Corrections or additions?
This article by Pat Summers was prepared for the October 31, 2001
of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Three Artists’ Visions
Sub(Urban), the city and suburbs in landscape,"
now at the Gallery at Mercer County Community College, really begins
at the parking lot — if not the college entrance. As anyone who
has visited the gallery knows, the ride into campus is long and
and so is the walk to the building that houses the gallery.
At the time of the opening reception earlier this month, long, steep
banks of burning bushes, glorious in autumn color, faced the
building from across the quad — both reward for the walk and spur
to see more landscapes, of the two-dimensional variety.
And "variety" is the right word, for as one viewer put it,
this show is the same thing three different ways. In the gallery
shaped like an I-beam), Jeff Epstein’s views of suburbia fill the
long center space — an appealing suburban sprawl — while
Baxter’s softly colorful visions of downtown New York City croon from
the left room, and Ken McIndoe’s painterly images, also of New York
City scenes, call noisily from the right. Rather than the city
by suburbs, here the ‘burb views are framed by city pictures.
Jeff Epstein, an artist who also teaches at Mercer, says he prefers
suburban settings because, in contrast to "vertical,
cityscapes, they allow for softening foliage and can be lyrical and
mysterious. Of the 15 or so paintings he is showing, many are night
scenes, and none include people, although human presence is implied
in the pictures — for instance, by the lights left on in an empty
Light, in fact, is one of the landscape elements that most interests
him. (Color and shape are the others.) Night scenes allow Epstein
to combine natural, sky lights, with interior lights, and to juxtapose
fluorescent coolness with the warmth of incandescent lights. In
the angles and planes of buildings, and often just parts of buildings
— a corner, a side — along with rooms filled with light,
approaches abstraction in these figurative works.
Outside steps with a metal railing at the side of a house; parts of
two windows in an apartment building, with yellow foliage nearby;
details of schools and supermarkets — these are Epstein’s
Some of his paintings derive from photographs, and he does the smaller
pieces, often on aluminum, outdoors at night — with a flashlight
hung around his neck. Surprisingly, Epstein claims not to mix his
colors ahead of time, though he carries more than a dozen tubes with
him. Could these facts contribute to his seeing in his work a movement
"toward brighter and looser"?
Reflecting vistas from her former studio near Union
Square, New York, Violet Baxter makes aerial views of street scenes
in both pastels and oils. Her titles tell the story, although it takes
the pictures to do them justice: "Union Square Summer Market,"
"Broadway from 17th at Night," "Greenmarket,"
Floor View." Her picture of night-in-the-city
shows a bandstand and throngs of tiny figures.
Baxter, who was moving away from abstraction when she first occupied
the New York studio, found herself fascinated by both the shapes and
the interior and exterior lighting of buildings she could study from
it. Now working in Long Island City, she says she often draws on
from that time.
Often handling the same subject matter in drawings (which she
as her "special love") and paintings, she may borrow details
from one for the other, moving back and forth between mediums as mood
and convenience dictate. She remarks on the many ways a given subject
can be handled — and demonstrates that variety in
Baxter mentions "fragility" as a concept she’s now engaged
with — as it pertains to either individuals in a crowd, or people
in the city who are surrounded by, yet seemingly unaware of, fumes
and smoke all around them.
Further exemplifying the myriad ways the same subject might be
Ken McIndoe goes to the streets for summertime plein air painting
in Manhattan, usually Times Square and south. His swirling scenes
may be mostly palette-knife productions after some brushwork to get
the colors going, he says.
Ah, colors. McIndoe says he hates gray, a city color, and his urban
images prove it. They are raucous with vibrant hues, and his thick,
whirling paint obscures the vista up close, although from a few feet
back, the picture is wholly clear — alive, almost moving, and
sometimes olfactory too. An element such as color acts according to
certain visual rules, he knows, and the viewer’s eye picks up those
visual clues and completes the image.
"Afternoon 8th Avenue" pairs wondrous sky — a classic
landscape element that could roll on forever — with earthbound
vertical buildings; "Red Buildings" is the subject of a
tonal study; "Pig ‘n Whistle" captures the excitement, and
practically the smells of a crowded street, its traffic and
awnings. McIndoe shows three images of Times Square, each with its
own amazing colors.
To encounter two artists whose subject is New York City without
how the events of September 11 affected them and their work would
be impossible in these days filled with "Where were you when?"
conversations. And then, to look at their urban landscapes in this
period of shattered worlds and debates about rebuilding makes it
Baxter lives in Manhattan, and she was home, where she could see the
smoke, when the attack occurred. Much of her day was taken up with
phone calls from Australia, London, all over. Her friends around the
world reported that people were crying in sympathy for America.
"So much seems trivial now," she says, predicting that artists
may do some soul-searching in light of the changed world.
characterized a lot going on in art during the last few years; it
was too ironic, too clever for words. Now art viewers’ responses may
change, she says; they may want to see more substance.
As for her own art, Baxter says she’s seeing things from a different
perspective. For at least two weeks, her ability to concentrate was
lost; the utter destructiveness was incomprehensible. Only when she
could turn back to her creative work — what she calls the
of the destructiveness around her — could she begin to feel whole.
