MONTCLAIR – A new art exhibition, TRANScendence, opened at the Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices office and gallery on Thursday, June 2, as part of the office’s unique feature of doubling as an art gallery, displaying works by many local and outside artists. The functional gallery will display the works of five artists, curated by Roger C. Tucker III, through August 31.
The office, located at 695 Bloomfield Avenue, a block down from the Montclair Art Museum, hangs within its walls art by five separate artists of entirely distinctive styles. From colorful sculptures to afro-inspired art, and black and white photos to 3d collages, there are many different visuals for the guests to indulge themselves in.
The exhibition, formally titled, TRANScendence: An Exhbition of Emerging, Contemporary Art by African American and Other Underrepresented Artists, is as much a display of the artists themselves as it is the art. The artists being displayed are Dwight Carter, Dominant Dansby, Donald Hilliard Jr., Stefanie Nagorka and Margaret Rose Vendryes. Their styles, influences, muses and works are disparate in appearance and the emotions they arouse, but are all contemporary in nature.
The exhibition is being curated by Roger C. Tucker III, of Tucker Contemporary Art. Tucker has an unbounded admiration for art, working as an artist, an art dealer, advisor, fine arts photographer, educator, collector and advocate for African American, emerging and young artists. Opening night, I was given the opportunity to briefly sit down to talk with the curator about his life through art and the current exhibition, TRANScendence.
Tucker’s main goal is to make art inclusive. For centuries, he explained to me, art was an exclusive profession. The artist was in an exclusive class and the final work they produced was for an exclusive class of people – mainly the royal and the wealthy. He believes that art should be more inclusive, and not be limited by degree, style or background. Fine art, he said, is “capturing the soul of the artist.” It is not about who created what for whom and sold it for how much, it is about capturing an artist’s psyche in a specific moment in time, expressed by what manifests on the canvas before the artist.
When I suggested to the curator that his idea to teach art and showcase underrepresented artists was his way of an outreaching to the art community, he didn’t disagree entirely, but instead offered some his insightful counter. What I saw as reaching out, he saw as reaching in. Tucker is reaching inward to the many underrepresented and emerging artists who are trying to bravely make a name for themselves in the art community. Again, as he said, it’s about making art inclusive. One example and product of this inclusivity was through featured artist Dominant Dansby.
Dansby started as an illustrator with a background in fine art before experimenting with his works. Eventually, the young artist and former student of Tucker realized that he had a penchant for creating amazing 3d collages. Some of his captivating collages now hang throughout the gallery, catching the eye of every guest. Many on opening night stood admiring the work for minutes at a time. For Dansby, transcendence is based on change and constant development.
Change and constantly develop – what Tucker is trying to do to the art community. Change it by making art more inclusive and reaching inward to the underrepresented artist while developing the art world by showcasing these underrepresented artists.
Inside the gallery on opening night, scores of people traveled from one piece to the next, observing the art before them, trying to interpret themselves why each piece was significant. The event drew local artists and residents to Bloomfield Avenue, even drawing the attention of passerby on the sidewalk, some of them stepping inside to enjoy the artistry.
The Berkshire Hathaway Home Service office has hosted numerous art exhibitions in the past, connecting local artists to the community. These efforts by the office have helped to contribute to the already vibrant art community in Montclair. The suburb is a haven for the artful and home to several art galleries and museums. The office promotes and enriches the art community and Montclair, bringing all types of people to where the city meets the suburb.
The exhibition is open now at the Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices New Jersey Properties, 695 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. TRANScendence will be displayed until Wednesday, August 31.
By: Andrew Konzelmann