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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on March 22, 2000. All rights reserved.
Women Old and New
Rounded lines of shoulder, hip, and thigh; soft-edged
pastels behind graceful body shapes; intense vignettes — really
"painted snapshots" — seemingly caught in photographic
stop-action; a fine-line picture of a half-dressed, half-naked woman;
curving sculptures all around. Throughout the bi-level gallery space,
art works on paper and canvas convey varied images by and of women,
or "Old and New Expectations: Women through the Millennium."
Jointly curated by partners Mary Lou Bock of the Williams Gallery
and Debbie Pringle of Pringle International Art, the exhibition features
four artists whom they represent, with sculptures by four others.
Bock and Pringle affiliated about a year ago, retaining their individual
business names and artists. Now, expressing pleasure with the results,
they both operate out of 8 Chambers Street, sometimes collaborating
on joint exhibitions, like the current one, and taking turns the rest
of the time. Last summer, with a new millennium imminent and the ever-changing
role of women in mind, they decided on this show. In assembling a
wide spectrum of images and styles, they have also mixed mediums both
traditional and new: etchings to oils, and watercolor to computer.
Aptly self-referential, "Fluid Lines" looks like pen and ink
outlines on blocks of color, and could typify artist Barbara Nessim’s
"look" right now. Her "Call Waiting," a 1996 Giclee
limited edition print, is also characterized by color boxes that house
bandaged figures. In "Tea Leaves," a sad figure seems to hug
herself as she sits behind a small table on which a cup and saucer,
and three leaves, are placed.
Suggesting "migration, integration, population," both her
watercolors and her works involving the computer reflect Nessim’s
belief that "in 50 years, we’ll be more a global society."
Individual differences will blur, and people will be more similar
than different. Behind her drawings of people and shapes, a pale flag
for any one of many countries is often blurrily discernable. Making
them more timeless and universal, her human figures are wrapped in
strips or bandages; except for "The Book," there’s no distracting
hair or clothing style to date them. Even so, they are immediately
Nessim’s evolving, changing work might be seen as a microcosm of the
show itself. In her opening-gallery talk, she traced her work from
its feminist beginnings to today’s global perspective. In the 1970s,
the underlying themes of her work were reproduction and reproductive
rights, as in "The Delivery." By the ’80s, seeing the computer
as the art tool of the future, and one that could break down boundaries,
she taught herself to use it — with such pronounced effect that
their professional relationship began in 1987, when Mary Lou Bock
saw Nessim’s work in "Digital Visions: Computers and Art."
In a series of sketch books that goes back to the ’60s,
Nessim has drawn and colored "bits and pieces of people’s lives,
one idea building on another." Some of these sketches make their
way into her computer, where she can layer them, change size and color,
and overall, "marry images" to create the completed piece
Besides chairing the illustration department at Parsons School of
Design in New York, Nessim continues to work in both traditional and
electronic mediums. Her work can also be seen on the Williams Gallery
The title of artist Jorg Schmeisser’s etching was appropriated for
the entire exhibition. On one side, she wears a formal black dress
and holds a posy in the conventional, modest way. Diagrams of corsets
float nearby. On the other side, she is naked, voluptuous. Sharply
drawn fragments of faces and mouths surround this side of the figure,
which represents "Old and New Expectations" — showing
graphically in one creature the dual nature that has been attributed
to, or desired of, women for much longer than one millennium.
A world-renowned printmaker whose work has been compared to Durer’s,
Schmeisser often portrays women in his finely-wrought, detailed, and
layered art. The subject of a solo exhibition opening April 29 at
the Williams Gallery, Schmeisser has produced etching series on subjects
that range from his myriad travel destinations, through architecture
to natural forms, such as seashells and rocks. Distinctively inked,
they achieve great variety through tones of ochre or red-orange accenting
his blue-blacks. Pomeranian by birth, Schmeisser studied in Germany
and Japan, and for many years headed the printmaking workshop of the
Australian National University, Canberra School of Art.
Beautifully contrasting with the liney effect of Schmeisser’s prints,
the expressionistic oils of Gabriel Schmitz provide an appealing counterpoint.
His attraction to the mediums of photography and cinematography shows
in his brushy-looking portraits, in which he seems to have captured
his subjects in movement, if not in flight. A haunting, or haunted,
woman’s face emerges "From the Dark," and a vibrant background
points up the intense face in "Small Blue Maria," with tones
of blue throughout, while "Not Her (Biljana)" with an orange
ground, compels attention. "Japanese Dancer" conveys the subject’s
explosive energy in just a few strokes.
