In the Galleries: Art in Town

Art in the Workplace

Art by the River

Campus Arts

Art In Trenton

Area Museums

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This article by Jack Florek was prepared for the July 9, 2003 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Peaceful Poetry of Asian Art

For I-Hsiung Ju of Kingston, art is more than just

a pretty picture, but something that encompasses every aspect of life.

"A Chinese artist is not only a painter," says Ju, "but

also a poet and a philosopher."

Considered one of the rare artists able to fuse his Asian style and

technique with a Western sensibility, Ju has had one-man shows in

Australia, Canada, China, England, Hong Kong, Japan, the Philippines,

and the United States. His work hangs in private collections around

the world.

I-Hsiung Ju will exhibit some of his recent works that include Chinese

brush paintings, oil, and acrylic paintings at his studio, 35 Sycamore

Place in Kingston, from Saturday, July 12, through Saturday, July

26, with an opening reception on Saturday, July 12, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Ju’s paintings — displayed in his modern, spacious studio that

is rich in natural light — often portray images from nature. They

are rendered with delicate Asian brush techniques of subtle washes

of color as well as boldly defined line that evocatively depict dreamlike

images of waterfalls, rivers rushing over stone, snow-clouded mountain

peaks, or gnarled tree roots pushing up from the ground like old bone.

But while their Asian influence is undeniable, the subject matter

remains thoroughly American. A painting entitled "Huge Rocks"

shows a scene of Mount Lemmon near Tucson, Arizona. "Winter in

the Mountains" reveals a horizon line that is dominated by the

Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where Ju once made his home.

Yet while his paintings represent the outward product of a lifetime

in art, Ju’s most enduring impact may be in the many lives he has

touched in a teaching career that has stretched over seven decades.

This includes 21 years in the Philippines before coming to the United

States in 1968, and another 20 years nurturing young art students

at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Today, in

his 80th year, Ju continues to teach privately from his home studio

and gallery in Kingston.

Ju’s philosophical approach to painting extends into

teachings. While he stresses the need for an artist to have command

of technique, there is more to becoming an artist. "Art is not

limited to technique," says Ju. "You have to be peaceful inside

in order to paint a peaceful painting."

And rather than see himself teaching an exclusive fellowship of future

artists, Ju believes art can enhance every facet of life. "Some

of my students have gone on to become artists, but many more have

become bankers, business-persons, lawyers," says Ju. "But

I believe art should be part of everybody’s education. You will be

a better banker if you know art."

Ju was born in 1923, in Jiangsu, China, the son of a Chinese brush

painter. He graduated from the National University of Amoy in 1947

with an A.B. degree in Chinese Art and Literature. After serving for

two-and-a-half years in the army, he left China for the Philippines,

where he began his teaching career while he continuing his studies.

He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, receiving

his BFA in 1951 and MA in history in 1968.

He spent the next 21 years in Manila, primarily teaching the children

of U.S. army and navy servicemen, embassy workers, and American businessmen

from Richmond, Virginia, working at the aluminum foil company. "Not

many people come to study art in the Philippines," he says. "But

it was important because these parents later worked hard on my behalf

to get me into the United States."

Already known as an exceptionally talented artist, Ju came to the

United States in 1968 shortly after Congress passed a law that allowed

him, and others like him, the opportunity to live here as a preferred

immigrant. In his case this was because of his artistic abilities.

"I came to this country with a pre-arranged employment at the

University of Connecticut," he says. "It was a wonderful opportunity."

The following year, Marion Junkin, chairman of the department of fine

arts at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, learned

of Ju through a publication of the university center in Richmond.

She invited him to join her faculty. There Ju became a cornerstone

of the art department.

"I was their one-man show," he says. "Aside from watercolor,

oil painting, graphics, and Chinese brush painting, I also taught

ceramics, weaving, ran the printing machine, and the photography darkroom,


Ju made an impact on his students almost immediately. Shortly after

arriving at Washington and Lee, he encountered a student painting

the word "revolution" on a wall. Asking the student what he

was doing, the student replied, "I am a revolutionist." Ju

said, "You are a revolutionist on a wall only." Since art

represents action, Ju and the student repainted the entire wall.

As a part of the university community, Ju and his wife went on to

create Art Farm, near Lexington, in 1975. Art Farm’s concept was based

on the ancient Shu Yuan in China, a place where students came to study,

work, and live with their masters. "I initially couldn’t afford

the mortgage to purchase the property," says Ju. "So the university

promoted me to a full salary position."

Located in a 200-year-old house nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains,

on eight acres of rural property enriched with a variety of thriving

trees, Art Farm offered students an all-encompassing learning environment.

Students who came to study art also repaired windows and doors, rewired

the house, replaced water pipes, and jacked up floors to build a new


As it continued to develop, Art Farm became a haven

for budding artists who would come not just for classes, but to stay.

"Students would live with us bringing their dogs and guitars,"

says Ju. "We would eat home-grown vegetables and offer them real

life lessons to go along with their art."

