Monday, November 10, 2014

40th Annual Pottery Show & Sale: Daze of Clay

Forty years ago, a Pottery Show and Sale was born in the small town of Demarest, New Jersey, just south of the New York state border and a few miles north of the George Washington Bridge. It came into existence through a long-time friendship between two respected potters, the late Mikhail Zakin, co-founder of the Art School at Old Church, and the eminent Karen Karnes. 

Sometimes called the “grandmother of American ceramics”, Karen Karnes taught at the avant-garde Black Mountain College in North Carolina into the early 1950’s, and later moved to Vermont where she has lived and worked since 1979. Her work is in the collections of the Museum of Arts and Design, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among numerous others.

Back then, Karen decided to make a pottery sale to benefit the newly formed community art center, but she also wanted to create an event that served as an annual gathering place for potters to meet and exchange ideas. The grassroots culture of the school and the familial convening of potters helped to quickly establish the Annual Pottery Show & Sale as one of the best invitational shows in the country.

The Annual Pottery Show & Sale is unique because it has remained relatively unchanged in forty years. Karen has continued to curate the sale, bringing together some of the nation’s best potters of one-of-a-kind, functional and sculptural pieces. Pottery is displayed on humble wood benches and adorned with unpretentious flowering branches and sprigs of greenery. The show is held each year on the first weekend of December. This year’s preview reception is on Friday, December 5th, 6-10PM, and the show continues on Saturday, December 6th, 10AM-6PM, and Sunday, December 7th, 12-5PM.
The 40th annual Pottery Show & Sale marks the first noticeable change in the event’s long history. This year, Bruce Denhert and Chris Gustin join Karen in co-curating the show. Both are well-known figures within the American ceramics community, recognized among their peers as experts in the field.

Bruce Denhert is currently the director of the ceramics program for Peters Valley School of Craft in Layton, NJ, and has taught workshops internationally. He has published in many journals on ceramic technique and processes.

Garth Clark, a chief writer and critic on ceramic art and fine craft, calls Chris Gustin “one of the leading ceramists of his generation”. Chris is cofounder of the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in Maine, and retired from academia in 1999 to devote his energies to his studio work and tile production company. Before then, he was associate professor of ceramics at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.

Their collaboration brings together 30 potters from around the nation for the 40th annual invitational, including:

Richard Aerni, Dan Anderson, Mary Barringer, Ingrid Bathe, Bruce Denhert, Judith Duff, Heather Mae Erickson, Julia Galloway, Scott Goldberg, Tyler Gulden, Chris Gustin, Kenyon Hansen, Bryan Hopkins, Nick Joerling, Karen Karnes, James Lawton, Robbie Lobell, Matt Long, Matthew Metz, Maureen Mills, Ted Neal, Aysha Peltz, Doug Peltzman, Seth Rainville, Rob Sieminski, Mark Shapiro, Jeff Shapiro, Jack Troy, Adero Willard, and Erica Wurtz.

Each potter will ship and tote hundreds of their best pots to Demarest in early December, arriving on Thursday morning before the show to set up their displays. Then, Friday through Sunday, they will meet and greet both potters and ceramic enthusiasts, sharing in relevant discussions about pottery-making, and having the pleasure of seeing their wares in the hands of those who appreciate artisan pottery just as they do.

For more information about this year's show, check out

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Art of Community


By guest writer Carol Avery.

I took a pottery class.  I was about 11 years old.  I walked across the street from the Demarest Middle School and went down into the basement, as I was told to do by my mother.  "Just cross the street and go down into the cellar.  I have signed you up for a pottery course at the new cultural center." 

The “new cultural center" was of course the Old Church Cultural Center now known as The Art School at Old Church.  A beautiful 1800's arts and craft style Baptist church which had been rendered obsolete by the 1950’s A frame style of the new church next door.  

My parents had been early supporters.  They went to meetings and fundraisers to help.  My first memory was an Italian film event we attended in the fall.  My father was in his suit as usual, and my mother had put on perfume.  We entered the old church building at night. The street lamps made very sharp contrasts of shapes and shadows.  Upon entering I immediately realized I was the only child there as the noise level was singularly adult.  There was wine and cheese, I ate the crackers.  We were congregating in what I disturbingly recognized as the church's main hall.  Churches were mysterious places for worship, not cocktail parties. A white move screen had been placed where the alter should have been.  