Schmitz’s largest picture intended for this exhibition, "Amaranthe,"
was damaged in shipment, but the artist may be able to repair and
re-ship it before the show closes April 8. Now about 30 and youngest
of the four featured artists, Schmitz has alluded to a "kind of
female sensibility that pervades my painting, not just in what is
painted but in how it is painted." He was trained in Germany,
Scotland, and Spain, where he now lives.
Like Henry Moore, who was once her teacher, Mary Stork
reduces the human form to its basic elements, says Debbie Pringle,
of the English artist she met a few years ago while on vacation in
Cornwall. Stork’s pastels show rounded female shapes reminiscent of
Matisse, but uniquely her own, with some ravishing hues in unexpected
applications. As the others also do, "Heat" shows a woman
with her eyes closed or averted, and, in suitably warm tones, heavy,
curvaceous limbs. "Music" includes a fiddle form and a striking
purple shade. Stork uses color to define some shapes, sometimes using
sweeps of color that look like the flat side of a pastel. Her strong
colors contrast with the softer shades in Nissem’s art, across the
Stork studied art in Bristol and at the Slade School of Fine Art,
London, before putting her art career on hold to raise a family. She
resumed full-time work in pastels, painting, and sculpture in the
late ’80s, exhibiting widely since then. She lives in Penzance.
Appealing sculptures from artists who are represented by either Bock
or Pringle supplement the gallery’s two-dimensional works. Mark Bava’s
dark-finished figurative bronzes, especially "Cellular Idol,"
with its gleaming cell phone and antenna, are amusing. Jerome Collins
shows turquoise-patinaed bronze figures enmeshed in nets, biking,
and arm in arm. Richard Erdman’s abstract bronzes are invariably smooth
and curving, with either a dark finish and surface markings, or shiny
or turquoise patinas. Judith Hoyt’s comparatively flat figurative
pieces in mixed media include one that hangs.
Although four, or even eight, artists’ views of women "through
the millennium" hardly seems comprehensive, how many artists would
suffice? Maybe, in justice, as many artists as there are women, in
their infinite variety. For now, Williams and Pringle have deepened
our acquaintance with the views of four notable contemporary artists.
— Pat Summers
International Art, 8 Chambers Street, 609-921-1142. Open Tuesday to
Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and by appointment. Show runs through
Saturday, April 8.
"Small Works Show," the annual exhibition of diminutive art,
continues to March 31.
of work by children’s book illustrator Charles Santore, celebrating
his latest book, "The Fox and the Rooster," with original
artwork from his "Snow White" and "Little Mermaid."
To May 15. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Born in Philadelphia in 1935, Santore graduated from the Museum School
of Art, studying illustration with Henry C. Pitz, Albert GOld, and
Ben Eisenstat. His first editorial assignment was for the Saturday
Evening Post. Since venturing into children’s book illustration in
1985, he has produced seven wooks. In 1992 he was honored with a major
exhibition at the Brandywine River Museum.
Nassau Street, 609-921-6748. "Here Today, Where Tomorrow? The
Curious Travels of Princeton’s Moved Buildings," an exhibition
of more than 180 images of Princeton buildings on their original sites,
in transit, and on new sites in Princeton. To April 1. Free. Museum
hours are Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 4 p.m.
A dining room exhibition of watercolors by Beverly S. Nickel. Percentage
of sales benefits the Medical Center. To May 18. Open 8 a.m. to 7
Library Place, 609-497-7994. "Expressions of Faith, Serious and
Whimsical," John Paterson’s collection of 22 works of art in all
media. Artists include John and Katherine Paterson, Nena Bryans, Joy
Saville, Susan Crawford, and Stephen Zorochin. To April 8. Gallery
hours are Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday to 4:30
p.m.; Sunday 2 to 9:30 p.m.
A show of black and white photography by Scott Hoerl whose primary
interest is architectural photography which he combines with a love
of travel. Making images of popular sites, he goes beyond the documentary
form to capture the timeless essence of the locations. To April 3.
1200 Stuart Road, 609-921-2330. Princeton Artists Alliance members’
theme show, "Regeneration: An Exhibition in Celebration of Change"
exploring ideas of seasonal renewal, growth, evolutions, revolutions,
family and new life. Founded in 1989, PAA is an organization of professional
artists whose 22 exhibiting members include Clem Fiori, Shellie Jacobson,
Lore Lindenfeld, Nancy Lee Kern, Ruane Miller, Tina Salvesen, and
Harry Naar. To April 6.
Line Road, 609-252-6275. "Making a Difference," a 10-year
retrospective exhibition of photographic portraits by Charlotte Raymond
that captures the spirit of people from around the world who have
been part of the company’s mission to extend and enhance human life.
