(WEST WINDSOR, NJ) -- As we cautiously emerge from the quarantines of the past few months, the West Windsor Arts Center has created an exhibition that looks at art as a healing tool. Reflecting on the realities, feelings, and experiences during the surreal Covid-19 pandemic or from other past events, either personal or public, this art show explores the theme of art and healing and the profound impact and lasting effect it can have on our lives.
A total of 35 artists have explored these evocative themes through a variety of media. The exhibition will be viewable online from August 31 through October 23, 2020 at westwindsorart.org. The juror was Lisa Freeman, co-creator of the Holistic Medicine Program at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital-Hamilton Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. An opening reception with the juror and artists will be held Friday, September 11, 2020 from 7:15pm to 9pm via Zoom. Artists will be on hand during the online event to discuss their work. Registration for the event is available at www.westwindsorarts.org/events.
Highlights of this extraordinary exhibition include works by Maureen Bennett, Joe LaMattina, and Anubha Sood.
Maureen Bennett is a former art director and currently a visual artist, artist-in-residence educator, and community activist. She created the global traveling art project, Peace by Piece, and has been awarded numerous grants for social change through art and was the recipient of the New York City Circle of Mercy Award. She leads creativity workshops encompassing education, earth awareness, nonviolence, wellness and peace. Her work is inspired by nature and human nature, working in graphite, pastels, watercolors, acrylics, oils, mixed media and photography/computer technology. “My well-being is woven into my love of nature. During this self-quarantine time I have been creating mandalas, including Quarantine Backyard Mandala – Azalea Harmony, with the intention to share with others. All work is inspired by my backyard and woodlands in New Jersey.
Joe LaMattina is a retired art educator with the Hackensack, New Jersey Public School System and P.I. Art Center, New Jersey. LaMattina currently focuses on integrating his studio time, exhibiting in local and international gallery shows, and private teaching. “Being creative can seem daunting in a world that seems to value logic over imagination and practicality over dreaming. In my work I love to experiment and to play. ‘Play is not the antithesis of something that is important! To have playful thinking requires a sense of lightness and fluidity.’”
A recent graduate of Parsons School of Design (MFA), Anubha Sood’s work is centered around sustainable ecology that provokes a sentiment addressing our current systems of production, accessibility, and inequality, and how they aggravate the larger climate crisis and devastate minorities. Table Cloth Series explores the urgency of making a work and reorienting it from the overwhelmingly dissonance of COVID-19. The artist reflected on this time by exploring healing through weaving. The fabric scraps used to make yarn were over-dyed using onion skins, turmeric, seaweed and rust. Ordinary furniture was repurposed as looms.
Juror Lisa Freeman has more than 25 years of diversified experience in both profit and non-profit business sectors in the tri-state area. She has created several health-related programs and initiatives, including the Holistic Medicine Program for the Rutgers Cancer Institute (mentioned above) and the trademarked Robert Wood Johnson Hospital-Hamilton “We vs. C. (Cancer)”. Her holistic program was developed for patients undergoing treatment and their family members, and is curated to engage local artists, performers, community and spiritual leaders to provide a diverse and healing line of services.
The list of artists includes: Hamish Abrahms, Zakia Ahmed, Maureen Bennett, Joe Bucciano, Vincent Bush, Thomas Chiola, Connie Cruser, Ceil Diskin, Joann Donatiello, Ilene Dube, Gary David Fournier, Jay Goldberg, Spriha Gupta, Joelle Hofbauer, Margaret Kalvar, Joy Kreves and Ivia Sky Yavelow, Joe LaMattina, Sang-Yeol Lee, Yun Li, Kathleen Hurley Liao, Eleni Litt, Beth Malcolm, Judith Marchand and David P. Horowitz, Kim Matthews, Lucretia Ellen McGuff-Silverman, John Piccoli, Helene Plank, William Plank, Karen Schoenitz, Alok Sharma, Anubha Sood, Ilana Visotsky, and Lauren Vroegindewey.
The West Windsor Arts Council’s mission is to provide high quality cultural programming that brings people together and transforms the world around us by inspiring, educating and promoting the arts and art appreciation for our diverse community. West Windsor Arts Center is located at 952 Alexander Road, West Windsor, and is a five minute walk from the Princeton Junction Train Station. Office and gallery hours: Monday-Friday, 10:00 am-6:00 pm and Sat, 10:00am-4:00pm. Due to COVID-19, the Art Center is not currently open for gallery hours. Call 609-716-1931 or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
IMAGES: (TOP) Joe LaMattina, Healthcare Angels, acrylic, collage, mixed media (MIDDLE) Maureen Bennett, Quarantine Backyard Mandala - Azalea Harmony, mixed media: pastels, paint, photography (BOTTOM) Anubha Sood, Table Cloth Series, recycled sari silk dyed with seagrasses and onion skins