Art in Town

Art In Trenton

Area Museums

Art by the River


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This article by Nicole Plett was prepared for the September 4, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

In the Galleries: PAA at Newark Museum

Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and


driven time and again off course, once he had plundered

the hallowed heights of Troy…

Launch out on his story, Muse, daughter of Zeus,

start from where you will — sing for our time too.

Homer’s 2,700-year-old "Odyssey" has become

a well-worn metaphor for life’s adventurous journey. In Princeton,

it has also become known as an artist’s creative adventure.

Beginning early in 1998, members of the Princeton Artists Alliance,

inspired by Robert Fagles’ modern translation from the ancient Greek,

immersed themselves in Homer’s epic poem. Fagles helped open windows

onto a poem some had not read since high school and others had never

read. The resulting works became a 1999 group exhibit, curated by

Pamela V. Sherin for the Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Now, in

an encore performance, many of the same art works and some new ones

can be seen in the Community Gallery of the Newark Museum. The opening

reception is Sunday, September 8, for the show that runs until October


Princeton Artists’ Alliance, currently led by president Marie Sturken,

has a membership of 21 professional artists. Sturken says PAA’s first

museum show, accompanied by a full-color, 32-page catalogue, is a

watershed. Of the show’s 25 artists, four are now former members of

PAA; two are new. And the Newark Museum show is smaller by virtue

of the fact that each artist is represented by a single work.

"We’re thrilled to have our first museum show," says Sturken.

"The community gallery and its mission closely matches our own.

Their space is wonderful and it’s a tighter show, hung in a single

rectangular room in such a way that each work looks at its best."

A showcase for the state’s talented professionals, shows in the museum’s

community gallery shows are earned through a competitive process.

PAA member Joy Saville made the first inquiries for the group. Director

Mary Sue Sweeney found it fascinating to link a new translation of

Homer by an eminent New Jerseyan with a group of works created by

New Jersey artists.

PAA’s "Odyssey" project took a year. "It was a long slow

process," says Sturken. "Our monthly meetings became a forum

for discussion and we also wanted to try not to duplicate the same

passages of text. Some were timid about working toward a theme. Some

did wonderful things that they didn’t think they could do." Each

work is accompanied by wall text referring to the words of the poem.

One of the highlights of the original show was a reading

given by Robert Fagles in the Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Sturken

recalls how "even Robert Fagles remarked at that time, `Well a

picture can be worth a thousand words.’"

For the reprise presentation of "Homer’s Odyssey," PAA’s two

new members, Shellie Jacobson and Ruane Miller, had to go through

the same regime as the others.

"We said they had to read the book," says Sturken. "Shellie

Jacobson found it so easy to read, she couldn’t put it down."

More difficult was how a ceramic artist would fit her vision into

the whole. For her work "Odysseus Home at Last," Jacobson

settled on the standing, disguised figure of the warrior, returned

from his journey but still accompanied by symbolic representations

of aspects of his adventure that trail behind him.

Homer’s story of the hero’s perilous journey from the wars in Troy

to the home he finds occupied by a horde of rivals who are eating

his livestock and plotting to kill his son and heir was probably composed

around 700 to 650 B.C. The huge sales of Fagles’ new translation,

published in 1996 by Viking Penguin, as well as his previous success

with the "Iliad," bears testament to Homer’s continuing spell.

"These poems weren’t meant as literature or words on a page to

be read, but as a song in the air," Fagles told his audience at

the original PAA show. "Homer’s work is a performance, even in

part a musical event." Remarkably, Fagles, engaged in the study

of Homer’s poetry for decades, found that the artists’ creative interpretations

gave him a new vision of his familiar subject.

"I found the whole range of inventiveness a kind of revelation,"

he said after the first exhibit. "So many styles, so many impressions,

so many media. And they all seem to have something to say about Homer.

"You may live intimately with the work," he continued, "but

every time someone places his or her hands on it, this somehow changes

it for the next person. There’s always a new angle of vision, it seems.

And this show offers new angles of vision aplenty."

Like the PAA artists immersed in Odysseus’ saga, Fagles says the ancient

poem has always struck him for its vivid imagery.

"It was strongly visual in that whenever I was translating a scene

involving people, action, and events — and they’re all very dramatic

— always as a writer I would try to visualize the scene. I would

even put people on the stage and see them playing these roles in order

to describe it. This is the kind of work that involves all your senses

at once."

One of the PAA artists’ works that effectively conjures the image

of the hero Odysseus at sea is Margaret Kennard Johnson’s ineffable

"Undaunted." This delicate mesh relief print contrasts the

vastness of the ocean against a tiny falling human figure lost in

a dark universe of water. Johnson, who read "The Odyssey"

for the first time for this project, said the experience stretched

her artistically.