McIndoe, who teaches at the Art Students League two days a week, was
in a classroom on 57th Street when it happened. His first thought,
he says, was "let me go have a look. Then I realized it was such
an enormity — and I didn’t want to see that." He joined the
great number of people who were walking, eventually getting a ferry
to Weehawken and making his way home to Hopewell from there. "It
was one of the most beautiful, clear autumn days imaginable,"
he remembers, although later, like Baxter, he was to see the billowing
McIndoe says he’ll keep going in to New York and doing his art. Next
summer, he intends to resume his street painting.
At Mercer’s gallery, Baxter, Epstein, and McIndoe have represented
their subject areas with images made in an era we may come to know
as "B.A." — before attacks. It’s worth wondering what
their landscapes will look like a year from now.
— Pat Summers
Center, West Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. Gallery hours are
to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday evenings 6 to 8 p.m.;
evenings 7 to 9 p.m. To November 8.
of Stone: Roman Sculpture in the Art Museum" and "Pliny’s
Cup: Roman Silver in the Age of Augustus;" to January 20.
"Camera Women," a selective survey of the history of
from the perspective of the woman photographer, organized by Carol
Armstrong. Drawn from the museum’s collection, it includes works by
Julia Margaret Cameron, Anna Atkins, Gertrude Kasebier, Tina Modotti,
Sherrie Levine, Cindy Sherman, and others. To January 6.
Also "What Photographs Look Like," the annual teaching show
for Art History 248, to November 11; "Seeing Double: Copies and
Copying in the Arts of China," an exhibition of Chinese art, to
November 4. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to
5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours of the collection every Saturday
at 2 p.m.
609-771-2198. Mercer County Photography Exhibition. Gallery hours
are Monday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 to 9 p.m.; and
Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m. To November 7.
609-620-6026. Annual faculty exhibit featuring Brian Daniell, Jamie
Greenfield, Amanda Kamen, Ed Robbins, Allen Fitzpatrick, Leonid
William Vandever, and others. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday,
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; except Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.
To November 16.
West Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Sub/Urban: Landscapes
of the City and Suburbs," with works by MCCC faculty member Jeff
Epstein and guest artists Violet Baxter and Ken McIndoe. 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 November 8.
Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Unlimited Possibilities: Jacob
Works on Paper, 1950 to 2000." The internationally-known
printmaker, painter, and stained glass designer is professor emeritus
at the Pratt Institute. Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 8:30
a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. To December 7.
New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "A People Cried Out: The 1956
and Fight for Freedom in Hungary," an exhibit with photographs
from the Budapest Museum of Military History, curated by Karoly Nagy
Middlesex County College, commemorating the 45th anniversary of the
Hungarian Revolution. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.
to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To November 4.
908-735-8415. "Compelled," a multidisciplinary exhibition
of sculpture, painting, fiber, and ceramics by artists including
Booker, Ruth Borgenicht, Giovanna Cecchetti, Paul Edlin, Jacob El
Hanani, Jane Fine, Gary Gissler, and Seong Chun. Museum hours are
Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To November 4.
215-340-9800. "Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism in
Painting, 1950 to 2000," an exhibition featuring the work of
recognized realist artists and educators who were born and trained
in Pennsylvania, or who spent their professional careers there.
artists include Diane Burko, Sidney Goodman, Alice Neel, Philip
Nelson Shanks, Andy Warhol, Neil Welliver, and Andrew Wyeth. To
Also: "Taking Liberties: Photographs of David Graham." The
Bucks County photographer, sometimes called a
has worked for 20 years exploring the nation’s heartland with his
view camera, and lovingly recording the creative and offbeat ways
that Americans mark their territory. To January 27.
Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 10
a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m. $6.
Brunswick, 732-932-7237. Exhibitions include: "Peeling Potatoes,
Painting Pictures: Women Artists from the Dodge Collection," to
November 4. "From Whistler to Warhol: A Century of American
to November 25. "Robert Motherwell: Abstraction as Emphasis,"
to December 9. "Boxed In: Plane, Frame, Surface," to December
2. "Mother Goose’s Children: Original Illustrations for Children’s
Books from the Rutgers Collection," to December 9. Museum hours
are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday,
noon to 5 p.m. Admission $3 adults; under 18 free; museum is open
free to the public on the first Sunday of every month. Spotlight tours
every Sunday at 2 and 3 p.m.
Continuing exhibitions include: "The Uncommon Vision of Sergei
Konenkov (1874-1971)," to November 14. "Japonisme: Highlights
and Themes from the Collection," ongoing.
The 32nd annual show of the Garden State Watercolor Society juried
by Bruce Currie and Joanne M. Kuebler. Open Tuesday through Saturday,
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To November 4.
609-586-0616. Fall/Winter Exhibition. 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
Annual memberships start at $45. To February 24.
609-292-6464. "American Indians as Artists: The Beginnings of
the State Museum’s Ethnographic Collection," to December 15.
