The Montclair Ten Redux
A true artist never lets anything rain on their parade. In fact, they are familiar with weathering the storm. Even the physical one that graced us with its presence this past Thursday, April 6th. You see, Mother Nature is perhaps thee greatest mentor that often gets overlooked. Mother Nature exudes confidence when it paints the world; never hesitating where to place the next brush stroke.
On Thursday April 6th, The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway had the pleasure of hosting the opening Exhibit of The Montclair 10 Redux. Curators, Educators, Artists, and Volunteers are just some of the titles these talented artists hold. All ten artists are employed at the Montclair Art Museum, making this showcase even more exceptional. As they communicate with each other through work, so does their art. Spaced out on the gallery walls, these pieces, although very different harmonize through their visual aesthetics.
Mural Mural on the wall, Dan Fenelon is your guy to call. Changing up his art from murals to smaller pieces, Dan, based out of Morristown, NJ trained at the Arts Student League in NY and the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston. Currently, he is the operator and resident artist of the MAM art truck. This truck travels through NJ facilitating art projects with willing participants. With one man shows in galleries all across the US, Dan has two pieces in the exhibit titled Tripartite #1 and #2. If you’re not familiar with the word tripartite it means, consisting of three parts. Dan makes this prevalent in his two pieces displayed. In addition, his use of layering is truly impressive. There’s an exposed vulnerability masked under the surface of colorful shapes and lines that dares you to dig deeper.
Aggie Wszolkowska hails from Poland. A country so immersed in art, that during WWII it went through great lengths to protect its artistic treasures storing them in allied nations. Emigrating to the US during her teenage years, she gained her BFA at Rutgers majoring in painting and minoring in Anthropology. Later, she went on to receive her Masters at Seton Hall University. In this exhibit Aggie has two pieces both labeled Untitled. As the only artist in this exhibit to have her work featured on wood, she brings a unique element. A wood panel is sturdier than a canvas, allowing Aggie to paint as soft or rough as she wants without worrying about her piece buckling or cracking. Aggie also explores painting in Braille by interpreting its visual codes. It’s quite touching.
Although she’s not related to Karl (well, not that we know of), Susan Marx is quite the philosopher. When it comes to art her advice is, “Forget about selling, paint just to paint. Sales is…I mean its like gravy, but if you’re going to paint to sell that’s a commercial artist. You need to paint whats inside your soul.” As an abstract impressionist, Susan has one feature in this exhibit titled Color Song. Susan’s inspiration behind this piece is, “The color themselves inspired me. If I put down one stroke – oh what would go next to that. And then it sort of like develops. And I put the cool next to the warm, and it almost looks like a flower. But its not a flower.” Painting since the age of four, Susan obtained her BFA at Boston University. Susan filled the event with her energetic and hilarious spirit. Susan’s life advice for artists is,“They say you need a good ten years, after college till you find out who you are. So you’re not painting what they teach you.”
Hip hip gourds-yay! OH MY GOURD that was so corny, but gourds are huge in the art world. So huge, there are enthusiasts who have amassed thousands throughout the years. Gourds serve as a multipurpose entity with lots of colors and patterns. This is what drew Benedetta Balsimelli to them. Similar to the versatile gourds, Benedetta has one impressive resume. She received a PhD in History of Art with a concentration in Theory of Conservation at University of Siena, Italy. She’s discussed her thesis with Professor Marco Ciatti, a global leader in the field of art restoration. She’s worked at an Art Museum & Paleontological Museum in Montevarchi Italy. As well as, interned for the Guggenheim Museum and the Fine Arts Conservation Group in Chelsea. Still not impressed? Benedetta started painting with watercolors only four years ago! As a newbie Benedetta says, “It’s never too late and [she] always advises to take classes because its the foundation of everything. You learn so much and you can use the techniques you have and play with them.” Her pieces in this exhibit are titled Studio #1 and Studio #2.
What do Henri Matisse and an old oak tree in Basking Ridge have in common? They were Martha Kelshaw’s inspiration for her current piece, Inspired by Historic White Oak. Martha recalls, “…recently, we have this great old oak tree in Basking Ridge, NJ out my way in Somerset County. It goes back to George Washington times. And the poor tree is in this graveyard and its roots are coming up and it’s actually dead. And they are going to be taking it down.” And like Matisse, Martha’s piece is not afraid of color. In fact, her piece grasps onto color and portrays the life of the 600-year-old tree. Martha explains, “[Her] art works content-emphasis is on figures set within complex social situations and physical environments.” She is the Manager of Public Relations at the Montclair Art Museum. She’s earned her BFA at The Art Institute of Chicago and her MFA at Montclair State.
