Saturday, February 24, 2018

Open Up the Book Arts Show

The Boatworks is no stranger to literary events and interests.  We've had writers groups, book publishing workshops, and book signing events, including one just last month.  And there have been times when books and related objects were part of group exhibitions in our gallery space.  but we never had a book themed exhibition...until now.  Welcome to the Book Art show.

This exhibition is curated by Louise Krasniewicz and features a wide variety of book themed art.  The show is intended to explore the relationships between the written word, books as physical objects, and the visual arts.  Artists were invited to provide art inspired by book sources, such as literary adaptations, sculptures made from book parts and materials, art that referenced book binding, famous literary characters, and anything else related.  Almost 40 artworks took on that challenge.

Besides book inspired artworks, the show includes other items related to books for viewers to enjoy, such as small libraries of books, information about comic books and their place in education, and even literary paper dolls for people to make.

Not our largest ever crowd, but the galleries were full, front and back.  Some even took advantage of the invitation to come dressed as favorite authors or characters from books.

The Book Arts Show will remain on display during regular gallery hours, through March 23, 2018.  Admission if free.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Author and Friends Come to Belmar

Talk about BelmarArts and most people probably think first about visual arts.  After all, our gallery space is active year round, and we are responsible for murals found on walls from one end of town to the other.  Just last week the Boatworks was packed full of members presenting works as part of the annual Member Salon exhibition.  However our mission includes a wide variety of creative outlets and today we had in event that celebrated music and writing, leaving the visual arts to just the blue tinged pieces hanging on the walls all around.  Today the Boatworks hosted something called "Meet the Author & Friends, with D.M. Anderson", an afternoon of conversation and inspiration.  The event included just three artists, and not a paintbrush or pencil to be found.

Above are the three featured artists- from left to right Joanne Calabrese, Leticia Walker, and D. M. Anderson. Different specialties and stories, but all were story tellers today.

The organizer was D.M. "Dee" Anderson, a writer and busy writing coach, as the other two participants shared with those in attendance.  Dee introduced each of the other artists as their turn to talk came up.  First was Leticia Walker (above seated) who has experience as a musical performer and singer.  For now a physical ailment has limited her ability in those areas, so she shared some of her music in recorded form, and was here today to promote a book, "Never Lucy", in which she shares some of her many struggles.  She credits Dee's skills as a writing coach as being an important part of getting her book completed.

Next up was Joanne Calabrese,  who was able to take advantage of our stage for her performance.

Joanne is a musician, performing today on acoustic guitar hooked up to a small amplifier.  Did several songs for the crowd that was there.  Of the three artists, she was the only one not promoting a book, but in her talk it was revealed that she's working on one, with Dee acting in the role of writing coach.

Meanwhile, Dee also had a book to promote, "Peace in Love and Work", an autobiographical story, and she signed copies for those who requested it.

The afternoon also included refreshments, a raffle of books and recordings, and something that seemed to be a gathering of friends.  Some in attendance had never been to the Boatworks before, but I get the impression they intend to come back again.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Back in Blue

A new year is now here, which means time for a members Salon show.  This has been the tradition around here for several years.  These shows may or may not have a theme, but what is a given is that participants are invited to spend a few minutes presenting their piece to the crowd- talking about what gave them the idea, or about their process, the history of the piece- whatever they think is significant. The results can be very informative.  We had almost 50 pieces in this year's show, which filled both front and back galleries, with a mix of paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures, prints, fabric pieces, and mixed media creations, all having the common element of "blue"

So what is blue?  We had a show in this same building last year, one of our Youth Art shows, that dealt with this same theme.  Too good a theme not to let the adults of the world take a crack at it.  For this show, it's any connotation that word has for you.  Could be the color, could be an emotional state, a form of music, or anything else.  The exhibited works show this variety of approaches, and the discussions in the Salon reflected all this.

The curator of this show is a BelmarArts member, Denise Van Dyke, who also functioned as the coordinator of tonight's Salon.  People started gradually drifting in and before long we were ready to go, all wearing our name tags made from blue painter's tape.

So we did get a good crowd.  The majority of pieces in the show were also represented with their creators present.  A lot of things were learned.

Most years we just stick with the work in the front room, maybe having artists talk about one or two things that were hung in the back, but this year the Salon included almost every work in the building.

Unfortunately, the Salon is over and all the artists went home.  The good news is that the show itself remains on display during regular gallery hours through February 16, 2018.  So if you are feeling blue, or want to feel blue, stop by the Boatworks and check out some cool colored artwork.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

SOLO number 2- Jude Harzer

The first SOLO show is now over and has been replaced with a new one- Look Into My Eyes, the work of Jude Harzer.  That new show opened up tonight in our rear gallery space.  This exhibition is the second in our annual series of solo shows that members can apply for.  Jude Harzer lives and works in Brick, and learned about BelmarArts when some of her students participated in one of the recent student shows.  Now she's a member and showing us her own work.

