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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on April 19, 2000. All rights reserved.
Artsbridge at Prallsville
E-mail: Pat Summers@princetoninfo.com
Not a barn in the show." If that comment by Artsbridge’s
Edie Sharp, co-chair of the sixth annual art exhibition, were not
enough to propel you there, about 95 other reasons — that is,
all the works on view — should do it.
Truly "a contemporary show," this national juried exhibition
— "Artsbridge at Prallsville Mills ’00" — is marked
by much broader acceptance than is traditional. Think Bucks County
barns and realism in general. And the "national" part of the
title says still more about the artistic spread and variety of works.
Two top winners come from California and Texas; 70 of the show’s 549
entrants came from outside the four-state area, so this is more cosmopolitan
than the usual Delaware River area art show. Jurors were Elizabeth
Osborne, a watercolorist and instructor at the Philadelphia Academy
of Fine Arts, and the internationally-known photographer Klaus Schnitzer,
who teaches at Montclair State University.
Proof of its contemporary nature: There are enigmas, strangenesses,
unbeautiful works, and outre things happening here. There’s a story
behind many of the pieces, and it’s not "autumn comes to the fields
nearby" or "the orchard in springtime."
On April 19, at 7 p.m., the Artsbridge monthly meeting, open to the
public, will be held in the Prallsville gallery, where member artists
represented in the show will talk about their works.
Well, nobody promised us art we could hang over the couch. Probably
not Caroline Gibson’s "Long Johns," fetching as they are,
and winner of "most innovative material" recognition award.
Cloth, paper and aluminum, they hang, stiffly, on a blue clothesline,
flaunting beautiful silver-toned fasteners and a ruff of metal pleats
at cuff and ankle. Nor Barry Snyder’s mixed media "Blinder Mask,"
with its black leather harness headdress, almond-shaped eye slits,
and toothy grimace cut from metal, and a weathered cylindrical bell
hanging by a cord, suggesting an oversize bolo tie.
You don’t simply look at these pieces and walk away; you want to ask
the artists how their works came to be, what they were thinking, how
they assembled them.
And Gibson and Snyder are just two of the participating artists whose
entries may startle, amuse, or mystify. Richard Laurent’s "Eve
Without Adam," a smallish, darkish oil on canvas, suggests otherworldly
stories. Atop a wholly non-traditional figure, a woman’s face is surrounded
by fur and pointed animal ears; this creature’s body looks silky-furry,
except that the front "legs" look ladder-like, and only one
hind leg reaches the ground, with the other somehow stunted. A curtain
along the top seems to open on either side of "Eve," and an
apple glows in the left foreground. Below a cloud-filled sky, sunlit
green hills roll out behind her.
Somehow related to Eve, at least in the ear department,
Laurent’s smaller oil, "Little Red Dog," seems caught in mid-lope,
looking coolly out at viewers. Edward Pardee’s black and white photograph,
"Dream No. 15," employs tones, shadows, and angles to convey
a few images of the same figure falling backward, down stairs. Another
story, this one a mystery for sure.
"What did you say?" asks a woman in closeup, her head turned
to face the viewer — or whoever is next to her in bed, attached
to the hairy legs that stretch out next to hers. A green sweater lies
on the pale blue cover, and a purple carpet runs to the doorway. On
the other side of the room a mirror over the chest of drawers may
reflect the couple on the bed. Mavis Smith’s oil on board is painted
flatly, with a cartoon-bubble for the question being asked by her
distinctively depicted woman.
Cheryl Raywood’s large oil painting on linen, "Wedding Dreams,"
shows a woman who might once have been called "statuesque"
in white dress and pensive mood. Is this a portrait? Is the woman
anticipating — or regretting — something? What’s her story?
Aileen Cramer’s mixed-media table or floor light, "Spirit Totem,"
stands two-feet tall and incorporates what looks like flecked handmade
paper with embedded insect forms. Somewhat resembling a tepee, it
casts a warm light. M.J. Gelarden’s appealing mixed media figure,
"Pescare (To Fish)," features a thought-provoking if not appetizing
carrot for a right arm, amid more recognizable fishing paraphernalia.
This artist won the show’s sculpture award for "Say Goodnight
Gracie," a piece that could be viewed as more puzzling than interesting.
