In the Galleries

Art in Town

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Area Museums

Art in the Workplace

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This article was prepared for the April 10, 2002 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Art Gives Iron a Workout

Iron horse, hand, fist, or (shudder!) iron maiden.

Iron curtain. A will of iron, an iron constitution, and plenty of

irons in the fire. A seven iron, or a hot implement for branding,

curling, or pressing. An iron pill for someone in irons, or wearing

an iron mask, held captive in an ironclad off the ironbound coast.

Isn’t that ironic?

Denoting strength, solidity, firmness, even finality, iron has been

called "the most important metal known to mankind" and


mother metal." Next to aluminum, iron is the most common metal

in the earth’s crust — it even occurs in ground water and in the

red hemoglobin of blood — and more than 90 percent of the world’s

metal production is iron. In varied combinations with carbon and other

metal elements, it becomes pig iron, cast iron, wrought iron, steel,

or alloy steel.

"Think iron" might be the overall watchword at the Johnson

Atelier, in Mercerville, from April 10 to 13, and for some time around

those dates too. This four-day period is reserved for the "Fourth

International Conference on Contemporary Cast Iron Art," whose

objective is to facilitate the growing interest in cast iron as a

sculptural material by providing a forum for artists and industry

to exchange ideas on recent trends, aesthetics, and techniques.

Distinguished from wrought iron (a different alloy that can be formed

with hammers and presses) cast iron must be melted before it can be

poured into a mold. It is often produced in the high heat of a cupola

— a cylindrical shaft-type of blast furnace with a domed roof

or ceiling. Once liquefied, the iron can be poured off into a


and then into one or more molds.

Practically speaking, there will be no real need to even articulate

"Think iron" to those in the Atelier vicinity, for iron, that

most ancient, ubiquitous, and useful metal — in raw and finished

form; in process of becoming; in reality and in symbol — will

be all over the place.

The conference program comprises an array of panels, workshops,


and performances, all focused on iron. Technical workshops on


to advanced topics will be offered before and during the conference,

each one dealing with a specific technique for creating a mold that

will ultimately be poured in iron. Even in this highly specialized

field, there’s a welcome light touch to some of the program subtitles:

"Melt-out Madness," "No Fuss, No Muss." And "The

Mold Show" will be an exhibition of innovative and experimental

molds in a variety of materials.

Daily "iron pours" will be featured, with participants invited

to bring their own molds (and their own safety gear, too) if they

want to take part in a pour. Iron melts at a very high temperature

(about 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit), but it’s usually heated well beyond

that point (to 2,800 degrees), so it becomes liquid enough to pour

from furnace to crucible to mold. It can take a well-coordinated team

of four to eight people to execute a pour of the intensely yellow

molten iron that is hotter than molten lava. Cooling occurs quickly

— which is why high heat and skilled pours are both so important.

Still other topics to be treated in panel discussions include


in Public Places," "Digital Tools and Applications,"


Treatments for Cast Iron," "Welding Cast Iron," and


Next Generation: Upcoming Sculptors in Iron." Demonstrations


the conference will include one on different patinations, or surface

colors, and the forging of cast iron, showing the limited number of

ways this can be done.

Solo and collaborative performances are scheduled for conference


"The Fire Bearer," performance artist Billy Curmano, will

travel through the park, symbolically illustrating the historical

and industrial significance of cast iron, much as the Olympic torch

heralds the games. Using light, heat, sound, and magic, a group of

participating artists will each interpret one of the seven chakras,

or body power centers, via their own artwork, once more featuring


James Barton, both president of the Johnson Atelier and its


on the conference’s planning body, refers to "pockets of people

around the United States interested in iron, both aesthetically and

technically." Iron’s resurgence has been credited to Julius


a sculptor and teacher in the Midwest, whose enthusiasm fanned the

flame of interest in academia.

