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Annual Student Exhibition 2014

Opening Reception: Sunday, April 27 from 1-4 pm. Featuring select works by Monmouth University students in photography, graphic design, animation and studio art.

Gallery Exhibition: MAVIS SMITH / THINK AGAIN

September 2 – October 17, 2014
Rechnitz Hall
DiMattio Gallery – First Floor
Opening Reception: Friday, September 19, from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

We interact with hundreds of people throughout our lifetimes, yet can we ever hope to grasp the intricate web of experience that makes them tick? Imagining the hidden realities of other people’s existences is a continuing theme in the work of artist Mavis Smith. “It’s not so much specific people or events, but the general sense of unknown depths that intrigues me”, says Smith. “It does not have to be dark; heroic acts toward total strangers or simple people rising to extraordinary occasions are equally in the mix.” Smith, who’s works are often done in egg tempera, brings an almost surreal aesthetic to her paintings that further suggests the dislocation of appearances and realities.

“I have a love/hate relationship with egg tempera. It’s a labor intensive medium, but the luminous effects you can achieve makes it seem worth it to me. I build up layer upon layer of thicker paint, alternating with sheer washes of pigment – back and forth, back and forth. The actual process is very meditative, and I believe it contributes to my subconscious imagination coming into play.”

Bucks County, PA resident Mavis Smith studied at the Pratt Institute in the 1970’s, and has exhibited her work in Holland and Switzerland as well as Santa Fe, New York City, and several venues in NJ and PA including a solo show in 2012 at the Michener Art Museum in Doylestown, PA. She is also a prolific illustrator and author of children’s books, having authored 10 and illustrated at least 75. This exhibition samples a range of Smith’s work from years past, as well as several new pieces, including both paintings and works on paper as well as some recent sculptural works incorporating egg shells.

Gallery Exhibition: Robert Mueller – Selected Works From the Monmouth University Permanent Collection

September 2 – October 17, 2014
Rechnitz Hall
DiMattio Gallery – Second Floor

Inspired by mathematical models, literary sources, and his own social consciousness, Robert Emmett Mueller, artist, engineer, inventor, author, musician, puppet maker, and general wizard, is on a never-ending search for visual equivalents to his ideas.

“Such is his mind, and such is his personality that I know whatever he is doing artistically is a search for form, a search for beauty, and a search for the meaning of things”, said Bernarda Bryson Shahn, and artist and Mueller’s longtime neighbor in Roosevelt, New Jersey.

Mueller’s creations are largely varied.  They include woodcuts, like a recent triptych entitled: Ravages of Pre-emptive War; The Devil Stalks Baghdad; America’s Bitter Presence, whose theme is the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  Many of Mueller’s pieces can be found worldwide and are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Pushkin Museum in Moscow, the New Jersey State Museum, the Rutgers University Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum of London, and other museums worldwide.  He is also a painter who describes his personal style as “Mathematico-abstract.”  Mueller has written two books, The Science of Art, published in 1967, and Inventivity, published in 1963.

Mueller’s own “inventivity” took a circuitous route to art.  He grew up in St. Louis, where his father was a baker and his mother was a seamstress and milliner.  After serving in the Navy, he was sent to a college preparation program in Asbury Park and later graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After moving to New York City to study philosophy at New York University, Mueller began to meet artists from Roosevelt, which was begun as a planned workers’ community but had evolved into an artists’ colony that included, among others, Ben Shahn, and Gregorio Prestopino, both who influenced Mueller’s work.  Mueller moved to Roosevelt with his wife Diana Lobl, an attorney, in the 1950’s.  They now have two grown children, Rachel and Erik.

Mueller said that through Roosevelt he became “conscious of human inhumanity, moral and social problems, the depths of degradation, and the heights of elegance over which human nature ranges”, and he believes that artists should use their work to react to crises in society, to encourage protest, and to fight for economic, political, and human well-being.

In this exhibition, all of the above are skillfully communicated.

Image Caption: Classic Figure, 1996, Woodcut, 23 1/2″ x 17 1/2″

Gallery Exhibition: David H. Wells

September 2 – November 14, 2014
Ice House Gallery
Opening Reception:  Thursday, September 25, from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m.

An exhibit about the empty homes and foreclosed dreams littering the American landscape in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.

Owning a home was once the American dream. At the peak of the foreclosure crisis, one in five American homeowners was either behind on their mortgage payments or in the process of foreclosure. Their empty homes and foreclosed dreams are powerful symbols of lives shattered and families devastated.