2016 was the year of politics! Regardless of which side you supported it was a truly chaotic year. We haven’t seen anything this crazy since…well never! Thus came the inspiration for Nanci Iovino’s latest piece in the exhibit. Taking twelve hours to complete, Nanci recounts, “Well, the lion is called stressed, and it had a lot to do with the election process cause that was really stressful. And the horse is coexists – It’s after the election and all the events that we going on with immigrants and things like that. They are recent pieces, definitely felt from my heart.” Upon observation, the movement in each piece says it all. The lion is loud, prideful and filled with strength and courage. While the horse navigates through this new normal seeking connections. Gaining a BFA from Syracuse, you can explore more of Nanci’s work on Etsy.
Etsy Shop: SpiritanimalsbyNanci
Before Pinterest was known as the holy grail of digital collages, most people constructed them by hand. Enter Peg Kenselaar’s collage titled The Village. Once your eyes lock onto it, you’ll be hypnotized by the liveliness. The shapes, colors and patterns are assembled in such a way, that bare resemblance to a village. Also inspired by Matisse, the spirit of this collage is conversational. The technique of cutting paper and objects is often under appreciated. Many people never experience the true merit that comes from a single cut. Its about precision and knowing where to cease. The materials used to create this piece were all donated, recycled and repurposed. Peg has been been an educator for over 20 years at MAM.
Pinterest – https://es.pinterest.com/pegkenselaar/
Upon laying eyes on Julian Tejera’s piece Study in Grey and Yellow, a flashback of the girl in the red coat from Schindler’s List appeared. Although, this piece isn’t parallel to that story in anyway. The primary color yellow, used in the portrait stands out just like the red coat did. The yellow illuminates a warmth in a stagnant world. Julian says, “[This] was actually just experimentation on, black and white and then with a little bit of color. I hired a model for a class, and then paid her for an extra hour of photoshoots and drawing. So it was one of several experiments that came out of that.” His second piece After A Long Day is a bit more personal. Julian explains, “So, the one of the woman reclining is my mother. So its just the scenes that I see almost everyday, just kind of walking up the stairs, with her dog. She was just resting after work and the light was really nice and it was – that relationship between her and her pet. They’re always together.” Julian received his BFA at Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and an MFA at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. When it comes to struggling artists, Julian gives sound advice, “Because I had a heard time learning how to paint and all that. I definitely recognize that struggle. So what was told to me was advice by an illustrator Greg Manchess, who basically said, ‘Just draw all the time. Draw when you want to draw and especially draw when you don’t want to draw. Because there is no such thing as talent, its all about hard work. So the more you give the better your work becomes and the art returns as well.’”
Dowsing is so controversial, Solving History dedicated an episode to it. Dowsing is the method of locating water, metal, gems etc. using a Y or L shaped twig or rod. Its a pastime and the inspiration for Elizabeth Seaton’s latest work Dowsing. She recalls, “When I was a child, I saw my grandparents dowsing for water with a fork stick. And you sense something like a tug underground. When I was eight, and I thought that couldn’t possibly work. But when I tried it, I felt it too! An then they drill down and there was water under there. So for me its kind of a symbol for looking for something deep of sensing it.” The beauty in art is the education you acquire through each piece. Elizabeth received her BA in Fine Arts and Anthropology from Rutgers and her MFA at Vermont College, Norwich University. In her artist statement, she expresses, “The faceless women actively pursue highly symbolic missions and projects of their own – like dowsing for water, a life-giving source that is buried deep.”
Contact Info – firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa G. Westheimer likes to play with fire! Not only does she play with fire, she teaches alternate firing techniques such as raku and saggar at The Covent of Sacred Heart School in Manhattan. If you’re unfamiliar with this, take a look for yourself…
Currently residing in West Orange, NJ Lisa’s passion is prevalent in each piece she does. Lisa received her BA at NYU and her MA at Montclair State. She specializes in sculpture, glass, and ceramics. To find more of Lisa’s incredible work check out her Etsy shop.
Contact Info: https://lisagwestheimer.wordpress.com
This Exhibit will be displayed from April 6th – May 21st, be sure to check it out.
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