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This article by Pat Summers was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on July 7,
1999. All rights reserved.
Organized Artists? At TAWA
Like anything else that is 20 years old, TAWA —
the Trenton Artists’ Workshop Association — has had its ups and
downs. That’s a wide-angle view of the organization that now boasts
some 150 regional artist members and a summer series of exhibitions
that took some doing. The close-up view, with a zoom to a TAWA member
and her own invitational show — can by definition be more, well,
focused. To all appearances though, TAWA (rhymes with "Wawa")
has got its second wind. And it seems like a strong one.
Founded in 1979 as a vehicle for networking among area artists, the
organization made its name with periodic exhibitions and a number
of significant related projects. These include a Soviet/TAWA Exchange
of 1989, and a group photography project that culminated in the book,
"Trenton Takes: 24 Hours in the City." More recently, around
the time veteran leaders turned over the reins of responsibility to
a new generation of TAWA members, the organization languished. Now
with the opening on Saturday, July 10, of the second of three TAWA
invitational shows at Ellarslie, the Trenton City Museum, and a major
planning session coming up next month for both the organization’s
20th anniversary and the millennium, TAWA seems to be "on the
No small undertaking, the TAWA invitationals illustrate how the organization
is rebounding. To pull off three juried exhibitions in a row, each
involving five artists, with each artist allocated their own room
to fill with art work, is a feat. It’s even more notable when those
pulling off the venture are part of a whole new governing crew that
first said, "We’re supposed to do WHAT?!" — then reinvented
the process that, for the second year, has made the summer invitationals
(15 solo shows, for all practical purposes) possible. And they did
such a good job that this year’s professional juror still lauds the
"`Artists’ organization’ is kind of an oxymoron," says Brian
H. Peterson, senior curator at Doylestown’s James A. Michener Art
Museum, and juror of the TAWA invitationals. But he describes the
TAWA representatives he dealt with as a "professional group with
lots of variety and very efficient."
Wryly describing interactions with most artists as "high maintenance
relationships," Peterson says TAWA’s exhibition team, coordinator
Paul Mordetsky with Elizabeth McCue, made the process comparatively
easy. Their agreement to stiffen entry requirements — calling
for a full complement of slides, an artist’s statement, and a resume
— attracted the 21 artists of whom 15 were selected. After reviewing
all the slides to get to know entrants’ work, Peterson ultimately
made his choices, then worked with Mordetsky and McCue on alternative
ways to group the three artistic quintets.
Finally, considering medium and room configuration,
Mordetsky matched artists with rooms at Ellarslie, where the first
floor allows three artists to show their work, while two more share
the second floor with the museum’s permanent collection.
The second exhibition of the 1999 TAWA Invitationals runs to August
10, with an opening reception Saturday, July 10, from 6 to 8 p.m.
As the first show also did, this exhibit showcases a variety of mediums
by the five participants: Hope Carter’s installations that explore
the effects of environmental space; Michael C. Lees’ figurative paintings,
with religious and philosophical themes; John A. MacCalus’s explorations
of the human figure as landscape; Michelle Soslau’s prints; and Idaherma
Williams’s "Dupcheu woodcut series."
A series of coincidences a few years ago caused Idaherma Williams
to make a trip that still resonates in her home, her conversation,
her clothes, her art. She bought a book that introduced her to the
culture of the Haida, a native people of northwestern Canada, and
some kind of chord was struck. When a bequest came her way, and she
learned about a trip to that very place, she seized the opportunity
to visit the people whose art had fascinated her from a distance.
After three weeks getting to know the Haida; after their chief presented
her with a round, silver pin showing a hummingbird that she wears
today as a pendant; and after the name "Dupcheu," or "little
woman" was bestowed on her, the five-foot-tall artist began what
she calls her Dupcheu series, which she will show at Ellarslie.
"Sometimes things happen and you go with the flow. If you don’t,
you stop yourself from being creative," she says.
Let the record show, and the pronunciation too, that Williams’ first
name is pronounced "E-daherma," as if the first vowel were
a long "e." Her art is not confined to wood block prints,
nor is her exhibition space limited to Ellarslie. In her own words,
she produces "a wide range of work:" colorful abstract oils
and watercolors, as well as prints. She often works in series; for
instance, two of her prints from a transportation series are part
of the Printmaking Council’s 25th anniversary show at the Newark Museum.