Meetings led to conferences, including this international event, held

at four-year intervals, and run by and attracting academics, industry

representatives, and artists alike. The first two sessions were at

Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama, then the Atelier and Grounds

for Sculpture picked up in 1998. By late March, nearly 400


and students had registered for the event, with artists-in-iron and

iron-workers coming from this country and around the world.

While bronze is the most commonly used material at the

Atelier, facilities there include a cupola for processing


or cast iron, and an induction furnace for "ductile iron,"

which is less brittle than the gray. Twelve more cupolas will be


to the conference by participating universities.

Cupolas come in widely divergent designs and sizes; they have


outputs and can represent various levels of technology, starting with

primitive. In the "World’s Smallest Cupola Contest,"


compete to be the first to pour molten iron from what are truly tiny


Iron is a much cheaper material to use than bronze, offering a simple,

earthy quality. In contrast to the more elegant bronze, it’s a kind

of "back to nature" medium. Some sculptors use iron and bronze

together, as E. Gyuri Hollosy, the Atelier’s gallery director and

academic program coordinator, points out. He should know: his current

exhibition at Ellarslie, the Trenton City Museum, includes bronzes

and all-iron pieces as well as a few combining the two metals.


the age-old issue of what material is right for what purpose, Hollosy

made cast iron bases and shafts for two works that needed strong


then went on to complete them in iron.

The conference will be accompanied by exhibitions of cast iron in

its many modern incarnations at both host sites. At the Atelier’s

Extension Gallery, it’s "Cupol Aesthetics: Iron Furnace


a show of sculptures, drawings, and operational photographs from a

dozen or so artists. The "furnace sculptures" featured will

have, necessarily, adhered first to the principle of "form follows

function": they must work as industrial iron furnaces used to

produce cast iron. After that, aesthetically, anything goes. In


common tools will have become fine art.

At neighboring Grounds for Sculpture, an invitational

exhibition will feature the cast-iron work of 30 artists from around

the nation. Kathleen Whitney, sculptor, writer, and independent


will have selected the pieces in "2300 degrees F, 2002:


Sculpture in Cast Iron," all of which falls into one of three

related categories: natural (with imagery reflecting iron’s source

and visually tied to landscape and biomorphic forms); mechanical (with

"impossible" machines, replicas, and multiples — all


iron’s properties and historical uses); or metaphorical (with layers

of meaning and forms that have more to do with concept and intellect

than with beauty).

During the conference only, galleries in the Grounds for Sculpture

Domestic Arts building will house three more exhibits. The juried

"Fire to Form: Cast Iron 2002" show will feature submissions

from conference attendees. The "Founders’ Exhibition" will

celebrate the work of past and present conference board members


as founders of the cast iron movement, and the "International

Invitational" will display examples of cast iron sculptures by

registrants from foreign countries.

Sculptor Beverly Pepper, whose work was featured in Grounds for


fall/winter exhibition in 1999-2000, most recently exemplified there

the uses to which cast and forged iron could be put. Considered a

pioneer in her use of ductile iron, Pepper began making primordial

cast iron columns in the late 1970s. Her three totemic iron


were installed indoors at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex,


in 1982.

"A silvery white, lustrous, malleable, ductile, magnetic or


metallic element occurring abundantly in combined forms . . . and

used alloyed in a wide range of important structural materials":

in other words, iron. Its timelessness, as well as its continuing

use in ever-new applications, both technical and artistic, may best

be grasped by considering that the Iron Age — when iron metallurgy

was introduced in Europe — occurred around the eighth century

B.C. Now, centuries later at the start of a new millennium, this


focusing on the same primordial material, iron, is a sellout. And

they’re already vying for the 2006 site.

2300 degrees F, 2002: Contemporary Sculpture in Cast Iron,

Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,


Show in conjuction with the fourth annual conference on cast iron.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round; Sunday

is Members Day. Adult admission is $4 Tuesday through Thursday; $7

Friday and Saturday; and $10 Sunday. To May 5.

