Current Exhibitions

Main Gallery

Sep 01 2015 - Dec 17 2015

The (Not So) Secret Life of Plants

Opening reception Thursday, September 10, 5-7pm

Plants are the foundation on which most visible life on the planet exists.  They are under stress, with diminishing natural environments and the very real possibility that many plants may become extinct even before humans are aware of their existence.  This exhibition will explore the nature of plants and how humans interact with them, from the forest to the home.

Artists in this exhibition: Thea Clark, John Edmark, Dana Fritz, Jim Jacobs, Ming-Jer Kuo, Jessica Lagunas, Sam Metcalf, Lina Puerta, Lindsay M. Robbins, Martina Shenal, Linda Stillman, Adam Swart, Yeon Ji Yoo, Rachel Yurkovich.

Orbit 1

Sep 01 2015 - Dec 24 2015

Pig Wars & Migration: Maria Lupo

Maria Lupo’s work explores the personal, societal, and environmental impacts of war and migration.  Both are driven by basic needs such as food, safety, and freedom, but can lead to tense societies where equality and peace seem hopeless.  Lupo writes, “We are a global, world network and we are all held prisoner by the terror of war and its slaughter of the human spirit.”  Lupo’s use of pigs in her work references both human actions and reactions, as the pig (a source of food) circles the globe, seeking food and safety of its own while being hunted by predators.  The appearance of  battle maps of the American Civil War (considered one of the bloodiest in history) comments on the war’s polarizing effect on a nation already divided.

Nationally recognized artist Maria Lupo received her BFA from Rutgers University – Newark, her MFA from Hunter College, and her Post-Masters Specialization in Art Therapy from Caldwell College.   Lupo is a Registered Art Therapist and holds a second Masters in Counseling Psychology.  Her work is included in many public and private collections.

Maria Lupo, "Pig Migration 1," 2014, mixed media on canvas, 12"x16", courtesy of the artist

Maria Lupo, “Pig Migration 1,” 2014, mixed media on canvas, 12″x16″, courtesy of the artist

Orbit 2

Sep 01 2015 - Dec 24 2015

Subway Series 2012-Present: James Wilson

James Wilson’s ongoing “Subway Series” is composed of the artist’s observational drawings from life on Path and subway trains in and around Newark.  In rapid lines, Wilson captures moments of privacy and solitude in public places.

James Steven Wilson is a born-and-raised Newark artist, a graduate of the city’s famed Arts High, and a fixture of the Newark skateboard and graffiti scenes.  Wilson writes, “Through my art I hope to tell stories of whimsical irony, pensive despair, and playful joy.  One theme present throughout my work is that of the dispossessed youth.”  In addition to his art practice, which includes murals, drawings, paintings, and 3 dimensional works, Wilson is an art handler, artist educator, and mentor for local youth.

Criminal Justice Gallery

Sep 01 2015 - Dec 24 2015

I Might Be Next: Jerry Gant & Bryant Lebron

Reception on Monday, October 19, 4-530pm
Criminal Justice Gallery
Rutgers School of Law
123 Washington Street, Newark, NJ

Visitor and parking information

In the midst of recent headlines about unarmed Black individuals killed by white police officers, Newark artists Jerry Gant and Bryant Lebron are investigating the Black experience with criminal justice in modern America.

Newark historian and artist Nell Painter writes:

Wonderful things about being black abound, from the physical to the cultural to the social. Blackness is beautiful in the body, the skin, the vigor that shows in muscle and sinew. (Let us here praise Serena Williams.) Beauty in the music and the poetry and the art. (Let us here praise 2Pac and Duke Ellington and Elizabeth Alexander and Kara Walker and Stanley Whitney.) And the beautifully almost un-American sense of solidarity.

I want to talk about solidarity, as Bryant Lebron depicts it, and solidarity as Jerry Gant depicts the sadness when it is missed.           

That sense of community—of solidarity, of being connected over time and space and even clashingly different experiences—distinguishes Americans of African descent from the mainstream loudly proclaiming its individualism, stony, self-reliant individualism. But we who have been so persistently lumped together, discriminated against, even beaten as embodiments of a group, have long embraced our group identity. Solidarity has been our talisman, our key to sanity within an insane system of racial denigration. Where would we be without our peers to reassure us that we were not insane? How to survive as an isolated individual, when individualism would condemn a single person to insanity. No, individualism does not serve us when we are mistreated as part of a group. Solidarity has saved the sanity of most of us, even though legions have fallen victim to racism’s insanity.