A few glasses of wine later, some metal folding chairs scraping on the floor, lights dimmed and the projector sputtered to life.  The words "ROMA" in back and white appeared on the screen.  For the next hour and thirty minutes I was transported to a place I knew I would never see.  Only director Federico Fellini could construct the fantastic combination of beauty, pathos, the sublime and the grotesque in one moving image. "Well" my father said to my mother, "she will want to go there now."  I wouldn't go to Rome for many years, but I did go to art classes until I got there.

As I descended the stairs the smell of wet and dry clay was a new smell.  I had molded clay at camp, maybe even in school, but down the stairs was different. It was more serious and more cool at the same time. There were important looking tools and unfamilar equipment and beautiful ceramics the likes of which I had never seen. Shapes and colors I had not considered. Unique, one of kind pieces that gave pinch pots a newness I had not understood before. The adults were different too. Not the usual art teachers one finds at camp or school.  The new cultural center's teachers had a secret excitement and whirling liveliness with their long colorful skirts, big smiles and free flowing hair.  I of course was a bit concerned, in my saddle shoes and corduroy jumper.  

I went every week to my class in the basement of the old church and I worked the clay.  After many hours of hard work I could throw and center a ball of clay on the potter’s wheel.  Spinning the clay into a beautiful pot- it was mysterious and transformative.

Last year my daughter attended her first class at Old Church.  I am sure her impressions are much different than mine.  She is a few years older and she has the beginnings of artistic ability.  Eloise pointed out that her mother had also signed her up for a class.  “A Teen Art Class- you will love it, Saturday mornings for a couple hours.”  

Eloise reminded me that she had been to the Old Church Cultural Center before taking a art class as well.  “It was your birthday party and Margo came.” When we moved back to Demarest, I co-hosted a Farm-to-Table party there in the spring.  It was about 4 years ago.  She would have been about the same age as my first memory.  “It was light outside.  Not in the main hall of the church but the side studio where I have my art class” she continued. 

There were other children, and her brother.  Some wine, some cheese and raw milk was served along with pastured meats and homegrown vegetables and fermented foods.  It was a wonderful meal.  Artwork was everywhere and many who came were artists, my friends.  It felt very good.  Some came with instruments and someone sang. The opposite of Felliniesque.  I could turn out to be a disappointing mother. 

I enrolled my daughter in the Teen Art Experience class on Saturday mornings.  "I was a little nervous, but I was soon busy with the class activity and my fellow students.  I learned a lot of different techniques and my teacher, John taught us about so many different artists-like Edvard Munch.  I really enjoyed painting on snow or the time we painted without using our hands."  Eloise is now in her second session at Old Church and it seems she will be the third generation in our family, to enjoy all that the school has to offer.   

Monday, October 6, 2014

Art School student featured in The Journey, the Kennedy Center’s 2014 VSA Emerging Young Artists Exhibition

(WASHINGTON, D.C.)— Art School at Old Church student Andrew Weatherly was selected by VSA, a Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as a winner of the 2014 VSA Emerging Young Artists Program.

The program is designed to give visibility and a voice to the work of young artists with disabilities, ages 16 to 25, by exhibiting their work throughout the United States and around the world, cementing their work in the broader context of the history, art, and culture of the American, as well as global, experience. The 15 winners of this year’s competition receive cash prizes totaling $60,000. Of even greater value, they are brought, all expenses paid, to Washington, D.C. to explore the skills needed for a professional life in the visual arts, preparing them to competitively pursue arts-based vocations, whether as full-time visual artists or in a range of other professional capacities employing their creative talents. During this time, artists will meet with highly regarded professionals in the visual arts field and visit museums and galleries around D.C.

Andrew Weatherly
Winter Worlds
, 2013
acrylic on canvas, 11" x 9"
Closter, NJ resident Andrew Weatherly, a student at the Art School at Old Church, has been selected as a winner of the 2014 VSA Emerging Young Artists Program for his artwork, Winter Worlds. As a winner, Andrew will receive an award of excellence accompanied by a cash prize of $2,000. Andrew is a student in a special mentorship program taught by Holly Ciccoricco on Friday afternoons. Holly Ciccoricco teaches the class three times per month to two special needs students from the Demarest area. Holly has taught children's art classes at the school for 14 years including a class for special needs students on Saturday mornings. Gail Rutigliano, a Demarest resident and active student at the Art School, assists Holly with the special workshop program.

