like jazz.”

It is a process that necessitates decision-making on the move, something that many artists might find daunting but that suits Mr. Olsen’s love of the graphic arts. Inspired by the likes of Gary Larsen and Robert Crumb, with whom he’s been compared, Mr. Olsen hopes one day to work on a graphic novel. Occasionally he will work from a photograph as when he saw the subject of the piece shown here, titled “Old Friends.”

“I saw this old guy at a festival. He was surrounded by musical instruments, an accordion, a harmonica, and he was the happiest person I ever saw. I took several shots of him and then went back to work on this image.”

The exhibition, which is not without whimsy, continues through October 23 in the Plainsboro Library at 9 Van Doren Street, Plainsboro. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,  Friday through Sunday. For more information, call (609) 275-2897.

A STUDY IN TRANQUILITY: Fine art photographer Ken ­Kaplowitz present a series of photographs exploring the theme of tranquility as part of a three-person show of work at Gallery 14 in Hopewell. The show, which also features work by Martin Schwartz and Ed Greenblat, opens Friday, October 11, with a reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The artists will be on hand for a “Meet The Photographer” session on Sunday, October 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. The exhibition will run through November 10. For more information,call (609) 333-8511 or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

A STUDY IN TRANQUILITY: Fine art photographer Ken ­Kaplowitz present a series of photographs exploring the theme of tranquility as part of a three-person show of work at Gallery 14 in Hopewell. The show, which also features work by Martin Schwartz and Ed Greenblat, opens Friday, October 11, with a reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The artists will be on hand for a “Meet The Photographer” session on Sunday, October 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. The exhibition will run through November 10. For more information,call (609) 333-8511 or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

An exhibition of work by local photographers Martin Schwartz, Ed Greenblat, and Ken Kaplowitz opens at Gallery 14 this Friday, October 11, with a reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. The artists will be on hand for a “Meet The Photographer” session on Sunday, October 13 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Each photographer presents themed work. For Mr. Schwartz, his subjects offer “Vintage Views of France” in which he tries to capture the essence of France while avoiding the cliches of travel photography. Several scenes are presented with a vintage look that is reminiscent of an old faded or hand tinted photograph. “Other photos were enhanced in a way I thought increased the impact of the image,” said Mr. Schwartz. Several of his works on view are not treated as vintage photographs but are examples of everyday life in France.

Mr. Greenblat focuses on images of Peru and Ecuador with brightly colored and arresting subjects such as a local woman dressed in black and dark blues and white in front of a market stall selling cheerfully embroidered children’s clothes in pink and blue; a young school girl in uniform hugging her pet alpaca; and a group of tortoises with the jaunty title, You Talking to Me?

First time Gallery 14 exhibitor Ken Kaplowitz has titled his selection of images, “Searching for Tranquility.” According to his artist’s statement, Mr. Kaplowitz is exploring the nature of tranquility and striving to understand whether it is actually achievable, capable of being sustained or whether it may be only a construct of the mind or heart.

“In my mind, photography is about relationships such as the one between a

photographer and his/her subject, between a photograph and its viewer or, especially, among the elements and characters of any composition,” comments Mr. Kaplowitz in an artist’s statement in which he asks whether tranquility is an illusion.

“Since last fall, I have been on a terrestrial treasure hunt collecting photographic images of trees, birds, clouds, and water in central New Jersey. I position the parts in

VINTAGE FRANCE: Work such as this “Village on a Rainy Day” is part of an exhibition of work by fine art photographer Martin Schwartz at Hopewell’s Gallery 14, opening Friday, October 11, with a reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, call (609) 333-8511 or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

VINTAGE FRANCE: Work such as this “Village on a Rainy Day” is part of an exhibition of work by fine art photographer Martin Schwartz at Hopewell’s Gallery 14, opening Friday, October 11, with a reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. For more information, call (609) 333-8511 or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

relationships constituting (I hope) tranquil landscapes that fall somewhere between truth and fantasy,” said the artist, a professor of art at The College of New Jersey where he has taught for the past 43 years. Mr. Kaplowitz has a BA in art education from Montclair University, an MA in communications from New York University and an MFA in studio art from Rutgers University. His work is in numerous museum collections and has been exhibited in the U.S. and Europe.

The exhibition runs through November 10 at Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell. For more information, contact galleryfourteen@yahoo.com, or (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com. Hours are Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m.

 

October 2, 2013
"LADY IN THE LAKE": Allen Dean Cochran (1888-1971), an early member of the utopian Byrdcliffe Art Colony at Woodstock, N.Y., painted this 16 by 20 inch oil on canvas in 1914. He worked and studied with Birge Harrison, who taught at the Art Students League there and his work was exhibited at the National Academy of Art, Salmagundi Club, Art Institute of Chicago, Corcoran Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and elsewhere. This work is part of the Trenton Museum Society exhibition, "Artists of Woodstock: Collective Creativity" at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park, Trenton, through November 10. For more information, contact (609) 989-1191 or tms@ellarslie.org, or visit www.ellarslie.org.

“LADY IN THE LAKE”: Allen Dean Cochran (1888-1971), an early member of the utopian Byrdcliffe Art Colony at Woodstock, N.Y., painted this 16 by 20 inch oil on canvas in 1914. He worked and studied with Birge Harrison, who taught at the Art Students League there and his work was exhibited at the National Academy of Art, Salmagundi Club, Art Institute of Chicago, Corcoran Gallery, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and elsewhere. This work is part of the Trenton Museum Society exhibition, “Artists of Woodstock: Collective Creativity” at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park, Trenton, through November 10. For more information, contact (609) 989-1191 or tms@ellarslie.org, or visit www.ellarslie.org.

To Baby Boomers the name Woodstock conjures up images of Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin performing in a field at Yasgur’s farm in 1969. To fans of American Art, the name conjures up images of the peaceful town and art colony nestled in the Catskill Forest Preserve about 100 miles north of New York City.

The Trenton Museum Society (TMS) presents an exhibition titled, “Artists of Woodstock: Collective Creativity” at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie in Cadwalader Park, Trenton, through November 10.

The paintings and drawings come from the collection of Woodstock artists belonging to longtime TMS patrons Ted Boyer, Jane Rohlf, and Bob and Alison Boyer Eriksen as well as work by contemporary artists from the Woodstock Artists Association Museum of Woodstock, N.Y.

The show includes paintings, lithographs, and drawings that demonstrate the breadth of talent in works spanning six decades from the establishment of the Byrdcliffe Art Colony at Woodstock through the 1960s. Well-known artists included are John F. Carlson, Frank Swift Chase, Doris Lee, and Eugene Speicher.

Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.; closed Mondays and municipal holidays. For more information, contact (609) 989-1191 or tms@ellarslie.org, or visit: www.ellarslie.org

LENIN MEETS MODERNISM: The tension between the prescribed style of Socialist Realism and Western modernism is a recurring theme in the sculpture of Russian nonconformist artist Leonid Sokov. This 1990 bronze sculpture juxtaposing Lenin and Alberto Giacometti’s existential “Walking Man,” is part of an exhibition of the artist’s work at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, now extended through December 31. For more information, call (848) 932.7237 or visit: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu

LENIN MEETS MODERNISM: The tension between the prescribed style of Socialist Realism and Western modernism is a recurring theme in the sculpture of Russian nonconformist artist Leonid Sokov. This 1990 bronze sculpture juxtaposing Lenin and Alberto Giacometti’s existential “Walking Man,” is part of an exhibition of the artist’s work at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, now extended through December 31. For more information, call (848) 932.7237 or visit: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu

The exhibition “Leonid Sokov: Ironic Objects” is being extended through December 31 at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, which boasts “the world’s largest collection of art created during the Cold War era by Russian artists willing to risk life and limb to defy Soviet repression.”

