Some say opposites attract. Others say like attracts like. If you fuse those two phrases together, you embark on this automatic intimacy. One where two worlds collide, yet play off each other in a noncompetitive sense. This was the chemistry that balanced the atmosphere at the Mystical Abstraction Exhibit, on Thursday June 8th at The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties in Montclair.
The Mystical Abstraction Exhibit featured Yard School of Art teacher Nanci Iovino, and Berkshire Hathaway’s very own agent Keisha Singleton. These two women embody the very definition of opposites attract, and like attracts like. Upon conversing with both women distinct personalities were displayed, and in addition, different careers. Yet, their artwork paired together is dynamic. Their skills, spirit and passion for creating pieces is effervescent. Although, funnily enough, both were hesitant by nature to showcase a solo Exhibit.
Enter Berkshire Hathaway agent Lynne Oliver Director and Curator of The Gallery, who suggested they collaborate and show their works together. Thus, the Mystical Abstraction Exhibit was born. Lynne’s eye for curating art is truly extraordinary, as she organized different works to coincide with one another.
When asked which piece in the collection she was most proud, Nanci explained, “It’s a hard question because – each animal that I chose, is chosen for a reason. So it’s kind of like asking me to pick my favorite child. Ok… I can answer it. So the hippo that’s over there in the corner, is a completely different technique for me. I’m just starting to teach myself that. More of like – instead of being so tight and working so small and detailed. This is more fluid. And so I’m proud of how that came out.”
Nanci’s artwork makes you stop dead in your tracks, as you can’t help but be in awe of her impeccable artistry. “Loooooook at that detail,” states Steven A. Janett COO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties, who was admiring the Colorful Iguana piece.
Her inspiration behind this collection, “Even though I’ve been formerly trained and I have a proper education in art, I’ve always like doodling as a meditative process to kind of decompress, like after a stressful time. And being an art teacher, a lot of times I’ll use animals to connect children to the world and different cultures and different societies. Using animals to use my own connection to the planet and my emotions just evolved in that sort of thing.” In addition, Nanci mentioned how her daughter Malorie’s, previous trips to Italy and Thailand inspired her pieces by working through her nervousness.
The one thing Nanci can’t live without in her studio? Her pens! Nanci likes to use water soluble ink to draw before painting. Greeted with a kiss by her vibrant husband Joe, Nanci made the rounds greeting and illustrating the meaning behind her artwork to colleagues and attendees.
Berkshire Hathaway agent Keisha Singleton declined to do a recorded interview, and opted for a personal conversation instead. Keisha has been with Berkshire Hathaway since 2014 as her true passion lies in real estate. This is because it “speaks to her crazy”. One thing she admires about real estate is the art behind it. With each home you are exposed to a different assortment of architecture that goes through the process of designing, planning and construction. Much like her works of art.
Admittedly, shy speaking about herself, Keisha’s lively aura resonated as she floated around The Gallery articulating her pieces amongst attendees through a heartfelt manner. Her abstract art work displayed on large canvas, radiated in bold colors, combining smooth and rough textures. Both warm and cold hues running into each other with a genuine freedom. This freedom also happens to be the inspiration for her paintings. Keisha expressed that she never signs the front of her paintings, so one can turn the art pieces however they desire.
Both styles of art displayed were overwhelming stimulating, as eyes darted from one picture to the next. People from different ages and backgrounds came together, reminding you that THIS is the magic of Montclair.
The Mystical Abstraction Exhibit will be displayed through July 31st. Please be sure to check it out these two incredible talents. All pictures available for purchase.
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, butgourds 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 aPhD 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.
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 Dayis 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.”
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…
Ladies and gentlemen its showtime! If you’re reading this, it’s safe to say you or someone you know wants to sell their home. Congratulations!
Now stop watching HGTV – yes I know Chip and Joanna Gaines are the greatest tv couple since Lucy and Ricky, but you’ve got work to do.
Here are 8 awesome tips (in addition to the 5 listed above) to make the selling process run smoothly.
1. First Impressions – By the time you finish reading this first tip, a potential buyer will have already made up their mind whether they want to purchase your house or not.
Anywhere from 0.1 of a second to 7 seconds is the average time it takes to create a first impression. Make sure your home is a good one!