The 15 winners were selected by a jury of noted art professionals, including William Newman, the Carolyn S. Alper Professor of Contemporary Arts at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, Brandon Brame Fortune, Chief Curator and Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the National Portrait Gallery, and Sarah Tanguy, curator in the ART in Embassies Program, a program of the U.S. Department of State.

“We are delighted to recognize this inspiring group of talented young artists living with disabilities,” said Betty Siegel, Director of VSA and Accessibility at the Kennedy Center. “This program highlights the contributions that young artists living with disabilities make to American society and culture and we commend Volkswagen Group of America for making it possible.”

The Journey will be on public display from September 15, 2014 to January 5, 2015 at the S. Dillon Ripley Center at the Smithsonian Institution, 1100 Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, DC. The exhibition will be open daily 10:00am to 5:30pm and is accessible by Metro. The exhibition is free, no tickets are required. Following the close of the exhibition at the Smithsonian, The Journey will embark on a national tour to museums and galleries across the country. Volkswagen Group of America will host the first leg of this tour, displaying the entire exhibition at its headquarters in Herndon, VA. For information on the where The Journey is touring, please go to:

VSA's signature programs offer multi-faceted, unparalleled opportunities for youth, with disabilities, who have aspirations in the performing and visual arts. Explore VSA programs at:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Teacher Discovers a New Medium and a New Art Form at The Art School at Old Church

Jackie Shatz, a sculptor whose works often incorporate both collage and painting, has been teaching at the Art School at Old Church for several years. The artist, who lives in Rockland County, has taught workshops and courses exploring the “universal language of abstraction” and encouraging students to play with symbols and shapes in drawings, paintings and sculpture.

Intrigued by the wealth of courses offered at Old Church, Shatz enrolled in Susan Kasson Sloan’s workshop in Precious Metal Clay jewelry design. Smitten with the process, she took the workshop again… and again. Shatz was delighted to have found a material that she could work with sculpturally to make jewelry. With her new mentor and independently, Shatz began to create rings and pendants out of silver PMC.

“I always loved jewelry and used to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to study ancient jewelry pieces, which I think of as miniature sculpture,” Shatz explains. Working in PMC, she was able to bring her sculptor skills and aesthetic to her new medium.

Working in silver PMC also allowed Shatz to indulge in her passion for geology and natural stones. On a visit to the Adirondacks, she bought bags of locally mined garnet dust and even panned for tiny natural gems.

Back in her studio, Shatz experimented with a wide variety of techniques. For some pieces, she made molds from a material called Microsil (used to make impressions for hearing aids) and then pressed natural materials such as lichens, seaweed, and pine needles into it. She then pressed the PMC clay into the mold (which it doesn’t adhere to). Finally, she removed the clay and worked with it sculpturally. Shatz even explored the feasibility of encasing delicate seaweed in many dilute coats of silver clay. The final product, while not exactly what she expected, is lovely.

Each piece is unique and gets all the careful deliberation of a large sculpture or painting. Some rings are set with natural garnets and tiny gems like zircons and peridots. Others are carved with ancient symbols, like the ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus. Still others are include casts of old jewelry pieces or materials like a shard of art glass from a broken ring. Shatz also discovered that with PMC she could go back and reapply the clay to fired pieces, enabling her to add new textures and elements.

Shatz is selling her growing collection of art jewelry at Maria Louisa in Nyack, at the Tailored Mermaid in Beacon, NY, at One Well in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, NY. The Nyack Library is also hosting a show of her work in the month of October. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Beware of the Year 7000

Art School faculty member and figurative sculpture guru Janice Mauro has embarked on an incredible journey into the future. Beginning in 2009, Janice and collaborator Joanne Pagano Weber began exploring the artifacts uncovered at the site of a future archaeological dig. This month, the ongoing project will be visible to those of us dwelling in 2014 at exhibitions across two Connecticut galleries.