Ju also taught practical lessons in the educational benefits of studying

abroad. Every other year during his tenure at Washington and Lee he

took approximately 10 students to Taiwan for one semester. There he

would serve as both guide and mentor, and routinely lost 10 pounds

in the process. Students would study Chinese art, religion, philosophy,

and history, but for many students the experience would prove to be

enlightening in unforeseen ways. "Most of my students came from

rich families from the deep south," he says. "These trips

to Taiwan gave them the opportunity to mingle with poor, hardworking

Taiwanese students."

By immersing themselves in a different culture, students were often

able to experience subtle but powerful ways of seeing the world.

"My students were surprised when the Taiwanese students would

use the word `we’ in place of the word `I’ when speaking," says

Ju. "I told them, `when you speak, you are only representing yourself.

But when they speak, they are representing the whole nation’."

He says his American students, pampered by the American educational

system, often found themselves embarrassed in their interactions with

the Taiwanese people. "They were surprised at how much the Taiwanese

knew about the U.S., while they didn’t know anything about Taiwan

or China," explains Ju. "Their limited knowledge frightened


While his students enjoyed viable educational rewards from the trip,

their parents received an unexpected benefits as well. "In those

days, many students would wear their hair long," says Ju. "We

would bring them to the other side of the world and when they came

back they would cut their hair, stop using drugs, and make their beds

every morning. The parents liked that a great deal."

After retiring from Washington and Lee in 1989, Ju stayed on in Virginia,

teaching and painting. In the 1990s he was diagnosed with cancer and

neighbors and friends volunteered to drive him to the hospital for

radiation therapy — a four-hour round trip. "I would have

liked to have lived and died in Virginia," says Ju. But when the

burden of transportation became too great in 1999, Ju and his wife,

Chow-Soon Chuang Ju, married since 1947, moved to Kingston to be with

their family.

Now he and his wife are happy sharing a household with two of their

four daughters. Doris Ju, works for Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Helen

is an office worker at Princeton University. Ju completed his chemotherapy

in Princeton in 2000 and has since been declared cancer-free. He continues

to teach art through correspondence courses and workshops.

Ju still abides by lessons he learned from his artist father. "My

father taught me three essential steps to becoming an artist:

"1) Follow the ways of your teacher, obey his instructions,

and do exercises every day.

"2) Read and travel widely. Learn how to paint bamboo, and

then go outside to see real bamboo. Then remember the lesson.

"3) Now put the first two steps together. Paint what you

want and paint the way you want. But now your technique will be there


Ju adds another important lesson he learned from his father.

"Everything should be beautiful," he says. "We have lost

the garden and it is an artist’s job to rebuild paradise. Then it

is our job to help others to see the beauty that remains."

— Jack Florek

I-Hsiung Ju, Professor I-Hsiung Ju’s Painting Studio,

35 Sycamore Place, Kingston, 609-430-1887. Opening reception for an

exhibition of Chinese brush painting, oil and acrylic paintings, and

calligraphy. On view to July 26. Saturday, July 12, 2 to 5 p.m.

Studio open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 2 to 5

p.m., and by appointment.

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In the Galleries: Art in Town

Marsha Child Contemporary, 220 Alexander Street, 609-497-7330.

"New Worlds," a solo exhibition of oil paintings and watercolors

by Valeriy Skrypka. A newly-published book features full-color reproductions

of Skrypka paintings from recent years and analytical text by Sam

Hunter of Princeton University. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

to 5:30 p.m. To July 12.

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Art in the Workplace

Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street, 609-497-4000.

Watercolors by Pennington artist Pamela Warner Miller. Part of the

proceeds benefit the medical center. To July 16.

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Art by the River

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

"Natural Visions," a shared show of landscapes and seascapes

by Michael Filipiak and Cheryl Raywood. Open Thursday to Sunday, noon

to 5 p.m. To August 11.

Louisa Melrose Gallery, 41 Bridge Street, Frenchtown,

908-996-1470. Fifth annual juried show of works by artists from New

Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m.

to 5 p.m. To July 15.

New Hope Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition, Union Square, West

Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-3396. Sculpture exhibition features

the outdoor installation of seven large-scale works at sites around

town. Host sites include Union Square, New Hope Solebury Library,

the Wedgwood Inn, New Hope Historical Society, Golden Door Gallery,

and New Hope Mule Barge. On view to Spring 2004.

Peggy Lewis Gallery, Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly

Street, 609-397-0275. "The Indecisive Moment," a show by veteran

photojournalist Bryan Grigsby. With influences as diverse as the graceful

compositions of Henri Cartier-Bresson to the absurdities and wit of

Elliott Erwitt, Grigsby’s philosophy toward his craft has evolved

into a singular and personal style of seeing. Monday to Thursday,

1 to 9 p.m.; Friday 1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To

August 1.

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Campus Arts

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

New Vulgarians: New York Pop," an exhibition of 18 works that

seeks to reposition pop in such away that its challenging and discomforting

aspects can be perceived again; to July 13. 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.

Also "In Pursuit of the Past: Provenance Research at the Princeton

University Art Museum," a behind-the-scenes look at the research

methods used to trace the history of works of art focusing on issues

related to ownership and collecting; to August 10.