Another of the artists represented in this exhibit by two works, James
Feehan continues in the enigmatic vein with "Martin Chronicles,"
a small oil that shows three very uncommon figures. As usual, this
painting is smoothly rendered, and suggests another time or place
More traditional, though not at all conventional, is
Susan Worthington Duffy’s pastel-watercolor "Fushia," a small,
glowing "sunsetscape," vivid even from a distance in black
mat and frame — as if seen from a tiny window in an unlikely inside
wall. Annelies van Dommelen’s watercolor abstraction, "Fish Face,"
offers her signature colors, and none of the silhouetted figures that
often people her works; "Fish Face" is stronger without them.
Mary Blackey’s watercolor paintings are far from flowers or landscapes,
the customary subjects of this medium. In "Totemic Magnitude,"
she shows shaded shapes in tones of brown that might be curving walls
or forms. Kosmas Ballis’s clay "Evolutionary Bouquet 2000"
is a rounded arrangement in glazed, wonderfully gaudy reds, oranges,
and yellows. And in two untitled works, Debora Muhl uses fiber with
Maine sweetgrass on gourds to create aromatic, green vessels.
Harold Porterfield’s first-prize winning acrylic, "After the Rain,"
and his acrylic "Frosty Autumn Morning" are atypical in both
color and cost, despite their traditional-sounding titles. His apparent
use of brush-flicked sprays of paint dots in high-voltage colors reflects
an uncommon vision that makes for compelling landscapes.
Deep window sills throughout the two-floor Prallsville exhibition
provide excellent display areas for sculptures and ceramics, and Lou
Ferra’s black steel "Carrion II," a bird of prey, or of road
kill, shows up in dark relief against a window.
Incorporated in 1993, and sometimes, necessarily, seeming
to be finding its way, Artsbridge has matured. The group’s professionalism
is evident throughout this exhibition, from its very mounting through
its useful program and just-informative-enough wall labels. Sharp
also described the large volume of entries as "a growing-experience"
for members, with the show’s national nature giving them wider exposure
and competitive opportunities. There were times in the past when visitors
to this show seemed more interested in the wine and cheese than in
the art. This year, the work speaks for itself — as well as a
growing level of sophistication. Also appreciated: the group’s decision
to move back from July to April, hoping to avoid the horrible heat
and humidity that often confronted, and deterred, viewers — especially
at the crowded opening reception. It worked.
Prallsville Mills itself is the least contemporary element of this
Artsbridge exhibition. The first grist mill on this site, at the juncture
of the Delaware River, the Delaware and Raritan Canal, and the Wickecheoke
Creek, goes back to 1720. Near the end of the 18th century, John Prall
Jr. bought the property, replaced the original wooden mill with a
stone one, and erected a saw mill and other buildings to develop "Prallsville"
into an important commercial center. Dating from its 1877 rebuilding
after a fire, the present mill is the largest building at the site,
housing cultural and environmental events as well as serving historical
purposes. The entire area is leased by the Delaware River Mill Society
at Stockton, which is gradually restoring it.
On opening night from the mill’s tall windows: wide, swiftly-moving
waters, growing grayer each minute, matching the darkening sky, and
then, steady rain — probably the most traditional scene of all
in this year’s Artsbridge exhibition. Rain or shine, or even unseasonal
snow, it’s a show to see.
— Pat Summers
29, Stockton, 609-397-3349. Area artists selected for the group’s
sixth annual juried show give a talk on their work. Exhibition is
open daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Tuesday, April 25. Wednesday,
April 19, 7:30 p.m.
Artsbridge of Bucks and Hunterdon Counties hosts art events on the
third Wednesday of every month at 7:30 p.m. at Riverrun Gallery in
the Laceworks, 287 South Main Street, Lambertville. Call for membership
King: Wildlife Photography," to May 12. Open by appointment during
of work by children’s book illustrator Charles Santore, celebrating
his latest book, "The Fox and the Rooster," with original
artwork from his "Snow White" and "Little Mermaid."
To May 15. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Born in Philadelphia in 1935, Santore graduated from the Museum School
of Art, studying illustration with Henry C. Pitz, Albert Gold, and
Ben Eisenstat. His first editorial assignment was for the Saturday
Evening Post. Since venturing into children’s book illustration in
1985, he has produced seven books. In 1992 he was honored with a major
exhibition at the Brandywine River Museum.
