RED BANK: PAINTING THE WOMAN CARD

Harvey,_Karissa_-_Beach_Ballet“Beach Ballerinas” by Karissa Harvey (above) and “Gingko” by Pat Hutchinson (below) are among the works on display in WOMEN PAINT WOMEN, the art exhibit that opens with a reception tonight at the Oyster Point Hotel.

Hutchinson,_Pat_-_GingkoAs Ellen Martin tells it, “I started the Jersey Artist Registry (JAR), an online gallery, in 2013 to showcase the talent of New Jersey artists in a way that was immediately visually impactful and accessible (not three or four menus down).”

It’s an endeavor that led the Monmouth Beach painter, photographer and mixed-media specialist to mount her first group show of JAR artists at Asbury Park’s intimately scaled Hotel Tides in 2015. With the success of that show, and a move to the more expansive environs of Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel, Martin professes that her original thought was to again open the next exhibit to all artists, “but then thought I should do what I could to tip the balance of the male-dominated art world.”

The result is the Martin-curated installation Women Paint Women, in which the work of seven emerging and established female painters from the Garden State will be displayed on the walls and walkways of the riverfront hotel’s lobby and atrium. On view through June 26, the exhibit opens tonight with a free public-welcome reception from 7 to 9 p.m.

Further tying the exhibit together is a common theme, in which the subjects of the pieces are “women engaged in various occupations, states of being and everyday activities.”

“It was important to me to give women artists a chance to have an exhibit all to themselves,” explains Martin, citing a recent New York Times article on major woman-only shows in New York and Los Angeles as affirmation that “I’m on trend.”

“I also wanted to highlight the difference between how women paint women and how men paint women,” she adds. “Yes, it’s true that the nude is a staple of western art, but women artists also paint women in a wider range of roles and occupations, from a portrait of Virginia Woolf by Shoshana Kertesz, to a black woman archer by Pat Hutchinson. You’ll see that variety here.”

Featured in the group show are paintings by Karissa Harvey, Kathleen Heron, Pat Hutchinson, Shoshana Kertesz, Sharon Sayegh, Elizabeth Sowell-Zak, and Kathleen Tobin — creative women who hail from such Monmouth County communities as Farmingdale and Belmar, as well as New Brunswick, West Orange and other Garden State locales.

The veteran artists’ representative and consultant — who (as detailed here on redbankgreen) was involved with the outdoor HEADS installation that turned heads back in the summer of 2012 — offers a special shout-out to a fellow female artist and curator: Gerda Liebmann, the Swiss-born multimedia specialist who coordinates the ongoing series of art installations at the Oyster Point.

“It’s an alternative space that has become a significant art venue on the Jersey Shore,” says Martin of the hotel that previously hosted the nature photography of Colin Seitz and other artists.

Complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be served at tonight’s reception, and free or valet parking is available in the hotel’s lot at the foot of Bodman Place, off Riverside Avenue.

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