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This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the January 22, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
In the Galleries
For some of us raised back in the 20th century, the
very sight of luscious-hued silks and cotton floss and exotic fabrics
makes us want to thread a needle and get to work. The Gallery at
Squibb opened its 2003 exhibition season last week with "Hidden
Threads," a group show of textile art by six New Jersey artists,
and the show simply pulsates with color, vigor, and craftsmanship.
Soyoo Park Caltabiano, Nancy Staub Laughlin, Patricia Malarcher, Joy
Saville, Armando Sosa, and Erma Martin Yost, are the featured artists
in a show that curator Kate Somers was selected as an antidote to
the winter doldrums. "Hidden Threads" remains on view in the
corporate gallery through March 16.
Fabric in all its guises has long represented a woman’s creative
(or ghetto, depending on your point of view). Yet in our post-Claes
Oldenburg world, the separation is no longer quite as rigid. Here
weaver Armando Sosa fulfills his role as the single male textile
in the company of five women. A more significant distinction, however,
is the way "Hidden Threads" comprises both art that originated
in threads and textiles and art that has been translated from another
medium into textiles.
Unlike much art displayed on a two-dimensional surface, textile art
has an inherently three-dimensional personality. This derives from
the abundant textures of the materials employed, the peaks and valleys
of the seams of construction, and the accumulated layers of
embroidery and applique. And there’s the tactile appeal and cloth,
quilt, and weaving; against all gallery conduct, these delicate works
seem to cry out to be caressed.
Weaving, tapestry weaving, needlepoint, pieced work, textile collage,
and quilted digital prints are all represented. Hardly concealed is
the skillful craft, commitment, time, and effort required for this
art form. Viewers will be hard-pressed to decide which among this
group could possibly be the most labor intensive of these exacting,
Patricia Malarcher’s "Dalai Series" of 2001, comprises 12
nine-inch-square textile elements, each encased in a Plexiglas box,
which are arrayed in three horizontal rows. Her notes indicate that
the work was inspired by memory — an odd meeting of ideas about
landlocked Mongolia during a sea-side artist’s residency on Long Beach
Island in 2001.
The work is notable for its color, bold geometry, striking symmetry,
and plethora of design elements which are tied, stitched, folded,
rolled, knotted, and sewn. Her symbolic imagery, presented in a
palette of dazzling hues and metallics, is further embellished with
beads, each carrying an individual letter, which spells out more
terms: "shell," "beach," "water,"
The artist’s notes indicate that some of the elements of the
elements are remnants of Buddhist prayer cloths from Mongolia wrapped
around seashells. And the series’ progression of color, from deep
blues to lighter, more yellow tones, "reflects chromatic shifts
in the water, sky, and grasses" of the respective landscapes.
Joy Saville is also not a translator. The Princeton artist’s complex,
fragmented abstract pictures in cotton, linen, and silk have become
well known in the area. She describes her process as
her aim is to capture a real moment she has experienced in space and
time into an expressionistic statement in color and texture. The show
includes her largest, mind-boggling creations, five-foot square
that move, change, and transform depending on the viewer’s distance
from its myriad tiny elements. Also on exhibit is a more contained
series of 28-inch square works from 1994 entitled "The Four
that somehow enables us to get close enough to comprehend "the
lay of the land." Saville is makes the most of her fabrics’ capacity
to absorb and reflect light. When called for, she adds modern metallic
fabrics to her palette of smooth cottons, radiant silks, and nubby
Artist Armando Sosa, born and raised in the highlands of Guatemala,
is the son and nephew of weavers and has been involved in the craft
since boyhood. Now a virtuoso on the loom, his elegand wall hangings,
reminiscent of Asian scrolls, entail pictorial motifs from Mayan
and drawing, European jacquard loom patterns, and Victorian
Though they appear quite sedate, the weavings hold more emotional
content than is readily apparent. At the opening reception, Sosa
the autobiographical nature of one particularly engaging work
with a central panel and an image of a little boy in a cowboy hat
holding, at the end of a long, long string, a beautiful multi-colored
kite. The kite, he remembers, was made for him by his father. And
the rows of decorative elements along the top half of the weaving
depict the golden fireworks, statues of the Virgin Mary, and
Mayan dancers all of which met on the plaza of his home town.
Erma Martin Yost, an artist and art teacher from Jersey City, is
by three strong works from her "Domestic Allegories" series
in which the decorative pleasures of the medium are reinforced by
witty and insightful subjects. Through the miracles of modern
Yost she fuses gorgeous figures by Renaissance fresco painters with
signal trappings of ordinary 20th-century women’s lives: the kitchen
colander, the cheese grater, the Singer sewing machine. These digital
collages are transferred onto fabric through heat process and
through needlework, another tribute to the "domestic saints"
that are her true subject.