Farming Landscape," to November 11, "Natural Selections:
by Elaine Lorenz," to December 30. "Art by African-Americans
in the Collection," to August 18, 2002. Museum hours are Tuesday
through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Website:
On extended view: "New Jersey’s Native Americans: The
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"; "Washington Crossing
Upcoming Exhibitions: "George Washington and the Battle of
The Evolution of an American Image," November 4 to February 24,
2002. "Images of Americans on the Silver Screen," December
1 to April 14, 2002. "Historic Trenton: Exploring the History
of the Capital City."
Show by nine artists of The Art Group, formed in 1992. Shop hours
are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To November 10.
"Big Skies," a shared show featuring landscape paintings by
David Shevlino and Lisa Grossman. Shevlino’s landscapes are inspirited
by the New England and Delaware Valley, whereas Grossman depicts the
flatlands of the Midwest. Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6
p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To November 17.
609-737-7592. "Sense of Place," an exhibition featuring the
fine art and illustrative photography of Phil Moylan, Andy Chen, Marc
Stempel, and George Vogel. To November 10.
show featuring six children’s book illustrators: Jeffrey Allon
Best Jewish Children’s Stories"), Katya Arnold ("The
of Snow Woman"), Bob Byrd ("Finn McCoul and his Fearless
Katie Davis ("Who Hops?"), Thomas F. Yetzerski ("Perfect
and Mary Zisk ("The Best Single Mom in the World") are
Open by appointment during school hours. To November 9.
"The Secret Garden," a solo show of mystical oil paintings
and watercolors by Ukrainian-born Valeriy Skrypka. Open Tuesday to
Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To November 24.
Exhibit of works by Leonid Gervitz, a graduate of the Odessa Art
who spent 24 years working and teaching in the Russian realist
at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia. Open Tuesday
to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday to 9 p.m.; Sunday
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To December 1.
"Sights and Sounds of Manhattan and Princeton," a group show
featuring art by Michael Berger, Laury Egan, David Leibowitz, Allan
Tannenbaum, and Rolf Weijburg." Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday,
11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To November 20.
609-252-6275. "Up the River," an exhibition of works by more
than 40 Bucks County Impressionists and Modernists, members of the
New Hope and Bucks County art colony now regarded as national
Catalog by Brian Peterson of the Michener Museum in Doylestown.
hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and weekends and
1 to 5 p.m. To November 25.
Artists represented include Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, Walter
Schofield, Charles Ramsey, Louis Stone, Charles Evans, and Lloyd Ney.
& Johnson Plaza, New Brunswick, 732-524-6957. "Laying on
paintings by Jersey City artist David William Cummings. By
To November 5.
Garden State Watercolor Society, fifth annual associate member juried
exhibition; jurors Gary Snyder and Seow-Chu See. Open Monday to
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To November 29.
"Urban Scenes," a shared show by B.A. Keogh and Lisa Mahan,
two Bucks County artists working in a representational style. Part
the show sales donated to the New York Firefighter’s Fund. Gallery
hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To November
"Chaos and Crossroads" featuring paintings by Florence Moonan
and sculptures by Jonathan Hertzel. Gallery is open Thursday to
noon to 5 p.m. To November 12.
609-397-5679. "Road Work: Paintings of American Culture,"
an exhibition of new work by Robert Beck. Through November.
Fall show featuring Mike Filipiak, John Loeper, and Harriet
Open Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To November 11.
Exhibition and sale of a private collection of Walter Emerson Baum
paintings. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;
Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. To November 4.
James T. Lang, lithographs, colographs, and mixed-media works on
in the Artworks Building. Gallery is open noon to 9 p.m. daily.
609-397-4978. "Apropos," Malcolm Bray’s seventh annual show
of innovative contemporary painting and sculpture. Artists include
Rachel Bliss, Malcolm Bray, Jacques Fabert, Michael Hale, Diane
Bonnie MacLean, Dolores Poacelli, Barry Snyder, Patricia Traub, and
Annelies van Dommelen. Hung upstairs above the antique showroom, show
is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to December 31.
"Monster Mash," a show of creepy snarling, and bug-eyed
by Dave Burke and Stephen Blickenstaff. Website: www.tinmanalley.net.
Gallery hours are Thursday to Monday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. To November
Street, Trenton, hosts an open house on Sunday, November 4
from 2 to 4 p.m., to show off its new Trenton office and food store
pantry that it opened in August. The non-profit organization, now
has offices in Princeton and Trenton, and provides food and financial
assistance to more than 1,500 low-income residents of Mercer County.
Open house tours and entertainment by the Trenton Children’s Chorus.
"We have set up a food store pantry here where people select their
own foods based on family size, dietary restrictions, and
says director Sally Osmer. "The response from the clientele has
been very strong." For information on the Crisis Ministry’s
Coat Drive (November 11), Thanksgiving Food Drive (November 18), and
volunteer jobs of all kinds, call 609-396-9355.
for the Oscar Wilde comedy, "The Importance of Being Ernest,"
on Monday, November 5, and Wednesday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. Call
732-873-2710; website: (www.villagerstheatre.com).
Frederick Olessi verse plays, "Cleopatra" and
as well as for future community television productions. Also seeking
scene, lights, sound, and costume designers. Call 609-683-3932 for
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