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ON THE GREEN: ART ‘N ABOUT ENDING SUMMER

quon-lollipop-clockDowntown Red Bank’s signature “Lollipop Clock” is among the local landmarks vividly envisioned by Mike Quon, below, in an exhibit currently on display at the Art Alliance.

quon1One of our favorite hometurf painters and a Latino artist collective with Jersey roots bring both well established and cutting-edge art to the Greater Red Bank Green as summer winds down.

Keynoting a new schedule of exhibition events at the Art Alliance of Monmouth County — and simultaneously looking wistfully back on the vibrantly colored experiences of the peak-season interlude — Fair Haven-based painter and illustrator Mike Quon marks “The End of Summer” with a solo show that opened this past weekend at the Monmouth Street studio space, and continues through September’s transitional journey into autumn.

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MIDDLETOWN: THE POWER OF ARTS ED

GuildThe co-chairs of The Guild of Creative Art in Shrewsbury are among the individuals and organizations recognized by the Monmouth County Arts Council for their contributions to arts education, during a May 9 ceremony.

Press release from Monmouth County Arts Council

Each May, as the school year comes to a close, The Monmouth County Arts Council recognizes outstanding arts educators, arts organizations and arts advocates who support our mission of enriching the community by inspiring and fostering the arts in Monmouth County.

Sponsored by OceanFirst Foundation, the annual Arts Education Awards and Showcase will be held on Monday, May 9, and will be hosted at the award-winning, state-of-the-art facility of the Middletown Arts Center.

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SHREWSBURY: GUILDED GIFTS OF THE SEASON

Angelica._Colored_pencils.Anzhelika Doliba’s pencil portrait “Angelica” (above) and Bob O’Keefe’s stained glass piece “Poe” (below) are among the works on display during the Guild of Creative Art’s Holiday Show 2015. 

Bob O'Keefe's Stained Glass

Bob O’Keefe’s Stained Glass

Long before our neck of Monmouth County could boast its own wine-and-cheese gallery scene or paint-and-sip studio, there was the Guild of Creative Art, the creative collective that’s watched the contemporary landscape of the greater Red Bank area take shape over the past 55 years, from the window of its ever-fascinating house on Shrewsbury’s Route 35 main drag.

This Sunday, December 13, the evergreen local treasure welcomes the public to a yearly happening that stands as a complement to the hustle and bustle of the surrounding stores and stripmalls: the annual All-Member Holiday Show.

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RED BANK: SEITZ TO BEHOLD, AT VIA45

ColinSeitz1The stark seascapes of photographer Colin Seitz set the mood at Via45, beginning with both an online and a real-time opening on Friday.

ColinSeitz2As an exec with Red Bank-based Apex Fund Services, Colin Seitz keeps himself busy and productive within the four-wall parameters of the office environment. But for the past several years, the avid photographer has used nearly every out-of-office moment to sharpen his shutterbug skills in classic style, and to put what he’s learned to work in settings that have ranged from his native Jersey Shore to the most spectacular vistas of Alaska, Hawaii, and Yosemite National Park.

Following group-show exhibitions with local organizations like the Art Alliance and the Guild of Creative Art, Seitz’s beautifully detailed natural scenes were first seen in a solo context with a December 2014 installation at McKay Imaging. And beginning Friday, the breathtaking work of the constantly exploring lensman will be represented in an all-new and novel setting: the rustic Italian eatery Via45.

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RED BANK: PAINTERS AND SCULPTORS REPORT

CircusSummerThe Kennedy Mystique: the egg-tempera CIRCUS SUMMER by Eileen Kennedy is among the items included in DREAMSCAPES AND SHAPED DREAMS — an exhibit of works by the painter and her cousin Lynne Kennedy, going up on the walls of the Oyster Point Hotel.

The river breezes may still be blowing more bitter than sweet, but as sure a sign of Spring — surer even than Punxsatawney prognosticators, or pudgy pitchers — is the sudden proliferation of art exhibitions in our area’s galleries, grand lodgings, and even greenhouses. It’s an explosion of color that begins, appropriately enough, amid the plant life of Sickles Market in Little Silver this weekend — and it continues, in the days and evenings to come, in places both safe and surprising.

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RED BANK: SETTING SEITZ ON NATURE

Rocks_Beach_Arubarszrsz“Rocks Beach Aruba” is among photographer Colin Seitz’s beautiful scenes of nature — in unnaturally beautiful black and white — on display starting Friday at McKay Imaging Gallery.

“More than one year ago, Colin Seitz walked through our door seeking, among other things, a show in our gallery,” explain Robert McKay and Elisabeth Koch-McKay, the visionary husband-wife photographer team behind downtown Red Bank’s McKay Imaging gallery. “We told him that his work was really quite beautiful, but that we wanted to see a lot more of it!”

