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This article by F.R. Rivera was prepared for the August 13, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
TAWA Tests Digital Media
The ranks of the Trenton Artists Workshop Association,
or TAWA as it is now known, have grown significantly since the cooperative
was first established in 1979. To this day, the organization remains
a loose coalition of independents, an association of convenience;
soldiers attired in no particular uniform and combative only against
the enemies of art.
TAWA’s leading lights and the group’s officers meet the second Monday
of each month at Joe’s Mill Hill Saloon in Trenton. They also participate
in an annual juried show, TAWA at Ellarslie, where they take their
lumps from a different exhibition guest juror each year. Some walk
away with a juror’s award, while the works of others may never make
it onto the gallery walls.
Despite the change in the identity of the juror, the TAWA exhibit
does not change much from year to year. This year’s juror is E. Carmen
Ramos, the assistant curator for cultural engagement at the Newark
Museum. Ramos, who is completing her doctoral studies in Latin American
art at the University of Chicago, has a taste for contemporary Caribbean
and African-American art. Perhaps she hoped to create a multicultural
empowerment expo south of Newark; if so, with TAWA’s regular members
she found herself unable to pull it off.
Each year TAWA’s juried shows are dominated by the same artists, many
of whom are locked into styles that seem resistant to change. The
best clue to Ramos’s point of view emerges in her choice of juror’s
awards. These went to works by Connie Gray, Bill Hogan, Don Jordan,
Michelle Soslau, and Maggie Zullinger. Her Best in Show award went
to Eric Kunsman’s "Light Source," an Iris giclee (pronounced
This review is not a lament against stability or artistic maturity.
Artists arrive at maturity over time; and we would place the average
age of TAWA member-exhibitors in their mid-40s. Most have arrived
at the settled imagery and media that bring depth and resonance to
a body of work. Grouping their work together, however, and despite
the juror’s efforts to shape a point of view, this annual roundup
tends to have a predictable look.
Of course, the artists differ in many ways. They work in a wide variety
of styles and media, and Ramos writes in the show catalogue that theirs
is an "impressive diversity." Together, however, they have
a signature look spelled "T-A-W-A." TAWA at Ellarslie is not
a bad show; it is — if anything — a reliably good show, but
it is a "comfortable" good show. It lacks the edginess and
innovation that are hallmarks of some other artist co-ops in central
New Jersey and across the river in New Hope.
"Once a TAWA member always a TAWA member," one artist told
me recently. "I may lapse, but I always go back." Such loyalty
is typical, and explains why the same artists exhibit repeatedly.
New members trickle in from time to time; and when they are good,
they give the exhibition a needed bump up. One such new member, the
Best in Show winner, must get credit for raising the level of the
exhibition this year.
A member of TAWA for less than a year, Kunsman exhibits three extraordinary
photographs, shot traditionally with a 35-mm camera, but printed digitally.
Despite the fact that he himself is an accomplished printer, Kunsman
says he has "not set foot in a darkroom for three years."
He uses the computer to create the enhancements that traditional darkroom
chemistry once provided.
The output from high-resolution printers like Epson and Iris may be
digital, but these convey the texture and warmth of old analog prints.
While Kunsman is comfortable with technology, and loves the fact that
the paper and inks are archival, his is an artist’s eye.
Kunsman began drawing and painting when he was in third
grade — the same year he started to help his roofer father in
the industrial rust belt in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He did not acquire
a camera until his senior year in high school. Two black-and-white
prints "Bethlehem Steel" and "Rochester Quarry" are
eerily cinematic, as though the camera hesitated before moving slowly
in another direction. The two sites are unpeopled; and there is almost
a Hitchcock-like sense of expectancy about them.