A dining room exhibition of watercolors by Beverly S. Nickel. Percentage
of sales benefits the Medical Center. To May 18. Open 8 a.m. to 7
Line Road, 609-252-6275. "Still Working: New Jersey Artists Over
65." The celebratory exhibition features 11 New Jersey-based artists:
Miriam Beerman, Walter Culbreth, Marguerite Doernbach, Tom George,
Riva Helfond, Margaret K. Johnson, Jacob Landau, Lyanne Malamed, Jack
Roth, Naomi Savage, and Sheba Sharrow. To June 4. Gallery hours are
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends and holidays, 1 to 5
Plainsboro, 609-282-3401. A solo exhibition of sculpture and works
on paper by Eleanor Burnette. A graduate of Chicago State University,
and a former apprentice at the Johnson Atelier, her work has been
exhibited extensively, including a 20-year retrospective at Mercer
County College. To April 27.
609-895-7307. "Optical Illusions: Nancy Laughlin and David Savage,"
works by two artists who explore the effects of heightened color and
unexpected formal relationships to surprise and engage the viewer.
To June 9. Exhibit is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Laughlin graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts
in 1973 followed by studies at the Johnson Atelier. Savage, born in
Brooklyn in 1923, earned a degree in architecture before moving to
Paris where he studied with the painter Fernand Leger until 1951 when
he returned to the U.S. and architecture. His recent series of abstract
paintings is the "Jyira Series."
Window into Collecting American Folk Art: The Edward Duff Balken Collection
at Princeton," 65 paintings and drawings by major 19th-century
figures who include Zedakiah Belknap, Erastus Salisbury Field, Sarah
Perkins, Ammi Phillips, and Asahel Powers. To June 11. Open Tuesday
through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours
every Saturday at 2 p.m.
A native of Pittsburgh, the collector, Edward Balken, was a member
of the Princeton Class of 1897 who later became curator of the department
of prints and drawings at the Carnegie Institute.
Also, "Photographs by Barbara Bosworth," a survey exhibition
of panoramic photographs and the debut of the 24-print narrative sequence,
"The Bitterroot River," to June 18; "The Responsive Eye:
Optical Art from the Collection," to April 23; "The Dawn of
Maya Kings: An Exhibition of Early Maya Stela," to July 30; and
"Flora and Fauna in Chinese Painting," to July 30.
A juried exhibition of works by TCNJ art students in all media. To
April 26. Open Monday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 to
9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m.
609-895-5464. An exhibition of drawings and paintings by Lennart Anderson,
a preeminent figurative painter runs to April 30. Gallery hours are
Monday to Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m.; Friday to Sunday, 2 to 5 p.m.
Born in Detroit in 1928, Anderson studied at the Art Institute of
Chicago, Cranbrook Academy, and with Edwin Dickinson at the Art Students
League. Having taught at Pratt, Yale, Princeton, and the Skowhegan
School, he currently teaches at Brooklyn College.
"What distinguishes Anderson from other figurative artists,"
says curator Harry Naar, "is his continual pursuit of his figurative
esthetic vision and his constant investigation of, and desire to,
discover the visual elements, such as location, proportion, light
and dark, and the compositional arrangements as imagined and seen."
Trenton, 609-394-4121. Garden State Watercolor Society exhibition
by members of the statewide organization, founded in 1970 by Dagmar
Tribble. In the lobby gallery to April 28.
"I’ll Make Me a World," an exhibition of sculpture by Clifford
Ward, dedicated to sculptors Selma Burke and Augusta Savage. To April
27. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
609-586-0616. Fall-Winter Exhibition. In the Museum and Domestic Arts
Building, "Beverly Pepper," one-artist show. On the mezzanine,
a thematic photography show, "Focus on Sculpture." To April
16. Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment.
609-695-0061. Figural bronzes by Joseph Menna, Glenn Cullen, Miguel
Angelo Silva, and Chris Rothermel, with florals and landscapes by
artists from the 19th century to the present. To May 15. Wednesday
to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
609-292-6464. "Unseen Treasures: Imperial Russia and the New World,"
an exhibit of historic treasures of the Russian empire. The dazzling
collection of 300 art objects and artifacts from Russian’s famed State
Historical Museum and State Archive is displayed in five historical
settings. Extended through Sunday, April 23. Admission $10; $8.50
seniors and students; $6 children. Advance tickets at 800-766-6048
or online at www.tickets.com. Tuesday through Saturday,
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Also on exhibit: "Forgotten Gateway: The Abandoned Buildings of
Ellis Island," Larry Racioppo’s exhibition of the little-known
world of Ellis Island’s abandoned buildings, reminders of their historical
significance and current disrepair. To June 30. Tuesday to Saturday,
9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.