Mr. Sokov is one of the most distinctive of such artists and the Zimmerli’s show is the first museum exhibition in the United States to be devoted to his career. The exhibition includes 80 of his works, many on view for the first time, ranging from sculptures created in the early 1960s to work created in 2000, more than a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Forty works drawn from the Zimmerli’s Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Soviet Nonconformist Art are accompanied by an equal number of loans from private collectors in the United States and the artist himself.

Unlike many of his fellow dissidents who overtly adopted the strategies of the American and European vanguard, in the 1970s and 1980s Mr. Sokov preferred to assume the stance of the “simple man” in his art making. In so doing, he won widespread acclaim for roughly hewn and seemingly improvised sculptures and kinetic toy-like figures inspired by Russian folk art.

Today Mr. Sokov, 72, lives and works in the New York area. He is widely credited as one of the originators of the Sots Art movement — a Soviet version of Pop Art that emerged in the early 1970s.

“Over the years, Leonid Sokov has employed the forms of naïve art to create a layered and sophisticated body of work,” said Suzanne Delehanty, director of the Zimmerli. “We are proud to present this overview of his career at the Zimmerli, the only museum in the country where it is possible to consider his achievement within the larger context of Soviet nonconformist art. The museum’s Dodge Wing, featuring works by Bulatov, Kabakov, Komar, Melamid, and other leading artists of the Cold War movement, are just steps away from ‘Leonid Sokov: Ironic Objects.’“

Julia Tulovsky, associate curator for Russian and Soviet nonconformist art at the Zimmerli, has organized “Leonid Sokov: Ironic Objects” at a time of increased interest in the artist’s work. In 2012, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA) presented a major retrospective, to which the Zimmerli was a significant lender, and published a comprehensive accompanying catalogue, to which Tulovsky contributed an essay on Sokov’s art in relation to popular culture.

“Lenin, Stalin, Mickey Mouse, and Marilyn Monroe — Sokov spared no iconic figure as he portrayed the absurdities of 20th-century history, politics, and culture,” says Tulovsky. “Sokov is notable for how he embraced the broadest of cultural contexts, both high and low, and Soviet and American.”

The tension between the prescribed style of Socialist Realism and Western modernism is a recurring theme in Mr. Sokov’s sculpture, one to which he has often returned. This tension is the subject of the exhibition’s centerpiece, the installation “Shadows of Twentieth-Century Sculptures,” which Sokov created for the Russian Pavilion at the 2001 Venice Biennale. Here 100 miniature replicas of iconic sculptures by such modern masters as Alexander Calder and Constantin Brancusi are placed on a well-lit stand in the center of a 625-square-foot space. As the stand rotates, the tiny sculptures project large moving shadows on the surrounding walls. This poetic tribute to the disproportionate power of art and ideas has never before been seen in the U.S., and only once in Europe after its debut in Venice.

Many of the other works featured in “Ironic Objects” illustrate the artist’s humor. These include “Project to Construct Glasses for Every Soviet Person” (1976), a play on the cliché, “the Soviet way of seeing.” Created at a time when the Soviet regime was touting progress, but most citizens were experiencing severe deprivations, Mr. Sokov’s rustic and crudely rendered glasses suggested the poor quality of Soviet industrial production that obscured the view into the “bright Soviet future.” His waggish and oversized eyeglasses would have evoked not just smiles, but outright laughter.

The Zimmerli Art Museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street at George Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia. For more information, call (848) 932-7237 or visit: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu

September 25, 2013
MONTANA MOON: Ben Colbert painted this 36 x 48 inch acrylic on canvas after being inspired by a friend from Montana. “He was always talking about Montana’s big sky country and how the moon impacts the landscape,” said the artist of the painting which is one of 20 works by Mr. Colbert currently on view in the exhibition of his work, “Beyond the Horizons 2: Landscapes, Watercolors, and Drawings,” at the Erdman Art Gallery, 20 Library Place, through October 30. For more information, contact erdman@ptsem.edu or (609) 497.7990.(Courtesy of the artist)

MONTANA MOON: Ben Colbert painted this 36 x 48 inch acrylic on canvas after being inspired by a friend from Montana. “He was always talking about Montana’s big sky country and how the moon impacts the landscape,” said the artist of the painting which is one of 20 works by Mr. Colbert currently on view in the exhibition of his work, “Beyond the Horizons 2: Landscapes, Watercolors, and Drawings,” at the Erdman Art Gallery, 20 Library Place, through October 30. For more information, contact erdman@ptsem.edu or (609) 497.7990. (Courtesy of the artist)

“Serenity” is the word that springs to mind when viewing Ben Colbert’s “linear landscapes” at the Princeton Theological Seminary’s Erdman Gallery in Princeton. The artist’s one man show, “Beyond the Horizons II: Landscapes, Watercolors, and Drawings,” features 20 works, some recent, some from earlier years. Almost all are large, many 36 x 48 inches.

In Mr. Colbert’s canvases, bands of color convey land, water, and sky. The artist demonstrates a poet’s appreciation for white space. Mr. Colbert uses unpainted areas of canvas to draw attention to the painted areas. While there are familiar features of the traditional landscape here, these paintings can be seen as expansive images of a vast, unpeopled, and elemental world.

The artist’s minimalist style draws upon the viewer’s own understanding and personal experiences to evoke mountain vistas and sweeping horizons. Depending on your point of view, you might as easily see a half-remembered Scottish loch framed by low mountains as a moonlit vista in Montana. By leaving a portion of the canvas surface unpainted, Mr. Colbert engages viewers in an active relationship with the artist’s own creativity.

His delineated colored bands also convey a variety of atmospheres and moods as made clear by titles such as Hudson River View, Nordic Sun, Last Night, and Violet Glow/Golden Pond. The latter is a highlight of the exhibition but it is not for sale. Its rich purples and browns belong to the artist’s patrons Thomas J. and Pamela H. Espenshade.

When Mr. Colbert was invited to exhibit at the Erdman Gallery a year ago, he thought this would be a perfect opportunity to thank his many Princeton patrons as well as to exhibit work that hadn’t been shown before. Many of the images here, including several watercolor and ink drawings and charcoal sketches, are in private hands.

“The themes derive from my Southern roots, my travels, and real or imagined environmental experiences,” said the artist in a phone interview Monday. His goal, he explained,”is to capture the character and mood of a particular natural setting while focusing on elements that make it personally unique.” His Bayou Morning with its warm tones came out of a family trip to New Orleans.

“I’ve been working on this theme ever since I was an MFA student at the University of Georgia. I had to choose between a career in art or to take up an opportunity to work in educational administration. I chose the latter,” he said.

For almost three decades, Mr. Colbert worked as a program administrator for Educational Testing Service (ETS) until he retired in 2000. “I had a good career and it was important for me to raise and provide for my family but it is a joy to return to my original goal. I had some initial success as a painter back in the day and now I have a studio in downtown Trenton where I can devote time to large canvases that can’t be completed on the kitchen table or in the basement,” he said.

Mr. Colbert grew up in Savannah in the southeastern part of Georgia. Traveling to the northern part of the state for his studies he was captivated by distant horizons. The sight was a motivating factor in his artwork, as was Georgia’s red clay and mountain ranges. “I started out very minimalist but over time my work has grown to include landscape features that add atmosphere such as moonlight or early morning fog. My landscapes are abstractions, series of studies of space.” One example is his massive 48 x 52 inch #473 from his Land Series, an early work in cool colors. More recently the artist has been visiting the Hudson River Valley and observing the landscapes that inspired the School that was an influence on him when he was a student.