"Somehow I got by-passed totally," Johnson told U.S. 1 back

in 1999. "I had never read `The Odyssey’ in school, so I had to

pull myself into reading it for the first time. But when I got into

it, the rich resources of visual images, and just the adventure of

it — it was a wonderful experience. The translation is so poetic

and so beautiful, I think it helped us all along.

"In my case, and I think this is true of many of the other artists,

it was a real challenge to use our own medium and style to express

something that seems important to express in `The Odyssey,’" she

continued. "I was struck by the ocean as being so formidable.

I wanted to express how the mystery and the apprehension of the unknown

is something that happens to all of us. I wanted it to have meaning

for any struggle in a big powerful environment."

How Fagles has made Homer’s epic pleasurable for contemporary readers

is an impressive feat.

"This was not the lingua franca of its own day," Fagles explained.

"It was an artificial language — in a good sense — a stylized

language designed to give it certain kinds of power, effectiveness,

and rhythmic intensity." Although Homer’s language embodies archaic

touches, Fagles notes its contemporaneity as well. "It was a combination

of strangeness and the known." These are qualities that viewers

can experience, also, in PAA’s collection of imaginative artworks

in all media.

Homer’s Odyssey, the Newark Museum, 49 Washington

Street, Newark, 800-768-7386. Opening reception for "Homer’s Odyssey,"

a group exhibit by the Princeton Artists Alliance, on view through

Sunday, October 27. Museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, noon

to 5 p.m. Free. Sunday, September 8, 2 to 4 p.m.

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Art in Town

Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike, 609-924-7206. "Love

and Hope," an exhibit of contemporary painting and Chinese calligraphy

by Seow-Chu See. Artist’s reception is Tuesday, September 10, 5 to

7 p.m. Gallery open by appointmeulpture, and prints. Gallery hours

are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, 158

Nassau 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 recent

environmental and preservation issues. Open Tuesday to Sunday, noon

to 4 p.m. Show runs to March, 2003.

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

Mixed-media works by Beth Habe that explore cultural myths, legends,

and quirks through the ornamental imagery of nature. Her works in

the Biblical Bestiary Series play with folk associations and relations

between Jewish tradition and the natural world. Gallery is open Monday

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

Closed Saturdays. To October 30.

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Art In Trenton

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

Sculpture by Larry Steele. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 10

a.m. to 4 p.m. To October 3.

Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-0616. Summer Exhibition. In the Museum and Domestic Arts Buildings:

Tri-State Sculptors’ Guild, recent work by 35 artists of North Carolina,

South Carolina, and Virginia. New additions outdoors by Walter Dusenbery,

John Henry, Hartmut Stielow, Rhea Zinman, and others. Regular park

admission $4 to $10. To September 29.

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

at $55.

Toad Hall Shop & Gallery, 14 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-2366. "The Figure in Bronze," a group show of 40 figurative

sculptures by artists Itzik Benshalom, Bright Bimpong, Noa Bornstein,

Leonda Finke, Gyuri Hollosy, Barbara Lekberg, and others. Store hours

are Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. To September 15.

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Area Museums

American Hungarian Foundation Museum, 300 Somerset Street,

New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "From the Old World to the New World,"

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 Sugor,

Emil Kelemen, Willy Pogany, Tibor Gergely, Zoltan Poharnok, and Vincent

Korda. Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4

p.m. $5 donation. Show runs to April, 2003.

Cornelius Low House Museum, 1225 River Road, Piscataway,

732-745-4177. "Uncommon Clay: New Jersey’s Architectural Terra

Cotta Industry," an exhibition of artifacts and written and oral

histories of New Jersey’s once booming architectural ceramics industry.

Open Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.

On view to May 30, 2003.

Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park, 609-989-3632.

TAWA Invitational II selected by Donna Gustafson of the Hunterdon

Museum of Art. Selected artists are Rob Greco, Frances Heinrich, Loring

Hughes, Joy Kreves, and Terry Rosiak. Museum hours are Tuesday through

Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To September 15.

Hunterdon Museum of Art, Lower Center Street, Clinton,

908-735-8415. "Post-Systemic Art," an exploration of current

trends in geometric abstraction. Also, "Meghan Wood: Recent Sculpture,"

constructions in fabric, buttons, and thread. Open Tuesday to Sunday,

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To September 15.

Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown,

215-340-9800. "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," the seminal

1930s collaboration by writer James Agee and photographer

Walker Evans. Show features 76 Evans photographs, prose from Agee,

along with letters and notebooks documenting their process. Admission

$10 adult; $7 students. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;

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

9 p.m. To October 13.