Racioppo has been photographing the physical landscape for nearly
30 years. The son of a longshoreman, he often focuses on the hidden,
forgotten, and disappearing waterfront. "I photograph the things
I feel connected to," says Racioppo: his four grandparents entered
America through the Ellis Island gateway.
609-799-6706. "A Room of One’s Own," a group exhibition by
five contemporary women artists: Brazilian artist Amneris Hartley;
Bangladeshi artist Zakia Aziz Sayed; New York artist Deborah Dorsey;
and New Jersey artists Jill Kerwick and Gloria Wiernik. To April 29.
Gallery hours are Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday,
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"Diversity, a Celebration of Individual Expression" featuring
co-op members Eric Gibbons, Beverly Fredericks, Sarah Bernotas, Richard
Gerster, Robert Sinkus, Dorothy Orosz, Michael Bergman, Jane Lawrence,
Charlotte Jacks, Dorothy Amsden, Carmen Johnson, Jon Wilson, Bob Gherardi,
and Egil Jonsson. To May 30. Gallery hours are Wednesday 4 to 9 p.m.;
Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
609-683-8092. Jay and Marilyn Anderson, photographs in black and white,
color, and other techniques. To June 1. Hours are Monday through Friday,
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to
Road, 609-921-3272. Princeton Photography Club group show by 18 professional
and amateur photographers continues to May 7. In the Upstairs Gallery,
paintings by professional artists Connie Louise Gray and Diana Wikoc
Patton, to April 28. Gallery hours are Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10 a.m.
to 3 p.m.
Utilities Office, Route 130, just south of Route 33, 609-259-3502.
Second annual community show selected by Dallas Piotrowski with work
by Tom Chiola, Kristina Sadley, Steven Marvsky, Karen Bacyewski, Deborah
Paglione, and Seow-Chu See. Through June 3.
609-397-0275. "Landscapes, Beachscapes," an exhibition
of oils by Pete Biester. His subjects include the high country of
Northern New Mexico and nostalgic canvases he calls "Ghosts of
the ’30s." To May 13. Open Monday to Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m.; Friday
1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A shared show featuring watercolors and drawings by B.A. Keogh, and
recent crayon and charcoal drawings by Paul Mordetksy. A Hightstown
native, Mordetsky teaches at the Princeton Latin Academy, Artworks,
and Mercer College. He has a degree from the Philadelphia College
of Art. Show runs to April 30. Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"Annual Spring Show" featuring recent paintings by Tom Chesar
and pastels by Pamela M. Miller created to accompany poems by Emily
Dickinson. To May 21. Gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday, 11 a.m.
to 5 p.m.
Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "Mihaly Munkacsy In America," featuring
works of the celebrated Hungarian painter who, at the time of his
death in 1900, had become the most famous Hungarian in the world.
His 1890 commission, "The Conquest of Hungary," can be seen
today in the Hungarian parliament building. His American patrons included
Cornelius and William Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, William Astor, Joseph
Pulitzer, and department store magnate John Wanamaker, who purchased
his paintings of "Christ Before Pilate" and "Golgotha"
for the equivalent of $2 million. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday,
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m., for the show that runs
to June 18. $5 donation.
215-340-9800. "The Art Gene," the annual Bucks County Invitational,
curated by Bruce Katsiff, focuses on four pairs of related artists:
George and Daniel Anthonisen; Robert and Jason Dodge; Emmet and Elijah
Gowin; and Barbara and Mark Osterman. The show includes videos of
the artists discussing their work. To July 2. Tuesday to Friday, 10
a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, to 5 p.m. $5; children free.
Also, "No Ordinary Land: Encounters in a Changing Environment,"
a 10-year retrospective of collaborative photographs by Virginia Beahan
and Laura McPhee that explores the way people interact with the landscapes
in which they live. Organized by the Aperture Foundation, to June
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