Cupol Aesthetics: Iron Furnace Sculpture, Extension

Gallery , 60 Sculptors Way, Mercerville, 609-890-7777. Artists


Beasley, Wayne Potraz, Barry Bailey, Charles Hook, Cam Choy, Dan


Marjee Levine, Andrew Marsh, Vaughn Randall, Jonathan Hils, Clark

Ashton, Kyle Dilihay, and Matt Toole, show in conjunction with the

International Conference on Cast Iron Art. Gallery hours are Monday

to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To May 2.

Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park,


A shared exhibition by painter Tomi Urayama and sculptor by Gyuri

Hollosy. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;

Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To April 14.

Top Of Page
In the Galleries

Princeton University Art Museum, 609-258-3788.


Van Dyck: `Ecce Homo’ and `The Mocking of Christ.’" Also, "In

the Mirror of Christ’s Passion: Images from Princeton University


Both shows to June 9. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5

p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours of the collection every Saturday

at 2 p.m.

Also "Klinger to Kollwitz: German Art in the Age of


an exhibit of prints and drawings that comprises an overview of late

19th and early 20th century German art, to June 9. "Guardians

of the Tomb: Spirit Beasts in Tang Dynasty China;" to August 31.

Firestone Library, Milberg Gallery, Princeton University,

609-258-3184. "Not for Myself Alone: A Celebration of


Writers," the debut show for the Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Collection

of Jewish-American Writers that ranges from the early 19th century

to the present day and includes Yiddish-language writers as well as

writers in English. A two-volume catalog accompanies the exhibition.

Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and

Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To April 21.

Lawrenceville School, Gruss Center of Visual Arts,


609-620-6026. "Art of India," an exhibition in conjunction

with ArtsIndia, New York. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;


Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon. To April 19.

Peddie School, Mariboe Gallery, Peddie School, Hightstown,

609-490-7550. "Contemporary Directions in Performance Art,"

features performance artists Dawn Auvigne, Jim Jeffers, Cliff Owens,

and Craig Smith. Artists will present documentation of past


work as well as live performances of new work through the run of the

show. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To April


Princeton Day School, Anne Reid Art Gallery, 609-924-6700.

"Michael Peglau," a show of paintings and drawings by the

Drew University professor of painting, drawing, and art history. To

April 16.

Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20

Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Meeting Stone," an exhibition

of sculpture by Caroline Fenn. "Carving reveals what is hidden,

in stone, in the sculptor, and finally in the viewers who make of

it what they will," says the artist who has studied at Smith


Yale, and Union Theological Seminary. Open Monday to Saturday, 8:30

a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 to 8 p.m. To April 12.

Rider University Art Gallery, Student Center, Route 206,

Lawrenceville, 609-896-5168. "Moments of Vision," an


of the still-lifes of New Jersey artist Adolf Konrad. Known as the

painter laureate of Newark, Konrad was born in Germany in 1915,


at age 10, and studied at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial

Arts. Artist’s talk Thursday, April 11, for the show that runs to

April 21. Gallery hours at Monday to Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m.; Friday

to Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.

Top Of Page
Art in Town

Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike, 609-924-7206. Opening

reception for "Paper and Stone," an exhibit of handmade paper

images by Marie Sturken and stone sculpture by Petro Hul. Gallery

is open by appointment during school hours. To May 2.

Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street,


In the dining room, landscapes by Donna Senopoulos. A member of the

American Watercolor Society, Senopoulos shows her work at Cranbury

Station Gallery, Go For Baroque, and Kanon Gallery. Part of proceeds

benefit the Medical Center. On view daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. To

May 15.

Princeton Jewish Center, 435 Nassau Street, 609-921-0100.

"The Eden Series II," an exhibition of paintings by Gilda

K. Aronovic. Artist’s reception is Sunday, April 14. Monday to


9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed


To May 21.

Area Galleries

Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell, 609-333-8511.

"April in Paris, London," a group show of photographs from

around the world by gallery members. Gallery hours are Saturday, 11

a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To April 28.

