(TEANECK, NJ) -- Art crafted from recycled military uniforms, bullet impressions, barbed wire, midnight memories and other artifacts of war is the centerpiece of “Combat Paper & Beyond,” an art exhibition running June 18 through July 9 at the Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck, NJ. The exhibit explores the vision of the Combat Paper Project through innovative artwork created by veterans and non-veterans. Multi-media work by Eli Wright is featured with additional works by award-winning artists Jim Fallon, David Keefe, Rachel Heberling, Elisabeth Smolarz, Frank Wagner, Ron Erikson, Nate Lewis and others.
The exhibition is curated by Walt Nygard and Jan Barry, both of Teaneck, who served in Vietnam in the US Marine Corps and Army, respectively. They have curated previous art shows and poetry presentations by veterans at Puffin, the Brennan Galley in the Brennan Courthouse in Jersey City and other locales.
A combat medic in the US Army in Iraq, Eli Wright currently serves as co-coordinator of the Combat Paper Project at the Printmaking Center of NJ in Branchburg. He heads a team of Combat Paper and Warrior Writers instructors who provide art workshops for veterans and active duty soldiers at a number of locations in New Jersey and other East Coast states, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland and Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Other artists include David Keefe, co-coordinator of Combat Paper NJ, a Marine veteran of Iraq who teaches a Combat Paper art course at Montclair State University, whose work has been displayed at Princeton University’s Bernstein Gallery, among many other galleries; Frank Wagner, of Bogota, a Vietnam veteran, whose works have won regional VA art awards; and Jim Fallon, of Hoboken, who served with the Army in Vietnam. One of Fallon’s Combat Paper art works won a national VA art award.
Paintings by Ron Erickson, a Bogota-based artist, were recently on display at an exhibit titled “Suburban Eyes” at the Edward Williams Gallery at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
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Rachel Heberling is the studio program manager at the Printmaking Center of NJ. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including at the National Arts Club in New York City and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, DC.
Nate Lewis, who served in the Army in Iraq, runs a Combat Papermaking studio on a farm near Ithaca, NY.
Among the writers participating in the Warrior Writers poetry jam: Jennifer Pacanowski, an Army veteran of Iraq, works with theater groups in New York City on dramas about the transition from war to civilian life and runs writing workshops for veterans in many locations; Everett Cox, a Vietnam veteran, coordinates Warrior Writers workshops in Orange County, NY; Kevin Basl, who served in the Army in Iraq, coordinates Warrior Writers workshops and book projects in a number of locations on the East Coast; Sarah Mess, an Army veteran of the war in Somalia whose poetry won a regional VA art award.
Warrior Writers offers writing workshops for military veterans and family members, including monthly gatherings at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation in Morristown and John Jay College in New York City, as well as in Boston, Philadelphia and a number of other cities.
Tamra Hayden, who resides in Teaneck and Denver, Colorado, is appearing between theater engagements in “Man of La Mancha” at Bristol Riverside Theatre in Pennsylvania and nightclub performances at Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York.
The Opening event is Saturday, June 18th at 4:00pm. The program includes remarks by artists, a Warrior Writers poetry jam and music by singer/songwriter Tamra Hayden.
Open to the public. FREE event but reservations recommended. The Puffin Cultural Forum is at 20 Puffin Way (off Teaneck Rd.) in Teaneck. Call 201-836-3499 or visit www.PuffinCulturalForum.org.