As for working method, Mr. Colbert said that a painting might take him anywhere from a week to several months. He frequently puts work aside and returns to it later and he experiments a great deal after first creating sketches. Originally he simply numbered his work but more recently he’s been adding titles. He doesn’t intend his paintings to be framed. “I paint beyond the edges and I leave white space to focus the viewer’s attention on the particular part of the landscape that I am interested in. Often the white space is in the middle of the canvas, sometimes at the top or the bottom, to remind the viewer that they are seeing only a part of a landscape. I don’t intellectualize that much,” he said.

Asked why he thought people were drawn to his work, Mr. Colbert shared this insight: “They bring their own personal experiences to them and I think that they are attracted by simplicity. Although my work is contemporary and abstract, it is not confusing as abstract art can tend to be.” The artist describes himself as having a love for discipline. From time to time he attends life drawing classes at Mercer County Community College.

He has a bachelor’s degree in education from Savannah State College and a master’s in fine arts, drawing, and painting from the University of Georgia.

In addition to one man shows at Emory University, the University of South Florida, and at Atlanta’s Image South Gallery, his work has been shown locally at the Trenton Makes Studio and in the Gallery of the Nassau Presbyterian Church. He has participated in group shows at Mercer County Artists, Ellerslie, The Johnson Education Center, Phillips Mill, and the Prince Street Gallery in New York. Earlier this year, his work was part of the Arts Council of Princeton’s “Structure and Flow: An Exploration of Contrasts in Abstraction.”

Benjamin Colbert’s “Beyond the Horizons 2: Landscapes, Watercolors, and Drawings” will be on view in the Princeton Theological Seminary’s Erdman Center Art Gallery, 20 Library Place, through October 30. Admission is free. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information contact the Erdman Center at erdman@ptsem.edu or call (609) 497.7990.

 

PARIS OR PRINCETON?: Times of Trenton photographer Michael Mancuso evokes the boulevards of Paris with this wintry scene of Nassau Street and it lone pedestrian and her red umbrella. Other atmospheric scenes by Mr. Mancuso are on view in an exhibition of work by the photojournalist in the Gallery at Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike. Titled “Weather or Not,” the show will run through October 25 with a reception for the artist on Wednesday, October 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. It can be viewed during school hours by appointment by calling (609) 924-7206.

PARIS OR PRINCETON?: Times of Trenton photographer Michael Mancuso evokes the boulevards of Paris with this wintry scene of Nassau Street and it lone pedestrian and her red umbrella. Other atmospheric scenes by Mr. Mancuso are on view in an exhibition of work by the photojournalist in the Gallery at Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike. Titled “Weather or Not,” the show will run through October 25 with a reception for the artist on Wednesday, October 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. It can be viewed during school hours by appointment by calling (609) 924-7206.

The Gallery at Chapin School will feature work by Michael Mancuso, photo journalist for the Times of Trenton, in an exhibition entitled “Weather or Not.” The show will run from October 1 to October 25 with a reception for the artist on Wednesday, October 2, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Mr. Mancuso’s photographs are always a standout in The Times and regular readers will readily identify his images from their composition, quality, and respect for subject matter. As its title suggests, the images on view are predominately related to weather and its many transformations.

“I just want to do good work,” said the photographer. “In photojournalism that involves hand, eye, heart, and mind coordination. It feels good to be able to do what none of my fellow creatures before me in history (at least until 1839) had ever been able to do: freeze time.”

Mr. Mancuso has been with The Times for 29 years full-time. “I can’t take myself too seriously (believe me, I’ve tried), but I do take the work very seriously. I approach my subjects with deference and respect for their human dignity and if they’re not human I respect their animal dignity or their architectural dignity or their land dignity, whatever the case may be. Because of daily newspaper deadlines, I don’t get in-depth time to study my subjects. I’m like an anthropologist with a short attention span,” he said.

Because his father was a “serious hobbyist photographer,” Mr. Mancuso always had access to a camera and a darkroom when he was growing up. But it wasn’t until adulthood that he acquired what he calls a “real camera.” As he tells it, this was at the time of the birth of his first child. “My father said ‘Mike, now that you’ve got a kid, why don’t you get a ‘real’ camera?’ That was it for me. Since I took that advice of his, it is a rare occasion that I haven’t had a ‘real’ camera nearby. Even without holding a camera in hand, the eye, heart and mind are still working.”

Mr. Mancuso’s portion of any proceeds from the sale of his work in the exhibition will be donated to a charity of The Time’s choice.

“Weather or Not” in the Gallery at Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike, runs through October 25. It can be viewed during school hours by appointment by calling (609) 924-7206.

September 18, 2013
NONHUMAN ANIMALS: Hetty Baiz’s 2013 mixed media on canvas work, Cat, is one of a dozen large scale paintings by the artist, in the exhibition, “Nonhuman Animals: Eat, Test, Love,” at the Woodrow Wilson School’s Bernstein Gallery. Inspired by the work of animal rights activist, Peter Singer, these new paintings by Baiz will be on view through October 18.

NONHUMAN ANIMALS: Hetty Baiz’s 2013 mixed media on canvas work, Cat, is one of a dozen large scale paintings by the artist, in the exhibition, “Nonhuman Animals: Eat, Test, Love,” at the Woodrow Wilson School’s Bernstein Gallery. Inspired by the work of animal rights activist, Peter Singer, these new paintings by Baiz will be on view through October 18.

A dozen large scale paintings by local artist Hetty Baiz comprise the exhibition, “Nonhuman Animals: Eat, Test, Love,” the first of this year’s season at the Woodrow Wilson School’s Bernstein Gallery.

Inspired by the work of Princeton University professor and animal rights activist, Peter Singer and his influential book Animal Liberation, first printed in 1975, these new paintings will be on view through October 18.

A panel discussion will be held in conjunction with the exhibition on Tuesday, October 8 at 4:30 p.m. in Bowl 016, Robertson Hall, on the lower level of the Woodrow Wilson School. An artist reception will follow the talk at 6 p.m. in the Bernstein Gallery.

In addition to Mr. Singer, Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics, University Center for Human Ethics, Princeton University and Laureate Professor School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, University of Melbourne, the panelists are: Jeff McMahan, professor of philosophy, Rutgers University; and Stanley Katz, moderator, professor of public and international affairs and director of the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. Ms. Baiz, will give a brief introduction to her work and its inspiration.

Ms. Baiz’s earlier works include rhinoceros, elephants, iguanas, and other wild animals, but her focus here is on animals that are factory farmed and laboratory tested, the subject of Singer’s seminal publication.

“Nearly 40 years after Animal Liberation, even more animals are suffering in factory farms run by large corporations that increase their profits by producing cheap food in massive quantity,” writes Ilene Dube in an introduction to the catalog that accompanies the show. “There’s no room in the equation for animal welfare. Worse, new ‘ag-gag’ laws have been introduced in a number of states that punish the whistle-blowers who document abusive conditions of livestock and poultry.”

The cow, pig, cat, rat, and other animals that make up this exhibition are all created by piecing together bits of hand-made, hand-painted papers from different cultures, and photographs taken from the artist’s travel in Asia and Africa. After building up the canvas with layers of torn papers, Baiz then reworks the surface by incising, scraping, and burning it, which she then may further articulate by her hand drawing or painting.

Occasionally, the artist will use found materials, such as old linoleum bits, to provide a different texture, as can be seen in her “Calf.” These animals, noble and anonymous, ask the viewer to consider his or her own responsibility in allowing one species to dominate and subjugate another.

