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This article by Pat Summers was prepared for the December 6, 2000
edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Artful Gifts of Lasting Value: Malcolm Bray
He was born in a lunar year of the dragon, and she
knew a gifted calligraphy artist. What better birthday gift than the
expressive Chinese character for "dragon" on rice paper? She
gravitates toward stylized pigs, and he found an Iris print showing
a smiling pig on tiptoe, leaning hopefully through an open window
toward the stove for a "Quick Meal." An intricately wrought,
fanciful fish etching and a crisp linoleum block print of cupcakes,
whose appeal started with its title, "Baby Cakes," both also
hang — where else? — in their kitchen.
Together they admired the wild-hued, turbulent beauty of a painting
from a series on the creation of the world by another artist, and
bought it for their own, relatively tame environment. An irresistible,
softly-shaded etching of rounded forms and vessels had to come home
with them, as did serigraphs of Caribbean scenes. Suggesting days
of yore and better yet, the creation of an artist they esteem both
personally and professionally, "Once Upon Another Time" has
pride of place where they can see it, and think of her, often.
And so, without setting out to do so, they became art-buyers —
"collectors" can sound a bit pretentious, seeming to focus
more on the art’s likelihood of appreciating than on their own chance
to appreciate it. It’s now their favorite way to mark occasions, to
surprise and please each other, gradually making other, more
possibilities seem passe.
For those who have succumbed to the lure of buying art, especially
as gifts for those who are near and dear to them, this is the season
and these are some places where art, the gift that truly keeps
on giving, might be found. Oh, sure, you can shop from any number
of websites — "including the Louvre, in Paris!" as one
radio commercial trills about www.MuseumShop.com. But do you really
want another necktie with a Louis Comfort Tiffany stained-glass
or a pair of earrings whose features are remotely derived from some
obscure artifact in the collection?
Why not get out in the fresh air and visit real art venues, where
you can physically see the brush strokes, maybe even meet the artist
who made them, and contribute to your own art education in the course
of buying special holiday gifts for special people? You can take a
starkly autumnal ride along the Delaware river to any number of places
that just may have the exact thing you don’t yet know is what you’ve
been looking for. But watch out: art-buying can become a consuming
activity, even when it’s not particularly consuming of money.
For two months each year, Malcolm Bray sponsors a show of contemporary
art at his Old English Pine business site on Union Street,
Originally a Victorian-era factory where spokes and hubs were made,
the circa 1880 red brick building is vast, with loading-dock doors
and a central freight elevator. Understandable, then, that the second
floor comfortably accommodates more than 90 art works, many of them
Now in its sixth year, the exhibition gains cachet with each passing
year. An artist himself, Bray says he identified some of the 13 other
artists involved, and some sought him out. Either way, he stresses
the need for new work, either produced just for this show or not
shown in the area. A lavish opening buffet reception on the huge
floor — his erstwhile studio — kicks things off, and then
the place is open every day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., through December.
Talk about exposure.
Bray’s "Ken-tem-pe-rer’-e 2000," as this year’s show is
features work by 14 artists — not many of them in the "$300
or less range" that we thought appropriate for holiday gift
But just about everything there is worth seeing. Barry Snyder’s
branches hang in curves and loops, sometimes accented with a seashell,
a bead, a piece of metal. His airy grouping that can look calligraphic
includes pieces that are priced from $90 to $450. Stacie Speer Scott’s
always quirky mixed-media pieces range from $175 to $3,000. Rachel
Bliss works in oil and acrylic on photographs to produce images of
grimacing, toothy creatures that cost from $500 to $600.
Virgil Sova uses suitably cool shades for his large pastels, like
"Jazz After Midnight" ($3,200), and Dolores Poacelli makes
vibrantly colored encaustic and collaged abstracts with organic shapes
($1,800 to $4,000). First-time participant Tom Birkner is showing
three tonal figurative paintings ($5,000 and up), while Bonnie MacLean
painted two oil-on-board nudes (each $2,500) for this exhibition.
Surprisingly, Bray says that while his furniture business supports
his annual show, there’s no meshing of the furniture with the art
— people come to the building for one or the other, not both,
despite the fact that visitors walk through the business to reach
the stairs leading up to the gallery space.
At the Coryell Gallery, in the Porkyard, Lambertville,
through January 14, paintings by Lucy Graves McVicker and Katharine
Steele Renninger are featured. McVicker’s titles convey the subjects
of her soft, expressionistic watercolors, if not their look as well:
"Fantasy Forest," "Beach Serenade," "Early
"Phlox in a Box." Years of painting and experimentation have
moved McVicker’s work into the "realm of the semi-abstract,
a world both real and enchanting," says Janet Marsh Hunt, Coryell
director. Of McVicker’s 26 framed paintings on view, eight are priced
at $300 or less, and 10 others run from $325 to a top price of $500.
