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"