Ms. Baiz received a BFA from Cornell University and an MBA from Columbia University. Her most recent solo exhibits include Morpeth Contemporary, Hopewell, (2011), Tenri Cultural Institute, New York City (2009); and DrawingSpace, Melbourne, Australia (2008). She has been selected for numerous juried exhibitions including the New Jersey Arts Annual 2010 at the New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, and the 2009 International Women Artists’ Biennale in Incheon, South Korea. Baiz has also exhibited in group shows in Tibet, China, and France as well as numerous museums and venues in the United States. She is an active member of the Princeton Artist Alliance.

The exhibition and the panel discussion are free and open to the public.

For more information, call (609) 258-0157 .

 

MCCC FACULTY SHOW: The current exhibition of work by Mercer County Community College faculty includes Paul Mordetsky’s 30” x 48” oil on panel painting titled, “Transfusion.” Among the other featured artists are Yevgeniy Fiks, Lucas Kelly, and Tina LaPlaca of Princeton. Gallery Hours for this show are Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Gallery is located on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road and the show runs through October 3. For more information, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery.

MCCC FACULTY SHOW: The current exhibition of work by Mercer County Community College faculty includes Paul Mordetsky’s 30” x 48” oil on panel painting titled, “Transfusion.” Among the other featured artists are Yevgeniy Fiks, Lucas Kelly, and Tina LaPlaca of Princeton. Gallery Hours for this show are Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Gallery is located on the college’s West Windsor campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road and the show runs through October 3. For more information, visit: www.mccc.edu/gallery.

 

POST INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPE: This 24” x 18” watercolor, titled “Flip,” by Kate Graves is one of several sculptures and paintings by the artist currently displayed in the exhibition, “Trenton: A Post Industrial Survey,” in the Gallery at the Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike through September 27. The exhibition can be viewed during school hours by appointment. For more information, call (609) 924-7206.

POST INDUSTRIAL LANDSCAPE: This 24” x 18” watercolor, titled “Flip,” by Kate Graves is one of several sculptures and paintings by the artist currently displayed in the exhibition, “Trenton: A Post Industrial Survey,” in the Gallery at the Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike through September 27. The exhibition can be viewed during school hours by appointment. For more information, call (609) 924-7206.

 

THE ARTIST’S STUDIO: Artwork by the late John Sears will be on display from Thursday, September 19 through Sunday, October 13 at Rider University Art Gallery. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. There will be an opening reception, Thursday, September 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. In conjunction with the exhibit, Gallery Director Harry I. Naar will lead a panel discussion on “The Creative Spirit” with artist and teacher Cynthia Groya, Rider University professor of psychology John Suler and Anne Sears on Thursday, September 26, at 7 p.m. For more on the artist, visit: www.johnsearsartist.com.

THE ARTIST’S STUDIO: Artwork by the late John Sears will be on display from Thursday, September 19 through Sunday, October 13 at Rider University Art Gallery. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. There will be an opening reception, Thursday, September 19, from 5 to 7 p.m. In conjunction with the exhibit, Gallery Director Harry I. Naar will lead a panel discussion on “The Creative Spirit” with artist and teacher Cynthia Groya, Rider University professor of psychology John Suler and Anne Sears on Thursday, September 26, at 7 p.m. For more on the artist, visit: www.johnsearsartist.com.

 

SMOKEY MOUNTAIN FALLS: Work such as this black and white image by photographer Terri Hood is part of an exhibition of her work currently on view in Gallery 14 at 14 Mercer Street in Hopewell. The exhibition also features Ms. Hood’s still lifes as well as a series of photographs by Charles Miller, titled “Waterlilies – Monet’s Flower.” The show runs through October 6. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

SMOKEY MOUNTAIN FALLS: Work such as this black and white image by photographer Terri Hood is part of an exhibition of her work currently on view in Gallery 14 at 14 Mercer Street in Hopewell. The exhibition also features Ms. Hood’s still lifes as well as a series of photographs by Charles Miller, titled “Waterlilies – Monet’s Flower.” The show runs through October 6. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

 

VINTAGE NJ SHORE: “At Play Barnegat Bay” by Carl Buergerniss (1877-1956), c.1912, oil on canvas from the collection of Roy Pedersen is on view as part of Morven Museum and Garden’s current exhibition, “Coastal Impressions: Painters of the Jersey Shore, 1880-1940,” which has just been extended to run through October 27. Through the works of Edward Boulton, Wyatt Eaton, Albert Reinhart, Julius Golz, Charles Freeman, John F. Peto, Thomas Anshutz, Hugh Campbell, and Carrie Sanborn (to name a few), the exhibition illustrates the history of artists who lived, worked and drew inspiration from the New Jersey shores. For more information, call (609) 924-8144; or visit: www.morven.org.

VINTAGE NJ SHORE: “At Play Barnegat Bay” by Carl Buergerniss (1877-1956), c.1912, oil on canvas from the collection of Roy Pedersen is on view as part of Morven Museum and Garden’s current exhibition, “Coastal Impressions: Painters of the Jersey Shore, 1880-1940,” which has just been extended to run through October 27. Through the works of Edward Boulton, Wyatt Eaton, Albert Reinhart, Julius Golz, Charles Freeman, John F. Peto, Thomas Anshutz, Hugh Campbell, and Carrie Sanborn (to name a few), the exhibition illustrates the history of artists who lived, worked and drew inspiration from the New Jersey shores. For more information, call (609) 924-8144; or visit: www.morven.org.

 

 

 

September 11, 2013
“EL MIGRANTE:” Elsa Medina is considered among the best of Mexico’s photojournalists. Besides reporting on Guatemala, Haiti, and Nicaragua, she has recorded the plight of Mexicans crossing the border into the United States. The photograph shown here was taken in the dry dusty desert of Cañon Zapata, Tijuana, in 1987. A 2011 gelatin silver print, it is on view as part of the exhibition, “The Itinerant Languages of Photography,” currently on view at the Princeton University Art Museum. For more information, call (609) 258-3767, or visit: www.princeton. (Courtesy of the Artist)

“EL MIGRANTE:” Elsa Medina is considered among the best of Mexico’s photojournalists. Besides reporting on Guatemala, Haiti, and Nicaragua, she has recorded the plight of Mexicans crossing the border into the United States. The photograph shown here was taken in the dry dusty desert of Cañon Zapata, Tijuana, in 1987. A 2011 gelatin silver print, it is on view as part of the exhibition, “The Itinerant Languages of Photography,” currently on view at the Princeton University Art Museum. For more information, call (609) 258-3767, or visit: www.artmuseum.princeton.edu
(Courtesy of the Artist)

With a camera in every cell phone and a cell phone in practically every pocket, photographs are no longer what they used to be. An individual image can take on a life of its own as it travels beyond the traditional photo album to all corners and cultures of the world. The meaning of the photographic images in relation to changing context is examined in a new exhibition that opened Saturday at the Princeton University Art Museum.

“The Itinerant Languages of Photography,” traces historical modes of photographic itinerancy from its origins in the 19th century as a shifting archival record to its conceptualist manifestations in the present.

On view are rare black and white photographs by masters as well as lesser known and emerging photographers: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paul Strand, Marc Ferrez, Manuel and Lola Alvarez Bravo, Joan Colom, Graciela Iturbide, Susan Meiselas, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Joan Fontcuberta, and Rosângela Rennó.

“This exhibition asks us to consider the photograph as a globally transmitted, continually translated and annotated document — reinterpreted and re-animated through the lens of our shared histories, memories, and experiences,” said Princeton University Art Museum Director James Steward.

