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Fall Exhibitions: September 28, 2018–January 27, 2019

Kevin Blythe Sampson
USS Enterprise, 2018
Mixed media
27 x 36 x 29 inches
Courtesy of the artist and Cavin-Morris Gallery, NY.

Kevin Blythe Sampson: Black and Blue
Main Gallery
September 28, 2018–January 27, 2019

Kevin Blythe Sampson (b. 1954) is a sculptor, painter, and muralist recognized for tackling difficult issues through socially-engaged artwork. Inspired by Caribbean and American Southern artistic traditions, he transforms discarded objects and ephemera into intricate vessels and memorials that have personal significance to him or his subjects. His sculptures draw spiritual energy from the community at large and reflect an intimate understanding of the contemporary African-American experience. Born and raised in Elizabeth, NJ, Sampson served for 18 years as a New Jersey police officer and has lived and worked in Newark for the past two decades. The exhibition incorporates sculptures, drawings, a site-specific mural, and a recent series of porcelain sculptures responding to the Black and Blue Lives Matter movements. Sampson addresses these complicated issues from his perspective as an African American artist as well as a retired police officer.

To read more about the NEA Grant that is funding this exhibition, click here.


Fred Scruton
Work of Melvin Gould; Cheyenne, WY, 2011
Chromogenic print
24 x 30 in.
Courtesy of the artist
© Fred Scruton

Messages from the Interior
Marité & Joe Robinson Strolling Galleries
Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg Gallery
September 28, 2018–January 27, 2019

Messages from the Interior is a two-part exhibition highlighting the work of Fred Scruton, a photographer, videographer, and writer who documents visionary and other non-mainstream artists and the environments they create. Traveling extensively throughout the United States and periodically revisiting many of the artists and sites, Scruton shines new light on artists whose work is often overlooked. A series of his photographic portraits of the artists and their environments is on view in the Robinson Strolling Gallery. Selected artworks from Scruton’s personal collection—made by some of these artists—are displayed in the adjacent Eisenberg Gallery.


Theda Sandiford
Wonder Women, 2018
Mixed media on fabric, 10 x 8 feet
Courtesy of the artist.

Stair-gazing: Theda Sandiford
Main Staircase
September 28, 2018–January 27, 2019

Our fall Stair-gazing exhibition features the work of Theda Sandiford, a collage, mixed media, and installation artist who is based in Jersey City. In Wonder Women, Sandiford combines drawing, photography, digital media, and found objects to make a large-scale self-portrait on fabric. In the tradition of the sewing circle or quilting bee, she invited members of the community to help her sew embellishments such as buttons, beads, artificial flowers, and other ephemera.

Summer Exhibitions

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.

Mary Jean Canziani
Basic Anxiety—A New Psychobiological Concept, 2017
Acrylic on repurposed book, 9 1/2 x 13 in. Courtesy of the artist.

“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.


Linda Ganjian
Detail of Uncontained Consumption, 2017
Mixed media, 72 x 42 x 9 in. Courtesy of the artist.

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.

Spring Exhibitions

The Visual Arts Center of New Jersey is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibitions.

Opening February 2, 2018

Opening reception, February 2, from 6:30-8:30 PM.

Radiant Energy
Main and Robinson Strolling Galleries

Richard Garrison: All-consuming
Mitzi and Warren Eisenberg Gallery

Stair-gazing: Paul Corio
Main Staircase

Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play

Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play
Main and Robinson Strolling Galleries
September 22, 2017 – January 14, 2018

Opening reception: Friday, September 22, 2017, 6-8pm

Exposing our insatiable longing for the ideal, the work of Julia Jaquette, who is based in New York and Amsterdam, focuses on commercialized objects of desire: liquor and food, ornate interiors of the wealthy, shimmering swimming pools, and deceptively flawless women. Utilizing images from glossy lifestyle magazines, luxury brand catalogs, and 1950s and 1960s cookbooks, Jacquette renders these objects with photorealist precision, often in views so close that the subject becomes abstracted. Her crisply detailed paintings question the seductive attraction of consumer goods, the unattainable perfection of feminine beauty, and the ways that advertising influences our feelings of identity and self-worth.

Original gouache drawings from Jacquette’s graphic memoir, Playground of My Mind, will be on view concurrently in the Joe and Marité Robinson Strolling Gallery. Providing a distinctive account of the artist’s childhood, the book is inspired by the “adventure playgrounds” of the 1970s that encouraged constructive, imaginative play. In this memoir, Jacquette acknowledges the influence of these and other design principles that she absorbed growing up in New York City during the 1960s and 1970s.

Julia Jacquette: Unrequited and Acts of Play is an abridged version of an exhibition organized by the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College, where it was on view February 18 – July 2, 2017. It was curated by Tracy L. Adler, Johnson-Pote Director of the Wellin Museum.

Julia Jacquette, Swimming Pool Water (Hand), 2015, Gouache on paper, 9½ x 12½ in. Courtesy of the artist, New York. © Julia Jacquette, Image courtesy of the artist.