Renninger’s 23 casein paintings range from $900 to $3,200.
Farther along Coryell Street, the cooperative Artists’ Gallery
a "Small Works Exhibition," from December 8 to February 4.
The only time during the year when all 18 members show simultaneously,
this event warrants a cautionary note: it’s really a sale, not a show.
Items that are sold leave with their buyers, to be replaced with other
work. The drawbacks to this arrangement — where ever it happens
— are obvious: presumably, the best work is displayed early, so
woe to the latecomer. And because visitors on different days may see
different work by the same artist, this is no time for word-of-mouth
reports or for getting a sense of an artist’s range.
Driving north out of Lambertville a few miles into Stockton, visit
Riverbank Arts, on Bridge Street. If you know and like Farley’s
in New Hope, you’ll feel the same about Riverbank, a
gallery that you cannot see in just a few minutes or even an hour
— and that you probably cannot leave empty-handed. Classical music
accompanies browsing, and every wall is crowded with pictures —
a mini Barnes Collection, here comprising the work of myriad, mostly
regional, artists. Where there are no paintings or prints, there are
ceramics and sculptures, once again representing countless artists:
a bonanza for one-stop shopping.
Tread carefully, and be ready to stoop, if not to kneel: paintings
line the floor and are propped against the raised center display area.
Unframed work practically tumbles out of the bins situated all over
the gallery. And yet, from out of this welter, co-owners Susan Roseman
and Peter Errico readily answer visitors’ questions, pointing out
a painting by Myles Cavanaugh (featured artist this season), a Ruth
Bloom piece there, and telling a bit about any artist as they go.
This is a congenial place, an ever-interesting place, where you’ll
find countless art buys in the $300 range.
Just up the road apiece from beautiful downtown Stockton is the
Mills complex, where Artsbridge — the group of regional artists
— has established an office and gallery in what began as the
House. It’s stone and very Bucks County, and inside it this month,
nine artist-members are showing and selling their work. It starts
with wall pieces by Alex Bacon (landscapes in oil on board); Judith
Shaw Hoctor (abstract watercolors); Ty Hodanish (landscapes with a
Cape Cod school palette); James Lucas (graphic images in acrylics);
Cheryl Raywood (landscapes and figures in oils and drawings); Gail
Shankscotch (oils and acrylics); and Edie Sharp (acrylics on unsized
canvas and watercolor monotypes). Add to that Diana Contine’s fine
metal jewelry and Hannelore Devlin’s clay, fiber, and porcelain
A fine craft table, with wares that just begin with hats, and bins
of Artsbridge members’ unframed work, complete the December picture
at Prallsville. Only the items from these last two sources may be
bought and taken away at once. "It is a show," says Edie
who with Hodanish also co-administers the building, of the two-and
three-dimensional works on view. Accordingly, though with exceptions
for Chanukah and Christmas gifts, buyers will be asked to leave them
on view until the show closes Sunday, December 31.
Crossing over to the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware, the bridge
on Route 32 has been repaired so the troublesome detour that made
New Hope hard to reach for so long is history. But is New Hope ready
for traffic? It’s questionable, based on unreturned phone calls to
a Chamber of Commerce representative and a midday visit during
week, when empty storefronts still marked Main Street, and fairly
new fine art galleries were by now either defunct, moved to other
locales in town, or open only on a limited basis. One gallery owner
said there’s talk of starting a "first Friday" event to
visitors, and that sounded like a very good idea.
Still strictly river-side, but now at the Trenton end of the trip,
there’s the New Jersey State Museum. Next to its gift shop,
full of holiday possibilities, the Friends Cafe Gallery features Marie
Sturken’s handmade paper works, which are also for sale. From the
opening reception on Sunday, December 10, until January 21, visitors
may benefit the museum by buying small works with comparable prices,
including monotypes, made by this artist, whose work was seen a few
months ago at Summit Bancorp.
Finally, and fittingly for the season and the very notion of
there’s "Fantasy and Desire" at Artworks, the Visual Arts
School of Princeton and Trenton. Open to members of the Trenton
Workshop Association (TAWA), this multi-media exhibition of more than
70 works runs through Thursday, December 21, when purchases can also
be picked up. "From landscapes to girls in bikinis," as an
Artworks spokesperson put it, with "Cherries Jubilee" in foam
and wax, and a new city icon, a "Trenton Madonna" besides,
the show just may transform some of its visitors into committed buyers
— Pat Summers
Group show with opening reception Saturday, December 9, from 6 to
9 p.m. Gallery hours are Friday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Holiday show with watercolors by Lucy Graves McVicker and casein
by Katherine Steele Renninger. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To January 14.