Read more about this project including the artists' statement from
"Janice Mauro and collaborator Joanne Pagano Weber present “Beware of the Year 7000,” a mixed media installation which expands upon “The Tidal Decade,” hosted by Silvermines’s Director’s Choice to delighted audiences in 2009. Art 101 Gallery held a coordinating exhibit in Brooklyn and visitors were encouraged to “make the pilgrimage.” 
The ever-growing urgency of the ramifications of global warming and corporate greed, along with the evident loss of one’s humanity, provoke our ongoing collaboration. The work will comprise mixed media: sculpture, painting, voice, and text. 
The meaning of sculptures of an evolving robotic race is revealed through a series of letters by two fictional artists, along with their paintings. The correspondence, which thematically explores the human condition circa the year 7000 is a lifeline for the artists, who describe a horrific period of future history where humanity repeats its tragic exploitation of the living planet. The content of the sculpture and the painting in this show is nothing less than the loss of the human soul and the fight to preserve it.

Our ongoing work reopens an uncomfortable wound for examination and presents a fresh way to bring all-important humor and self criticism to the table. We have seen the positive results of engaging audiences by resonating the content of our art with their lives, allowing them to discover the narrative as they move through the show. The use of found objects to create futuristic sculptures, gadgets, and paintings reflects and subverts today’s obsession with technology through comedic social criticism.

The project is inherently educational as a wake-up call and a speculative journey into the unknown. As we consciously experience a monumental shift in our planet’s evolution due to climate change, City Lights Gallery and Trailer Box Gallery presents Beware of the Year 7000, where installation artists Janice Mauro and Joanne Pagano Weber ask the question, if corporations are people, too, what if they lose their humanity? Art lovers, thinkers, prophets, or gamers, look no further."
City Lights Gallery, Bridgeport, CT opening reception 5:30-8:30PM, 9/25, on view through 10/23/14
Trailer Box Gallery, Danbury, CT opening reception 5:00-8:00PM 9/27, on view through 11/1/14
"It’s the second melting of the polar icecap. The power of the few dictate the blueprint of a resurgent planet depleted once again. All resources are up for grabs as the human race divides along biological / robotic fault lines. While multitudes transition becoming semi-human mechanisms under the control of an artificial brain, two artists continue their work in hiding, corresponding by the only thing they have left – their creativity."

Friday, September 5, 2014

Draw Yourself In: 2014

August 4 - August 23, 2014

Over the summer, the Mikhail Zakin Gallery hosted a collaborative drawing project that invited the community to draw on the gallery walls... On mural-sized paper, that is. The theme of the project was portraiture, and we invited artists young and old to add a portrait and "draw themselves in" to this community project.

The project took place over the course of the two-week BLAST! of art program for kids. We received many enthusiastic contributions from the young artists enrolled in these summer classes. Below is the description of the project that was posted on the wall:

"Portraits: A portrait is a painted, drawn, photographic, or sculptural representation of a person. The key is to define the likeness, personality and mood of the person. We challenge you to draw a portrait of yourself, your mom or dad, maybe even make a new friend and draw their portrait. Draw just thier face or draw them in a scene. Give them crazy hair and colorful clothes.You are the artist, so be as imaginative and creative as you would like. Use these famous portraits as guides for your own work. But most importantly, have fun!"


Thank you for all the wonderful contributions!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Spotlight in the Northern Valley Press

Check out this great article published by the Northern Valley Press about the successful Uncommon Craft Show held last month in Closter! With special appearances by Hank Gans and his photography students, and ceramic students Gail Rutigliano and Karen Snyder. We had a great time, and hope you did too!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

From the Studio Classes...

The Art School is pleased to present the annual student show From the Studio ClassesThe exhibition is on view through July 26, 2014. This highly anticipated exhibition fills the galleries to capacity with a vibrant installation of over 200 works of art in the school's Mikhail Zakin and Café galleries. Exhibiting student art is an important part of the creative learning process. It builds community and gives each student a chance to share their progress with the public in a professional gallery. We are proud to showcase the work of Art School students in a fantastic, floor to ceiling, salon-style show!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Cafe Gallery: Summer Workshop Sampler

Susan Kasson Sloan
Every summer, The Art School at Old Church offers a variety of workshops taught by visiting artists and faculty. These workshops provide one or two day instruction ranging in different art mediums.  Samples of work for each workshop can be viewed in a new exhibition in the Café Gallery through June 15th. The workshop sampler exhibition will include work in painting, ceramics, jewelry, crochet, and photography. With a selection of student work and the instructors own art, the exhibition encourages students to see work that will be made in each workshop.

