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The Interface Between Marine Biology and Creative Microscopic Inhabitants of the Sea

Before the advent of microscopic photography, it fell to the varying artistic skills of scientists to show the world what the invisible plants and animals in our oceans looked like. One of the most prolific and talented was Ernst Haeckel, an 1800s German zoologist and marine biologist whose groundbreaking sketches of organisms such as zooplankton, diatoms and copepods continue to capture the imagination of science enthusiasts and artists to this day. Count among them Monmouth University Professor Pat Cresson, who recently created over 50 works highlighting both microscopic marine organisms and larger sea creatures.

Cresson will present her collection, The Interface Between Marine Biology and Creative Microscopic Inhabitants of the Sea, in a free public webinar on Nov. 18. The session is being offered as part of the Department of History & Anthropology’s Research and Teaching Pedagogy Seminar Series

In an interesting twist, Cresson’s focus on the deep sea started with the CDC. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cresson was struck by the aesthetic beauty of models showing the virus and began investigating what other infectious diseases looked like. This research eventually shifted to imagery depicting the unicellular and microscopic life forms that are abundant in our waters, as Haeckel had famously done before.

“Art and science are very similar in some perspectives,” Cresson said. “Both science and art are human attempts to understand and describe the world around us. The subjects and methods have different traditions, and the intended audiences are different, but I think the motivations and goals are fundamentally the same.”

Cresson’s first works in the collection were detailed black ink drawings on heavy white watercolor paper. She then began creating a series of illustrations on deep wood panels that were covered with glued drawings on paper. Then an epoxy surface was poured over these panels, sometimes stained blue or green giving the appearance that they were submerged under water. She also created several collages on paper adhered to wood panels depicting ocean scenes. (Scroll to gallery below to view samples of her works.) Materials for the project were purchased through a faculty enrichment grant awarded via the Urban Coast Institute’s Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Scholars program.

Building upon her work, Cresson assigned her Advanced Digital Imaging class to create first traditional collages (cut paper and materials) and then digital collages focused on marine ecosystems. Some of the student works will also be presented in the upcoming webinar.

“I gave them different ideas – the food web, symbiotic relationships, the role of light in the ocean, the health of the ocean and warming oceans, corals reefs and how they’re being bleached out,” she said. “They came up with some really interesting imagery. I was very happy with what they came up with.”

Closed: Access and Opportunity, Diversity & Inclusion

Acts of injustice, bias, and disrespect, against groups and individuals, continue to play out across our nation. This juried exhibition will feature works that define what it means to be a good citizen in a global context, a person appreciative of all cultures and committed to fairness with respect and equality for all. By looking broadly at access and opportunity for all members of society regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender identity, national origin, race, religious affiliation, or sexual orientation we can help everyone recognize, appreciate, and respect difference.

Participating Artists include:

Joan Appel
Brandin Barón
Amy Block
Janet Braun-Reinitz
Lindsay Brennan
Kelly Burke
Monica Camin
Bonnie Carlson Diana
Marina Carreira
Ashley Carroll
Jacob Clayton
Linda Rae Coughlin
Rosemary Fineberg
Sandra Frankel
Linda Friedman Schmidt
Zach Horn
Rusty Leffel
Jonathan Lessuck
Jacqueline Madara-Campbell
Rashna Madon
Rosemary Meza-DesPlas
Maria Morales
Andrea Phox
John Piccoli
Robert Selby
Alice Sims-Gunzenhauser
Sandy Taylor
Nettie Thomas
Hui Tian
Emily Tironi
Shoaib Wazir
David Weed
Guta Galli and Aaron Wilder

POSTPONED – Frida – Viva La Vida

Frida – Viva La Vida is a cinematic documentary event film that highlights the two sides of Frida Kahlo’s spirit: a revolutionary pioneering artist of contemporary feminism, and on the other, a human being tormented by agony and love.

With Asia Argento as narrator, the two faces of the artist will be revealed, by pursuing a common thread consisting of Frida’s own words: letters, diaries and private confessions. The documentary film event will alternate interviews with historical documents, captivating reconstructions and Frida Kahlo’s own paintings, kept in some of the most amazing museums in Mexico.

Just Beachy: A Reading of Sandy Stories

Help us mark the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Readers will present stories that have been posted to “9 Feet High,” part of the Just Beachy/After Sandy installation now on view in Rechnitz Hall’s DiMattio Gallery.

We invite you to participate by reading your own story, or listen as you hear your own story being read. Join us as your Sandy experience is acknowledged through the spoken word. Your story deserves to be heard!

BEYOND GROUND ZERO: 9/11 AND THE AMERICAN LANDSCAPE – Photographs by Jonathan C. Hyman

On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, Jonathan C. Hyman, an artist and photographer based in upstate New York, embarked on a journey to document responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks appearing in the landscape around him.

Armed almost daily with his camera, ladder, and car, Hyman captured evidence of the grassroots expressions of everyday citizens spurred by this national catastrophe. His investigations took him from Maine to Florida and west to Illinois, though the majority of photographs were taken closer to New York City. The result is an expansive archive of more than 20,000 film and digital images. Hyman encountered improvised tributes and memorials on public and private property, in urban and rural areas, and on all manner of surfaces from building walls, handball courts, and vehicles to tree trunks, construction fencing, and human skin. He continued for years to document these unofficial memorials, many of which remained long after the emergence of more formal tributes.