Also "Michael A. Smith: Landscapes," an exhibit of 13 images

of the land by the self-taught Bucks County photographer, to October

6. Five large-scale granite and marble sculptures by Harry Gordon

are on display in the Outdoor Sculpture Gardens, to October 27.

New Jersey Museum of Agriculture, College Farm Road and

Route 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. On view to January 17. $4 adults, $2 children.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton,

609-292-6464. "River of Leisure: Recreation Along the Delaware,"

to November 3. "Cruising Down the Delaware: Natural History You

Can See," an introduction to New Jersey’s natural features by

the historic waterway, to November 10. Museum hours are Tuesday through

Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Also "American Indians as Artists: The Beginnings of the

State Museum’s Ethnographic Collection," to September 15. "A

Decade of Collecting, Part 1," to January 5.

New Jersey State Museum Cafe Gallery, 205 West State Street,

Trenton, 609-394-9535. Watercolors by Sandra Nusblatt are on display

in the cafe gallery. Sales benefits New Jersey State Museum. To September


New Jersey State Museum, Department of State, 225

West State Street, Trenton, 609-292-6464. "A Decade of Collecting:

Works from the Museum’s Archaeological, Ethnographic, and Natural

History Collections." Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.,

to January 5, 2003.

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Art by the River

ABC Gallery, Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly Street,

609-397-0275. Paintings and monoprints by Laura Blasenheim, an artist

who began her career 20 years ago as a partner in the area furnishings

shop "Designing Women." In 1979, an auto accident left her

disabled and she turned to drawing and painting as part of her therapy.

Now she offers a vision of the world that is both vibrant and moving.

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. To September 27.

Atelier Gallery, 108 Harrison Street, Frenchtown, 908-996-9992.

Group show by abstractionists C.M. Gross, Don Jordan, Florence Moonan,

and Mitchell Yarmark. Thursday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To September


Coryell Gallery, 8 Coryell Street, Lambertville, 609-397-0804.

Annual summer group show by more than a dozen artists that highlights

works by the nationally-recognized Trenton-born muralist Charles William

Ward (1900-1962). Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To September


Louisa Melrose Gallery, 41 Bridge Street, Frenchtown,

908-996-1470. "Abstractions and Reflections," a group show

by area artists including Ed Baumlin, W. Carl Burger, Sonya Kuhfahl,

Nadine and Nancy Synnestvedt, and Barbara White. Gallery is 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 September 18.

Premier Fine Art Gallery, 200 Union Square Drive, New

Hope, 215-862-2112. "The Early Paintings" by Gordon Haas,

an exhibit of 40 paintings with subject matter ranging from harness

racing and wildlife to landscape and city scenes.

Tin Man Alley, 12 West Mechanic Street, New Hope, 215-862-1110.

"Gods and Guerrillas," a three-person show of new paintings

by Ron English, Lisa Petrucci, and Dalek. Open Thursday through Monday,

noon to 7 p.m. To September 30.

Area Galleries

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

Shared photography show features M. Jay Goodkind’s black-and-white

prints "From the Garden," and Rhoda Kassof-Isaac’s hand-colored

double exposures, "About Color." Open Saturday, 11 a.m. to

5 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. To September 15.

Montgomery Center for the Arts, 1860 House, 124 Montgomery

Road, 609-921-3272. In the Upstairs Gallery, "Painterly Approaches:

Recent Works by Patrice Sprovieri and Betty Reeves Klank" featuring

watercolor landscape, genre, and still life paintings. Opening reception

is Sunday, September 8, 2 to 4 p.m., for the show that runs to September

29. Gallery hours: Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sundays

1 to 4 p.m.

Morpeth Gallery, 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell, 609-333-9393.

Shared show of paintings by Kirby Fredendall and sculpture by Donna

McCullough. Pennsylvania artist Fredendall refers to her abstract

paintings as memory portraits. The subjects rendered are biological,

images gleaned from ultrasounds and X-rays, seedpods and budding plants.

McCullough, a member of the Washington Sculpture Group, shows works

from her recent series "Drill Team." Constructed of vintage

gas and oil cans, her garment-like sculptures parody our society’s

intimate involvement with oil and petroleum products. Open Wednesday

to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To September


Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road, North

Branch Station, 908-725-2110. "Food Chain," an international

juried group show that looks at the relationship between food and

survival. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4

p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. Reception is Sunday, September 8 for the

show that runs to September 14.

West Windsor Library, North Post Road, West Windsor, 609-799-0462.