The image that opens the show is a “Googlegram” by the Catalan photographer Joan Fontcuberta who was born in 1955. Titled Niépce, the work takes inspiration from the earliest-known photograph, View from the Window at Le Gras, by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, circa 1826. Mr. Fontcuberta created his tribute by processing the results of a Google image search for the words “photo” and “foto” through photomosaic software.

The result is a huge composite comprised of some ten thousand pieces from all over the world that brings the past and the present together and sets the stage for rest of the exhibition, which is arranged in four sections. The dizzying artwork suggests that every image is laced with multiple connotations.

Mr. Fontcuberta received the prestigious Hasselblad Award this year and will deliver the keynote address at a symposium on Thursday, November 21, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

The show’s first section, “Itinerant Photographs,” features work from two Brazilian collections, one assembled between 1891 and 1925 and held in the National Library of Brazil, and the other from a similarly early collection of work by the itinerant photographer Marc Ferrez and others.

The second, “Itinerant Revolutions,” presents several modernist photographers working during and after the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920), including locals Manuel and Lola Alvarez Bravo as well as pieces by Tina Modotti, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Paul Strand.

Don’t miss Hugo Brehme’s portrait of Emiliano Zapata and his marvelous mustache with his sash and sword; Gracielo Iturbide’s cemetery with flocking birds; the iconic image of Adelita the Soldadera; and photojournalist Enrique Metinides’s sorrowful images among others depicting mourning mothers, murdered men, and dead children.

Almost all of the photographs in this small show of some 90 works from public and private collections in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and the United States, are black and white. The exhibition is detailed and well-presented, informative and thought-provoking. Curators Eduardo Cadava, of the department of English, and Gabriela Nouzeilles, of the department of Spanish and Portuguese languages and cultures, offer a privileged look at this material and have authored an illustrated 240-page catalogue that includes an essay by Mr. Fontcuberta.

The third section, “Itinerant Subjects,” examines ways in which photography approaches moving subjects with scenes from the streets of Spain and Latin America. Here is the work of street photographer Joan Colom and surrealistic photo-essays by Mexican photojournalist Nacho López as well as work by Eduardo Gil, Graciela Iturbide, Elsa Medina, Susan Meiselas, and Pedro Meyer.

“Itinerant Archives,” the last section of the exhibition, explores ways in which photographs are used and reused, quoted and revitalized. The highlight here is a stunning piece that is an aerial perspective of a crowd, “Multiples: it is us (people),” by Cassio Vasoncellos. Everyone is wearing a hat and the effect evokes an organic form like moss or lichen.

Highlights include Marcelo Brodsky’s The Undershirt / La Camiseta, shot in 1979 and reprinted in 2012; Joan Colom’s Fiesta Mayor, 1960; and Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s Striking Worker, Assassinated (Obrero en Huelga, Asesinado), 1934.

According to a press release, “Latin America has been at the forefront of the development of new aesthetic paradigms in modern and contemporary photography and the exhibition calls attention to “significant but often neglected histories of photography beyond the dominant European and American canon.”

The digital revolution has created an explosion in the production, circulation, and reception of photographic images. Attending this exhibition brings fresh perspective to the activity of taking and/or making photographs.

“The Itinerant Languages of Photography” is on view at the Princeton University Art Museum through January 19. For more information, call (609) 258-3767, or visit: www.artmuseum.princeton.edu.

 

September 4, 2013
BOUNTIFUL HARVEST: Inspired by the still lifes of the Dutch 17th century masters, photographer Terri Hood takes great pains to create a composition that invites the eye, and in this case, the palate. Her “Bountiful Harvest” will be part of an exhibition of her work opening this Friday in the main gallery at Gallery 14 in Hopewell. Work by Charles Miller will be featured in the Jay Goodkind Gallery. For more information, call (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

BOUNTIFUL HARVEST: Inspired by the still lifes of the Dutch 17th century masters, photographer Terri Hood takes great pains to create a composition that invites the eye, and in this case, the palate. Her “Bountiful Harvest” will be part of an exhibition of her work opening this Friday in the main gallery at Gallery 14 in Hopewell. Work by Charles Miller will be featured in the Jay Goodkind Gallery. For more information, call (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

Gallery 14 in Hopewell begins its fall season, its 13th annual, with an exhibition of work that will transport viewers to another time. Theresa (Terri) Hood’s color photographs conjure up the still lifes of the Dutch masters of the 17th century, painters like Willem Kalf (1619-1693) whose work is much admired by Ms. Hood. Her black and white landscapes are evocative of Ansel Adams (1902-1984).

That Ms. Hood has chosen her influences well will be shown by an exhibition of 26 of her photographs, (13 color, 13 black and white) opening this Friday, September 6, at Gallery 14 with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m.

“I fell in love with still lifes when studying the Dutch masters,” said Ms. Hood in a phone interview. “They studied light and that is what photography is all about. I’ve been working on still lifes for some five
years now and I craft them painstakingly.”

Ms. Hood’s attention to composition results in gorgeous images of pottery and drapery with artful placement of gourds and grapes, a wine glass, ferns, fruits, and flowers.

But while the Dutch painters infused their compositions with symbolic meaning, Ms. Hood focuses on beauty and light. “Sometimes I am able to use natural light from a window but more often than not I use studio lighting to mimic natural light,” says the artist for whom photography is not only a passion, it’s something of a second career.

Before turning serious attention to the camera some seven years ago, Ms. Hood had her own title insurance agency. “Now I have another life,” said the art photographer, who is in her 50s and works from her home studio in Glen Gardner, Hunterdon County.

The seeds of her present passion were sown when Ms. Hood took a college course and was introduced to the work of the great American photographer Ansel Adams. “Now, I embrace it with unbridled joy,” she said. “When I am working in my studio I am totally absorbed and unaware of the passage of time. There is so much beauty around and that’s what I am hoping to make people realize. Everybody has digital cameras in their phones today and go around taking pictures all the time, but there is a difference between taking a photograph and making a photograph. I make photographs.”

Besides Gallery 14, which she joined less than a year ago, Ms. Hood is a member of the Hunterdon County Photography Club and the Photographic Society of America where she serves as a commentator for a digital study group program on Nature. She co-manages the Exhibition Committee and the Contemporary Arts Group of the New Jersey Photography Forum.

Her work has previously been exhibited in the Hunterdon County Library; Mayo Performing Arts Center; Crane’s Mill Gallery; Overlook Hospital, Somerset County Cultural and Heritage Commission, and the Watchung Arts Center where she received an award of merit for her “Shabby Chic” portrait of a house.

She’s been in the New Jersey Photo Forum Juried Show for the past three years and has participated in the Grounds for Sculpture Focus on Sculpture juried show two years running. In 2012, her black and white image Ocean Zen received Best in Show award there.

According to Ms. Hood, black and white photography is very different from color photography. The latter forces you to look at content. “Anyone who sees a black and white photograph develop in a dark room witnesses something magical and will be transported by it, as I was.”

Her solo exhibition “Life Along the River” is currently being displayed at the Musconetcong Watershed Association Gallery.

The works in her Gallery 14 show are either 16 x 20 or 16 x 24 inches. Prices for the former at $145, and for the latter, $175.

Also featured at Gallery 14, alongside Ms. Hood’s work, will be photographs by Charles Miller of Ringoes. “Waterlilies — Monet’s Flower” in the Jay Goodkind Gallery includes traditional photography as well as images printed on fabric as large wall hangings, photographs on watercolor paper, and macro images. Mr. Miller has exhibited throughout New Jersey and has won several best in show awards.

