Friday, June 1, the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey will open its two summer exhibitions with a reception from 6:30–8:30 PM. The two shows, “Oh, what a world! What a world!” and Containment, will be on view throughout the summer and will close on Sunday, September 9, 2018.
“Oh, what a world! What a world!” are the dying words spoken by the Wicked Witch of the West as she melts away in the film, The Wizard of Oz. Despite her status as a villain, there is pathos and longing in those final words. The melting witch is an apt metaphor for the loss of control many people felt in the wake of the contentious 2016 United States presidential election. Since then, American society has become increasingly polarized, with a heightened state of anxiety about the future of the country and the world. This anxiety manifests itself in countless ways and pervades our increasingly globalized society. The group exhibition, “Oh, what a world! What a world!” examines how artists from the US and abroad are responding to these recent changes. With new urgency, their work addresses issues such as climate change, immigration, gender equality, race relations, policing, protest, and the very state of our Democracy. Participating artists are Olive Ayhens, Zoë Buckman, Mary Jean Canziani, David Antonio Cruz, Dahlia Elsayed, Goldschmied & Chiari, Enrico Gomez, Johannah Herr, Morgan O’Hara, Felekşan Onar, Fernando Orellana, Kern Samuel, Renée Stout, and Julie Wolfe. This exhibition will be on view in the Main Gallery.
Running concurrently in Eisenberg Gallery, Containment features artwork from a group of artists who examine the shipping containers and ships that move goods, people, and power across the oceans. The containerized shipping industry is central to international commerce and largely responsible for our increasingly globalized economy. The artists featured include David Packer, who has created a ceramic version of a shipping container, and Linda Ganjian whose sculptural installation reimagines a container-ship accident. Also included are Erin Diebboll and Gabby Miller, who have both been artists-in-residence on container ships and have created art in response to their firsthand experiences—Diebboll’s meticulous drawings illustrate the contents of shipping containers, and Miller used the ship’s engine oil as her medium for a series of paintings. Additionally, a site-specific installation by Leslie Kerby in Marité & Joe Robinson Strolling Gallery I, explores the movement of shipping containers and incorporates sculpture, mixed media works on paper, and video animation.