This exhibition includes works by the Art School’s talented instructors; Susan Beecher (ceramics), Harriet Barlaran Finck (mixed media/collage), Hank Gans (photography), Gary Godbee (drawing), Maud Guilfoyle (painting), Sharon Klass (photography), Janet Kohler (drawing/color theory), Paula Madawick (drawing), Stephanie Maddalena (jewelry), Beryl Maddalena (mixed media), Karen O’Neil (painting), Karen Pekelney (jewelry), David Shirey (ceramics), Susan Kasson Sloan (jewelry), Stacy Synder (ceramics), and Joe Terrone (painting).
Susan Beecher

The Art School is pleased to present these opportunities for artistic growth in new materials. Samples of work will be on display in the Café Gallery through June 15th.  Come by the Art School to view the summer workshop samplers and make sure to register for one of our exciting summer workshops! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

25th Annual NJ Small Works Show

This year, the Mikhail Zakin Gallery at the Art School at Old Church is celebrating the 25th Annual New Jersey Small Works Show with 61 works by 47 artists whose lives are connected in some way to the state of New Jersey.  The exhibition runs through June 6, 2014. The show is wheelchair accessible and free to the public.

This year's juror is Wes Sherman, Exhibition Chair at the Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, NJ. Sherman is a professor of art at many New Jersey universities and an accomplished painter who received an MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

Artists from all over NJ are invited to submit their work and take part in the open competition. Wes Sherman juried the show based on the individual merits of each work of art. The artist’s identity is not known at the time the selections are made. The single criteria for submitting work to this juried show is to have an autobiographical connection of some kind to the state of New Jersey. Submissions are received from Jersey ex-pats in places as far afield as Texas and California as well as from North, South and Central Jersey. The show becomes an artistic portrait of New Jersey by some of the many creative individuals who have called it home.

The only limitation for the artists is that the work cannot exceed eighteen inches in any direction.  With size as the only restriction, the diversity and range of artwork becomes an exciting feature of the show. Works include photography, ceramics, printmaking, sculpture, drawing, painting, papermaking and collage. Functional and decorative works in clay, fiber and mixed media represent a range of treatments of familiar materials.  Sculptural pieces achieve a kind of moodiness and grace that brings ceramics to a new level. Works in the show from the vast field of photography are printed in traditional black, white and color, digitally manipulated and printed using alternative processes. Paintings and drawings depict scenes from backyards, world travels and great imaginations. The juror selected works that shared an edgy quality, while taking care to present a range of styles and techniques. The selections make for a well-rounded exhibition of works representing a range of artists living and working in NJ.

In some respects the show reflects the immediate surroundings of the exhibition, with several artists included who are also students of the Art School at Old Church that houses the Mikhail Zakin Gallery.  The Art School offers over 90 classes each semester in many artistic disciplines, encouraging and challenging its students to tackle new techniques, practices and concepts, through cross-discipline explorations in art.

Helen Marie Farrant, Alpaca, stoneware, 1x3x5.5"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cafe Gallery: Chinese Brush Painting, Students of Jane Chang

The Art School at Old Church in Demarest, NJ is pleased to present an exhibition of student work in the Café Gallery, on view through May 9th 2014. Chinese Brush Painting: Students of Jane Chang is a group exhibition of Chinese brush paintings. Participating students have one semester of experience while others have studied this art for six years or more.  

Barbara Landberg, Blue Abstract , 2014
In this class, students are taught every aspect of Chinese brush painting from the techniques of smooth brush strokes and delicate movements to the history of this thousand year old tradition. While beginners start with brushwork in flowers, birds, and other animals, intermediate and advanced students explore their craft with landscape and abstraction. Capturing both the imagery and color is an important part of Chinese brush painting; learning the spirit and rhythm of the subject matter as well as finding your Chi is equally important. Artist Gisela Zerykier has been a student of Ms. Chang’s for six years and says that learning how to use the inks with their gradations of color and intensities was an important skill to master.  Beginner Maryanne Nealon has not taken a painting class before and says she enjoyed learning how to use the various unique brushes.
Gisela Zerykier, Water Horses, 2013

The artists in this exhibition include Amy Dudash Robinson,
Marge Kirschenbaum, Barbara Landberg, Maryanne Nealon,
Barbara Potack, Robin Robinson, Toni Semar, 
Sam Visvikis, and Gisela Zerykier. 