"Hidden Threads" also features works by two painters who make
brave attempts to interpret their imagery into another medium with
only mixed results.
Soyoo Park Caltabiano has translated two watercolors — "Korean
Dancers" and "Modern Dancers" — into tapestry
exhibited here alongside the originals. And while "Modern
is an impressive, dynamic weaving in its own right, neither weaving
succeeds in replicating or communicating the dynamism and joy of the
Nancy Laughlin, who has six sets of works on exhibit, is noted in
the region for her big bold pastels on paper. These pastels, such
as "Candy Stripe and Kiwi" (1993), are tremendously appealing
for the way the artist creates unimagined forms and textures in the
pastel medium. Creating still life arrangements of fruit, together
with landscape photographs in tanks of water, Laughlin produces new
photographs which she translates into pastel drawings. The result
is a bold decorative statement that shimmers with sensuality and
not often associated with pastel.
Yet Laughlin’s pastels, so commanding in their silky soft contours,
feathered edges, and bracing blended colors, seem to lose much in
the translation to needlepoint. In fact the small "textile"
versions, exhibited side-by-side with the originals, seem suffocating
in their gridded vision, stiff, labored contours, and nubby surfaces
that have little connection to their free-spirited, underwater
— Nicole Plett
206, Lawrenceville, 609-252-6275. A show of textile art by Soyoo Park
Caltabiano, Nancy Staub Laughlin, Patricia Malarcher, Joy Saville,
Armando Sosa, and Erma Martin Yost. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m.
to 5 p.m.; weekends, 1 to 5 p.m. Gallery will be closed on Presidents’
Day, Monday, February 17. Show runs to March 16.
Memory Yields," an exhibition of photography and mixed-media works
by artist and architect Christopher Becker. Open by appointment during
school hours. To February 7.
Street, 609-921-6748. "From Tow Path to Bike Path: Princeton and
the Delaware and Raritan Canal," an exhibition on the history
and creation of the canal, the life of death of its workers, and
environmental and preservation issues. Open Tuesday to Sunday, noon
to 4 p.m.; through March.
Traditional and contemporary Chinese paintings by Seow-Chu See. A
member of the Garden State Watercolor Society, her work has been shown
in group and solo exhibits throughout the area. To March 19.
and floral works in watercolors, acrylic, and pastel by Phyllis
Open Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Sunday, 9 a.m.
to 3 p.m. Closed Saturdays. To January 26.
Photographs from the Peter C. Bunnell Collection" (extended)
February 3. "The Arts of Asia: Works in the Permanent
to June 30. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday
1 to 5 p.m. Highlights tours every Saturday at 2 p.m.
"Unseen Hands: Women Printers, Binders, and Book Designers,"
a Milberg Gallery exhibition curated by Rebecca Warren Davidson. To
609-258-1651. Photographs by Larry Fink that highlight the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation’s Community Health Leadership Program. Created
to recognize contributions of unsung health leaders across the country
to community health and health care, the show features Arlene
of New Alternatives for Children and Reverend Kenneth Robinson M.D.
of St. Andrew African Methodist Episcopal Church. Open Monday to
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To January 24.
Place, 609-497-7990. "Pentimenti: A Decade of Paintings,"
an exhibition of magic realist works by Eileen Kennedy-Dyne inspired
by illuminated manuscripts of the 13th and 14th centuries. Open Monday
to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 to 8 p.m. To January
"Even though my style is undeniably linear, my work plays games
with space," says the artist. "I put figures and objects into
spaces that might suffocate a live person, leaving them barely room
Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Organics," a shared show
of recent works by Illia Barger and Jim Toia. Barger is showing her
luminous, large scale paintings of the interiors of various fruit.
Toia is exhibiting sculptures and prints influenced by his study of
mushrooms. The artists, who have never met before, will also create
a collaborative installation in the gallery. Gallery hours Tuesday
to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday evenings 6 to 8 p.m.;
evenings 7 to 9 p.m. To February 20.
"Although Barger and Toia use vastly different media in creating
their art," says curator Tricia Fagan, "they share an
curiosity, an artistic elegance, a serious playfulness, and a deeply
personal relationship to nature and the environment. These
are much present in their work, which engages the viewer on a very
immediate level, then continues to draw you in."