After a house is foreclosed upon there is a fleeting moment when the ghosts of the one-time owners are all that is left – before the houses are cleaned and returned to the real estate market.  The remaining signs of life photographed during this period of time echo the voices and footsteps that once filled these emptied houses.

I focused on empty homes, as they are immovable objects and stand in stark contrast to the highly mobile American dream. I chose not to focus on individual families in foreclosure because I wanted to explore the issue from a broader perspective. The final work is made more powerful by its lack of literalism and its attention to chillingly mundane objects.  An open-ended canvas, viewers can project their own ideas into the photographs – about home, America and family, into the empty spaces of the houses.

I started the project in April of 2009, with the goal of understanding the upheaval we are living through. I initially photographed in the Central Valley of California, an epicenter of the foreclosure crisis. Then, I worked in Rhode Island, which has a foreclosure rate very similar to California’s. To date, I have photographed in eighteen states.

My audience is America itself, including those who worry about the possible foreclosure of their own dreams, those who have already experienced that trauma and anyone concerned or interested in what’s happening to the American dream.

Gallery Exhibition: Glory Bound. Photographs by Barry Schneier

September 2 – September 30
Pollak Gallery
Opening Reception/Gallery Talk: September 11, 6-8 pm

Throughout the 1970’s, Barry Schneier captured several iconic figures in pivotal moments of their lives, having unprecedented access to these young artists as their careers took flight. Included in the exhibit are images from Bruce Springsteen’s legendary 1974 Harvard Square Theatre show — a performance cemented in music history after Jon Landau penned the infamous line,  “I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen.” Also featured is Patti Smith’s debut tour performance at San Francisco’s Boarding House and Van Morrison’s triumphant return to Boston as he paid tribute to the town where he conceived Astral Weeks.

Image Caption: Bruce Springsteen, Harvard Square Theatre, 5/9/1974

Gallery Exhibition – Evelyn Leavens Retrospective 1924 – 2013

November 7 – December 19
Rechnitz Hall’s DiMattio Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, November 14, 2014 from 7 – 9 pm

Born in 1924, Evelyn Leavens is a life long resident of Red Bank. Her first solo show was in 1952 at the Old Mill Gallery, Tinton Falls, known then for the introduction of Alice Neel and Martha Graham.
In 1958 a book of drawings “Boswells’ Life of Boswell” by Leavens was published by Simon and Schuster which became #2 on the New York Times children’s best seller that year.

She has received two fellowships from N.J. State Council of the Arts and was included in the 1977 N.J. Arts Council biennial at the Trenton State Museum. Her work has shown, notably, at City Without Walls, Aljira, Tweeds, Summit Art Center and the Morris State Museum.

Primarily self taught, she attended the Vermont Studio Center in 1987 where she studied with Malcolm Morley, Archie Rand and Niel Welliver.

“Black Convergence is a bit hard to describe. First, it is not an abstract. It takes nothing from nothing. This painting is non-objective because it has nothing in its mind to start with. The first mark on the paper is the way to the second mark.  This progresses, through many marks and changes to become a true non-objective. It makes many changes until, through love and hate, eventually becomes acceptable. I never give up”.
– Evelyn Leavens

This exhibition will include works from throughout the artist’s life.

Website: evelynleavens.com

Image Caption: Black Convergence, 2012, Watercolor on paper, 16″ x 20″

Gallery Exhibition: December Senior Show

November 21 – December 5, 2014
Ice House Gallery
Opening Reception: Friday, November 21, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Featuring the work of Monmouth University graduating seniors who will receive their degrees in Graphic Design, Animation or Fine Art.

Gallery Exhibition: Hon Eui Chen – After the Sun

January 20 – March 7
Rechnitz Hall
DiMattio Gallery – First Floor
Lecture: Thursday, January 29, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.  Wilson Hall Auditorium,
Opening Reception: Thursday, January 29 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

The poetics of intimate spaces and the exploration of the idea of home are what interest me in paintings and installation.  The subject of home remains an abstract concept and is the motivational force for my studio pursuits.  Born in a refugee camp that lies between Cambodia and Thailand, I moved with my family to Mississippi at the age of six.  Growing up, the sense of belonging and not belonging to the Southern culture of Mississippi affected my sense of identity.  The memories of my childhood on the Thai-Cambodia border became just a faint beacon of light as the years go by; the need to remember, to retrieve those childhood memories of a past life remains a constant act in my work.

