Friday, December 13, 2013

some super funky small bags

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Gallery U Boutique has all you need for Christmas…..and more!

Decorate your wrist with these adorable Christmas themed watches. Only $8!

It's cookie baking time! Check out these matching aprons for you and your little ones!

Add some holiday flair to your kitchen with these holiday themed towels!

Ready to wrap? Gallery U Boutique carries a wide assortment of wrapping paper 
and holiday greeting cards

Dress up your home with these elegant holiday decorations

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Hanukkah! Gallery U Boutique has all you need to decorate your home for the holiday!!!

Happy Hanukkah!!

Bless your home with this beautiful Mezuzah by Olivia Riegel

Light your eight days with this bejeweled Menorah by Olivia Riegel

Monday, November 11, 2013

A review of our current exhibition SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES

A review by John J Boylan of our current exhibition. Come see it for yourself. On display until November 26, 2013. 

Something Wicked This Way Comes: Artwork Celebrating the Gothic and Beautifully Macabre

On Thursday October 31, 2013 Gallery U Boutique celebrated its Halloween Masquerade party with the art reception Something Wicked This Way Comes.” The event lasted from 6:00 until 9:00 pm. The guests+ came in costume. Prizes were awarded. The event was catered by local businesses.

“Something Wicked This Way Comes” is a celebration of the Gothic and beautifully macabre.Twenty local artists whose work can only be described as bizarre are on display.
Yasmin Alcantara’s piece, “Abe” is a grotesque representation of our sixteenth president. The ghostly figure is disturbing in its striking depiction. This nightmarish presentation of Lincoln’s features reminds me of a Halloween character. The mouth is reminiscent of a Bella Lugosi film. The teeth look like Dracula’s teeth. The sunken cheeks are those of a ghost’s, even the hair is that of a specter. The collar of Lincoln’s shirt is blood spattered adding further to this picture’s ghoulish presentation. The experience is definitely macabre.

Owen Ambrose’s painting, ”Untitled” is a skewed presentation of the female form with medieval overlays. It is a somber presentation that evokes feelings of melancholy. It is an abstract piece requiring one to use their imagination. We are left wondering what the partially shown head reveals. It is almost other worldly. The head could be something from science fiction or from a Dickens novel. What adds to this picture’s complexity is the center of the painting which is a fully formed youthful breast. One can imagine that the artist had in mind rebirth, or youth triumphing over death and old age when he created the artwork.

Suzanne Anan’s portrait, “They Flee From Me” reminds one of the play “Equus” which I recently saw performed at Montclair State. It is a male figure in what appears to be a horse’s bridal. The subject is sleeping, implying that this scenario is out of a dream. One is left wondering what the central figure is dreaming; perhaps something from the Marquis DeSade. One could impugn that the head piece is a torture device. The shadows about the eyes suggest that this person could have died because of his travails. It is Gothic in its subject matter and presentation, but it leaves you thankful that you are free and alive.

Mary Jean Camziani paints a picture that could have served as the cover for Dante’s Inferno. This portrayal of contorted faces leaves a lasting memory. The screaming figures in this painting add further to the image of pain and suffering. The disfigured features could be the consequence of a medieval torture chamber, or more likely the artist’s impression of people in hell. The orange background of this painting reinforces the theme of fire and brimstone.

Steve Cummings’ work, ”Surprise” reminds me of the cartoon, The Farside. It can only be described as grotesque. The juxtaposition of an everyday housewife encountering a bloody and butchered squirrel adds to the absurdity of the entire scene. The woman’s ruby red nail polish evokes the impression that she could have perpetrated the gruesome act herself. 

Lauren Curtis is the daughter of one of my former colleagues. Her work “Morgan’s Murder is reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. The protruding rocks from what could be a river in Britain contribute to the Anglican flavor of this dark piece. The crows in the foreground could be out of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds; waiting to peck on human flesh. It was good to see this work by an old friend. 
In keeping with the Edgar Allen Poe theme Nanci France Vaz supplied us with a portrait of Poe’s Ana Bell Lee. This painting is Romantic rather than Gothic. Its color is comforting rather than scary. It is in the realist genre with close attention to the detail of a vibrant face. It could have been painted by a nineteenth century master.

Courtney Fredette’s “Cemetery Play” is a study in subliminal terror. Two innocent children play in a cemetery. They are as yet unaware of their impending demise. The specter of death surrounds two children on the cusp of their own consciousness of finitude. The dark ominous shade of the grave markers is offset by the bright color of the two main subjects of this otherwise gloomy work. In one sense it is the possible portrayal of the time just before the artist came to terms with her own death. In another sense this picture could be the glorification of youth as a time when we are impervious to our imminent end.