A black and white "Dragon flowers" print from her "East-West"
series merited honorable mention at the Artsbridge juried exhibition
at Prallsville Mills, in Stockton. A show of her illuminated miniature
watercolors at Taste Buds in New Hope opens with a reception Saturday,
July 10, from 4 to 6 p.m. and continues through August. And Williams’
work is also included in a current show by the International Woodblock
Society in Kyoto, Japan.
For the TAWA show, Williams’s Dupcheu prints are on view in a first-floor
room at Ellarslie. Described by the artist as distillations or reinterpretations
of her experience with the Haida people, her works are either boldly
black and white, or colored, generously sized, and printed on luxuriant
hand-made (not by her) paper. To what might be predictable motifs
— totem poles, ravens, eagles, suns — Williams brings an incisive
style that one guesses the Haida themselves would find appealing.
Williams has always made art. She earned her BFA from the Philadelphia
College of Art, her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania, and also
studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. "I tried everything,
but nothing appealed to me but wood," she says. She uses any kind
of wood, as long as it is soft enough to work. She displays her woodworking
tools with the same pride she evidences in describing how important
it was for her to become skilled at printing her own images, rather
than counting on someone else to do it. Although she owns an old press,
she prefers a baren — a flat, round hand-tool used to rub the
back of the printing sheet on which a single impression will be made
— to produce limited-edition prints. Showing a visitor some recent
ones, she agrees that the sensory pleasure she takes in them includes
the very smell of ink and paper. She may start with sketches, or not,
explaining, "I’m more intuitive and emotional than mechanical."
Born in the South Bronx, New York, Williams moved as a child to Philadelphia
with her parents — her mother, a bookkeeper; her father, a carpenter
who also sold restaurant equipment. She remembers keeping her father
company on his buying and selling forays, drawing all the way. Her
brother, born when she was about 10, is an engineer. Now, with her
husband, David, a botany teacher, she lives in the Princeton area.
Their adult son, Evan, lives in Stockton.
Williams maintains affiliations with a broad array of printmaking
associations, currently serving on the board of directors of the Society
of American Graphic Artists (SAGA), in New York, and others. She has
been a TAWA member for 15 years, she says. Eager to share her impressions
of the Haida people, Williams offers a slide show to those who want
to know more, and she will discuss the Dupcheu woodblocks in a gallery
talk at Ellarslie on Sunday, July 11, at 2 p.m.
"Don’t forget that second wind." A reanimated TAWA is coming
around again, gusting through sometimes-musty Ellarslie. Good for
both of them.
— Pat Summers
Cadwalader Park, 609-989-3632. Opening reception for a TAWA members’
juried group show featuring Hope Carter, Michael C. Lees, John MacCalus,
Michelle Soslau, and Idaherma Williams. Saturday, July 10, 6 to
2 to 4 p.m., for the show that runs to August 1. TAWA website is at
members’ juried group show, Sunday, July 11, 2 p.m. Gallery
talk by Hope Carter and Michelle Soslau, Sunday, July 18, 2 p.m.
Gallery talk by Michael C. Lees, Sunday, July 25, 2 p.m. Gallery
talk by John MacCalus, Sunday, August 1, 2 p.m.
Street, New Hope, 215-862-9722. Opening reception for a show of miniature
illuminated watercolors. Show continues to August 31. Free. Saturday,
July 10, 4 to 6 p.m..
Cadwalader Park, 609-989-3632. Opening reception for the third TAWA
members’ juried group show featuring Judy Fowler, Mary Person Hrbacek,
Ruth Jourjine, Tomi Urayama, and Nancy Zamboni, is Saturday, August
7, 6 to 8 p.m.
"Heart of the Matter: New Abstraction," an exhibition of photographs
by Ray Anderson, sculpture by Lee Tribe, and paintings by Atanas Zgalevski,
Natalia Zaloznaya, and Lucien Dulfan. To July 31. Gallery hours are
Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment.
609-799-6706. "May Bender," the East Brunswick artist’s first
retrospective show, covering the years 1945 to the present. A lifetime
painter, trained as the Art Students League, Bender has produced more
than 350 paintings, working in figurative, geometric, and abstract
expressionist genres. Show features oils on canvas and works on paper.
To August 14. 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.