In these times, the weekly drumbeat of murder turns solidarity into an endlessly renewed grief, as a person is killed as each week goes by. We may be personally safe. But our solidarity connects us, week by week, to each murdered black person. “That could have been me,” we feel, we say, each time another loses her or his life senselessly. This cruelty stretches back farther than Bryant Lebron says. In my mid-twentieth-century generation, it was the vicious torture-murder-drowning of Emmett Till in 1955. Then it was the three young men in Freedom Summer of 1964. The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense began in 1966 to combat anti-black police brutality. Each of the urban uprisings of the twentieth-century began with the fact or rumor of police brutality.  In each instance, we mourn the victims in racial solidarity and in the knowledge that it could have been me. It could have been me, walking down the street in a hoodie with Skittles in my hand. It could have been me avoiding the overgrown sidewalk. It could have been me in the dark stairway or in the street selling loose cigarettes. It even could have been me inviting the stranger into our prayer meeting. It could have been me changing lanes without signaling and smoking in my car. Yes. In solidarity, I know it could have been me.

Nell Painter, Newark, New Jersey, July 2015

U-Gallery

Sep 01 2015 - May 12 2016

Bloom: Patricia Arias-Reynolds & Sarah Lamont

The works in this exhibition celebrate and meditate on the burgeoning energies found in nature—visible and invisible, implied through interactions of color and gesture.  Both artists, Patricia Arias-Reynolds and Sarah Lamont, are recent graduates from Rutgers University-Newark’s Department of Arts, Culture & Media.

Sarah Lamont’s process is one of exploration, chance, and control.  Lamont drips, splatters, and pours her materials onto saturated canvases to arrive at color interactions reminiscent of those created by foam bath bombs on the surface of water.  Lamont writes, “Nature now affects the final outcome of the work, which is not determined until completely dry.  Now all is chance.”

Patricia Arias-Reynolds’ work uses trees as a starting point to explore spirituality, nature, energy, and healing.  Beginning with photographs taken during her travels, Arias-Reynolds manipulates the images digitally and with paint in vivid, contrasting colors.  She writes, “The works attempt to manifest an internal energy that evokes a memory from my experience within nature.”

Messier Gallery

Sep 10 2015 - May 15 2016

One Worm at a Time: Armisey Smith

Armisey Smith, "Rudiments," 2011, acrylic on paper and canvas, 30”x48”, courtesy of the artist

Armisey Smith, “Rudiments,” 2011, acrylic on paper and canvas, 30”x48”, courtesy of the artist

This series of murals tells the story of a person of color navigating mental illness, working through the stigma and taking the journey through this disability to find balance, peace, and resilience.  Armisey Smith is a Newark-based illustrator, graphic designer, curator, and painter.

Armisey Smith writes:

An acknowledgement of my biological shortcomings has always been an undercurrent in my work.  Although I was trained as an illustrator, I spoke to issues related to race, gender, sexuality and now the mental and physical well-being of African-American women.  My latest body of work depicts the struggle between mind and body.  Art-making is a mechanism which speaks to my clinical depression and serves to illuminate/dispel stigmas related to clinical depression in women of color. Historically black women are labeled with the “Strong Black Woman” moniker; thereby irresponsibly undermining potential mental disorders. Embracing the “Strong Black Woman” mantle means vulnerability within social and familial circles.

I choose to expose the organic and chemical disjunction of the mind/body with individual amorphous shapes layered with paint and objects sealed in resin. These shapes obliquely resemble neural pathways, cell structures, organs and musculature; the components of which make us human yet fallible. The movement or sculptural relief of each individual piece further emphasizes the disconnection between mind and body.  Eventually, by physical movement of the pieces or the convergence of the mind’s eye, the re-association begins. 

The Wall

Feb 15 2014 - Jul 31 2015

Nelson Mandela Tribute Mural by Warcheerah Kilima

Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist and the President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.  This tribute mural by Warcheerah Kilima celebrates Mandela’s achievements on the world stage, and his lifelong commitment to equality for all.

About his use of a tree to symbolize Mandela’s life and work, Kilima writes: “Trees represent the movement from what something (or someone) has been into what it has become over time… Tree roots can run deep, travel far, and fit and attach themselves to places, around things, and survive in inhospitable locations.”  Kilima draws upon diverse African and global arts traditions, incorporating symbols, significant historical events, and lyrics from popular songs.

Warcheerah H. S. Kilima was born in Tanzania and raised near Dar es Salaam.  He studied at the Bagamoyo College of Art (TASUBA) and helped develop opportunities for local artists, including co-founding an artists’ market in an old slave market.  Kilima’s work has exhibited in Africa, Europe, and the United States.  He is also an educator, leading programs and workshops that teach many aspects of art making, including puppetry, murals, recycled art, and spoken word poetry.

This mural is brought to you by the Robeson Campus Center and the Paul Robeson Galleries.