Tara Grey submitted two digitally manipulated photographs. “Still Split” looks like a Mayan Gargoyle. The red colors bring to mind images of Mexico. The dark hues of the background remind me of a tomb. The painting portrays vacant eyes reminding me of a corpse. “Emerging II” has a Kafkaesque quality. The wide open mouth is a scream afraid of death. The emerging hand is a symbol of the way death grabs you and robs you from life.

Kenny Harris also submitted two digitally manipulated photographs;”Dr. John A. Zoidberg,” an oil and ink piece looks like something out of Star Trek. This terrifying image is otherworldly. It is a creature from outer space poised for a possible earth invasion. It is a truly frightening image. Thing One And Thing Two” is also reminiscent of Far Side. The bulging eyes of the main characters remind me of an Alfred Hitchcock novel. It is a theme that could rob you of sleep, nightmarish is the only way that this painting can be described.

David Nicolato submitted “Spinderella.” It is the image of a spider capturing butterflies. Spinderella is a complex multi media creation that combines fabric with metal gears in the body of the spider. The ornate butterflies in the foreground of the work are a nice complement to the fabric body of the spider.

Anna Ryabtov’s “Transformation Mask” looks like something from a high school driver’s Ed exercise. It is eerie and foreboding and definitely Gothic in tone. The splintered mask is symbolic of a catastrophic accident. The mask could also be taken as a symbol for death. The image sends chills up one’s spine.

Kira Yustak’s “Katherine Rides at Sun” an Acrylic painting looks like something from a Dr. Seuss child’s book. The determined look on the subjects face could be rushing to meet an old friend rather than death which I presume was the artist’s intent. The skull and the raven;symbols of death are in the background and do not play a pivotal role in one’s apprehension of this piece.It is almost comic rather than Gothic.

Some of the paintings in our second show at the new Westfield location are truly extraordinary. In keeping with the theme of this show, Gothic is the word of the day; a fitting genre for Halloween.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Halloween night: masquerade party and opening reception for our new exhibition "Something Wicked This Way Comes: Artwork Celebrating the Gothic and Beautifully Macabre"

Please join Gallery U Boutique in Westfield on Halloween evening (10/31) from 6-9 PM for a special masquerade opening of our new exhibition "Something Wicked This Way Comes: Artwork Celebrating the Gothic and Beautifully Macabre." All are welcome. Come in costume and win prizes!

Participating artists include: Yasmin Alcantara, Owen Ambrose, Suzanne Anan, Patricia Benitez, Mary Jean Canziani, Steve Cummings, Lauren Curtis, Sally Fica, Nanci France-Vaz, Courtney Fredette, Tara Grey, Kenny Harris, David Nicolato, Erica Resnick, Anna Ryabstov, Kira Yustak and others. Exhibit will be on display until November 23.

Gallery U Boutique is located at 439 South Ave W in Westfield, NJ. For more information, please call (908) 232-1895 or visit Like us on Facebook:

"Morgan's Murder," Lauren Curtis, oil on canvas

"Spinderella," David Nicolato, mixed media

"Surprise!," Steve Cummings, oil pastel

"Unnatural Selection," Mary Jean Canziani, acrylic on canvas

Monday, September 23, 2013

SEPTEMBER 26, 2013





'Betty of Courage and Faith' by Jamie Lindholm. / Courtesy of Jamie Lindholm


WHEN: Through Oct. 26; call for hours
OPENING RECEPTION: 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26
WHERE: Gallery U Boutique,

439 South Ave., Westfield
INFO: 973-699 3486

Atlantic Highlands-based painter Nanci France-Vaz shares her inspiration.

Jamie Lindholm has been painting professionally for nearly 30 years. Her art is exhibited in Sweden, Italy, Great Britain, Canada and the United States, including at the International Securities Exchange in New York City.
The Bridgewater resident is also national coordinator for the Portrait Society of America and runs two art studios in the Martinsville section of Bridgewater.
While Lindholm’s success surely can be attributed to her talent, it doesn’t hurt that many people assume she’s a man, she says. She often uses the gender-neutral name J.D. Lindholm for professional advantage.
“Paintings by women historically don’t sell,” Lindholm says. “As long as they think that I could possibly be a man, they are more likely to take me seriously.”
Other female painters think, as Lindholm does, that their gender sometimes hinders their opportunities.
“The art world is heavily dominated by male artists and male gallery owners,” says Victoria Herrera, a Montclair-based painter. “If you look at any major art gallery, the number of female artist representation is only one-third of total work, and sometimes much less than that. The percentage is even less in museums.”
Lindholm and Herrera, along with fellow painters Colleen Gallo of Boonton and Louise Hafesh of Fort Lee, hope to challenge that status quo. The four organized “Women Painting Women,” an exhibit featuring 12 New Jersey-based female artists which takes place Sept. 26-Oct. 26 at the U Gallery’s new location in Westfield.
The New Jersey exhibit is part of a larger “Women Painting Women” movement created by four female painters in 2008 as a blog. The movement has grown to include concurrent gallery exhibitions in Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, New York, South Carolina, Scotland and now New Jersey.
The exhibit showcases the female perspective, says Nanci France-Vaz, an Atlantic Highlands-based painter featured in the New Jersey exhibit.
“It is about how women interpret themselves as opposed to how men interpret them,” France-Vaz says. “Who better to paint women than women?”