Montgomery Center for the Arts, 1860 House, 124


Road, 609-921-3272. "Works on Paper: Five Points of View,"

an invitational show featuring New Jersey artists Hannah Fink, Diana

Gonzalez Gandolfi, John Goodyear, Barbara Osterman, and William


to April 29. In the Upstairs Gallery: "Dreams and Desires for

a New Day," a shared show featuring drawings by Susan Antin and


by Darlene Prestbo. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to

3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To April 28.

Morpeth Gallery, 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell,


Valerie Von Betzen’s show of recent paintings and "Small


a group show featuring Betty Curtiss, Ken McIndoe, Micheal Madigan,

Ellie Wyeth Fox, and others. Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday,

10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To April 28.

Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road, North

Branch Station, 908-725-2110. "Lumpy Landscapes and Other Bumps

in the Road," an open members show. Reception is April 20 for

the show that runs to May 18. Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to

4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m.

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Art by the River

ABC Gallery, Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly Street,

609-397-0275. "Songs of the Earth," an exhibition of pastels

and drawings by Joyce Sanderson. Gallery hours are Monday and


1 to 9 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday 1 to

5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To April 26.

Artists’ Gallery, 32 Coryell Street, Lambertville,


"Vanishing Points," a shared show featuring photographs by

Sandra C. Davis and paintings of the American industrial landscape

by Marc Reed. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m.

to 6 p.m. To May 5.

Parachute Modern Art Gallery, 10 South Pennsylvania


Suite 208, Morrisville, 215-295-8444. Shared show featuring


Ricardo Barros, Deborah Holljes, and Karen McDonall. Parachute is

an artist-run gallery featuring innovative art in all media. Gallery

hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m.

To April 30.

Tin Man Alley, 12 West Mechanic Street, New Hope,


"Play It Cool," an exhibition of new and rare prints by


artist Shag. Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m. to

6 p.m. To May 27.

Travis Gallery, 6089 Route 202, New Hope, 215-794-3903.

"Between the Brush Strokes" features Bradley Hendershot and

Jerry Cable. To April 30.

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Area Museums

Hunterdon Museum of Art, Lower Center Street, Clinton,

908-735-8415. "Jim Toia: Groundwork" and "Peter Arakawa:

Recent Work." Museum hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5

p.m. To April 28.

Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown,

215-340-9800. "Roy C. Nuse: Figures and Landscapes," an


of works by the influential Bucks County artist and teacher (1885

to 1975) who trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where

he studied with Daniel Garber. Nuse and his wife, artist Ellen


moved to Bucks County; Nuse taught at the Pennsylvania Academy for

29 years; to May 12. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;

Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9

p.m. $6.

Zimmerli Art Museum, George and Hamilton streets, New

Brunswick, 732-932-7237. "India: Contemporary Art From


Private Collections," the largest exhibition of its kind to be

held in an American museum. Show features more than 100 works from

20 collections, with an emphasis on the post-independence era, 1947

to the present. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to

4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission $3 adults;

under 18 free; museum is open free to the public on the first Sunday

of every month. To July 31.

Indian artists include members of the Progressive Artists Group, F.N.

Souza, M.F. Husain, Krishna Ara, and Syed Raza. Also first and


Indian modernists Ram Kumar, Tyeb Mehta, Ganesh Pyne, and artists

who have emerged in recent years such as Atul Dodiya and Jitish


Also "The Baltics: Nonconformist and Modernist Art During the

Soviet Era," the first major survey of modernist art produced

in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania during the post-Soviet period.


Ladyzhensky," to July 31. "By All Means: Materials and Mood

in Picture Book Illustrations," to July 31.

Top Of Page
Art in the Workplace

Johnson & Johnson, Education and Conference Center, 410

Geore Street, New Brunswick, 732-524-6957. "The Fabric of Jazz:

A Tribute to the Genius of American Music" by Lauren Camp, fabric

artist. Her original art quilts include tributes to Louis Armstrong,

Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman. By appointment. To April 20.

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