2. Neutral Color Palette – Spain, Sweden and Switzerland are all neutral countries. Your home should be one too!
Make sure you swap out bold and bright colors for a neutral palette. This will help buyers envision themselves living in the space. Think hues of grays, tans, creams and whites.
3. Embrace The Season – Pumpkin spice and everything nice! Fall is the perfect time to sell your home, especially if you can’t wait to leave (get it?).
With multiple holidays in the fall you can take advantage by decorating your home to give it that cozy feel. Place some pumpkins on the steps, add some festive plants and hang a wreath.
4. Pick an Agent – You should interview at a minimum 3 agents (yes 3). Look on Zillow.com for homes that have recently sold in your neighborhood and see what agent listed them. Click on Find an Agent and see who shows up on the list when you search for your town, not the 3 listed on the very top of the page horizontally. They paid to be there!Look at the vertical list below for agents to interview.
Listen carefully to what the agents have to say on exactly how they are going to MARKET your home. Price is not the only aspect of a listing and if the emphasis to their presentation is price alone, then they’ve lost the point. Marketing is key in real estate right now, and the price should not be used to get you the buyer activity you need. Their marketing should drive the buyers to you.
Team Ellenbogen, located in Essex, Passaic, and Union counties in NJ, has a Technology Driven Visual Marketing Campaign they use to attract buyer activity to your listing. They believe in Re-Thinking Real Estate by presenting listings in a way to attract the buyer and then pricing it in that ‘sweet spot’ to get the buyers in the door.Check them out if you are in their area.
5. The Price Is Right – “Comeeeeee on downnnnnnnn you’re the next contestant on The Price Is Right!”
This is the hardest part. Listen to what your agent recommends. Remember, they know the market and have access to statistics directly from the MLS that you are not privy to when you look at your home value on Zillow or Trulia.Remember: Zillow and Trulia data is only as good as what is given to them by agreement with brokers and agents. If a brokerage doesn’t participate in the syndication, their data is not there, but it is on the MLSs, which only agents can access.
It is important to price accordingly. Selling your home is extremely emotional, but you have to detach yourself (as best as you can) and focus on what’s next. So do your research, consult an agent, be realistic, and get ready for the new chapter in your life.
6. Understand your buyer – College students looking for a crash pad? A family of four looking for outdoor space? A single bachelor who wants to throw parties? Young professionals who are going to become roommates?
Remember with the help of the internet all buyers are extremely knowledgeable. By understanding your buyer, you’ll be prepared for specific features they are looking for.
7. Hire A Home Inspector – In the words of Nike “Just Do It”.
Unless you’re a billionaire (hey Zuckerberg) buying a home is the biggest purchase a home owner will make. You should do everything in your power to make sure your home is close to perfect. You’d be surprised at what they may or may not find. This will make a huge difference when pricing your home and during negotiations.
8. Stage Your Home – If you want the most value for your dollar, stage your home!
Professional stagers will help turn your cluttered space into a photo ready home.It really does make a difference. Remember buyers are able to view your home before they even step foot in it. Staging your home will present a certain lifestyle that buyers are looking for.
As part of our listing service, Team Ellenbogen of Essex, Passaic and Union Counties in New Jersey, pays for a professional stager to come into your home and provide you with ideas. (that’s right! Our clients don’t foot the bill, we do!!) Our stager will help you with color choices and furniture placement, not as an interior decorator but a professional stager who knows what a buyer is looking for and wants. Her team will also bring in extra pieces to make your home stand out from the rest.
On the day of the professional photography shoot, her team will come in to oversee and prepare your home so that all the best features are highlighted.
During this time of year words that begin with the letter F have a certain charisma about them; as they simply find their way falling into the forefront. In addition, these words are not always bad!
Starting off, the first charismatic F word stands for Fundraising. This past Saturday, October 29, 2016, The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties hosted a Family Fall & Fun Event. This fundraiser benefits The Sunshine Kids, a nonprofit organization dedicated to children with cancer. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey proudly adopted this network-wide charity in 1991 and raised $132,000 in 2014, with a $150,000 goal for 2016.
The second F word stands for Friends. Move over parents, this fundraiser was all about kids helping kids! Donning bright yellow customized tee shirts with The Sunshine Kids logo, friends from local schools volunteered to work different stations. Youthful energy filled the room as younger kids were about to station hop. The stations included coloring, beanbag toss, tattoos, face paint, and candy corn guessing.