Both exhibits open on Friday, September 6. There will also be an opportunity to Meet The Artists on Sunday September 8, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The exhibit runs in Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street Hopewell, through October 6. Hours are Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information, call (609) 333-8511, or visit: www.photogallery14.com.

 

August 28, 2013
NEW YORK MOVIE (1939): Viewing this oil on canvas by Edward Hopper (1882–1967), you may think the usherette is holding a cell phone. In fact, it’s the artist’s wife Josephine, deep in thought. The original work and the many drawings that led up to it can be seen through October 6 in the Whitney Museum’s exhibit, “Hopper Drawing.” The painting, 32 1/4 x 40 1/8 in. (81.9 x 101.9 cm), on loan from The Museum of Modern Art, New York, was given anonymously. 396.1941© Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Digital Image© The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, N.Y.

NEW YORK MOVIE (1939): Viewing this oil on canvas by Edward Hopper (1882–1967), you may think the usherette is holding a cell phone. In fact, it’s the artist’s wife Josephine, deep in thought. The original work and the many drawings that led up to it can be seen through October 6 in the Whitney Museum’s exhibit, “Hopper Drawing.” The painting, 32 1/4 x 40 1/8 in. (81.9 x 101.9 cm), on loan from The Museum of Modern Art, New York, was given anonymously. 396.1941© Heirs of Josephine N. Hopper, licensed by the Whitney Museum of American Art. Digital Image© The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, N.Y.

When I was 15 I used to walk from Washington Square North across Sixth Avenue and down Greenwich Avenue for a midnight snack at a cozy little White Tower hamburger joint located where Greenwich meets 7th Avenue South and 11th Street. Quoted in Gail Levin’s Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography (Rizzoli 2007), the artist says the setting of his most famous work, Nighthawks (1942), was “suggested by a restaurant on Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet.” At least half a dozen websites have been dedicated to determining the identity and actual location of the place Hopper’s referring to, the consensus being that it can’t be found. However, the only actual late-night eatery shown to have occupied the triangle formed by that three-way intersection is the humble White Tower (you can see it in various online photos including the one on shadeone.com/nighthawks); while the tiny building — it looks like a white toy next to a toy gas station — has little in common with the spacious, streamlined structure in the painting, it sits in the only locale that could have accomodated the Flatiron shape of Hopper’s nighthawk’s cafe.

All I know is that I was enjoying those little melt-in-your-mouth hamburgers on the piece of Manhattan geographically aligned with one of the landmarks of 20th century art, the iconic image that has been alluded to, celebrated, and improvised upon by generations of artists, writers, filmmakers, and poets. It’s also nice to know that Edward Hopper (1882-1967) was still alive and well and painting at the time in a studio on the other end of the block at 3 Washington Square North.

Nighthawks has to be seen in person to be truly appreciated. Of course this is true of just about any accomplished work of art, but the only way to comprehend the magnitude of this painting is to stand in front of it. You can see Nighthawks, along with other key works like New York Movie (1939) and Office at Night (1940), in the Whitney Museum’s “Hopper Drawing,” which is billed as “the first major museum exhibition to focus on the drawings and creative process of Edward Hopper.” Organized by curator of drawings Carter Foster, the exhibit will be on view through October 6.

The Power of the Painting

It’s a tribute to the power of Nighthawks that admirers have gone to such lengths to determine the real-world model and location of a place that is so obviously a composite developed in the artist’s imagination. One feature that strikes you when you stand before it is the color and smoothness and sweep of the pale green sidewalk comprising almost half the painting. It’s safe to say that you will not find pavement that immaculate nor of such a subtle shade of green anywhere on the island of Manhattan or indeed anywhere this side of The Land of Oz. The countertop in this extraordinarily roomy “coffee stand” is, according to the notes in the artist’s ledger, made of “cherry wood” rather than the standard greasy spoon formica. Also painted as if they were things of rare worth are the sugar sifters, salt and pepper shakers and napkin holders, and, noted in the ledger under “bright items,” two “metal tanks” more familiarly known as coffee urns.

As for the nighthawks of the title, there’s the man with his back to us, hunched over the counter, described in the ledger as a “figure dark sinister.” Faces lit with a caffeinated intensity, the man and woman, posed for by Hopper (using a mirror) and his wife, are described in the ledger’s shorthand: “night hawk (beak) in dark suit, steel grey hat, black band, blue shirt (clean) holding cigarette,” the brunette in “red blouse” looks venal and lively compared to Hopper’s generally passive, lost, spaced-out females; this one’s wide awake and hungry for action, ready to take a bite out of the counter man once she finishes her sandwich. The dark figure whose face is hidden could pass for (and might even have been inspired by) one of the title characters in Ernest Hemingway’s 1927 story, “The Killers.” An admirer of Hemingway, Hopper actually wrote a letter to Scribners Magazine praising the story in contrast to “the vast sea of sugar coated mush that makes up most of our fiction.”

As Hemingway does in “The Killers,” Hopper presents a situation and some characters and leaves it to us to imagine the rest. The hypnotic image inspired a poem by Joyce Carol Oates and five different dramatizations in a special issue of Der Spiegel; has surfaced as a favored setting in The Simpsons; in a film-within-a-film in Wim Wenders’s End of Violence; and in a parody, Nighthawks Revisited, by Red Grooms, who calls himself “a jester to the great sage” in the National Gallery Hopper documentary narrated by Steve Martin.

The timing of Nighthawks is a story in itself. Unfazed by the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor and FDR’s declaration of war, Hopper remained tenaciously focused on the immense canvas while his wife Jo feared “the very likely prospect of being bombed” (“we live right under glass sky-lights and a roof that leaks whenever it rains”). Jo wasn’t alone. Hopper’s gallery thought he should take the precaution of moving some of his paintings to a storehouse for safekeeping. Clearly the artist knew he was on to something special. “E. doesn’t want me even in the studio,” Jo complained. “I haven’t gone thru even for things I want in the kitchen.”

According to Gail Levin’s biography, Jo was “short, open, gregarious, sociable, and liberal” while Hopper was “tall, secretive, shy, quiet, introspective, and conservative.” Both were in their early forties when they married in 1924. A painter of real gifts, Jo was Hopper’s model and his advocate, but she resented the fact that her career was secondary to his. Of all her “roles,” the most warmly, sympathetically, and interestingly rendered was as the blond usherette in New York Movie.

At the Movies

Ask any film buff about Hopper’s influence on film noir and they will likely start talking about Nighthawks. Bring up film in general and they will mention New York Movie. Hopper was an ardent filmgoer. At the time of the painting, while there had been only intimations of noir like 1940’s The Stranger on the Third Floor (where someone is murdered in a diner), Hopper had seen and absorbed gangster flicks like Scarface (1932), Public Enemy (1930), Little Caesar (1931), and Bullets or Ballots (1936). Meanwhile he’d also discovered an appealing subject in moviehouse interiors like the one in New York Movie, which Hopper researched by taking his sketchbook to Times Square theatres like the Globe, Republic, Strand, and his primary model the Palace. Before it was finished, New York Movie required 54 drawings, more than any other painting in his career.

