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Cleverly Defiant Body of Work by Figurative Artist Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern Opens at Kean University

originally published: 09/08/2023

Cleverly Defiant Body of Work by Figurative Artist Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern Opens at Kean University

Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern, with Plush, after DaVinci, ©2020, Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern, oil on canvas, 46 x 38 in.

(UNION, NJ) -- The Galleries at Kean University features the works of Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern, an award-winning American figurative artist known for re-contextualizing art-historical images within a contemporary setting, with the exhibition RE: History Contemporary Takes. It is on view through December 8, 2023 at the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery on Kean’s Union campus.

An opening reception with the artist – free and open to the public – will be held at the gallery, located in the Center for Academic Success building, Thursday, September 14 at 5:30pm.

RE: History Contemporary Takes blends together new oil paintings, original works and a large-scale multimedia installation titled, The Robe of Resilience. Included is her feminist-themed, hand-silkscreened piece, 2022 Commemorative Brocade, that took over a year to complete – the longest period Ficarelli-Halpern ever spent on a single work of art.

“Ficarelli-Halpern is a vibrant artist with vision and resilience. She walks the viewer through history with her works on canvas and reflects the many challenges facing society, and women in particular, through her multimedia installation,” said Lynette A. Zimmerman, Ed.D., executive director of the Liberty Hall Academic Center and the Galleries.

The exhibition aligns with the Galleries at Kean's 2023-2024 artistic theme, art and wellness. Ficarelli-Halpern’s commitment to women’s health is a central theme to this exhibition.

Through her eyes, Ficarelli-Halpern sees the personages of the newly-created portraits as ageless entities. Her models and muses embody a timeless quality that translates further as they are presented within a classical environment. The work delivers the unique sensation of seeing something familiar in a new setting.

“I have somehow always approached understanding my own world and life by reflecting upon my past and trying to connect it to a present or future context. Looking back, I see that my visual vocabulary has evolved and portrays a decidedly feminine point of view. In the present, I am primarily known as a painter. And looking forward, I see myself creating new works across different media,” Ficarelli-Halpern said.

​​​​​​​Cleverly Defiant Body of Work by Figurative Artist Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern Opens at Kean University

Carla, ©2023, Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern, oil on canvas, 40 x 32 in.

The New York-based artist’s work has been shown extensively in galleries and museums, including the Wausau Museum of Contemporary Art, the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago, and the Noyes Museum, New Jersey State Museum, Monmouth Museum, and the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey. She is a recipient of a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship for 2022. Her work has been featured in Fine Art ConnoisseurPoets and ArtistsFreshPaint and Studio Visit magazines.

RE: History Contemporary Takes is on display Monday-Friday, 10:00am-4:00pm, at the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery at Kean University, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, New Jersey, through Friday, December 8, 2023. Visit for more information.

Kean University, New Jersey’s urban research university, is a national institution of higher education recognized for its diversity, innovation, and the social mobility of its graduates. Founded in 1855 as a teachers’ college, Kean has evolved into a thriving research university that supports students as they persist to graduation, give back to their communities and launch successful careers. Kean’s six colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate programs, seven doctoral degree programs, and more than 70 options leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications, across a full range of academic subjects. With campuses in Union, Toms River, and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, as well as Kean Online, the University provides students of all backgrounds an affordable and accessible world-class education.

The Galleries at Kean hosts over a dozen exhibitions each academic year by professional artists, traveling exhibitions, faculty shows and student work across six galleries and one exhibition hall on Kean University’s main campus in Union, New Jersey. Known for its diverse array of artists and mediums, the Galleries' mission is to build awareness of critical global issues through the visual arts.

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