East, 609-452-7800. "Dual Perceptions," a show of paintings
by Joy H. Barth. To July 26. This solo exhibition includes Barth’s
recent works which combine painting, drawing, and printmaking. "Using
the different media, I hope to invent a language that is nature-based,"
says Barth. "The art speaks of the indefinable, that illusive
moment, the passage of wind, or the cadence of rain."
"Funk-Tional Art," a mini-exhibit of African animal lamps
by Cape Town artists Michael Methven and Mwande Mthini. Show runs
through July 31. Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to
5 p.m.; Thursday, noon to 8 p.m.
In the dining room, an exhibit of works by the Haitian-born oils artist
Etzer Desir. To July 15. At the Merwick Unit, paintings by Alice Warshaw,
to September 7. Formerly of Roosevelt, and now residing in Lawrenceville,
Warshaw traces her love of figure painting to studies with Elizabeth
Lombardi at the Arts Council of Princeton. She studied art at the
College of New Jersey, MCCC, and Rider, earning her state certificate
to teach art while working as a porcelain figurine decorator and inspector
with Ispanky Porcelains. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
"From Here to There," an exhibition of contemporary landscapes
by Brenda Hartill of New Zealand, Joe McIntyre of Scotland, English
artist Simon Palmer, and the Belgium-born Max Werner. To July 10.
Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
"Bill, Hank & Al: Landscapes," an exhibition of paintings
by William Wolfe, architect, and Henry Arnold and Alan Goodheart,
landscape architects, professional colleagues who share a passion
for painting. To August 2.
Says Al Goodheart: "These landscape paintings are real places
reinvented on location with acrylic colors. The places themselves
are important to me, but the paintings are about something special
that happens `out there.’" Adds Bill Wolfe, who has been carrying
a sketchbook for 10 years: "Whereas photography previously distracted
me, drawing intensified my vision. The natural settings themselves
compelled me to paint, as lines could not suffice. I paint to celebrate
the light, colors, and rhythms of the natural world, and in particular
the various moods of water."
Williams Gallery, 8 Chambers Street, 609-921-1142. First day
for "Urban Landscapes," recent works by Uri Dotan, Robert
Linton Ewens, Joan Hierholzer, and David Scott Leibowitz. An interpretation
of the city, night and day, by four artists employing both traditional
and digital mediums to create their images. To July 10. Gallery hours
are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
from the Collection of Dr. M. Jay Goodkind ’49," a show of 39
works of landscape and nature photography collected since 1964, part
of the collector’s promised bequest to the museum. The show includes
Ansel Adams’ "Aspens, New Mexico," 1958, the first work acquired
by Goodkind in 1964, which, together with eight additional Adams photographs,
set the tone of the collection. To September 5.
The Goodkind collection includes images by Edward Weston, Brett Weston,
Bruce Barnbaum, Paul Caponigro, William Clift, Robert Dawson, Dianne
Kornberg, and George Tice, among others. One area of concentration
is the sand dunes of Oceano and Death Valley, California, with works
in the collection by a variety of different artists.
Also "From Ritual Simplicity to Imperial Splendor: Chinese Ceramics
from the Collection of Nelson Chang ’74," to September 26; "Chinese
Painting and Calligraphy: In Memory of John B. Elliott," to September
In the Milberg Gallery, "Artifacts: The Biographical Object in
the Princeton University Library Collections," to September 15.
Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays; noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Watercolor and mixed-media prints and handpainted ceramics by Maria
Madonna Davidoff, to July 31.
A shared exhibition of wood engravings by Anne Steele Marsh and watercolors
by Charles R. Ross. To July 31.
609-397-4590. "Silver Prints," an exhibition of photographs
by New Jersey multi-media artist Victor Macarol, to September 30.
"Like a poet whose successful verse relies on descriptive imagery
and creative economy of words, Macarol composes his images with an
exact arrangement of chosen elements," says curator Cynthia Reed.
Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
609-397-2300. Joan Miro, signed and authenticated color lithographs,
1939 to 1972, by one of the 20th-century masters. Through July 25.
A landscape painting show by four of Poland’s well-known artists featuring
Jerzy Gnatowski, Jansuz Olszewski, Stanislaw Jan Lazorek, and Anna
Olszewska. The recently opened gallery features Delaware Valley artists
in a variety of creative media including painting, sculpture, photography,
woodworking, blown glass, and stained glass.
of Knowing: Six Points of Abstraction," an exhibition of non-representational
work by New Jersey artists including Jack Harris, Susan Hockaday,
Micheal Madigan, Pat Martin, Mary Ann Miller, and Ann Starkey, curated
by Micheal Madigan, runs through August 15. Artists’ reception is
Friday, July 16. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.
to 4 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 4 p.m.