Chinese Brush Painting: Students of Jane Chang
is on view through May 9th, 2014 Stop by the Cafe Gallery
to check it out!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Narrative Strain, on view through April 23, 2014

This essay was recently posted in the Mikhail Zakin Gallery:

Allison Remy Hall, Slaughterhouse I, Analog C-Print, 10x8'', 2013

Artwork often tells a story. It can pluck a story from external reality, render homage to a tale that is commonly known, or even give life to an internal reality, as yet unknown to anyone save the artist. Works in this show celebrate narrative of all kinds, from the timelessness of moral struggle in the works of Henry Diebel III to the story of an object passing through flame in the work of abstract photographer Mike DiFeo. Even the quiet story of a street in Rome can unfold as witnessed by a patient observer in the work of Allison Remy Hall.
Henry Deibel III, Memento Mori Charcoal, acrylic, latex, and spray paint 24x24'' 2014Mike DiFeo, Fireswept, Mixed Media, 28x24'', 2014

Aliza Augustine presents her chimerical photographs from the series “Is it Safe?”, where personal, historical and invented narratives collide. Behind the dollhouse vignettes of her photographs loom a foreboding backdrop of images, some found, some from family history, of those who survived or were murdered in the Holocaust. The unclear line is highlighted between scenes of socio-political commentary, personal history and events staged to deal with the confluence of the two.

Aliza Augustine, The Handmaid's Tale, Digital Photograph, 20x30'', 2012

Vesper Stamper is perhaps most literally a story teller, with original illustrations on view from her upcoming book. While part of a composite text-illustration work, the images include a story of a mute mother who introduces the world to her daughter through sound, touch, and movement. Part of the message is that information comes to us through many senses. The unconscious mind experiences the world in secret, awakening to mysterious insights that are known deep down.

Vesper Stamper, Mairead Gathering Mussels, Watercolor, ink, pencil, 14x21.5", 2013

Saya Woolfalk,Gillian, digital photograph on watercolor paper, 40x30", 2011
These insights are shared through many avenues, as in the video works of Saya Woolfalk. Woolfalk describes a world of intuitive aesthetic choices, in which a journey takes place that leads to a point of personal and communal understanding. Such is the goal of her ongoing Institute of the Empathics project. This endeavor is undertaken on another scale by presenting a collective visual experience of work by multiple contemporary artists in the Mikhail Zakin Gallery.

Works in this show push and pull on the narrative limits of image making, telling a more subtle and nuanced tale than text alone can convey. I challenge you to look at the images and devise your own story before reading the accompanying texts.

-      Mary Gagler, Curator
April, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Stories we Tell: A Visual Narrative

An exhibition of narrative art curated by Marilyn Deitchman is now on view at the 73 See Gallery in Montclair, NJ. The exhibition explores narrative as a vehicle for reflection on the wider world of human behavior and individual expression. Read the curator's essay below!

The exhibit is a must see, featuring several current and former members of the Art School at Old Church's creative community. Stay tuned for Artist Talks on April 13 & 20 at 3:00 PM.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Narrative Strain: On view through April 23, 2014

Café Gallery: Photography Students of Hank Gans

The Art School at Old Church in Demarest, NJ is pleased to present an exhibition of student work in the Café Gallery, on view through March 24th, 2014.  Photography: Students of Hank Gans is a group exhibition of digital photographs by members of the Art School community.  Participating students range in experience from one semester of study to six semesters studying with Hank Gans since June 2010.  Gans is a commercial and fine art photographer whose work is in the collections of the Musée de l’Elysée in Switzerland and the Center for Fine Art Photography in the US.  A recipient of many national and international awards, he received honors from 2011 Epson International Photographic Pano Awards.

