Welcome to the Maloney Art Gallery Blog!

March 5, 2010

Welcome to the Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery Interactive Blog. We are launching the blog so that we can engage in dialogue about art, culture and humanistic ideas with our visitors to the web/blog site as well as the actual Art Gallery on the campus of the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, New Jersey. Please feel free to respond with your ideas and questions about our blog postings, Gallery exhibitions, cultural programs and events by writing a comment at the bottom of the blog.

When the idea of having an art gallery was first developed for the new building (Annunciation Center) the College was designing to house the Art, Music, Philosophy and Theology Departments, the Center for Spiritual and Theological Development, and the Holocaust Education Resource Center, I was trying to decide how I could position our Art Gallery to have a distinct profile among the many wonderful museums, art centers and college/university art galleries in New Jersey. The Gallery’s mission, therefore, reflects that of the College, with the goal of educating our very diverse audiences, helping them to discover art that speaks to them and changes the way they see and think about the world.

“The mission of the Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery is to create an exhibition program that reflects the Mission of the College of Saint Elizabeth, that promotes diversity and inclusion in all aspects, that harmonizes and amplifies the departmental curricula, the annual and one-time events on campus, and the issues and activities of Student Life, and that offers the Campus community and the community at large an on-going series of exhibitions of art of the highest possible caliber and interest.”

With that in mind, during the last two and a half years we have presented a range of exhibitions including The Annunciation in Contemporary Art; Judith Weinshall Liberman: Holocaust Wall Hangings; Line, Gesture, Space; Terri Garland: The Good Books, Katrina Bibles and Prayer Books; Calculating Art: Mathematics in the Visual Field; The Art of Healing; Texture: Surface as Metaphor; Responding to Cuba; The Great Swamp: Flora, Fauna, Etcetera; The Spirit of Charity; and New Classicism. Images from these past exhibitions may be seen on our website, . Opening on Thursday, April 8, 2010 from 4:30 to 7:00 PM will be our newest exhibition, Traditional Traces in Contemporary Native American Art. All are welcome to attend the reception.

Palaia, Temple,Agrigento, with Spot, 2006, 4 x 4' lightbox with Polaroid

The artworks selected for the exhibitions are meant to present, reinforce, and challenge our notions about the stated themes, the nature of art itself, and the humanistic concepts and ideals embedded in the act of creatively responding to the world. On January 21, 2010 we opened New Classicism, an exhibition of eleven artists from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania whose art has been influenced by classical Greek and Roman architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, ideas and ideals. All the works in the exhibition may be seen on the website under the exhibition site. I was fascinated by the ways in which their responses create metaphors about time, illusion, mathematical concepts and patterns, government, destruction, love, death, contrast and beauty…really almost everything! Responding to Greek temple structure, Franc Palaia paid homage to the Temple of Concord in Agrigento, Sicily, and reveals the ravages of time on both the temple and the out-of-date Polaroid film he uses to capture his images.

Rivera, Cuba, 2008, Oil on canvasdate and discontinued Polaroid film he uses in his work.

By showing flood waters engulfing a Greek-style temple, Jesus Rivera used his image as a metaphor for the lack of democracy in his homeland, Cuba .

Sue Zwick captured the disruption caused when neoclassical rhythm and proportion clashes with modern steel and glass in a photograph, Dynamic Interplay, showing Norman Foster’s late 20th century addition to the 19th century British Museum.

Zwick, Dynamic Interplay, 2006, Silver gelatin printe 19th century British Museum.

Palaia  and Winifred McNeill are among the many artists who marvel at the Pantheon, the oldest intact Roman building circa 126 CE, which served as inspiration for McNeill’s series of trompe l’oeil oil paintings, Shadow of Solid, # 1-10. Her pieces allude to the oculus (the circular opening) in the 142 feet-in- diameter dome of the Pantheon, the largest unreinforced concrete dome in the history of architecture. On McNeill’s paintings we can catch a glimpse of a bird or a shadow of a bird, which may have flown unknowingly into the oculus.  Solid and void, light and shadow, reality and illusion, concavity and convexity are among the many dualities that play out in the Pantheon itself and now here in a series of almost abstract paintings.

McNeill, Shadow of Solid, #1 - 10, 2010, Oil on canvas

In Rome Gianluca Bianchino filmed the abstract patterning of a flock of birds and paired that footage with abstract listening patterns for his DVD, Momento.

Rodeiro, Bar Meliton, 2008, Oil on canvas board

José Rodeiro weaves allusions to both a Pompeian fresco of fruit into his still life, Bar Meliton , which also refers to his hero of conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp, who played chess and met friends at the Bar Meliton in Cadaques, Spain. Athena Visiting Cassandra on the Walls of Troy reveals Rodeiro’s love of Greek harmony, proportion and beauty, qualities which appear in many of his drawings and watercolors based on scenes from Homer’s Iliad, and Odyssey.

Reid, Return of Odysseus, 2007, Oil on canvas

Homer’s epic poems, almost 3,000 years old, have been the basis for countless art works in all media and continue to be a rich source for James Patrick Reid who works in a style that combines classical and 19th century Romantic figurative art. His Battle over the Body of Patroclus and The Return of Odysseus are poignant reminders of the emotions generated by family, home, love and death, in art as well as life, in ancient Greece as well as contemporary society. These are also the themes for Edward Schmidt’s Study for Destruction of a City – Dies Irae.

The Greek and Roman fascination with idealized and realistic beauty in painting and sculpture pervades the history of Western art. We have only to study painters and sculptors during the fifteenth and sixteenth century Italian Renaissance period or 18th and 19th century French Neoclassical era to see that the attempt to depict the beauty of the human face, form and figure was ever present.

Wheat, Ariadane at Naxos, Silvered plaster

Cheryl Wheat’s sculpture, Ariadne at Naxos, and Gerald Lynch’s, Hand of Man, are but two pieces of contemporary sculpture which acknowledge the debt of classical, Renaissance and Neoclassical examples even as they use untraditional materials. Vincent J. Romaniello, Jr.’s painting and sculptures depicting his version of an archaeological field site and its “treasures” of ancient helmets and pottery shards  is another approach to recognizing how important our ancient visual, historical, lyrical and conceptual past is for us.

Reminders of ancient Greece and Rome are everywhere in our banks, post offices, government buildings and statues, and are inspiring contemporary literature as well as visual art, opera and fashion. It is compelling that after the last few years of economic and political turmoil in the United States and Europe, more and more artists are turning to classical art to find a stability within their creativity and innovation. After World War I, the French called it, “retour à l’ordre (the return to order). For example, Pablo Picasso, living in France, began a series of nudes based on classical figures. Is this what the trend to re-explore classical art is? Perhaps you have some ideas and examples. Let me know where you may have found classical inspiration or influence in what you have seen, read and heard, and how contemporary life has been inspired by classical influences!

—Virginia Fabbri Butera, Ph.D., Director of the Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery.

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One Response to “Welcome to the Maloney Art Gallery Blog!”

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