Jonathan C. Hyman (American, b. 1960), is a fine artist and freelance photographer, living in Sullivan County, New York. A graduate of Rutgers University and Hunter College of the City University of New York’s MFA program, he documents vernacular art and contemporary American popular culture. Hyman is Associate Director for Conflict and Visual Culture Initiatives at Bryn Mawr College’s Solomon Asch Center for Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict.

This exhibition is drawn from the collection of the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

All photographs © Jonathan C. Hyman

Afrofuturist Design: Ancient Dogon To Wakandan Futures

We are extending this invitation for you to join us as we host Afrofuturist Design: Ancient Dogon To Wakandan Futures, beginning in September and ending in November 2019. We hope that you are able to join us.

Opening Reception
Saturday, September 27
6 p.m.–8 p.m.

Black Speculative Arts Movement: Black Brain Belt Symposium
Saturday, November 16
10 a.m.–6 p.m.

Vincent DiMattio: DreamPaths and Napkin Drawings

An exhibit of drawings on napkins and new works by Vincent DiMattio. DiMattio earned his MFA from Southern Illinois University and his BFA from Massachusetts College of Art. He joined Monmouth University’s faculty in 1968 where he served as the department chair for 13 years and as gallery director for more than 20 years. He has shown his work internationally in Madrid, Spain; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Pueblo, Mexico. He has also exhibited throughout the United States, and at both the Newark and Trenton Museums.

Jacob Landau: Exploring the Colors

An exhibition of works exploring the world of colors created by the American artist, humanist, and teacher Jacob Landau. Born in Philadelphia in 1917, Jacob Landau launched his career as an illustrator, winning national prizes at age 16 and a scholarship to the Philadelphia College of Art. He had over sixty one-person shows and was the recipient of many awards, including Guggenheim and National Arts Council grants. Many of his works are featured in permanent collections, such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. A master teacher, he retired as professor emeritus at New York’s Pratt Institute. In 1996, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts by Monmouth University.

For Jacob Landau “art enables us to see the world whole and undivided.” As a humanist his art was devoted to the unity of the imagination. And at its center lies Landau’s desire for justice in the world. In the current exhibit his celebration of our love of color, shared across so many cultures, is inseparable from his humanist conviction. Color and drawing, Landau once declared, are the “twin fundaments of my style.” And he has been praised by fellow artists and critics as a colorist. His dazzling palette and expressive line exhilarate us. We find ourselves transported by their exuberant life, colors that rise up and sing for us in a work titled Flight. And yet his love affair with color does not blind him to the world of injustice.

On the one hand, his red and orange and yellow, and green and blue watercolors of gorgeous promise, so exquisitely handled in a radically imagined portrait of Isaiah dazzle us with life. But by the same token, Landau by these colors insists on the social justice that Isaiah declaimed. Justice, the artist makes clear in his beautiful and unsettling riot of forms, that he expects of us.

Uniquely, his canvass of many colors dazzles and disturbs. His understated colors in Apocalypsis fill us with foreboding, and he asks, “Whose apocalypse is it anyway ours or God’s?” Just like Landau to leave us with an uncomfortable question in the language of subtle colors. At the same time, we see a bold backdrop of brilliant yellow across the way in his Oracle 1, dramatizing the hope that resides in the human heart. A yellow we can’t shake as we walk away.

The exhibition features a selection of some twenty-one works. All are from Monmouth University’s extensive collection of Jacob Landau’s work, comprising over 300 prints, drawings and paintings. The collection was gifted to Monmouth University in 2008 by the Jacob Landau Institute of Roosevelt, NJ. This exhibit is co-sponsored by the Jewish Culture Studies Program and the Honors School of Monmouth University.

Docent tours are available (for times, contact Professor Noel Belinski 732-263-5425; email:  nbelinsk@monmouth.edu).

Water Lilies of Monet: The Magic of Water and Light

Voyage through the masterpieces and obsessions of the genius and founder of Impressionism, Claude Monet. An art-world disruptor at the turn of the 20th century whose obsession with capturing light and water broke all convention, Monet revolutionized Modern Art with his timeless masterpieces.

An in-depth, exclusive tour led by Monet scholars of the museums that house the largest collections of the prolific artist’s lilies paintings including the Musée Marmottan Monet, the Orsay Museum, the world-famous panels at L’Orangerie and concluding with Monet’s own house and gardens at Giverny, the site where his fascination for water lilies was born.

Klimt & Schiele: Eros and Psyche

Klimt & Schiele: Eros and Psyche, recounts the start of the Vienna Secession, a magical art movement formed in the late 1890’s for art, literature and music, in which new ideas are circulated, Freud discovers the drives of the psyche, and women begin to claim their independence. It was a movement that marked a new era outside the confines of academic tradition.

At the heart of Secession were artists Gustav Klimt and his protégé and dear friend Egon Schiele. This exhibition proves an in-depth examination fo images of extraordinary visual power: from the eroticism of Klimt’s mosaic-like works, to the anguished and raw work of the young Schiele in his magnetic nudes and contorted figures against the backdrop of nocturnal Vienna, full of masked balls and dreams imbued with sexuality.