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Out of the Park Exhibit Showcases Asbury Park Artists and Gallery Owners at the Monmouth Museum

By Carolyn M. Brown,

originally published: 07/20/2023

Out of the Park Exhibit Showcases Asbury Park Artists and Gallery Owners at the Monmouth Museum

Patrick Schiavino, “My Corona,” 2022. Mixed media on canvas, 36″x48.” Photo courtesy of Monmouth Museum

Asbury Park is known for its art scene. Not readily known are the founders, directors, and curators behind the galleries responsible for managing exhibitions of the works of local artists. Many of these gallery owners are exhibited artists themselves. In celebration of the artistry and entrepreneurship of Asbury Park, the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft, New Jersey, is hosting “Out of the Park,” an exhibition highlighting a group of multidisciplinary artists and gallery owners who helped define the cultural Renaissance of Asbury Park.

On view now until Sept. 3, the show features pieces by Brittany James and Patrick Schiavino of art629 Gallery; Jill Ricci and Porkchop of Parlor Gallery; and Tom and Lois White of Whitepoint Gallery. These artists, along with curation by Jenn Hampton of Parlor Gallery and the Wooden Walls Project, are showcasing work in a variety of media. Complementing the exhibit and keeping the Asbury Park theme in motion is “The Cardboard Show” by artists Porkchop, Bradley Hoffer and Jason Stumpf. A recent Parlor Gallery installation, The Cardboard Show was reimagined and reconstructed for the Monmouth Museum’s Nilson Gallery.

Out of the Park Exhibit Showcases Asbury Park Artists and Gallery Owners at the Monmouth Museum

Brittany James, “Be Still,” 2023. Oil on canvas, 36”x48.” (Photo courtesy of Brittany James)

The exhibition provides the public with an opportunity to experience these gallerists working together for the first time. “While AP (Asbury Park) is the place to be this summer, we hope to bring a slice of that to Lincroft as well for a cross-pollination of art, audience and creativity,” said Erika Schaefer, executive director of the Monmouth Museum, in a release. "As the museum celebrates its 60th anniversary, the next chapter lies within bringing art to communities, not just communities to the museum itself. This collaboration is a great step toward the museum's vision to grow.”  

It was Schiavino who kickstarted the idea of bringing AP artists to Lincroft. “I had this idea of putting together three gallery owners who are also artists themselves,” he says, referring to his own studio art629 Gallery, the Parlor Gallery and the Whitepoint Gallery. While AP is known for music, “we really have a deep history and strong arts presence here. We have always been a center for culture,” he adds.

Since 2009, Schiavino has owned and operated art629 Gallery on Cookman Avenue, in the heart of downtown Asbury Park. Art629 has hosted many shows including painting, photography, sculpture, theater, spoken word, and musical events like the Asbury Underground. James joined art629 in 2015, curating themed group exhibitions for local artists and painting classes. Her oil paintings are of surreal images, depicting women’s rights and the relationships between women in nature and society.

Out of the Park Exhibit Showcases Asbury Park Artists and Gallery Owners at the Monmouth Museum

Jill Ricci, “The Pride of Athena,” 2023. Mixed media on wood panel, 37”x29”x3.” (Photo courtesy of Monmouth Museum)

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Schiavino is a self-taught artist who developed his interest in fine art after spending years assisting in the design and buildout of several loft conversions in New York City’s Soho neighborhood. “Out of the Park” displays a retrospective of his work. “There are about seven pieces. Some of them are over 20 years old,” adds Schiavino who has participated in well over 30 exhibitions over the past three decades.

His most recent work encompasses political and spiritual themes; his inner feelings about what is happening in the world. He enjoys working with oil paint as a medium and describes his work as stylized and contemporary. “I don’t know if there is anyone who paints like me. I have a style of my own that is very recognizable,” he adds.