Early on the gallery space was fairly empty.  There was more going on in the side gallery, where our featured artist and her gang had put out quite a feast.  The crowd would eventually follow.

Jude Harzer is a painter, which she studied at Mt Holyoke and other places.  She's been regularly painting for about 9 years, although the approximately two dozen pieces in this exhibition are selected from the large number of works she has created over the past year and half.  Working in both oils and acrylics, the paintings are all figure based, mostly featuring young children, and mostly girls. The children are not smiling, but she assures us it's not about fear, but more the kids are on the edge of activities.  She sees these characters as busy observing adult behavior, perhaps expressing a loss of innocence, while absorbing information and figuring things out.  There is meant to be a lot of interaction between the subjects and the viewer, with their staring at us intended to get us to look back at them.

Her drawing and painting style reflects a general interest in figurative art, ranging from the renaissance to the modern era.  It is clear that she has studied the shapes of anatomy, and how artists have used light and shadow and color to show the form of face and body.

Attendance started slowly, as often happens when it's a solo show, and many of the guests have not ever been to the Boatworks.  (some GPS systems still don't know where our building is, but our staff is always willing to help all those who get lost on the way here)  Within an hour, the back room was pretty packed with friends and family, some of whom were also touring the Winter Artisan Market in the front room.  (Christmas is only about a week away)

Look Into My Eyes, the art of Jude Harzer will remain on display at the Boatworks through January 12, 2018.  Holidays are coming, so check the website for hours and days, but don't miss it.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

SOLO number 1- Brittany James

We have had a tradition here in recent years, solo shows awarded to individuals who go through a competitive application process, two per year.  This year's first such show opened tonight- the work of local artist Brittany James.

The artist earned her BFA at Montclair State University, but has since relocated to Asbury Park, where she lives and makes her art.  Her medium is oil paint, as one might guess from the glow that seems to come from within the images.

In this body of work (which represents the past few years) the compositions are mostly built around central figures, though much detail is included in the space around them.  She mentioned an interest in lucid dreaming, and that idea of the link between a dream state and reality seems to inform her work.  She sometimes refers to the work as being about escaping reality.  (in fact, the name of the exhibition is "Escaping Reality") Surrealism and fantasy, psychology and mythology, all seem to be playing a part in the creation of these paintings, as well as skills in rendering and use of color.

Apparently she is not done working in this way or with this subject and has paintings going right now, so don't be surprised to see more like this in future group shows.  After all, this solo show competition is available to paid members.

This thought provoking and visually interesting exhibition will remain on display in the back gallery through December 14, 2017.  Admission is free.  At the same time you can check out the new Winter Solstice Artisan show and sale- handmade items from our members, filling the front room gallery, also very popular this evening.  Regular gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 1 to 5 pm.  The second solo show will open on the 16th of that month, but we'll talk about that after it's up on these walls.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Winter Solstice Market is Back

The air is getting a bit chilly of late, and the days are getting shorter.  Most stores are decorated with all the things associated with Christmas.  One exception is the Boatworks, home to the annual Winter Solstice Artisan Market.  Once again our front gallery space is loaded with handmade crafts from our members, all in time for your holiday shopping needs, yet with a minimum of evergreen trees, red ribbons, and other things that some stores will try to overload you with.  At BelmarArts, we just give you things you may want to see, and maybe purchase, as gifts for others, or for yourself.

Click on any photo to enlarge, or better yet, just come by to get a better look at the displays.

What do we got?  What don't we got?  A quick walk around the room revealed handbags, book covers, tea wallets, hair clips, all kinds of jewelry, handmade baskets, soaps, bath salts, greeting cards, ceramics, items made from glass, ornaments- just to name a few things.  There are small artworks that can hang on walls.  There are candy and cookies for both people and dogs, made by the same place.  A list of the artisans represented can be found here.  Plus we still have stuff in the display case in the back room.  And as our custom, the artists are encouraged to replace anything that sells with new items, and even have the option to replace something that doesn't sell with something else, so returning regularly during the duration of the market is encouraged.

The Winter Solstice Artisan Market opened today, and will remain open through January 12, 2018.  It will be open during the regular gallery hours, so Wednesday to Saturday, 1 to 5 pm, and sometimes when there are events going on in the space, such as tomorrow night's gallery reception.  Parking and admission are free as always, so come browse, and maybe find something exciting.