Making as Thinking
Studio Montclair Inc.
Through March 29
Studio Montclair Gallery, 127 Bloomfield Ave.,
By GWEN OREL
Sometimes artists find out what their art is in the process of doing it.
Where art is concerned, cyber still loses to the physical: at least, that’s the concept behind Studio Montclair Inc.’s curated show “Making as Thinking,” which is in its new home on Bloomfield Avenue.
The work on display includes painting, drawing, and sculpture.
The show presented by the nonprofit member organization was curated by Todd Lambrix, who said in a release that when he chose the work, he could “almost see the process or feel the emotion propelling the making.” He wrote that the work has “an undeniable connection rooted in a collected unconscious.”
Virginia Schaeffer Block, past president and ex officio board member, said she was excited
to have SMI’s first professionally curated show in the new space. All the work is drawn from SMI members, Block said.
And the work has the appeal of “really being made by hand,” she said. “There’s very little that looks like it was mechanically done in any way. It has the craft, artisan quality to it.”
Going right along with the theme of what is concrete, Block is excited about the space: it’s one big room with movable partitions, and one fixed wall to hang on, in 1,000 square feet of empty space.
At the opening on Feb. 9, about 60 people crammed into the space to look at the exhibition, giving the room a very buzzy, Soho feel.
While SMI will continue exhibiting at Academy Square, having its own space makes installations possible, because the space is not shared with offices.
Wendy Letven, a Clifton resident who teaches at Parsons, recreated her cut-paper installation “The Laws of Attraction” in the space. “I worked on it at home, and came up with the composition,” Letven said. “I had an idea about these things coming together in the center, and some kind of attraction, basically.” She said the title of the show reflects how, as an artist, “ideas come to you as you are working, and about using your hands, your body is a part of thinking.” People forget that, she said, and assume thinking comes in the mind, but “ideas don’t happen when you are just sitting somewhere.”
For Alaine Becker, of South Orange, “Making as Thinking” is about “trying to find your way through a piece.” And her piece “I Got It Now” reflects that, she said, adding that the piece took her a long time and she felt she understood it when it was done.
One of Lorraine Deprospo’s two paintings in “Making as Thinking” sold as she was conducting this interview. Deprospo, who lives part time in Montclair and part time in Provincetown, Massachusetts, was exhibiting two oil and cold wax paintings that display the ocean. “All I could paint got inside of me,” she said. “The sea was black and churning. That’s what moves me, the sea and the sky.” Deprospo has been a member for eight years, but other exhibitors were relatively new to the organization.
Becky Yazdan, of Maplewood, just joined the organization this past summer, when she moved from Brooklyn. Her piece “Thunderdome,” inspired by the 1979 “Mad Max” movie, in which two men enter, one man leaves, fits the theme of the show: “I don’t start out with something in mind,” Yazdan said. “I start reacting to what’s down. I try to not control the painting too much. Ideally if things are working well, different things will come up.” She works with memories, she said, and although her works are abstract, they have a narrative.
Theda Sandford, of Union City (with a studio in Jersey City), is also a relative newcomer; she joined SMI last April. In “Making as Thinking,” she displayed aluminum photographs that had been manipulated. “Tag 8” is based on a photo of graffiti she took on a bus while riding to New York City. She printed it on aluminum, so that the picture seems to change colors as the viewer moves. She wanted to create how colors change as you ride the bus.
SMI’s president, RitaMarie Cimini, of Caldwell, has work on display in the exhibition, too. “I’m so excited,” she said. “It’s a grown-up show in a grown-up space.”
Having a space of its own allows SMI to create a show like the coming “Discovery in the Detail,” which asks artists to recreate a detail of their work in the space. That show will begin on April 6 and run through May 19.
For Cimini, the title of the show means thinking things through as you go. “I’m always in communication with the paints,” she said. The title is “perfect to me.”