A Contrast of Space and Abstraction
Upon arrival to the LEED certified “green” building at 14 Maple Avenue in Morristown, NJ, I was greeted by the unexpected normality of an office lobby with unassuming signs inviting me to the 3rd floor opening reception of Contrasting Abstractions in Gallery at 14, sponsored by Morris Arts.
Once through the doors, the atmosphere quickly shifted. Clusters of enthusiastic patrons were lost in conversation, offering a palpable energy, as they were engaged by the myriad of well curated pieces.
The Gallery 14 at Maple is an unconventional space; it is set in a modern office atmosphere complete with glass conference rooms and narrow hallways. Dr. Butera’s curation expertly capitalizes upon the space, pushing the interaction beyond the conventional white walls and evoking a Barnes Foundation aesthetic.
Media such as glass, wood, oil, resin and paper reflect contemporary connections of the materiality of modern architecture, recycling and underlying patterns. In the first hallway out of the elevator, Gail Winbury’s painting Cloud House uses fields of greys and white to speak to a mysterious narrative suggested by a small structure nestled in the landscape.
In the conference room, Nancy Cohen’s Spill draws attention to concerns about the environment and the effects of the everyday objects in use. The organic forms are an eclectic mix of glass, metal, wire, rubber, resin and handmade paper that brings to mind the contrast of mass production versus the handmade process.
Ken Weatherby’s 221 (derriere le miroir) is an assemblage of common materials such as wood, linen and a reversed mirror. It capitalizes on the lack of reflection and while reflecting what is hidden in plain sight, imitating what we refuse to see in ourselves.
Christine Barney’s Ribbon Candy is a contrast in scale to the other pieces in the conference room and perhaps the boldest use of color. Both delicate and solid, this sculpture is a jewel.
As Abstract Expressionism of the mid 20th century reflected the tensions and underlying structures of the atomic age, this contemporary group of New Jersey artists (Christine Barney/Jersey City, Nancy Cohen/Jersey City, Susan Lisbin/Orange, Lisa Pressman/West Orange, Christine Tenaglia/Wildwood Crest, Ken Weathersby/ Montclair and Gail Winbury/Westfield) investigate current environmental issues, reusable materials and underlying patterns that emerge as we traverse the 21st century. Contrasting Abstractions runs through February 12th, 2016. For more information contact Morrisarts.org.