In the lobby gallery, an exhibition of flower paintings in watercolor
by area artists Robert Raphael, Howard Siskowitz, and Yvonne Skaggs.
To July 23. The lobby gallery is always open.
"TAWA Invitational," a series of juried member group shows,
selected by Brian H. Peterson of the Michener Museum in Doylestown.
Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 2
to 4 p.m. Closed Mondays. TAWA website is at www.ilovelbi.com/tawa.
An exhibition of cast bronze and iron sculpture by Colleen O’Donnell.
Artist’s reception is Saturday, July 24, from 5 to 7 p.m., for the
show that runs to August 5.
609-586-0616. Gallery hours are Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to
4 p.m. at the 22-acre landscaped sculpture park is on the former state
fairgrounds site, with indoor exhibitions in the glass-walled, 10,000
square foot museum, and the newly-renovated Domestic Arts Building.
"New Jersey Arts Annual" featuring Emma Amos, Miriam Beerman,
Wendell Brooks, Marguerite Doernbach, Nancy Lee Kern, Barbara Klein,
Bill Leech, Mel Leipzig, Bob Mahon, George Segal, Debra Weier, and
others. Curators are Alison Weld and Margaret O’Reilly. To September
19. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday,
noon to 5 p.m.
Also "Apollo 11 Remembered," an exhibit of commemorative items,
to January 2; "Sunstruck!" an exhibit that explores the cultural
myths, music, literature, archaeological artifacts, and astronomy
of Earth’s nearest star, to March 12. On extended view: "Dinosaur
Turnpike: Treks through New Jersey’s Piedmont"; "Amber: The
Legendary Resin"; "The Moon: Fact & Fiction."
732-524-3698. "Joseph Csatari Retrospective," an exhibition
by the South River artist known as "heir to Norman Rockwell"
runs to August 5. The show includes portraits, watercolors, book cover
art, and commercial illustration. Free by appointment.
Also "About Energy" by Patrick Schiavino, a self-taught painter
and mixed-media artist who believes that everything we know consists
of energy. In the New Jersey Artists Series. To July 12.
609-895-7307. "Contemporary Landscapes" curated by Gary Snyder
of Snyder Fine Art in New York. Featured artists are Laura E. Chenicek,
Tim Daly, Frank Ippolito, Robert Kogge, Adolf Konrad, Valerie Larko,
and Nancy Silvia. To July 16. Exhibit is open Monday to Friday, 9
a.m. to 5 p.m.
Road, 609-921-3272. "Tour de France Exhibit" by watercolorists
Ellen Faber, Nancy Jorgenson, Beverly Nickel, and Gail Robertson.
To July 31. Hours are Tuesdays through Sundays, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30
p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Group show of landscape and still life in oils by Stephen Kennedy,
Christine Lafuente, and David Shevlino. To July 17. Gallery hours
are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Christine Lafuente paints exclusively from life and is an instructor
and artist-in-resident at the Fleisher Art Memorial in Philadelphia.
"I spend so much time looking in nature for what I paint: images
in life that satisfy an internal esthetic vision I have," she
says. Shevlino, a painter of plein air landscapes, won a regional
NEA fellowship in painting. Kennedy is a graduate of the National
Academy of Design who apprenticed with portraitist Nelson Shanks.
908-725-2110. "Artful Pastiche: Highlighting New Jersey College
Artists," a juried exhibition of works by 34 student artists.
In the Library Gallery: "Judy Lyons Schneider: Transformed Transfers."
Both shows continue to July 15.
Street, New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "The Hungarian Spark in America,"
an exhibition highlighting Hungarian contributions to the arts, sciences,
humanities, commerce, religious and civic life in America. To January
31, 2000. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. $3 donation.
732-257-4340. Contemporary sculpture by 110 artists in natural outdoor
installations. The outdoor venue remains open through October. Hours
are Friday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment.
Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-932-2222, extension 838. "Veiled Time:
Contemporary Artists and the Holocaust," curated by Judith Brodsky,
featuring works by Aharon Gluska, Melissa Gould, David Levinthal,
Zbigniew Libera, Diane Neumaier, Gabrielle Roassmer, Lubo Stacho,
and Murray Zimiles. To July 31.
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