Taking that as a cue, Seitz spent much of the next year out-of-doors, building up a body of work centered around the natural landscape, as rendered in richly detailed black and white — a decision that, in the words of the Brick-based lensman, “enables me to emphasize the magnitude of the scene without oversimplifying it with color.”

True to their word, the McKays have given Seitz the wall-space real estate (and the prime-time shopping season scheduling) for his first solo show of silver photographic prints.

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RED BANK: SELFIES KICK OFF ARTFUL WEEKEND

Mirrored_Bob300A selfie by Bob McKay is among the works on display in the group show FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE opening Friday at Gallery 135 in Red Bank.

Leave it to Gerda Liebmann – the Swiss-born, internationally exhibited multimedia artist (and redbankgreen Clippings correspondent) – to discern the beauty in so tawdry a device as the cellphone selfie.

Liebmann, who established Gallery 135 in the second-floor space shared by Red Bank Community Church, has employed this maybe-misunderstood signifier of 21st century life – and its cousin in succinct cinema, the Vine – as the basis for her new group show, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. Opening with a reception at 7 pm on Friday, the multimedia installation “will give viewers the opportunity to reconnect with the special intimacy and self-revelation that self-portraits uniquely offer,” she says.

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RBR SENIOR ART SHOW COMES TO THE GUILD

Fiona_greeneFiona Green’s photograph Trapped (above) and Amber Czesnolowicz’s colored pencil Up, Up and Away (right) are among the works by Red Bank Regional students on display at Shrewsbury’s Guild of Creative Art, beginning April 22.

amber_czesnolowicz_-_ballon_ridePress release from Red Bank Regional High School

The talented senior Studio Art and Photography Majors at Red Bank Regional High School have collaborated to present a joint show entitled “Exposure and Brush Strokes” at the Guild of Creative Art (The Guild) this spring. The show will debut on Tuesday, April 22, and last through Wednesday, May 7.

Presenting their work, which includes pencil drawings, mixed media, oil and acrylic paintings to film and digital photography, are studio art majors Amber Czesnolowicz (Middletown), Nicole Farello, (Red Bank), Victoria Garcia, (Red Bank), Anja Merz, (Red Bank) and Alaena Punzi, (Little Silver), in addition to commercial photography majors Kelsey Capestro (Bradley Beach), Maria Montgomery (Little Silver), Fiona Greene (Union Beach), and Erin Sacharanski (Union Beach).

The public is invited to meet the young artists at their Gala reception on Friday, April 25, from 6 to 8 pm. The Guild is located at 620 Broad Street (Route 35) in Shrewsbury.

FORECAST: ARTY IN APRIL

rbrartWorks by Shrewsbury artists Chelsea Moore (THE BIKE RIDE. left), Hong Yang (WORDS OF WISDOM, right) and other Red Bank Regional students are on display at the Guild of Creative Art beginning Friday.

So we’ve just about made it out the lamb-y end of March, and as the greater Red Bank Green awaits that new grass on the field, we step gingerly over the remnants from the last of the St. Pat’s Pub Crawls on a cultural constitutional that can only be called the April Art Walk.

Starting with… Friday, April the no-fooling First, which marks the first phase of an annual tradition at the Shrewsbury-based Guild of Creative Art — a two-part exhibit that spotlights the work of the most talented young artists from two of our local high schools in a professional-quality gallery setting. Beginning with a reception from 6 to 8p, and continuing through April 13 at the art collective’s Broad Street headquarters, the Guild showcases seniors from the Red Bank Regional High School Visual and Performing Art Academy’s Commercial Art Program, under the supervision of RBR Commercial Art teacher Claudia O’Connor. Featured are drawings, paintings and pastels by Kelly Conley, Kelly McWatters, Chelsea Moore, Andrea Squassi and Hong Yang (all of Shrewsbury), as well as  Jessica Cresanti-Daknis (Oceanport) and Anthony Lee (Neptune City). Then on April 15, it’s an opening reception for an exhibit of artworks by students from Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, a display that continues at the Guild through April 27.

There’s much more where that came from, of course, and it’s on view with just a step past the virtual velvet rope.

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ART WALK: THE GALOSHES EDITION

leslies_sentinels“Sentinels” by Leslie Backlund whose works will be among those displayed Sunday at Shrewsbury’s Guild of Creative Art.

The virtual Art Walk is back on redbankgreen as February pops from the groundhog-hole with a newfound momentum toward those first gloriously slushy days of the long-awaited Big Thaw. Like charging into a snowdrift and hoping for the best, we proceed apace — and if the walking’s still a bit slippery out there, we did mention that we’re kicking it “virtual” in here.