"Light Source," the work that Ramos named "Best in Show,"
is a color print, produced digitally from a scan of an original photograph
and printed digitally on fine art paper. An abandoned room with the
menacing feel of an assassin’s hideaway coaxes a massive shaft of
buttery, liquid light into its interior. Finely-calibrated grays and
blacks give way to molten whiteness studded with faint pinks. Kunsman
explains that he created the piece with a drag-shutter, moving his
camera diagonally, forcing the window to expose in multiple halos
of light. The result is an amazing image that is worth the trip to
— F.R. Rivera
Cadwalader Park, 609-989-3632. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to
3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To September 14.
the show. Maggie Zullinger and William Knight, Sunday, August
17. Beth Gross, Sunday, August 24. Bill Hogan, Sunday,
September 7. Terry Rosiak, Sunday, September 14. All talks are
at 2 p.m.
collections range from ancient to contemporary art, concentrating
on the Mediterranean regions, Western Europe, China, the United States,
and Latin America. Greek and Roman antiquities, including ceramics,
marbles and bronzes, and Roman mosaics from Princeton’s own excavations
in Antioch are represented. Also sculpture, metalwork, and stained
glass from Medieval Europe and important examples of Western European
paintings from the early Renaissance through the 19th Century. Chinese
art — bronzes, tomb figures, painting, and calligraphy — as
well as pre-Columbian art of the Maya, represent some of the Museum’s
greatest strengths. Also African art and American Indian art. 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. Free admission.
"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. To October 26.
609-895-5589. Student art exhibition, work by 60 students from a variety
of majors. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to
7 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. To September 12.
Cranbury. A shared show of paintings by Ruth Kaufman and Robin Lundin
Murray. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays noon to 3
p.m. To August 29.
Shared show of photography: "Night Light" by Mary Julia Kephart,
and "Infinities" by Coleen Marks. Gallery hours are Saturday
and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment. To August 24.
609-586-0616. Seasonal outdoor sculpture exhibition features the International
Sculpture Center’s first juried exhibition selected by artist Helen
Escobedo, curator Stephen Nash, and critic Carter Radcliffe. New additions
outdoors by Magdalena Abakanowicz, Benbow Bullock, Ron Mehlman, and
Pat Musick. Shows continue to September 28.
Grounds for Sculpture is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9
p.m., year round. Adult admission is $4 Tuesday to Thursday; $7 Friday
and Saturday; and $10 on Sunday.
Avenue, Mercerville, 609-689-1089. Barbara Schaff, paintings of orchids.
To September 14.
"Watercolor Anarchy II," a group show of watercolors by Gail
Bracegirdle and seven of her students. Students participating in the
exhibit include Carol Bleistein, Lawrenceville; Ron Flegel, Monmouth
Junction; Ruth Kaufman, Princeton; Robin L. Murray, Trenton; Lionel
Scriven, Lambertville; Kinga Soni, Plainsboro; and Chari Wurtzel,
Horsham, Pennsylvania. Open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To August 30.
TAG, the Art Group, and a summer show, "Fruits of the Earth,"
Open Monday & Friday, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday to Thursday to
8:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To August 31.
"Alternate Dimensions" featuring recent two- and three-dimensional
works by Bob Baum and B.A. Keogh. Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To September 7.
609-773-0881. Drawings and photographs by Smita Rao of Doylestown,
with works by Amy Glaser, Leonard Partanna, and Miriam Seiden. Thursday
to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. To August 31.
Annual summer group show of watercolors, acrylics, oils, pastels,
and prints. Featured artists include Joanne Augustine, Albert Bross,
Marge Chavooshian, Tom Chesar, Mike Filipiak, Charles and Lucy McVicker,
Robert Sackson, with pottery by Katherine Hackl and Ann Tsubota. Wednesday
to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
609-397-2300. "Salvador Dali: Illustrations for Dante’s Divine
Comedy," 100 woodblocks created in the 1960s. Wednesday through
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
908-996-1470. "Summer Scapes," a show of landscapes, seascapes,
and urban scapes by artists from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Photographs
by Nancy Ori and Laura Zito are included in the roster of invited
artists. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday,
10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m. to 6. To September 14.
609-397-9022. John McDowell Williams returns to Lambertville to take
over the front gallery at Papier Sun Fine Art with a show of watercolors
to 5 p.m.
Street, 609-397-0275. "Seasons of Trees," a watercolor show
by Kim Moulder. A graphic designer and potter, Moulder is a member
of Artsbridge of Delaware Valley. 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
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.
609-292-6464. "The Needle’s Eye: Needlework from the Museum Collection"
featuring quilts, samplers, clothing, and needlework made in New Jersey
from the mid-18th to the early 20th century; on view to September
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."
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
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. On view to
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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