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Hunterdon Art Museum Opens Three Exhibitions Exploring Themes of Identity, Sins and Virtues, Erosion and Regeneration of Life

originally published: 01/22/2023

Hunterdon Art Museum Opens Three Exhibitions Exploring Themes of Identity, Sins and Virtues, Erosion and Regeneration of Life

Judith Brodsky, Self Portrait No. 5, Oil pastel on paper, Courtesy of the artist.

(CLINTON, NJ) --  On January 22, 2023, the Hunterdon Art Museum unveiled three new exhibitions open to the public: "Portrait of the Artist," "Cristina de Gennaro: Sage Drawings," and "Tricia Zimic: Sins & Virtues." The first two will be on display until April 30th and the third on display until March 5.

Main Gallery: “Portrait of the Artist,” Mary Birmingham, Guest Curator"Portrait of the Artist" explores the ways in which artists interpret themselves and the world around them through portraiture. Each of the works in this exhibition features an artist as the subject, using both literal representations as well as more nuanced interpretations. 

Mary Beth McKenzie, a realist painter who works from life, has been making self-portraits in her New York studio for nearly five decades. Sarah McEneaney’s autobiographical paintings document her life and surroundings, presenting an intimate glimpse into the artist’s domestic and studio spaces. Judith Brodsky created a series of self-portraits during the pandemic lockdown to reflect on her isolation and restrictions. 

Hunterdon Art Museum Opens Three Exhibitions Exploring Themes of Identity, Sins and Virtues, Erosion and Regeneration of Life

Judith Henry, Split Persona, (detail), 2020 Archival pigment print, 10 x 8 inches

Julie Heffernan’s allegorical self-portraits incorporate references to art history and her growing concern for the environment. In Judith Henry’s photographic series of self-portraits, “Beauty Masks,” the artist poses behind masks that juxtapose images of fashion models’ faces with her own.

Even when the artists in this exhibition portray other artists, they reference self-portraiture, with their subjects consciously posing as artists. Rodríguez Calero reinterprets a well-known self-portrait by Puerto Rican artist José Campeche and updates the imagery to reflect his Afro-Caribbean identity. Donna Bassin's ongoing series, "My Own Witness," features photographs of artist friends posing with objects meaningful to their practices.

The seven artists in the exhibition perform parallel roles as creator and subject, bringing a unique perspective to the merging of artistic and personal identity.

The exhibition will be on view through April 30. 

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First Floor Gallery: “Cristina de Gennaro: Sage Drawings”Cristina de Gennaro: Sage Drawings” showcases five works from de Gennaro's series of landscape drawings of the high desert floor that began during a fellowship at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, N.M.. The drawings depict eroding sagebrush, weeds, and parched soil and examine the tension between the sublime and the abject. 

“The serpentine forms embody the entropic process, capturing the transition from a state of growth to one of dissolution,” says de Gennaro. “And yet I find their dis-order, their decline, to be filled with movement, pattern, grace, and beauty, much like my aging body.”

Hunterdon Art Museum Opens Three Exhibitions Exploring Themes of Identity, Sins and Virtues, Erosion and Regeneration of Life

Cristina de Gennaro, Sage Drawing IX, 2019, 42” x 96”, Charcoal on mylar, Courtesy of the artist.

The “Sage Drawings” series is a parallel to de Gennaro’s earlier series of photographs and drawings called "Medusa Portraits," which examine aspects of the "feminine" in relation to aging and the association of the "feminine" in Western philosophy and culture to earth and decay, even while it also has clear biological connections to birth and life.

De Gennaro photographs panoramic views of the desert floor and uses charcoal to draw the organic systems on mylar. These compositions are described as being de-centered and claustrophobic, evoking simultaneous feelings of attraction and repulsion.

Cristina de Gennaro has exhibited her drawings and paintings, installations, videos, and performances in museums and galleries nationally, including the Portland Art Museum, the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, and the Glyndor Gallery at Wave Hill, among others. 

The exhibition will be on view through April 30. Learn more about de Gennaro at

River Gallery: "Tricia Zimic: Sins & Virtues" - "Tricia Zimic: Sins & Virtues" spotlights nine white porcelain sculptures of Chacma baboons depicting the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Virtues. The sculptures, part of Zimic's "Sins & Virtues" series, are one-of-a-kind and hand-modeled, with the individual personality of each animal and artwork revealed through the development of fine details. 

One of the pieces, "Diligence 'Kintsugi,'" portrays a baboon using the Japanese technique of kintsugi to repair broken plates and sculptures, representing the virtue of diligence through careful and persistent effort. In "Liberality," a baboon is shown opening a fish to feed nearby birds, symbolizing the virtue of pure generosity and openhandedness. 

Hunterdon Art Museum Opens Three Exhibitions Exploring Themes of Identity, Sins and Virtues, Erosion and Regeneration of Life

Tricia Zimic, Diligence ‘Kintsugi’, 2021, Porcelain, gold leaf, 14.75” x 11.5” x 11.5”, Courtesy of the artist.​​​​​​​

The process of creating these works begins by rough sculpting from a sketch and deconstructing the limbs. The details are refined and each piece is hollowed out. The sculpture is then reassembled before a 32-hour firing.

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Zimic was inspired to create these porcelain sculptures after visiting the Dresden Porcelain Collection and the Meissen Porcelain Manufactory, and drew inspiration from Johann Joachim Kaendler's 18th-century "Monkey Orchestra," a series of elaborately hand-painted monkey figurines from Meissen's Rococo era.

Tricia Zimic works in sculpture and painting, using animals as narrative stand-ins for her unfolding dramas. Zimic’s works can be found in many public collections, including The New Jersey State Museum, The Morris Museum, and The Meissen Collection, as well as many private collections in the United States and Europe. 

The exhibition will be on view through March 5. Learn more about Zimic at

Exhibition Credits: Programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Hunterdon County Board of County Commissioners, through funds administered by the Cultural & Heritage Commission; Hyde and Watson Foundation; Union Foundation; The Large Foundation, along with other corporations, foundations and individuals.

The Hunterdon Art Museum presents changing exhibitions of contemporary art, craft, and design in a 19th-century stone mill that is on the National Register of Historic Places.  A landmark regional art center since 1953, HAM showcases works by established and emerging contemporary artists and also offers a dynamic schedule of classes and workshops for children, teens, and adults.

Hunterdon Art Museum is located at 7 Lower Center Street in Clinton, New Jersey. The galleries are open to the public Wednesday - Sunday, 11:00am - 5:00pm. Admission: $7 adults, $5 seniors (65+)/military personnel/students, free for children under 12. For more information about visiting, click here.



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