609-397-4978. "Kentemperere 2000," artist and curator Malcolm
Bray’s sixth annual show, open every day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To
Open Monday to Wednesday, noon to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Sunday, 10
a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; open
Eve till 7 p.m.
609-773-0881. Group show to December 31. Gallery is open Thursday
to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.
Trenton, 609-292-6464. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:45
p.m.; Sunday 1 to 4:30 p.m. Closed Mondays.
and Desire," a seasonal group show by TAWA artists, to Thursday,
December 21. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 9:30 a.m.
to 12:30 p.m.
Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly Street, 609-397-0275. Opening
reception for a month-long show of works by members of the Hunterdon
Watercolor Society. To January 5. Free.
Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m.; Friday 1 to 5 p.m.;
and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Street, Lambertville, 609-397-1006. Artist’s reception for "[Second]
Skin," an exhibition of light boxes and collages by Rebecca Rutstein.
Show continues to December 31. Free.
House, 124 Montgomery Road, 609-921-3272. Professional Artists Group’s
holiday show of watercolors, pastels,
oils, mixed-media, and photographs. Portion of sales benefits the 1860
House. Show continues to January 26. Free.
Street, Hopewell, 609-333-9393. "Handcrafted
Gifts, Small Works," ceramic, fiber, metal jewelry, glass ornaments,
and handmade objects of art, on exhibit through December. Also group
show of small works, paintings, and works on paper.
Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Street, 609-683-4480. Student-run professional
gallery run by a student team of 17 Esthetics Club members under the
direction of John Kavalos. Opening show features Princeton
photographer Ricardo Barros with an exhibit of works from "Sculptors,"
a series of environmental portraits of artists currently being
developed as a book. All profits from sale of works go directly to PHS
art programs. Show runs to January 5.
Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 3 to 5 p.m.; and by
appointment from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Gallery , 287 South Main Street, Lambertville, 609-397-3349. Shared
show of multi-media artist Angela Del Vecchio’s
big moving paintings on a "Wheel of Chance" theme, and paintings by
Bill McNamara. Show continues to January 2. Free.
Gallery is open daily, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Tuesday.
609-921-1142. "The Familiar and Not So Familiar," an
exhibit of works by digital artist Roman Verostko that includes
traditional landscapes and still lifes to futuristic visions of space
and nature. Show continues to January 27.
Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery
will be closed for the holidays, December 23 to January 2.
Nassau Street, 609-921-6748. "Old Traditions, New Beginnings," a major
exhibition celebrating 250 years of Princeton Jewish history, jointly
presented and exhibited at the Jewish Center of Princeton. This is the
first-ever exhibit on the history of Princeton’s Jewish community,
scheduled to coincide with the Jewish Center’s 50th anniversary.
Topics addressed include early arrivals, family life, social
organizations, work and business pursuits, religious traditions, and
anti-Semitism. On view through March.
609-497-4192. Dining room exhibit of works by Pennsylvania resident
artist Susan Ketcham. She has been an instructor at the Doylestown Art
League Day Workshops and a member of the Doylestown Art League. Her
solo exhibits have been in Doylestown, Phillips Mill, and
Philadelphia. Part of the proceeds benefit the Medical Center. On view
8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, to January 18.
Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Witnessing to the Word," a group show
featuring the work of sculptor Patrick Birge, potter Patrick Caughy,
and painter Patrick Ellis. The artists met through a consortium of
theological schools. Continues to January 5. Gallery hours are Monday
to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to
Language: Small-Scale Sculpture after 1950," an exhibition that
complements the newly-dedicated Richard Serra sculpture on the
university campus, selected from the permanent collection by
professors Peter Bunnell and Hal Foster, and museum director Susan
Taylor. Artists include Alexander Calder and Kenneth Snelson, Leo
Steppat, Jasper Johns, Barry Bertoia, Poly Bury, Anthony Caro, George
Segal, Jonathan Shahn, Claes Oldenburg, and Christopher Wilmarth; to
December 30. On extended view in the Bowen Gallery, Richard Serra’s
"Weight and Measure" etchings. The museum is open Tuesday through
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours of the
collection are every Saturday at 2 p.m. Free.
Also "American Drawings from Copley to O’Keeffe," to December 30;
"Contemporary Photographs," to January 7; "Dutch Drawings in the
Golden Age, an exhibition of Old Master drawings, to January 7.
Library, 609-258-5049. "Art Deco Paris: 1900-1925," a portrait of the
spirited, affluent Parisian society manifest in the printmaking
technique known as "pochoir." The show features 100 color prints,
including a folio by Matisse, reflecting the era of jazz, tango, high
fashion, and modern art. On view to April 8.
Graduate School continues its centennial observance with the
exhibition "A Community of Scholars: Graduate Education at Princeton,"
an exhibition of more than 100 photographs, documents, and artifacts
that chronicle the evolution of graduate studies. To April 8.