Speaking of candy corn, this leads me to the third and fourth F words, Food and Film. Is there anything better than a room filled with the buttery aroma of freshly popped popcorn? Of course there is. It’s called having a black and white Film playing on the TV in the background. The Monsters and Madmen DVD really brought out the Halloween spirit, as everyone loves a classic movie.
The only thing that may have topped this would have been a flash mob dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Maybe next year!
The fifth and sixth F words stand for Family and Fitness. AthleticGenius graciously hosted two spin classes for adults and children. After all the sweets and treats consumed, this was a great way to burn off those extra calories. Cell phones and video games were exchanged for turning torques, spinning legs, and racing hearts. Holly, the vibrant owner and founder of AthleticGenius, led the class with the appropriately themed Halloween songs, starting with Harry Potter’s Double Trouble.
The final F words stand for Foundation and Future. Montclair continues to excel as a thriving neighborhood because the residents have always cared about the future. If you happen to read the people section of baristanet.com, you’ll notice residents raised in Montclair always find themselves coming back. That’s how special this town really is. It’s a fantastic community to raise a family, gain a sense of culture, and take pride in creative endeavors. Now, I’m not a fortuneteller but it’s safe to say Montclair’s Future is in good hands.
Presenting Jessica Sporns “Passing Magic: A Journey Through Color and Shapes”
“Oh, oh, oh, it’s magic, you know,” especially if you attended Jessica Sporn’s “Passing Magic: A Journey Through Color and Shapes show.” at The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties on Thursday, October 6, 2016.
From the moment you walked into The Gallery and signed the guest book, you were delightfully greeted with vibrant customized business cards sporting the designs in Jessica’s latest collection. As you strolled through to take a closer look, you couldn’t help but be immersed in the bold color theme. All created within this past year, Jessica’s pieces are infused with warm and cool hues.
“I would say it’s a mixture of yoga and color, and just trying to go inward and find inspiration but also embrace the outward too,” Jessica explained. As the colors unapologetically blended into each other creating a beautiful contrast, the shapes did not. Reminiscent of yoga, the lines bend and form together to create a shape, while still maintaining enough space to know their boundaries.
Pictured next to her favorite piece, Jessica recites a quote from Picasso – that says, “‘Genius has to find you working,’ so I think that’s really important to like – I just get up every day. This is what I do. And I paint and I doodle and I draw.”
A former attorney in a Wall Street law firm, Jessica decided to pursue her passion for art while on maternity leave and hasn’t looked back since. With a gleeful expression she says, “…it [her art] was very two-dimensional, sort of flat, farm figures and things – children’s art oriented. And as time went on, I just stared experimenting in more media and basically took classes and studied YouTube videos and so I like to think it’s gotten a little more sophisticated and abstract; in playing with the abstract too.”
Jessica’s designs are so moving that it caught the eye of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s family members. “The day after the shootings in Orlando and after that beautiful Tony Award speech, I had done a water color that was a heart with like mosaics all around it, in all different colors. And I had posted a quote from his speech in the middle of the heart,” Jessica recounted. Lin-Manuel’s sister and brother in-law recognized this creative painting. After some slight tweaking and a brief collaboration with graphic designers, she was able to get her #loveislove t-shirt out. To date, it has helped raise over $50,000 for the Broadway Cares Equity/Fights Aids Orlando organization.
Having a lucrative career as an artist is never an easy feat. The art scene in Montclair is unique. It has the charm of a vibrant Southern city mixed in with the abundance of a Northern city’s resources, ideal for any artist to flourish. Jessica’s artistic sensibilities were able to thrive in this atmosphere, especially since she is a lifelong resident. “My biggest advice [for aspiring artists] is to just be open and say yes. So when an opportunity presents itself, just go for it.”
Montclair residents have many opportunities to explore varied art venues. It has its own art museum, the Montclair Art Museum, affectionately known as MAM, along with several small galleries. Montclair also hosts two movie theaters, one that highlights independent films and documentaries. The first annual Film Festival was hosted in 2012, which provides a platform for filmmakers from not only New Jersey, but from throughout the US and the world. Such notable actors as Sally Field and Richard Gere were past participants. There is live theatre as well, including the Montclair Operetta Company, the Wellmont Theatre, which offers many musical shows, Montclair State University’s Kasser Theater, Life Hall and the Studio Playhouse. The township also hosts an Annual Jazz Festival. As you can see, if you enjoy the arts, then Montclair is a perfect place for you to live!