This weekend brings an annual event that, while it doesn’t claim to compete for attention with the Super Bowl, remains an eagerly anticipated seasonal signifier around the greater ‘green. Hosted at Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft and presented by the CBA Mother’s Club, the 36th Annual CBA Professional Art Show and Sale brings together some 100 pro artists from all over the region for a fundraiser that kicks off with a preview reception tonight. Tickets for the 7p event ($40 in advance, $50 at the door) benefit the school and include hors d’oeuvres, wine/beer open bar, live music, first dibs on all artworks offered for sale, plus unlimited return visits for the duration of the weekend.

The show continues Saturday and Sunday between 10a and 4p, with $5 admission once again dedicated to special event programs at CBA. There’s a 50/50 raffle, drawings for featured art works and refreshments available for purchase from “the unique Artist’s Palette Café.” Take it here for full details — and take it ’round the corner for more arty action.

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FORECAST: ARTY, WITH CHANCE OF FLOWERS

lairds-in-winterMary Ann Goodwin’s “Laird’s in Winter” is but one of the applejack artworks of local scenery now on display at Middletown Main Library.

Babies, it’s cold outside as we suit up for a December edition of our monthly artwalk through the winter-greying ‘green. Cold enough to freeze your wine and cheese, for sure. Cold enough to geler your Giclée, and to turn a Plein Air painting session into just plein hell.

Fortunately, the galleries and public spaces of greater Red Bank offer up some warm and welcoming refuges from both the cold and the cacophony of the calendar-year caboose. So if squinting at your next-door neighbor’s hi-wattage holiday display isn’t doing it for you, join us for a change of scenery that begins just past that virtual velvet rope.

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AN ARTIST FOREVER AT HOME IN HER WORK

evelyn-leavensEvelyn Leavens with a work-in-progress landscape in her Red Bank studio. (Click to enlarge)

By TOM CHESEK

Parked on an easel in the sunlit second-floor studio on the east end of Red Bank, a painting is taking shape, almost in turn-of-the-seasons real time; brashly delineated trees sprouting like declarative statements from the thrill-ride curves of a crazy quilt countryscape.

What might have been the makings of some plein-air jigsaw puzzle in less imaginative hands is becoming, under the artist’s patient eye and brush, a ruckus of bold shapes and colors — a scene in which Nature’s delightfully messy-thorny-scratchy surprises lurk beneath those curvaceous comforts.

Just don’t ask about a title for the canvas, at least not yet. To Evelyn Leavens, the name “Work in Progress” will suit it just fine. In fact, to hear the 85-year-old painter, photographer and instructor tell it, her 60-year career is still just that — a work in progress.

With a major solo exhibit of her paintings on display now at the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft — as well as a contribution to a much-anticipated group show opening this weekend at Shrewsbury’s Guild of Creative Art — the work of the locally legendary Leavens has never been more visible and accessible. Still, the artist herself would prefer not to call it a “retrospective.” Think of it as a chance for Leavens to pause for one moment — a moment in which the rest of us can struggle to catch up — before sprinting ahead to the next challenge.

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LIKE A JUNEBUG ON A GALLERY WALL

picture-5Dub-ble vision: The landmark Dublin House is among the people, places and things rendered in ecstatically bold strokes by illustrator Mike Quon, in a first-ever art installation at NovelTeas in Red Bank.

It’s time once again for a virtual “Artwalk” — come on in, the watercolor’s fine — and what follows here are some picks for the coming days and nights at the storefront galleries and public spaces of the Green.

• FRIDAY: Photographer Michael Hynes at The Monmouth Museum. As part of the Emerging Artists series, the Monmouth Museum (on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College) spotlights a set of compelling black and white images by Middletown-based lensman Hynes — featuring scenes of his native Ireland as well as his adopted home on the Jersey Shore. Hynes is expected to be present at the opening, from 6p to 8p, and he’ll return to the museum on the evening of June 16 for another in its regularly scheduled series of Artist Talks. Exhibit continues during normal museum hours through July 3; check website for admission info.

• SATURDAY: Rahway Art Hive at Jamian’s Food & Drink. The Rahway Art Hive? It’d sound downright sci-fi sinister if it didn’t sound so simultaneously intriguing. Based in our sister city just up the NJ Transit tracks, the creative cooperative (and accompanying art gallery) presents its first Monmouth County “away game” show as the June feature at Jamian LaViola‘s eponymous Monmouth Street bistro, an offering curated as always by Red Bank painter (and Jamian’s mixologist) Travis Radcliffe. Beginning tonight and continuing through June 30, the work of Jim McKeon and company is on display at the restaurant that opens up its inviting “convertible” facade when the weather gets warm. Your host Jamian caters the cool cuisine at a reception at 8p.

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