Hampton points out that “a lot of people in Asbury are doing artistic endeavors.” With the “Out of the Park” exhibition, “we decided to go with the galleries that had been around longest (over 10 years).” She acknowledges that the people who often come to galleries don't understand that the owners are artists in their own right. “I think this makes (gallerists) more empathetic to the needs of an artist (whose work they exhibit). I think it gives them a very unique perspective in curating and presenting shows, from the mind of an artist as opposed to a businessman or a real estate investor,” she adds. For Hampton, “a gallery is a place for connection and inspiration.” If a piece of artwork is sold, “(it is) a beautiful thing, because that's how we support artists.”

The Parlor Gallery opened in 2009 on Cookman Avenue in downtown Asbury Park and is run by Hampton, Ricci and Porkchop. In the last few years, the gallery has begun to curate pop-up exhibits and participate in art fairs such as SCOPE Miami. Ricci’s art is inspired by what she refers to as “modern hieroglyphics,” old walls layered with papers, graffiti and text. A very successful Parlor exhibit this past January was “The Cardboard Show” by Porkchop and his friends Bradley Hoffer and Jason Stumpf.

Using cardboard as a medium for an exercise in free-form and experimental creative play, the three artists sequestered themselves for a month in a Parlor studio. “The result of 80 sheets of cardboard, 300 glue sticks (and lots of razor blades), was a magical installation with 37 pieces of artwork,” says Hampton, “which included a 10-foot snail, an eight-foot hippocampus, and a giant monster that was 10 feet tall.” There were also some arcade games like Big Dug, Centipede and Pac-Man that are close to life-size.

Out of the Park Exhibit Showcases Asbury Park Artists and Gallery Owners at the Monmouth Museum

Bradley Hoffer, Jason Stumpf and Porkchop, “Snail,” 2023. Cardboard, 10'. (Photo courtesy of Parlor Gallery)

Stumpf, a woodworker and craftsman by trade, has been interpreting form and function into art for decades. At the age of 10, he says he was gifted a pocketknife and unknowingly the inspiration for a love of everything wood. He later began a career of building cabinets, furniture, doors, mantles and even a boat. While wood is a natural medium for him, he enjoyed working on the cardboard installation. “I've steadily moved more away from typical commercial woodwork and more towards sculptural (pieces) within the realm of art,” he says. “So, cardboard is not too far removed from that for me.”

Stumpf shares in the excitement over celebrating AP artists which makes perfect sense to him. “There's a lot going on in Asbury Park that just isn't going on in the rest of New Jersey, (in particular) the suburbs. You really need to go into a bigger city before you find this concentration of active artists and that's a really special thing,” he says, “especially when you combine it with the fact that we're at the beach. That's all part of that magic.”

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Also on display at “Out of the Park” is photography by the husband-and-wife team Tom and Lois White, founders of Whitepoint Gallery, which specializes in contemporary coastal and urban art and houses a studio for fine art framing. The couple have been working as designers and visual artists for over 30 years. Lois draws upon her textile and knitwear design background to weave ideas, concepts and experiences with her camera. Her abstract work involves single frame in-camera long exposures. Tom experiments with contemporary photography and new media.

 He describes his process as a hybrid of the disciplines of photography, painting, design, science, technology, and printmaking in analog and digital media. “It is important to me to challenge the traditional understandings of photography and fine art and remove stereotypical discourse of what a photograph or painting is and allow the viewer to focus on the image without feeling the need to define the medium,” he said in a statement.

The “Out of the Park” exhibit and “Cardboard Show” run through Sept. 3 at the Monmouth Museum, on the campus of Brookdale Community College, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft, New Jersey. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Admission is $12 per person, with discounts for seniors and veterans. Admission is free for active military, Brookdale Community College students, and children under 2 years of age.

About the author: Carolyn M. Brown is an investigative journalist, editor, author, playwright, multimedia content producer and an entrepreneur. She has produced content spanning across a portfolio of platforms, including print, digital media, broadcast, theater arts, and custom events. Her publication credits include Essence, Forbes, Inc., and Diversity Woman magazines. She is a founding board member of the Paterson Performing Arts Development Council, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing together diverse communities through the performing arts and cultural events and to creating pathways for new and established artists.

Content provided by Discover Jersey Arts, a project of the ArtPride New Jersey Foundation and New Jersey State Council on the Arts.



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