Jessica Sporn’s “Passing Magic: A Journey Through Color and Shapes” exhibition is on display from October 1st – November 30th at The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties. The Show will also be featured in The Montclair Art Walk on Oct 21st, so stop by our Gallery On The Art Walk!
On Thursday, September 15, Art Talk: 50 Years of Photography by Dwight Carter, a photographic art exhibit and Q&A session, took place at the real estate brokerage office of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Montclair, NJ. A well-known portrait photographer, Dwight has taken photos of such famous people as Phylicia Rashad, Oprah Winfrey, Tea Leoni, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Whoopi Goldberg and, to much of his delight, Maya Angelou.
“I was nervous. She had always been someone that I admired. When I asked her [during the photo shoot], ‘Is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable, Maya?'”, Dwight recalled with an amused smile on his face, “she said, ‘You can start by calling me Dr. Angelou.'”
Although intrigued and somewhat awed by Angelou’s personality, he did not treat her differently than he treated other celebrities or those who were not famous. “I treat all my clients the same.” He felt that each photo shoot was as important as the other, no matter who he was shooting. That fact is what makes him a great photographer: his ability to see something special in every person and moment that he captures with his camera.
Surrounded by some of his most noteworthy portraits such as Giza Firebird and Andy’s Beauty I, 1964 which were hanging in the Art Gallery of the real estate office, Dwight sat down to discuss his experiences and thoughts regarding his career joined by his longtime friend, Sheryl Tucker, a magazine executive and editor of famous publications such as Time and Essence. A number of eager fans and supporters of this highly successful artist came out to listen and join in on the conversation that took place between these two friends.
The audience quickly recognized the humorous and lighthearted side of Carter as they listened to his response to the question, “How did you get into photography?” Carter jokingly replied that the girls in his high school found him attractive due to the camera that hung around his neck. Besides that one comment and his statement that he sometimes forgets his own wife’s name because of how difficult it can be for him to remember names, Carter did not seem to make any more attempts to joke. Carter has always taken pride in, and been serious about, his work as a photographer. He said to Tucker as he was reminiscing on past photo shoots, “I’m not there to be the client’s friend; I’m there to work.”
Carter firmly expressed that although he is not interested in gaining a friendship with his clients, he does whatever it takes to get the shots that he wants, and those shots are more often than not photos of happy and smiling people. He tries his best to make the clients feel comfortable in their own skin so that they eventually become willing enough to work with, and not against, him during the shoot, thereby yielding a good shot. After expressing concern that they are being photographed, he has said to many of his clients, “I’m on your side.”
Sheryl Tucker explained that her job usually centered on helping writers and shaping magazines. She expressed how happy and lucky she feels to have the career that she has now, a career that allows her to help create and revise stories that change people’s lives. She gushed about how the most rewarding part of her job is seeing the impact her work has on people. Both Dwight Carter and Sheryl Tucker have the special ability to affect others with their artistic and creative abilities.
The Outstanding Photo Gallery of Dwight Carter
The exhibition along with the discussion of Dwight’s artwork certainly had the audience glued to their seats. The admiration and fascination of the attendees towards Dwight’s photographs and personality was palatable. The audience members were undoubtedly grateful for the opportunity to attend such an exceptional presentation. This unique occasion provided by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties is just another example of how this real estate office has become an integral part of the community and the flourishing Montclair art scene. Living in such a vibrant Township, Montclair residents have many varied activities to choose from to broaden their lives and interests.
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.
Catherine LeCleire Exhibition at The Art Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
New Jersey Properties Montclair
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but it can actually be worth so much more. Photos of days at the beach with family, or a car ride along the turnpike with friends, can trigger memories of not just sight, but sound, touch and taste – all tiny facets that tell the story of your life. This is exactly what local artist in residence Catherine LeCleire wanted to capture in her current exhibition now on display at the Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties Montclair, which will be running until February 6th.
“It’s kind of like a passage of time,” said LeCleire of her exhibit, which includes 11 silkscreen pieces featuring original photographs. “If you look, every one of the [pieces] is from New Jersey. Some are originally photographs that my father took, and I manipulated them [in Photoshop].”
