October 13, 2021

Four New Exhibitions at Hunterdon Art Museum

“COMPANION SPECIES (CALLING ALL MY RELATIONS)”: This work by Marie Watt is featured in “Companion Species (At What Cost): The Works of Marie Watt,” one of four new exhibitions on view through January 9 at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton.

The Hunterdon Art Museum now presents four new exhibitions, on view until January 9.

“Companion Species (At What Cost): The Works of Marie Watt” spotlights two textile works assembled from panels of cloth embroidered during sewing circles. Watt pieced together these smaller panels into two monumental tapestries: in 2020, the 16 ½ -foot-long Companion Species (At What Cost), and, in 2018, the 17 ½-foot-long Companion Species (Calling All My Relations). Watt (born 1967) is an American artist and citizen of the Seneca Nation of Indians, one of the six tribes of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Watt has continued a tradition in Indigenous art, in which Indigenous insight is engendered at the exhibition venue. 

About her sewing circles, Watt says that “stories and talk tend to flow,” bringing people together, and that “each person’s stitch is unique, like a thumbprint. As the threads intersect and blend, I see them as a metaphor for how we are all related.”

At the center of this show are Watt’s diverse textile works. The selection presented foregrounds what she calls “Iroquois protofeminism and Indigenous teaching.” These include at least two overlapping topics: the recognition of Indigenous matriarchies (predating modern feminism by centuries, hence Watt’s use of the prefix proto); and the recognition of Indigenous ecological traditions of profound interconnection between people and the Earth.

“Alisha Wormsley: Remnants of An Advanced Technology” focuses on Wormsley’s well-known work with Black futurism, a genre that reimagines Black life with a futuristic style. The show incorporates images from Wormsley’s established body of work, “Children of NAN,” which can be described as an archive of objects, photos, video footage, films, sounds, philosophies, myths, rituals, and performances she has been compiling for over a decade to document the ways that Black women care for themselves, each other, and the Earth. 

This exhibition debuts a new multimedia installation by Wormsley, including dozens of new works from 2021 shown for the first time.

“Doug Herren: Color-Forms/Ceramic Structures” features the whimsical, vibrant pieces of Philadelphia-based artist Doug Herren, whose sculptures appear to be comprised of common objects like building blocks, pipes, and fittings, but in unexpected and quirky combinations.

According to Herren, his work explores invoking vessel references in large-scale forms reminiscent of abandoned industrial tools, gaudily colored. He uses clay to fashion both stands and tables, and the pottery forms cobbled together from wheel-thrown and hand-built components. 

“I aspire to attain in my work the wedding of the prosaic yet intimate qualities of functional pottery to the more assertive power of industrial tools, both relegated to an age more closely attuned to human labor and striving,” said Herren. “It is less a matter of describing a sense of loss than to invoke wonder and curiosity in the work I now produce.”

Lastly, the Hunterdon Art Museum showcases members in “2021 Members Exhibition,” a yearly juried exhibition that features artists working in various mediums, including clay sculpture, photography, glass, fiber, oils, acrylics, and collage.

This year’s Members Exhibition features Amy Becker, Zenna Broomer, Patricia Cudd, Yael Eisner, Meeta Garg, Valerie Huhn, Betty Jacobsen, Julia Justo, Rebecca Kelly, Myungwon Kim, Karen Krieger, Lisa Madson, Patricia Malarcher, Liz Mitchell, Michelle Moody, Florence Moonan, Patricia Feeney Murrell, Barbara Schulman, Teresa Shields, Barbara Straussberg, and Laura Trisiano.

This year’s juror is curator, writer, and archivist Kristen J. Owens, who evaluated over 90 entries submitted by museum members and selected 21 works for this exhibition. 

Hunterdon Art Museum is located at 7 Lower Center Street in Clinton. For more information, visit hunterdonartmuseum.org.