732-932-7237. Exhibitions include: "Paul Signac: A Collection
of Watercolors and Drawings"; to January 19. "Russian Cover
Design, 1920s to 1930s: The Graphic Face of the Post-Revolutionary
and Stalinist Periods"; to March 30. "Sergei Paradjanov Off
Camera: Collages, Assemblages, and Objects," to March 16.
Open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and
noon to 5 p.m. Spotlight tours every Sunday at 2 and 3 p.m. Admission
$3 adults; under 18 free; and free on the first Sunday of every month.
Three-man show features woodcuts and intaglio prints by Wendell
and sculpture by Johnson Atelier staff member Michael Gyampo, and
his son, Michael Gyampo Jr. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3
p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To February 23. @LT = Extension
60 Sculptors Way, Mercerville, 609-890-7777. "Something Old,
New," an exhibition of bronze sculpture by Doug DeGaetano. Opening
reception is Saturday, January 18 for show that runs to February 6.
Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To February
Fall/Winter Exhibition. In the Museum, new work by glass artist Dale
Chihuly, to April 6. In the Domestic Arts Building "Focus on
2003," an annual juried exhibition of photographs by amateur
Juror is Hope R. Proper of the Perkins Center for the Arts. On view
to April 6. Also sculpture by Doug DeGaetano, to February 6.
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. Individual memberships start
show by pop artist Karey Maurice and his exhibit of art from the
including works on paper and canvas. To January 31.
show features "Along China’s Silk Road" by David H. Miller,
and "October in Provence" by Ingeborg Snipes. Open Saturday
and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment. To February 9.
Wildlife and nature photographs by Andrew Chen, a veteran nature
whose work has been published in "North American Birds." On
view to February 23. Free.
609-730-1010. Princeton artist Sergio Bonotto exhibits recent pen
and ink and watercolor prints of scenes in Princeton, Hopewell, and
Montgomery. Open Tuesday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Thursday
5:30 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. To January
Skillman, 609-921-3272. Princeton Photography Club’s second annual
juried exhibit of color and black and white photography. Subject
includes classic, landscapes, portraits, and abstract. On view
through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m. To
of nature photography by Andrew Chen. Born in Hong Kong, the
photographer works in pharmaceuticals. To February 8.
by Chinese artist Zheng Bixin. The 22 pieces of art for sale to
the West Windsor Arts Council’s community arts center in the former
Princeton Junction firehouse. To January 30.
Co-op gallery begins the new year with a show of small works of art
by all members. Paintings, drawings, sculptures, prints, and other
gift items are featured. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To February 2.
609-773-0881. Monthly group show features celebrity portraits by James
Lucas. Open Thursday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m., to January 31.
"Simple Pleasures," a solo exhibition of etchings, engravings,
watercolor illustrations, pen and ink and tile by Carol Chernack.
Dinner served Monday through Thursday from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Fridays
and Saturdays to 10 p.m. Open Sundays, 5 to 9 p.m. To February 22.
Exhibition of new oils by Jan Lipes of Solebury. Gallery hours are
Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. To
Holiday invitational show of gallery artists including Ed Baumlin,
Ed Bronstein, W. Carl Burger, Christian Corey, Nessa Grainger, Carol
Ross, Rhoda Yanow, and Frank Zuccarelli. Open Wednesday & Thursday,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; and Sunday,
noon to 5 p.m. To January 30.
609-397-9022. "Inverted Year: Winter Landscape Paintings of the
Delaware Valley." Susan Twardus, curator and contributing artist,
says the same light and scenery that drew the painters of the New
Hope art colony a century ago, continue to inspire. To January 31.
Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "From the Old World to the New
recent additions to the collection featuring works by nine Hungarian
Americans who emigrated to the U.S. between 1920 and 1957. Artists
are Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Bertha and Elena De Hellenbranth, Sandor
Emil Kelemen, Willy Pogany, Tibor Gergely, Zoltan Poharnok, and
Korda. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and
Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. $5 donation. Through April.
732-745-3030. National touring exhibit, "Preserving Memory:
Monumental Legacy," telling the stories behind America’s outdoor
"Randall Exon: A Quiet Light," a solo show by the
painter and Swarthmore College professor; to April 27. "Retreating
to Ideal Environments," works from the New Hope colony by Daniel
Garber, Fern Coppedge, Robert Spencer, and others; to February 2.
Winter hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 10
a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Admission $6 adults; $3
students and children.
1, North Brunswick, 732-249-2077. "Barnscapes: The Changing Face
of Agriculture in New Jersey," photographs of New Jersey barns
and farmlands, with 42 images by New Jersey landscape photographer
Louise Rosskam. To January 17. $4 adults, $2 children.
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