Firestone Library, Princeton University, 609-258-1148.

"Brave New World: 20th-Century Books from the Cotsen Children’s

Library," an exhibition that fills the library’s main gallery

and the Milberg Gallery upstairs.

Rider University Art Gallery, Student Center, Lawrenceville,

609-895-5589. Art exhibition by 60 students from a variety of majors.

Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays from noon to

4 p.m. To September 12.

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Art In Trenton

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

TAWA Open 2003, a group show of members’ work selected by E. Carmen

Ramos, assistant fine arts curator at the Newark Museum. Eric Kunsman’s

work "Light Source," an iris giclee print of an original photograph,

wins Best in Show. Juror’s Choice Awards go to works by Connie Gray,

Bill Hogan, Don Jordan, Michelle Soslau, and Maggie Zullinger. Open

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


Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-0616. Spring Exhibition features a new outdoor addition by

Rhea Zinman. In the Domestic Arts Building, Zigi Ben-Haim "Journey

With Me," plus sculptures and paintings by Illya Kagan. Also extended

through spring, the museum exhibit of glass art by Dale Chihuly. Show

continues to July 13. Park admission $4 to $10.

Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round. Admission is

$4 Tuesday to Thursday; $7 Friday & Saturday; $10 Sunday. Annual memberships


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

609-292-6464. "The Needle’s Eye," quilts, samplers, and needlework

made in New Jersey from the 18th to the early 20th century; to September

14. "Taking It Personally: Selected Paintings 1962 to 2003" by

Paul Matthews continues in the museum’s Cityside Gallery, to July


Also "The Ones That Didn’t Get Away! Fossil Fish from the New

Jersey State Museum," featuring the skull of a massive ancient

predatory fish, Dunkleosteus, known as the "Bulldog Fish"

of the Chalk Seas. Show is organized by David Parris, curator of Natural

History. On extended view. "Cultures in Competition: Indians and

Europeans in Colonial New Jersey," a show that traces the impact

of European settlement on the native Indians’ way of life after 1600.

Also "Art by African-Americans: A Selection from the Collection;"

"New Jersey’s Native Americans: The Archaeological Record;"

"Delaware Indians of New Jersey;" "The Sisler Collection

of North American Mammals;" "Of Rock and Fire;" "Neptune’s

Architects;" "The Modernists;" "New Jersey Ceramics,

Silver, Glass and Iron;" "Historical Archaeology of Colonial

New Jersey;" "Washington Crossing the Delaware."

Area Galleries

Family Framers, 15 East Railroad Avenue, Jamesburg, 732-605-7900.

Artwork by 80-year-old Virginia Brazil, a graduate of the University

of Miami with a degree in journalism. Brazel’s family had an art gallery

in Cedar Grove. When she discovered the Jamesburg studio, owned by

two retired New Jersey school teachers, she began studying art there

every week. On view to July 31.

Nonesuch Framing & Fine Art, 1378 Route 206 South, Skillman,

609-252-0020. "Perceptions," a group show by members of the

Creative Artists Guild. Artists include Jane Adriance, Colin Throm,

Mary Kramarenko, Patrice Sprovieri, Darlene Prestbo, Lorraine Williams,

and Connie Gray. Open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday,

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To July 12.

Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road, North

Branch Station, 908-725-2110. "Backroads & Boulevards," an

international juried show that looks at contrasts and conflicts between

rural and urban environments. Open Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m.

to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. To July 19.

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

Chinese ink painting exhibition by West Windsor artist Maolin Zhang.

A portion of the sale of paintings will be donated to the West Windsor

Arts Council. Reception on Saturday, July 12, features music by Yi

Yang on the zheng. On view during library hours through July 31.

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Area Museums

American Hungarian Foundation Museum, 300 Somerset Street,

New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "Stephen Spinder: Through My Lens,

Budapest and Transylvania," a collection of photographs of the

Gothic spires and neo-classical facades of Budapest. Sprinder’s images

of Translvania reveal powerful vestiges of an ancient culture and

the preservation of Hungarian traditions, particularly its music and

dance, that have changed little over time. Open Tuesday to Saturday,

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. $5 donation. To November


Creative Glass Center of America, Wheaton Village, 1501

Glasstown Road, Millville, 856-825-6800. "The Fellows," an

exhibition celebrating CGCA’s 20th anniversary. The rotating anniversary

exhibit showcases contemporary glass works by past and current CGCA

fellowship recipients. On view to December 31. The show begins with

a spotlight on work by 2001 and 2002 fellows who come from as close

as West Orange as far as Hiroshima, Japan, and Adelaide, Australia,

to study at the center. Summer hours Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to

5 p.m. Wheaton Village admission $8 adult; $5 student.

James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown,

215-340-9800. "Japanese Prints from the Michener Collection,"

a selection of more than 40 ukiyo-e prints by some of the leading

artists of the highly influential school. The show featuring prints

from the Michener Collection of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and

organized by the Honolulu Academy, is on view to August 31. Summer

hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday 10 a.m.

to 9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Museum

admission $6 adults; $3 students and children.

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