Locations extend from London to Laguna Beach and from Australia to
Africa. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends
and holidays, 1 to 5 p.m. To April 9.
Carter and Rosedale roads, 609-921-9000. "Angel Art," a mixed-media
theme show by Susanne Pitak Davis. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to
9 p.m. To March 26.
Plainsboro, 609-282-3401. A solo exhibition of sculpture and works
on paper by Eleanor Burnette. A graduate of Chicago State University,
and a former apprentice at the Johnson Atelier, her work has been
exhibited extensively, including a 20-year retrospective at Mercer
County College. To April 27.
609-895-7307. "Optical Illusions: Nancy Laughlin and David Savage,"
works by two artists who explore the effects of heightened color and
unexpected formal relationships to surprise and engage the viewer.
To June 9. Exhibit is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Laughlin graduated from the California College of Arts and Crafts
in 1973 followed by studies at the Johnson Atelier. Savage, born in
Brooklyn in 1923, earned a degree in architecture before moving to
Paris where he studied with Leger until 1951. Returning to the U.S.
and architecture, his recent series of abstract paintings is the "Jyira
609-799-6706. The fourth annual group show curated by DeLann Gallery,
Plainsboro. More than 90 works by African-American artists as well
as black artists from origins as diverse as Haiti, Ghana, and Uganda,
are featured in media that include oil, acrylic, photography, sculpture,
and ceramics. Also, art and artifacts from the African continent.
To April 7. Exhibition is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
by Barbara Bosworth, a survey exhibition of panoramic photographs
and the debut of the 24-print narrative sequence, "The Bitterroot
River," a meditation on loss, memory, and place, recently added to
the permanent collection. Exhibition continues to June 18. Tuesday
through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours
of the collection are every Saturday at 2 p.m.
"Bosworth has created a body of work that speaks with a singular
passion and sentiment for the American landscape," says curator
Toby Jurovics. Her photographs, which consider themes as divers as
the culture of tourist landscapes to series on hunters and hunting,
are a personal exploration of the multilayered meanings and uses of
the landscape that reflect the artist’s own experience with nature.
609-258-4790. "From Form to Whimsy," an exhibition of Cubist-inspired
paintings by Ruth Goodman, a former architectural draftsman in the
studio of Michael Graves, who began a new career as an artist in 1977.
To March 31. Daily 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays; weekends from 8:30
a.m. to 5 p.m.
Trenton, 609-394-4121. Garden State Watercolor Society exhibition
by members of the statewide organization, founded in 1970 by Dagmar
Tribble. To April 28 in the lobby gallery that is always open.
Ellarslie Open XVIII, the annual juried showcase of work by regional,
state, and nationally known artists. This year’s jurors, Ruth Morpeth
of the Morpeth Gallery, C.J. Mugavero of Artful Deposit, and Grace
Croteau of Riverrun Galleries selected from among 300 entries by 90
artists. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday 2 to
Zachary Orcutt, an exhibition of bronze sculptures and relief paintings
created over the past three years. A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University,
he entered the apprentice program at the Johnson Atelier in 1998.
He is now a staff member in the installations department. To March
30. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
609-586-0616. Fall-Winter Exhibition. In the Museum and Domestic Arts
Building, "Beverly Pepper," one-artist show. On the mezzanine,
a thematic photography show, "Focus on Sculpture." To April
16. Thursday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment.
609-292-6464. "Unseen Treasures: Imperial Russia and the New World,"
an exhibit of historic treasures of the Russian empire. The dazzling
collection of 300 art objects and artifacts from Russian’s famed State
Historical Museum and State Archive is displayed in five historical
settings. Show remains on view through April 16. Admission $10; $6
children. Advance ticket purchase at 800-766-6048 or online at www.tickets.com.
Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The dazzling collection of over 300 art objects and artifacts from
Russia’s famed State Historical Museum and the State Archive are being
seen for the first time outside the Russian Museum. The exhibition
takes the visitor on a unique journey beginning with the formation
of the Russian American Company in 1799 and spanning a period of 200
years and 6,000 miles. From the Imperial Court of St. Petersburg through
the Russian winter in Siberia to the New World of Alaska and Northern
California and back to Moscow for the coronation of Alexander II,
the exhibit tells an adventurous story of heroism, romance, and spiritual
609-397-0275. "Life Lines," an exhibition of 20 works by Joy
Kreves that investigate the path of human consciousness through history
and across culture. To March 25.
609-737-7592. "Small Works of Nature," a juried group show
on natural themes. To March 25.
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