“I wanted to do images of New Jersey, historic and contemporary,” she said.
According to LeCleire, the exhibit features snapshots in motion, sound and memory, which were manipulated, and then all interwoven through her own originally developed techniques in printmaking and silkscreen.
“Silkscreen allows for experimentation,” said LeCleire. “I allowed myself to play with special memories.”
The photographs her father took, which are titled “Sisters” and “Ocean City, ” were manipulated in Photoshop through a technique called posterization, which is when you take just the highlights of the photograph rather than the details. She then cut up the images and sewed them together.
“I broke three sewing machines [in the process],” said LeCleire. “I was using an embroidery thread and I needed a thinner thread.”
The final result forms a type of paper quilt, which combines to tell a story. All the pieces are silkscreen printed on Rives BFK paper, which is 100% rag cotton fiber, and using water-based ink, so everything was non-toxic.
“It will outlive us,” said LeCleire.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, LeCleire attended Philadelphia College of Art, and completed her graduate studies at the University of Southern California.
“When I first went to school I thought printmaking was graphic design, and it’s really the fine arts part of graphic design,” said LeCleire. “I’ve never regretted it ever since. I love the median.”
After graduate school and teaching in California, LeCleire’s husband was transferred to New York City for work, and the family settled in Montclair.
“Montclair is just a great town; I’ve lived here for 22 years,” said LeCleire. “The wonderful thing about Montclair is that it has always been an artists community. There is a strong group of artists in Montclair.”
LeCleire continues to call Montclair her home, and is an adjunct professor at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and Montclair State University, where she teaches silkscreen and painting processes. She has exhibited internationally and nationally, and her work is part of many collections including in the Baku Museum in Azerbaijan, the Brooklyn Library, and the Print Center and Center for Contemporary Printmaking. NJ in Pictures at the Gallery
A long time resident of Montclair, LeCleire had approached the arts curator team of Lynne Oliver and Sharon Gill at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties about exhibiting in their one-of-a-kind gallery.
“I know Sharon Gill for many years; our daughters used to play together,” said LeCleire. “Sharon was always involved in the arts. She used to have pop up galleries in her home.”
LeCleire’s exhibit originally made its debut at the “A Rising Tide: 3 + 3” Exhibit at Caldwell University, where she collaborated with artist Irena Pejovic who provided an audio component to the exhibit. Pejovic was at the opening reception on January 14th, and brought some of the audio that played with part of the collection. The added component of sound gave the pieces a moving presence, as if they might come to life.
“[Catherine] talked to me about the photographs bringing a memory of place,” said Pejovic, who at the time was recording sounds in nature, especially a lot of work with water. “Sounds become a physical image of the place. It becomes a pixilated image. Sound is images in passing; it’s not fixed.”
The Gallery at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties continues to bridge the arts and real estate community of Montclair by inviting local artists to exhibit in its unique space throughout the year.
Realtor Alan Ellenbogen, one half of the dynamic Team Ellenbogen of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New Jersey Properties Montclair, says the continued success of the gallery and artist exhibitions is the tail on the dog for the office; and it’s wagging.
“This is not just a real estate agency, it’s a representation of the best of the community,” said Ellenbogen. “It’s a gathering place; it’s what it should be.”
For Ellenbogen and the rest of their team, they are trying to sell their clients not just a house but the community where it is located.
“You are not just buying a home, you’re buying a community,” said Lynne Oliver, co-director/curator for the Gallery.
“When we sell homes, it is not just an object,” said Ellenbogen. “When you are buying a house it’s very personal and the community is a major consideration for buyers.”
And if you are looking for that extra personal touch in your home, LeCleire’s pieces are up for sale at the Gallery. The exhibition runs from January 10th to February 6th 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.
Have you ever heard of the phrase, “It’s too good to be true?” The first time I heard about CARS Delivery late night sandwich shop in Montclair, I thought of this old axiom. CARS offers something that generic fast-food restaurants can’t. CARS created something for the adventurous and courageous food consumer.
CARS is relatively new and was founded in 2008 by brothers Rich and AJ DiBenedetto in an attempt to create a “late night fast-casual restaurant.” The first time I heard about CARS was also the first time I was introduced to the “fat sandwich.” This term isn’t exactly unique to CARS alone, but it one of the very few places in the area offering such sandwiches.
