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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Exhibition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

The exhibition will continue through June 12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fall Foliage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enigmatic and Mystical

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long Career

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

January 29, 2014
art lead 1-29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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.