21st annual open juried exhibition
65 works, through Aug. 18
Studio Montclair Gallery, 127 Bloomfield Ave.
By KELLY NICHOLAIDES
For Montclair Local
A painting prompts audiences to step into a moment in time — providing an escape into imagination and a connection through shared experiences.
Landscapes, social justice issues, figure art and American culture are all reflected at Studio Montclair’s ViewPoints 2018 exhibition. The work of 65 artists chosen from more than 800 entries nationally for Studio Montclair’s 21st Annual Open Juried Exhibition is on display through Aug. 16 at 127 Bloomfield Ave. The exhibition also marks the first time the studio has been able to hold ViewPoints in its own space.
“This exhibit features the diversity of the artists and brings their voices to the world through their work,” said Gary Garrido Schneider, who juried the show. “Each piece has a narrative and stands the test of time, like songs you can’t get out of your head. They include black and white, color, some political concepts and images that provoke good conversations.”
LOOKING AT NATURE
Black-and-white photography of empty, decaying structures being reclaimed by nature are Montclair artist Martha Kerr’s specialty. Her photo “Dappled light through roof lattice” depicts a deserted storage facility in Winslow, Arizona. Kerr captured sunlight streaming through the building’s crevices. “I drove by it and stopped when I saw the entrance. The roof was deteriorated, and dancing light was all over the place, so it was a gift,” said Kerr.
Fungus growing out of horse manure flanked by morning dew-soaked spider webs are in Floridian Kate Riddle’s “Dung Series; Fungi 3” photo. “These fungi don’t last long so when I found them I had to capture the image. I like it eerie, a little blurred and distorted, closeup but not macro photography,” Riddle said.
Woodland Park resident Carole Lane’s “Snowy on Glass” featured broken glass on junkyard cars in Atlanta. She added an image of an egret at the center. “I like photographing things that are decomposing, going back to earth, and I love birds,” Lane said.
LOOKING AT HUMANITY
A scene from Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X” film depicted in Rutherford artist Jose Pena’s realism acrylic painting “The Apartment of West Indian Archie” captures a room in disarray, with empty booze bottles, bent blinds, strewn paperwork, and a crooked lampshade. Creating the painting was almost as complicated as the civil rights movement. “The process of creating this was a mess. I stopped a few times, painted and went back, watched the film again, started to make the painting smoother, draw out where everything should be and made it as real as possible,” Pena reflected.
Talk of construction of an extended border wall at the U.S./Mexico border inspired Ridgewood artist Juna Skenderi. The 31-year-old artist came to the United States from Kosovo in 1996 with her family on a visa when she was 9. Her family overstayed and could not go back due to conflict in her homeland. Skenderi stitched “Peace Wall or Border Flag” using black thread on linen. Viewed from the bottom, the wall resembles a picket fence with openings that also alludes to the American Dream of home ownership. “After the 2016 election, as a DACA recipient, this was my way of coming to terms of the possibility of going back to Kosovo. When the administration had an open call for design of the border
wall, I envisioned making a peace wall or border flag instead, using black thread,” Skenderi said.
Montclair artist Donna Bassin’s archival pigment print “We the People. Sufiyyah.7, 2017” features a young woman wrapped in an American flag skirt and balancing a fruit basket on her head, highlighting the melting pot of the nation’s residents and workers.
LOOKING AT THE NATION
Westfield artist Michael Endy’s “American Portraits” includes Viewfinder images from recreated cultural mythology of Americana. Using dioramas and background projections of photos, Endy created stereoscopic 3-D slides that brought he past to life. “I grew up with a Viewfinder and toys like American Indians. I wanted to recreate the pastoral movement, the flattened fields of the Dust Bowl, muscle cars, our manifest destiny history, and conquering the moon,” Endy said.
Visitor and Glenridge resident Richard White said that Endy’s work was a favorite. “It’s a well-executed exhibit of work and features a broad range of styles and themes, some of which I’m strongly attracted to, like the innovative use of old technology [like the Viewfinder],” White said.
Aside from capturing Americana, some artists found inspiration outside U.S. borders.
Photographer and Hoboken resident Jean-Paul Picard found art in a construction zone that he happened to be routed through while visiting Quebec City. He started snapping as he walked, capturing reflective blue glass-like walls and European style cones. “It has that shaky, slightly distorted view, and I removed the black space in the background, so you have this kind of fractured image effect throughout,” Picard said.
Overall, visitors to the ViewPoints 2018 exhibit get a blend of imagery that reflects political commentary, a view of the world in unexpected ways, and perhaps find a deeper understanding of the human condition.
AWARDS FOR VIEWPOINTS 2018
Studio Montclair (SMI) presented awards to 12 artists for their work in “ViewPoints 2018” at the juried show’s opening on June 2, at Studio Montclair Gallery, 127 Bloomfield Ave. The top three artists received indivudal awards for Best in Show, second place and third place, as well as nine Honorable Mention recipients. In addition to cash awards for six of the artists, some of the Honorable Mention recipients in the juried exhibition received gift certificates to Red Lion Framing, Jerry’s Art Supplies and a Family Membership to the Montclair Art Museum.
“The quality of artwork submitted to this year’s show was extraordinary, which made juror Gary Garrido Schneider’s task of choosing the award winners a gratifying challenge. And in keeping with SMI’s goal of promoting the visual arts not just locally, but in the community at-large, the majority of the award winners reside outside the Montclair Township,” Studio Montclair Executive Director Susanna Baker said.
The full list of winners:
Best in Show:
Honorable Mentions: Kate Albright, Martha Kerr, Sassoon Kosian, Joanna Madloch, Paho Mann, Erica Engfer Pizza, Ron Powell,
Tania Sen, Brian Stymest