A fat sandwich is simply a creation of typical well-liked foods. For example, at CARS you can get a Fat Tony, which is chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, french fries, and tomato sauce sandwich. Or perhaps you’re craving something a little bolder and might order a Fat Reptar, a sandwich filled with cheesesteak, chicken tenders, mac n’ cheese bites, jalapeno peppers and buffalo ranch dressing. The combination of these interesting ingredients creates something that everyone can enjoy. Vegetarians or anyone lacking a big appetite, fear not, CARS offers lighter sandwiches and an array of other sizzling appetizers and sides.
CARS is fast, reliable, casual, and invariably is exceedingly delicious. However, CARS is not known for only its fat sandwiches. What’s makes CARS even more recommended is that sandwich shop does not close until 3 a.m. and opens around noon seven days a week. The first time I went to CARS it was my 18th birthday at 1 a.m. After a long day and an exhausting night, one of my friends offered to make the drive to the Montclair location on 150 Valley Road. Already knowing of the shop’s reputation, I absolutely could not resist. To this day, my first fat sandwich, the Fat Homer, is still my favorite sandwich.
Although CARS is still in its first decade of business, it has already garnered an impressive reputation for its originality, especially among young adults. Many of its customers appreciate the longer hours and the reliable delivery service. The creative, delicious, and distinctive taste and style has made CARS a popular dining destination in Montclair. Places like CARS will continue to draw new and more diverse crowds to Montclair based on their innovative business techniques and a high quality, desirable product.
Take a step back in time at the original Applegate Farm and while you are there, indulge in some ice cream. Located at 615 Grove Street in Upper Montclair, Applegate Farm’s opened in 1848 as a dairy farm producing high quality Golden Guernsey milk. Nowadays, Applegate Farm is known for its popular ice cream stands and authentic farm setting in an otherwise largely suburban area, adding to its rustic charm.
Applegate Farm’s reputation as a premier ice cream shop hides a deeper history of the farm itself, a history I myself was unaware of until recently. Opened before the outbreak of the Civil War, the original farmhouse aided many slaves on their run for freedom before and during the Civil War. Following the war, Applegate Farm continued to operate under the Sigler family, the farm’s founding family. The Sigler’s chose to keep the farm operational as the town around it began to develop. However, it wasn’t until the late 1920’s while under new ownership that ice cream first began being produced on the farm.
Word spread about the farm’s new business venture, and soon began mass producing wholesale ice cream to supply the burgeoning populace. Following World War II, Applegate Farm began to function more exclusively as an authentic ice cream shop. Its customized original flavors and a loyal customer base helped it gain the notoriety the farm continues to have today.
Open seven days a week from 10 am – 11 pm, Applegate Farm continues to draw large crowds from around northern New Jersey, especially on those warm summer nights. There have been countless summer nights when I have went to Applegate Farm with my friends to enjoy a little late night dessert. As a child, my parents first introduced to this unique ice cream shop and I can remember running around the lawn and sitting on top of the old tractor. Even now in my adult years, I still have fond memories of the countless times I enjoyed Applegate.
With various farm antiques like tractors, plows, farmhouses and barns, Applegate Farm stands out as an ideal spot to enjoy an authentic ice cream cone for families of all sizes who seek to look into the distant, rural past of New Jersey without traveling to the country. One can order any of the original flavors, I recommend the Cappuccino Crunch, and enjoy it under the shadow of the original tile silo built in 1919 or enjoy a classic milkshake on the old wooden benches. If you can’t make it in the summer or ice cream simply isn’t your taste, there is always autumn. Come autumn, I’ve always enjoyed the caramel apples and cider, but Applegate also offers fresh baked apple and pumpkin pies and even egg nog.
Applegate Farm and its renowned ice cream will always remain a timeless piece of Americana right in the heart of historic Upper Montclair. It is these authentic, family owned businesses that make Upper Montclair unique; Applegate Farm is a prime example of how these businesses can blend with the community and become intertwined. Anyone who has heard of Applegate Farm or who has been there is not likely to forget it, nor the beautiful town it is surrounded by. The farm, in an ineffable way, compliments the town and the opposite is true of the town. It’s a cycle of charm that boosts both Applegate Farm’s and Upper Montclair appeal.