Here, Not There, the third of the Triad exhibitions presented by Arts Guild New Jersey opened on November 17th. Jackie Cruz, the exhibition curator, has chosen an impressive body of works by a diverse and accomplished group of artists to address a seemingly simple, but surprisingly complex theme. In her thoughtful catalog essay, Cruz states "this exhibition provides the viewer with a glimpse into the artists’ interpretations of environment and what space means to them including: lyrical searches for beauty and transcendent meaning; design and architecturally driven views of landscapes; and sociopolitical critiques of contemporary culture."
Indeed, Cruz has skillfully identified and gathered a wide array of ways of seeing in this diverse, but harmonious collection of works that show how, she said, "consciously or unconsciously," and as a response to a number of factors, contemporary artists are "paying attention to their environments and surroundings." In her prescient identification and organization of a recurrent vision in the work of these artists, Cruz may have recognized one of the most important themes not just for artists, but for all of us in the coming century.
Adel Gorgy, Gilded Landscape
As she stated, the voices of the artists cover a wide range of emotions and thoughts. Adel Gorgy's imaginary landscapes, presented in monumentally sized photographic works, such as Gilded Landscape, after Derain, are the embodiment of the lyrical search for beauty Cruz describes. His images, from the portfolio, Seeing Art Anew, are his visual response to works by earlier artists—here Bonnard and Derain. They present vibrant, abstract, flattened yet energized worlds where color and form create compositions filled with optimism and beauty.
Tom Nussbaum, City Life III
Tom Nussbaum's drawings such as City Life III and Pond present whimsical visions of cities and landscapes, and reminds us that humor is still part of our world. Peter Jacobs' offers birds-eye visions in his elegant photographs, Centre Pompidou and Montreal.
Peter Jacobs, Centre Pompidou
The maps and landscapes of the mind are the fertile ground for another group of artists. Diane Savona collects lost or discarded clothing found while walking and creates sophisticated fiber works that document the location and offer portraits of an area and a moment in her "Road Cloth" series.
Daine Savona, Shelter
Grigory Gurevich, Protruder 10
Grigory Gurevich's Protruder 10 depicts an architectural, formal vision, built of equal parts of mathematics and imagination. Richly saturated colors and dense, precise forms outline a world that can only exist in dreams. Bill Westheimer's silver gelatin photogram, Terra I, is a monumental portrait of the globe presented with a graceful simplicity.
Bill Westheimer, Terra I
The relationship of our landscape to our daily lives has informed the works of several of the artist included in Here, Not There. Neal Korn, a skilled draftsman with an inventive use of materials, is equally at home in two and three-dimensional works. His works focus on structures, particularly imperfect ones, such as an abandoned battery, a hobbled house in a post-Katrina commentary, or, in a collaboration with Toby Korn, a Globe of Destruction.
Neal Korn, Battery Potter, Sandy Hook NJ
Rocco Scary, 2 Shades of Sandy
Rocco Scary's 2 Shades of Sandy is a vivid and direct response to the devastation of both water and fire that ravaged the lives of many in the area.
There are social, political and activist voices among the artists as well. Frances Heinrich's travels provided her insights into globalization, modernization and alienation in a collection of works.
Frances Heinrich, Globalized Nicaragua
Rodriguez Calero, Blessings of Lazarus
Rodriguez Calero's collage, American Idol from her hip-hop series is her visual representation of the search for dreams and a better life as seen from the stages and streets of the contemporary world, while Blessings of Lazarus instills in the exhibition a unique sense of other-worldliness.
Eileen Foti, 2+2=4closure
Eileen Foti offers a vision of the socio-economic aspect of homes and homelessness, in 2+2=4closure, and a scathing commentary on indoctrination, delivered by an artist and mother trying to teach her children in her "Tea Party" series.
The final episode of the Triad series of exhibitions has again proved that the curatorial vision is a central and critical esthetic part of every exhibition viewers see. Jackie Cruz has brought much of her own artistic sensibility to the formation and presentation of this group of works, and as much as the voices of the artists can be heard, it is she who has chosen the song.
Curating the curators in this group of exhibitions, is the director of the Arts Guild, Lawrence Cappiello. By selecting the artists and inviting the curators, his vision is responsible for this fascinating series of exhibitions. Finding a fresh way to present art, after having mounted as many exhibitions as he has in his long and fruitful tenure at the Arts Guild, is no small task and he should be commended for doing so. Cappiello says he, himself, has been surprised at how the shows came together and by the work presented. But ultimately, he stated, he had "great confidence in the work of these artists and the ability of the curators." The Triad series of exhibitions, comprised of Abstract Lives, curated by Dr. Virginia Fabbri Butera, By the Numbers: More or Less, curated by Dr. Donna Gustafson, and Here, Not There, curated by Jackie Cruz, have offered the public a unique opportunity to glimpse the curatorial eye and sensibility at work, and a chance to see some terrific work by a talented and accomplished group of contemporary artists.