In my installations, I make objects that convey themes of identity, memory and longing to transform and activate a room.  I use acrylic paint, varnishes, resin, plaster and photographs as the structural realization for a subject as formless and transitory as memory.  The concept of travel and memory are embedded in the current series of mixed media paintings – layered earthy, dark colored background with graphite drawn trees and foliage and an overlay of concrete.  My work seeks to simulate the impermanence of memory, the fleeting-ness of its existence in mixed media installations, creating structures that translate the mind’s formless but living past into physical material and sensation and transforming space that poetically simulates a timeless place for recollection and dreams.

Artist website: www.honeuichen.com

Image Caption: Untitled, 8” x 8”, acrylic, image transfer and concrete on panel, 2014

Gallery Exhibition: Jacob Landau – Selected Paintings from the Monmouth University Permanent Art Collection

January 20 – March 7, 2014
Rechnitz Hall
DiMattio Gallery – Second Floor

Jacob Landau (1917-2001), printmaker, painter, humanist, and teacher was an artist whose works explored the basic themes of human existence and morality with an insight that was both passionate and indignant. He was born in Philadelphia, PA, where he began as an illustrator, but he lived most of his adult life in Roosevelt, NJ. Here he immersed himself in the town’s thriving artistic community, along with such noted artists as Ben Shahn, and began a distinguished career as professor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. The art he created gained him an impressive reputation, with many of his works included in the permanent collections of the world’s finest museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), the Hirshhorn Museum (Washington, DC), as well as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. He also received numerous honors, including fellowships from the Guggenheim and Ford Foundations.
In retirement he became Professor Emeritus at Pratt and received an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Monmouth University in 1996.

In 2008 the Jacob Landau Institute donated more than 300 of the artist’s prints, drawings and paintings to Monmouth University.  Jacob Landau: Selected Paintings from the Monmouth University Permanent Art Collection will feature approximately twenty original paintings.

Image Caption: Satanic Wheels, Watercolor, 36 1/4″ x 50 3/4″

Gallery Exhibition: Heeseop Yoon

January 21 – April 10
Ice House Gallery
Opening Reception: Thurs. February 5, from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Illustrated Lecture: Wilson Hall Auditorium, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

I begin by taking photographs of interiors such as warehouses, storage spaces, junkshops and basements; places where everything is jumbled, disorganized and filled with piles of random stuff.  From these photographs I construct a view and then start to draw freehand.  I don’t make sketches or project images to make the drawings.  Once I put lines on the surface I don’t erase or remove them.  If I want to change the drawing I just add more lines on top of the existing ones. These ‘mistakes’ that I make in the process of my drawing appear as double or multiples lines as I apply ‘corrections’. They reflect the accumulation of time, and how my perception has changed and become less clear over time.
Most of the drawing installations are site-specific.  I usually visit the site before I start the piece and take measurements of the space where I will install the work.  Usually I have vague ideas about how the whole installation will sit in the space, but most of the decisions I make happen during the process of making the piece in the studio.

Most of my drawing installations are also room scale, so I work section by section in my studio and don’t usually get to see the entire drawing until I have finish installing it. The whole piece is attached to the wall with the same black masking tape that I use for the drawing. I give each Mylar sheet a number and make a map of the drawing that shows which number goes where, so installing the whole piece is just like a putting together a really big puzzle.

I am mostly attracted to representing claustrophobic environments and defunct objects. At the beginning, it started as more of a formal interest – I was attracted to these massive piles of things, and the anonymous, decontextualized quality they had.  I wanted to make still life drawings that were about perception and mark-making rather than the narrative of the objects themselves.  But the more I worked with claustrophobic spaces, I stared to realize that these are the spaces hidden within our lives.  We have so many things that we forget about. We struggle for space for ourselves and for the things we own.  Now I am interested in these as lost spaces.

My work deals with memory and perception within cluttered spaces. I begin by photographing interiors such as basements, workshops, and storage spaces, places where everything is jumbled and time becomes ambiguous without the presence of people. From these photographs I construct a view and then I draw freehand without erasing. As I correct “mistakes” the work results in double or multiple lines, which reflect how my perception has changed over time and makes me question my initial perception. Paradoxically, greater concentration and more lines make the drawn objects less clear. The more I see, the less I believe in the accuracy or reality of the images I draw.

Artist Website: heeseopyoon.com/