Yesterday was the opening reception for my Spark of Creation Art Show at the beautiful Oakeside Mansion. The show runs from now till the end of August, so you have plenty of time to catch it before its gone.
The exhibit can be viewed Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Evening viewings by appointment only at the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center, 240 Belleville Ave. in Bloomfield NJ.
I was so honored to have friends, family and members of the public stop by to see the show. I am grateful for all the support.
I am thrilled to announce a new art exhibit – Spark of Creation – to be held in August at the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center in Bloomfield NJ. This will be my second exhibit at Oakeside, but my first show of original paintings.
Spark of Creation is a series of black and white abstract paintings that speak to that single moment of creation when one drop of paint reaches the canvas and spreads outwards in undulations of expression and creativity – explosive, sometimes directionless, but always intense.
I finished the entire series – 18 paintings of varying sizes – in a a few short months. For me the collection serves as a metaphor for both the inner and outward universe that exists for each of us – expanding, contracting and ever changing.
The exhibit will run from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31 and can be viewed Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Evening viewings by appointment only.
An opening reception will be held Thursday, August 13th from 7:30-9:30 p.m. at Oakeside where I get to meet and greet with the public. Stop by and enjoy the art along with some light refreshments.
In August of 2013 at Oakeside, I presented a series of black & white photographs of stone angels called “Never Alone.”
I started photographing these stone angels about three years ago. Another hobby of mine is genealogy and family history, which I began over ten years ago. While researching for one’s roots you are invariably led to a cemetery or two or three… As I have family buried in Essex County and surrounding counties, I have visited many of these cemeteries. Almost every time there were one or two angels that I was really struck by – either the intricacy of its carving or the expression on its face or even its overall composition. So in between walking the rows searching for and documenting the final resting places of my relatives, I would capture an angel here and an angel there. Before I knew it the collection was growing.
Once it started to develop and I had decided that I wanted to create a series of angels, I became more focused on how I wanted to represent them. Typically cemetery angels and cemetery monuments are shown amongst the many other monuments and stones surrounding them. I didn’t want that effect for this series . I made a concerted effort to capture each one on its own – recognizing it as an individual artistic piece. I felt this allowed the angels to be appreciated for what it was and allowed the viewer to focus on each angel’s unique attributes.
I also decided from a visual standpoint that black & white was the right choice for these pictures. Viewing the images you can easily see that black & white lends itself to stone monuments and specifically angels.
Over a three year period the angel collection continued to grow in proportion to my genealogy excursions. Eventually I decided that it was time to exhibit these images and share them with others. The first step was of course to review everything I shot and narrow them down to the best of the best. Pouring over each of the images I started to develop a new appreciation for them beyond just the artistry. I had to remind myself that they also served an important function for those who commissioned them and placed them at their relatives’ graves. They were there to watch over them and ensure they were Never Alone. This later realization is what inspired the title of the show.
The exhibit at Oakeside is now the culmination of those three years of searching for, photographing, living with and contemplating the nature of these Angels.
Yesterday’s opening reception for Never Alone: Black & White Images of Stone Angels was a great success!
Thanks to everyone who came out to the reception. All of your support is very much appreciated. The mansion was definitely full of life yesterday as everyone perused the Angel exhibit.
The opening reception may be over, but there is still plenty of time to see the show. The exhibit hangs at the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center until the end of August. If you can’t make the show you can check out the online gallery here: STONE ANGELS.
I received a lot of nice comments and had some great conversations on everything from what led me to the subject matter to questions on the use of angels in cemeteries.
In typical photographer fashion, I’m also including some pictures from the opening.
I am very lucky to have the Oakes Mansion be the home of my first photography show – Never Alone: Black & White Images of Stone Angels.
If you are wondering about the Oakeside Mansion, the house was constructed in 1895 by architect, Charles Granville Jones – a well known local architect who resided in Belleville, NJ. He also was known for designing Bloomfield High School and many other schools, banks, etc. in the Essex County area.
The house was built by the Oakes family – a prominent Bloomfield dynasty. The Oakes family settled in Bloomfield in the early 1800s and were the founders of the Oakes Woolen Mill which operated for 117 years before its final closing in 1943.
Upon the death of Jean Doswell Oakes, the house was donated to the township of Bloomfield and shortly afterwards the Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center was formed to provide: “community-based programs in the areas of historical interpretation, arts programs and education, horticulture and gardening, and recreation and cultural events.” For more info on Oakeside visit: www.oakeside.org.
The below photos showcase the beauty of the Oakes Mansion and grounds. You have to admit it is a grand place to visit.
Today – August 1st – was the start of my firs solo photography show – Never Alone: Black & White Images of Stone Angels. It was a great day at the Oakes Mansion preparing, planning and hanging the angels. This beautiful turn-of-the-century Mansion is the perfect place for a photography show. If you have never been to the Mansion you definitely need to visit and attend one of the many cultural events hosted here throughout the year.
Thanks to great friends – Cindy Summers and Corinna Sowers-Adler – the angels went up very easily and look amazing.
From the first picture hung to the final one – it felt surreal to see all of MY pictures hanging on these walls. One of my dreams has always been to have my own solo art show – whether photographs or paintings. So this is truly a dream come true… a wish fulfilled.
I am very excited now to share this work with the world and to allow these angels to fly…
I am really excited to announce a dream come true… My first solo photography exhibit is going forward in August at the amazing and beautiful Oakeside Bloomfield Cultural Center in Bloomfield NJ. The show – Never Alone: Black & White Images of Stone Angels – will run at Oakeside from August 5-31 and be open to the public Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Evening viewings are by appointment only.
Never Alone is the culmination of a three-year project I undertook to document the use of stone angels in cemeteries throughout New Jersey. I carefully selected each image for this debut show to demonstrate the beauty and craftsmanship that went into creating these funerary objects. Stone angels were often used in the beginning decades of the last century especially among the newly arriving immigrant populations from Europe.
This angel exhibit not only presents each angel as a work of art in its own right but also focuses on the vital role they play as guardians watching over lost loved ones and ensuring they are never alone.
The elegance of the Oakes Mansion’s turn-of-the-century architecture is the perfect environment for this show and I couldn’t be any more thrilled to have my first show here.
There is an opening reception on Sunday, August 11 from 2-4 p.m. which is open to the public.
I look forward to seeing everyone there to appreciate these wonderful works of art.