For the thoughtful usherette standing in an alcove out of view of the screen, Hopper posed his wife in slacks in a lighted corner of the studio. As he’d done with the diner in Nighthawks, Hopper added a touch of elegance that in this case makes the word “usherette” seem too workaday for the pensive blonde in the lustrous blue uniform and the stylish shoes (in one of the drawings, he pencils in “flesh-colored feet in black sandals”). Though Jo was in her mid-fifties at the time, Hopper painted her as a young woman in her twenties. Like the female in Nighthawks, the usherette is a departure from the lonely, abstracted, lost-looking individuals Hopper customarily depicted. There’s a benignly encompassing warmth about this person, enhanced by the yellow light all around her, that tempts you to guess at her thoughts. She may only be listening to voices on the soundtrack of the film, but what makes her so sympathetic and interesting is that you can feel the intelligent presence of the artist’s wife. She was a painter, too, remember, who might well be thinking, as she holds the pose, that she should be doing her own work. Or she might be pondering a new project as she stands there locked into the image of the thinker, chin propped on hand, her time and her art at the mercy of her artist husband. The positive side of the tension that makes her so much worthier of our notice than even the beautifully crafted interior of the theatre is in what we know to be her absolute devotion to Hopper’s work, her confidence in its greatness and superiority to her own, in spite of her sense of herself as an artist, an intelligence, a creative individual in her own right.

In the Office

In Office at Night, the curvaceous secretary standing by the filing cabinet offers yet another alternative to Hopper’s less forthright females and once again, the 20-something brunette secretary is being impersonated by a 50-something Josephine Hopper in a form-fitting skirt that reveals a shapely hip and leg that you know will eventually catch the eye of her boss, who is seated at his desk intently reading a letter. Of all the stories to develop from Hopper’s images, this would be the oldest, easiest, and most obvious to imagine. A better story, however, concerns the painter and his wife, who writes in her journal, of the young woman “fishing in a filing cabinet” that “I’m to pose for … tonight in a tight skirt — short to show legs. Nice that I have good legs and up and coming stockings.” A few days later Hopper is still working on Office at Night when a Viennese waltz comes over the radio. Edward “left the easel and came to waltz with me — and did very nicely …. The music got E. and about he went. He’s amazingly light on his feet when he dances.”

 

ArtRev2

TANG DYNASTY POETRY FOR TODAY: This illustration by the Long Island husband and wife team Jean and Mou-sien Tseng is on view from September 1 at the Zimmerli Museum as part of the exhibition “Maples in the Mist: Chinese Poems for Children Illustrated by Jean and Mou-sien Tseng.” It is the Tsengs’ visual expression of the poem “Traveler’s Song” by the Tang Dynasty poet Meng Jia.

The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University reopens September 1, after an August hiatus, with an exhibition of work by beloved children’s book illustrators Jean and Mou-sien Tseng.

“Maples in the Mist: Chinese Poems for Children” in the museum’s Duvoisin Gallery brings together art and children’s literature. 

Earlier in the year, the Zimmerli presented this exhibition in a curator-led Art After Hours program and musical performance. At that time, Marilyn Symmes, director of the Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts and curator of the museum’s prints and drawings presented vibrant images by the Taiwanese husband and wife team whose illustrations have introduced some of the celebrated poets of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) to a contemporary audience. “These are poems that have been popular since the 18th century and many Chinese children today learn to read by reciting these poems,” she said. The poems were translated into English by Minfong Ho with the aim of introducing her own children and those of others to traditional Chinese culture. Each image in the exhibition is accompanied by the poem that inspired it.

“The Tang Dynasty is known as the golden age of poetry in China’s 2000-year literary history and the Tsengs’ illustrations are a captivating introduction to that rich heritage,” said Ms. Symmes who organized the exhibition with Beth McKeown, former assistant curator of prints and drawings.

The 22 original watercolors on view were chosen from the Zimmerli’s extensive collection of original artwork for children’s books. The Tsengs’ book was published in 1996; they donated their original watercolor illustrations to the museum in 1998. Each image demonstrates the Tsengs’ mastery of composition and color.

The illustrators capture the coziness of traditional customs against a rural backdrop to yield glimpses of domestic life with some nostalgia. In their illustration of “Traveler’s Song” by Meng Jia we see a mother mending her son’s coat by candlelight before he leaves home. Their image for “Quiet Night” by Li Bai, shows a young man in bed, gazing at the moon and longing for home.

The Tsengs’ feeling for nature finds expression in their illustration to “Symmetry” by Du Fu in which a flock of white egrets fly between willow trees in the foreground and majestic snow-capped mountains in the distance. See also their tender treatment of sunset for “Climbing Stork Tower” by Wang Zhi-Huan.

The exhibition uses three preliminary sketches by the Tsangs to show their creative process in working toward an illustration for Wang Jian’s poem “Little Pine.” The working drawings document the artists at work in developing the pose, clothing, and gesture of a little boy tending a sapling.

According to Museum Director Suzanne Delehanty, the images “demonstrate the craft and process of designing books before computer-generated illustrations became common practice.”

Born in Taiwan in 1940 and 1935, respectively, Jean and Mou-sien Tseng met while studying art at the National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei. Since the couple immigrated to the United States in 1974, they have illustrated more than 30 children’s books, including The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy (Scholastic, 1990), Kenji and the Magic Geese by Ryerson Johnson (Simon & Shuster, 1992), and Fa Mulan by Robert D. San Souci (Hyperion, 1998). In 1999, they illustrated White Tiger, Blue Serpent (HarperCollins) by their daughter Grace. They now live on Long Island, New York.

“Maples in the Mist: Chinese Poems for Children Illustrated by Jean & Mou-sien Tseng” is at the Zimmerli Art Museum at 71 Hamilton Street at George Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. Hours are: Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. Admission: $6 for adults; $5 (65 and over); free for museum members, children under 18, and Rutgers students, faculty, and staff (with ID), and on the first Sunday of every month. For more information, call (848) 932-7237 or visit: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu.

 

August 21, 2013
ROYAL COUPLE: An exhibition at the Michener Museum in Doylestown this fall will focus on the life and legacy of Grace Kelly (1929-1982), the Philadelphia girl and award-winning actress who became Princess Grace of Monaco when she married Prince Rainier III on April 18, 1956. Remembered as a screen legend and fashion icon, Ms. Kelly was also a United Nations advocate for children, and muse to director Alfred Hitchcock. For more information and hours, call (215) 340-9800, or visit: www.michenermuseum.org.(Courtesy of James A. Michener Museum of Art)

ROYAL COUPLE: An exhibition at the Michener Museum in Doylestown this fall will focus on the life and legacy of Grace Kelly (1929-1982), the Philadelphia girl and award-winning actress who became Princess Grace of Monaco when she married Prince Rainier III on April 18, 1956. Remembered as a screen legend and fashion icon, Ms. Kelly was also a United Nations advocate for children, and muse to director Alfred Hitchcock. For more information and hours, call (215) 340-9800, or visit: www.michenermuseum.org. (Courtesy of James A. Michener Museum of Art)

With its new Grace Kelly exhibition opening in just two month’s time, the staff of the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown held a press conference last Thursday to show just what all the fuss is about.

Lisa Tremper Hanover, Michener Director and CEO, described the contents of the exhibition, “From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly Beyond the Icon,” which aims to immerse visitors in the life and legacy of the Oscar-winning American actress and Princess of Monaco.

Besides items of designer clothing worn by Ms. Kelly, personal letters and memorabilia, there will be film clips and archival documents. The Michener is the sole U.S. destination for the exhibition, which was seen earlier in Canada.

According to Ms. Tremper Hanover, the exhibition sets out to relate “the real story” of the girl from Philadelphia who loved scrapple and adored raising her children as much as she loved clothes and culture. “Her real story isn’t a fairy tale as you will see from the exhibition’s intimate photographs, love letters from her husband, home movies and fashions that are as elegant today as they were 50 years ago,” she said.

On hand to raise the level of excitement were representatives of the Princess Grace Foundation-USA, the Consulate General of Monaco in New York, and other exhibition funders such as the Bucks County Conference and Visitors Bureau.