Exhibit of Chinese calligraphy on wood by Ming-Yee Chiu. Inspired

by the tradition of carving Chinese couplets on a pair of bamboo boards,

he carves calligraphy on a variety of woods. To September 30. @HEAD

14 = Campus Arts

Princeton University Art Museum, 609-258-3788. "Guardians

of the Tomb: Spirit Beasts in Tang Dynasty China," extended to

September 29. "Photographs from the Peter C. Bunnell Collection,"

to October 27. 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.

Firestone Library, Milberg Gallery, Princeton University,

609-258-3184. "Heroic Pastorals: Images of the American Landscape."

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

Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20

Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Celebration," paintings by Lee

Rumsey inspired by music, dance, and photography. Gallery hours are

Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to 8 p.m. To

October 11.

Gallery at Mercer County College, Communications Center,

West Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Balance," a shared

show of recent works by John Franklin and Sarah Stengle. Artists’

reception is Thursday, September 12 at 5:30 p.m., with a gallery talk

on Wednesday, September 25, at 7 p.m. Gallery hours Tuesday to Thursday,

11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday evenings 6 to 8 p.m.; Thursday evenings

7 to 9 p.m. To October 3.

"In my work in the past, I wanted to escape the idea of `beauty’

(as foolish as that may seem now)," says Franklin, who earned

an MFA at the California Institute of the Arts. "I am now far

more comfortable submitting to that urge to reflect upon and try to

make something beautiful than ever before." After spending several

years in Japan with his wife and daughter, Franklin now works at the

Johnson Atelier.

Stengle, who has an MFA from the School of Visual Arts, recently moved

to the area with her two young daughters. She is currently developing

a property in Trenton into studios for artists. "My work is very

much a product of my times, and even elements of the work that are

old are used in a symbolic rather than nostalgic manner," she

says. "I see myself as standing against the speed, noise, and

aggression in our culture."

Rider University Art Gallery, Student Center, Route 206,

Lawrenceville, 609-896-5325. Garden State Watercolor Society 33d annual

juried members’ exhibition. Jurors are Joe Frassetta and Donald W.

Patterson. Opening reception and awards ceremony Saturday, September

21, 2 to 5 p.m. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m.

to 7 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.; and Saturdays, August 31,

and September 14, from noon to 4 p.m. To September 27.

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Pierrot Productions has auditions for Neil Simon’s "Rumors,"

Sunday, September 8, at 1 p.m., and Monday, September 9, at 7 p.m.

The cast of 10 ranges in age from 30s to 50s. Prepare a short comic

monologue. Show runs November 15 to 24. To schedule, call 609-730-9099.

Like 40 Productions has auditions for "A Funny Thing

Happened on the Way to the Forum," on Saturday and Sunday, September

14 and 15, from noon to 4 p.m., at Mercer College, 1200 Old Trenton

Road. (Room location will be posted at Kelsey Theater). The show will

be directed by Dan Spalluto, with musical direction by Shannon Ferrara.

For information, E-mail:

Kids Only

New Jersey Repertory Theater has auditions for "The

Wizard of Oz" Friday, September 13 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, September

14 at 10 a.m. at North Brunswick High School, Route 130 and Raider

Road. Actors ages 5 to 17 come prepared to sing a Broadway showtune,

Disney song, or Happy Birthday. Show plays weekend of October 26.

Call 732-821-6644.

Young Actors Workshop fall workshop begins Saturday,

September 28, for ages 10 to adult. Classes at Mason Gross School

of the Arts are taught by the school’s MFA acting students. Cost is

$330. Call 732-415-0682.

Call for Entries

Border’s Books and Music seeks photos of your dog for

the "Hi! It’s Me, Your Dog!" photo contest. Take or send your

nonreturnable picture to Borders in Nassau Park between September

1 and 30 for display. Winners, notified by October 20, will be chosen

by Emmy-Award winner journalist Lisa Mendoza. Call 800-497-4909 for


Quaker Bridge Mall seeks submissions for a Hometown Heroes

Contest. Submit essay, photo essay, drawing, or painting, telling

the story of a hero in your life. Entry deadline is Monday, September

30. Winners will be honored at a ceremony and receive a $500 mall

shopping spree on October 11. Bring entries to customer service center

or e-mail to

Volunteer Call

Somerset County Park Commission seeks volunteers for the

TRAILS program providing riding instruction for children and adults

with developmental disabilities. No experience needed. Call 908-526-5650.

Participate Please

Sovereign Bank Arena seeks participants willing to provide

classic cars for display on Friday, October 4 as part of the Annual

Mercer County Open House Weekend. Each vehicle receive two tickets

to the Doo Wop 2002 concert. Also seeking fire trucks for display

on Sunday, October 6, from noon to 4 p.m. to promote fire prevention


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