Students study with Gans to develop their skills as fine art photographers.  Their hard work and progress is evident in their photos of a variety of subjects and print sizes, all professionally displayed. The work in the show ranges from nature and landscapes to portraiture and architecture. The bold colors and dramatic black and white imagery in each piece create unique experiences for the viewer.  This fresh look at the work of local up-and-coming artists is part of the mission of the Café Gallery, the Art School’s community exhibition space.

Exhibiting Artists:

Maria Costa
Howard Danziger
Ann Denson
Gail Farber
Abby Fine
Ed Fisher
Jack Fogle
Joan R. Ganz
Lorraine La Rocca
Jack Levine
Robert McKenna
Gloria Nelson
Melissa Noorily
Shuli Pilo
Ruth Plucinski
Barbara Prainito
Indu Ramkumar
Kevin Riley
Pat Robinson
Jacqueline Rothman
Jay Ruhren
Patricia Saul
Elizabeth Shane
David Shirey
June Siegler
Jeffrey Susman
Christelle Verrier

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gina Occhiogrosso in Lay of the Land

Gina Occhiogrosso, "Nobody wants to be here, and nobody wants to leave", 22 x 30", Flashe and gouache on paper, 2012

The exhibition Lay of the Landon view through February 20, 2014, deals with landscapes as they are perceived and reconstructed by artists. Each artist in the show focuses on a different aspect of this reconstruction. 

In mixed media paintings by Gina Occhiogrosso, the landscape is not quite settled. The viewer is presented with the materials that may one day come to rest as an observable landscape, but at present the shapes and colors must be solved like a puzzle before recognition can take place. The various trajectories of abstracted forms become a shared concern for viewers who may hope for resolution, while suspecting that the perceived tension carries a weightier message.
Extreme Measures, 11x14, oil on canvas, 2013

The artist in her own words:

"My work captures flux, slippage or time-suspended through the liquid and flexible medium of paint. The fragments interact to suggest movement, unease, or tremor. The land in these pictures is not quite finished being transformed, not in its image, nor in its process.

We can wait for the next one, 12x16, oil on canvas, 2013
It is an insecure space from my childhood and a cautionary tale for our future. Sources for the work are images found on websites that record natural disaster related damage such as FEMA (tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes). Elements dangle, merge and are transformed. The work is about our changing domestic landscape as well as our political and economic landscape, and how these forces have worked to destroy each other.

Through exploration of extreme weather events and their resulting catastrophic landscapes, more recent work is distilled into suggestive or abstracted spaces. The materiality of paint becomes reinforced by the use of a palette knife, and other much more physical practices.

Color has become more acidic, referring to an otherworldly, prophetic landscape. While I am interested in the world and it’s economic and environmental drift, I am also interested in unique personal experiences where life becomes untethered, and spaces become increasingly psychological."

- Gina Occhiogrosso

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

In the Café Gallery: Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Students of Harriet Finck

The Café Gallery at the Art School at Old Church is pleased to host an exhibition of collages by local artists on view through February 13th.  The collage works in the show are created by students of the Art School faculty member Harriet Finck. This group of students interpreted Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a book of poetry comprised of over 250 myths to create collages. Cultures create mythology to explain the workings of the world and the interactions between gods, goddesses, and humans.  By gathering inspiration from these mythological stories, the students found the stepping stones for their work.  
Eve Kafka Barron, Underworld, 2013

The collages in this show were developed in the studios at the Art School in Collage: Juxtaposition, offered Friday afternoons.  The idea of collage is to place one piece of printed material against another. Through this process, students have created unique works of art that are expressions of personal interpretations of Ovid’s myths.

Exhibiting artists:
Marcy Cagan (RAMSEY, NJ), Susan Fidlon (FORT LEE, NJ), Arlene Hirschfelder (TEANECK, NJ), Eva Kafka Barron (TEANECK, NJ), Nancy Kihn (WEST NEW YORK, NJ), Joan Knauer (FORT LEE, NJ), Lisa Rabinowitz (UPPER MONTCLAIR), Dorit Shmuel (CRESSKILL, NJ), and Maxine Silverman (NYACK, NY). 

Stop by the gallery to see the last days of Ovid’s Metamorphoses: Students of Harriet Finck!
Nancy Kihn, Waterworld II, 2013