Consul General and Minister Counselor Maguy Maccario Doyle described Grace Kelly’s lasting impact on Monaco through the theater and arts festival she founded there as well as the library that was created from her private collection of Irish literature after her death.

Ms. Kelly’s son, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, spoke via Skype from his home. “Those of us who were fortunate enough to know my mother knew her to be a genuine, warm, and loving woman — a woman who always put her family first. I hope that through experiencing this exhibition you will be able to glimpse the real Grace Kelly,” he said. It was Prince Albert who provided the impetus for the exhibition’s North American tour.

The press conference, which was held, appropriately enough, at the Hotel Monaco in the heart of the actress’s hometown of Philadelphia, also featured short presentations by Regina Canfield of the PNC Arts Alive program which is funding the exhibition, and others.

Kristina Haugland, of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and author of Grace Kelly: Icon of Style to Royal Bride and Grace Kelly Style, described Ms. Kelly’s iconic style and provided a perspective on her influence on fashion. “She was far from the typical Hollywood clotheshorse,” said Ms. Haugland. “Her signature style was timeless, simple and elegant, a classic look that is emulated today on red carpet runways and exemplified by brides like Kate Middleton.”

“This exhibition will benefit the whole of Bucks County as well as Doylestown,” commented Paul Bencivengo, Bucks County marketing and communications director, anticipating the regional economic impact. “Bucks county tourism provides some 11,000 jobs and brings in some $850 million a year,” he said, adding that Grace Kelly was a “simple sell” for the region and the state.

“The opportunity to bring together a comprehensive exhibition that focuses on the depth and breadth of Grace Kelly’s life is an important acknowledgment of her impact on so many facets of the 20th century,” said Ms. Tremper Hanover. “Throughout the years, interest in Grace — her compassion, her radiance, her dignity, and her individuality — has never waned. Her hometown of Philadelphia is eager to honor this spirit.”

Ms. Kelly’s nephew, Christopher Le Vine, provided a touching take on his relative. “Grace never lost touch with her family here in Philly, her children grew up much as she did,” said Mr. Le Vine as he recalled home movies of his aunt and his mother on the beach at Ocean City. Mr. Le Vine is the owner, of Grace Winery and Sweetwater Farm Bed and Breakfast in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Valley.

“From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly Beyond the Icon” will be accompanied by a series of events on Grace Kelly’s jewelry, fashion, style and impact as a royal bride, culminating with a screening of one of her most popular films High Society in December.

GRACE KELLY REMEMBERED: Another side of screen legend Grace Kelly was recalled when her nephew, Christopher Le Vine, shared memories of his aunt and his mother frolicking at the New Jersey shore at a press conference organized by the Michener Museum at the Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia last week to promote its fall exhibition “From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly Beyond the Icon.” Mr. Le Vine is the owner of Grace Winery and Sweetwater Farm Bed and Breakfast in Glen Mills, Pa.(Photo by L. Arntzenius)

GRACE KELLY REMEMBERED: Another side of screen legend Grace Kelly was recalled when her nephew, Christopher Le Vine, shared memories of his aunt and his mother frolicking at the New Jersey shore at a press conference organized by the Michener Museum at the Hotel Monaco in Philadelphia last week to promote its fall exhibition “From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly Beyond the Icon.” Mr. Le Vine is the owner of Grace Winery and Sweetwater Farm Bed and Breakfast in Glen Mills, Pa. (Photo by L. Arntzenius)

The Michener will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Bucks County Playhouse, where Ms. Kelly made her stage debut.

Jed Bernstein, the theater’s producing director spoke about Ms. Kelly’s early years and of the role that the Buck’s County Playhouse has played in the region and in American theater as a whole. Besides Ms. Kelly, those associated with the theaters comprise a veritable “who’s who” of American stage and screen in the 20th and early 21st centuries: Robert Redford, Liza Minnelli, Helen Hayes, Walter Matthau, Angela Lansbury, and Tyne Daly, as well as renowned playwrights George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, Neil Simon, and Terrence McNally.

The companion exhibition, “Local Mill Makes Good: Celebrating 75 Years of American Theater at the Bucks County Playhouse,” will be on view from October 26, through March 2, 2014.

“From Philadelphia to Monaco: Grace Kelly Beyond the Icon” opens October 28 at the James A. Michener Art Museum,138 South Pine Street, Doylestown. For more information and hours, call (215) 340-9800, or visit: www.michenermuseum.org. The Michener will be using a timed ticket entry system for non-members. Advance ticket purchase is highly recommended, and available only at www.MichenerArtMuseum.org or by calling (800) 595-4849.

 

August 14, 2013
CAN YOU HEAR THEM COO? Beatrice Bork’s watercolor “Lovie Dovie” conveys the characteristic peacefulness and loyalty of mourning doves in D&R Greenway’s current art exhibition, “The Feathered and the Field.” In addition to Ms. Bork, featured artists are Francesca Azzara, Bill Dix, Carolyn H. Edlund, Jennifer Hawkes, Brenda Jones, David Robinson, Rye Tippett, and Charles David Viera. Admission is free and the show runs through October 5. A percentage of each work sold supports the Land Trust at One Preservation Place, off Rosedale. For more information and hours, call (609) 924-4646 or email rsvp@drgreenway.org.

CAN YOU HEAR THEM COO? Beatrice Bork’s watercolor “Lovie Dovie” conveys the characteristic peacefulness and loyalty of mourning doves in D&R Greenway’s current art exhibition, “The Feathered and the Field.” In addition to Ms. Bork, featured artists are Francesca Azzara, Bill Dix, Carolyn H. Edlund, Jennifer Hawkes, Brenda Jones, David Robinson, Rye Tippett, and Charles David Viera. Admission is free and the show runs through October 5. A percentage of each work sold supports the Land Trust at One Preservation Place, off Rosedale. For more information and hours, call (609) 924-4646 or email rsvp@drgreenway.org.

A reception for the artists with works in the D&R Greenway Land Trust’s latest exhibition will take place Thursday, August 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The exhibition, titled “The Feathered and the Field: Birds in Autumn,” features stirring images in many media with artists interpreting the transition from summer to autumn, a time when preserved habitat is particularly essential to migrating birds. It is designed to encourage people to preserve and to plant bird-friendly habitats and throughout the evening, native plants may be purchased from the Trust’s on-site Native Plant Nursery, to transform home gardens into bird-friendly habitats.

Artists include Francesca Azzara, Beatrice Bork, Bill Dix, Carolyn H. Edlund, Jennifer Hawkes, Brenda Jones, David Robinson, Rye Tippett, and Charles David Viera.

All the art is for sale, with a percentage supporting the land trust’s preservation and stewardship mission.

Guests are also encouraged to include a sunset bird exploration in Greenway Meadows.

Linda Mead, D&R Greenway CEO and president, suggests that guests treat this exhibition as a bird walk, even to the extent of beginning “a life list” of species represented in these diverse works, such as committed birders maintain. She reminds visitors to hike St. Michaels Farm Preserve in Hopewell, where D&R Greenway preservation is increasing sightings of rare and threatened species such as the meadowlark, the American kestrel, and the bobolink.

“This exhibit celebrates the diverse beauty of birds, particularly their vulnerability during migration to their wintering grounds,”

notes D&R Greenway Curator Diana Moore.

“The Feathered and the Field: Birds in Autumn,” is on view during business hours of business days at the D&R Greenway Land Trust, One Preservation Place, off Rosedale Road, through October 5. Admission is free. For more information and to register for the free reception, call (609) 924-4646 or email rsvp@drgreenway.org.