609-989-3632. "What a Combo!," a shared show by Mel Leipzig and Vince
Ceglia. Leipzig is a professor of art at Mercer County Community
College and his paintings are in collections at the New Jersey State
Museum, Yale Art Gallery, Newark Public Library, and the White House
Collection. Ceglia is retired from 28 years teaching at MCCC and
Trenton Junior College; his paintings can be found at Penn State
University, James A. Michener Art Museum, and Educational Testing
Service. To January 7.
609-890-7777. A husband and wife exhibition of recent sculpture by
Joseph Menna with paintings and hand-painted furniture by Julianna
Molchanova-Menna. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4
p.m. To December 14.
609-586-0616. Fall-Winter Exhibition. In the Domestic Arts Building:
"James Dinerstein: New Sculpture," recent works in cast bronze;
"Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture." Show
continues to April 8. 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. Annual
memberships start at $45.
Trenton, 609-292-6464. "Click! The Marvelous in American Vernacular
Photography," an exhibit of found photographs offering a diversity of
American images ranging from quirky snapshots to haunting photographic
documents. Curated by Donald Lokuta of Kean University, Robert
Yoskowitz of Union College, and the museum’s assistant curator
Margaret O’Reilly, the show explores how great works of art influenced
everyday photography; to December 31. Museum is open Tuesday through
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday and
Also: "Dinosaurs, Ammonites & Asteroids," to January 21." "Woven by
Tradition and Design: A Selection of American Indian Weavings,
Textiles and Baskets from the New Jersey State Museum Collections," to
December 31; "Recreating Flowers: The Glass Wonders of Paul J.
Stankard," to January 7.
On extended view: "New Jersey Ceramics, Silver, Glass and Iron;" "New
Jersey’s Native Americans: The Archaeological Record;" "Delaware
Indians of New Jersey;" "The Sisler Collection of North American
Mammals;" "Of Rock and Fire; New Jersey and the Great Ice Age;"
"Dinosaur Turnpike: Treks through New Jersey’s Piedmont;" "Amber: the
Legendary Resin;" and "Washington Crossing the Delaware."
Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "Herend: Hungarian Porcelain at its Finest,"
an exhibition of hand-painted porcelain pieces created since the
company’s founding in 1839. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11
a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Show runs to February 25. $5
Doylestown, 215-340-9800. The Lenfest Exhibition of Pennsylvania
Impressionism. Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest bequeathed 59 paintings
that tell the story of the renowned art colony, centered in New Hope,
in the early 20th Century. Museum hours 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. Exhibit continues through February 11. Museum
admission $5 adults; $1.50 students.
Also, "In Line with Al Hirschfeld," a retrospective documenting
Hirschfeld’s life, career, and the history of the performing arts.
Exhibit, with accompanying lecture, tour, and film series, runs
through February 11.
Brunswick, 732-932-7237. Museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m.
to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for
adults age 18 and up; admission is free on the first Sunday of each
Inaugural exhibitions include: "Michael Mazur: A Print Retrospective"
covering a 40-year span of the artist’s career, to February 16.
"Monotypes in Contemporary American Printmaking" from the rich
resources of the Rutgers Archives for Printmaking Studios, to February
18. "An Arkful of Animals: Captivating Creatures," from the Rutgers
collection of original illustrations for children’s literature, to
December 22. "Realities and Utopias: Abstract Painting from the Dodge
Collection," to January 14. "Opening Up: A Half-Century of Artistic
Dialogue between Japan and the West" (ongoing). And "A World of Stage:
Designs for Theater, Opera, and Dance from the Riabov Collection," to
609-298-6970. Holiday show features works by gallery artists Hanneke
de Neve, Ken McIndoe, Thomas Kelly, and others. Gallery hours are
Thursday through Saturday, 4 to 8 p.m. To December 31.
609-771-2198. "Now and Then," a retrospective survey of two- and
three-dimensional art by Christina Craig. The artist recently retired
following a 35-year teaching career during which she taught for 29
years at College of New Jersey. Gallery hours are Monday through
Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m.
To December 13.
609-298-3742. "Silver & Gold," a holiday show featuring work on family
and angelic themes by Christine Parson, Brian Cezario, and Eric
Gibbons. Gallery hours are Wednesdays from 4 to 9 p.m., and Saturday,
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To December 20.
West Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Absolute Music," a shared show
of recent works by artist Jordin Isip and multi-media sculptor Helena
Lukasova. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. To December 21.
Lawrenceville, 609-895-7307. A new series of oil on paper and
mixed-media paintings by Wanda Blake, a professional artist
living in Morris County who studied at Newark’s School of Fine and
Industrial Arts. Curated by Gary Snyder Fine Art, gallery hours are
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To January 26.
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