France-Vaz has been painting women all her life. The complexity of women and the many different roles they take on makes them the perfect subject, she says.
“Women can be so strong and so soft at the same time,” she says. “We are still beautiful no matter how powerful we are.”
That perspective contradicts the sexualized viewpoint many male painters take when painting women, Gallo says. The viewpoint isn’t necessarily bad, says Gallo, but it is one-sided.
“When a woman paints a woman, not to say we aren’t going to do a nude, but we aren’t going to pose her in the same way,” Gallo says. “I don’t know that men want to honor women in the same way that women do. We want to tell our own story.”
The exhibit is also about honoring New Jersey artists, Hafesh says.
Although there are many talented artists in the state, their work is often overshadowed by nearby Philadelphia and New York City artists.
“Most people don’t think of New Jersey as the arts center, but New Jersey has some amazing talent,” Hafesh says. “The 12 women artists that we have are just a phenomenal group. We have North Jersey, Central, South. It just came together perfectly.”
The exhibit features one piece from each artist, including work by Lindholm, France-Vaz, Gallo, Hafesh and Herrera. Also featured are Carole Dakake of Fredon, Nancy Depew of Plainfield, Ellen Eagle and Stephanie Deshpande of Glen Ridge, Annette Hanna of Boonton Township, Natalie Italiano of Haddonfield and Lea Colie Wight of Manasquan.

Family inspiration

Lindholm’s painting “Betty of Courage and Faith”pays tribute to her late mother, whom she greatly admired. After Lindholm’s father died at age 48, her mother raised seven children alone while working to support the family.
“I don’t even know how she did it,” Lindholm says. “I can’t think of a better woman that I’d like to paint.”
The image portrays Lindholm’s mother at age 20, standing in a white gown against a lotus flower design. The lotus is symbolic of her femininity and her desire to have a big family, Lindholm says.

Next to her sit two lions, representing courage and faith, Lindholm says. These lions are also metaphors for Lindholm and her twin brother.
“She had the courage to make the changes she needed to and the faith to get through it,” Lindholm says.

Self reflection

Gallo portrays her own life struggles in her piece,“Her Journey Continues.” The painting is a self-portrait, depicting Gallo standing in the woods, grasping a tree. She chose to paint this piece to represent her emotional journey dealing with her husband’s life-threatening illness
“We have been together for 35 years, and he has been my rock,” Gallo says. “But I know that he isn’t going to be my rock forever. The tree is kind of the symbol of that. It is me looking into the woods, and kind of questioning if I can leave my rock and be able to survive without him.”
Gallo chose a quiet wooded spot in Boontown Township that she likes to visit as the setting for her painting. Silver and gold leaf were incorporated into the painting for added texture and shine. Painting has helped Gallo cope with her husband’s illness.
“It is very emotional. It is very cathartic,” she says. “You can kind of see it in my eyes in the painting.”

Life after Sandy

As a Jersey Shore resident, France-Vaz saw the devastation of Sandy firsthand. Although her home wasn’t damaged, many of her neighbors’ and friends’ homes were destroyed, as were many of her favorite local destinations. Her painting “The Wish” was created to represent her hope for the Jersey Shore’s recovery.
To create the piece, she first took photos of her model at Sandy Hook.
“When we shot at Sandy Hook, everything was all boarded up,” France-Vaz says. “But here she is, dressed really nice. It is about having hope that things will get better.”
On clear days, France-Vaz can see the beach from a small circle window in her home art studio. She says she often looks out and asks God to “make everything OK.” The painting depicts her model doing the same thing, she says.
“I felt like she stepped forward, and there was a light coming from above, from God,” France-Vaz says. “It says to me, ‘I wish for hope, I wish for life. I want things to change down here, I want people to recover.’ ”

Back in time

“Interlude,” a painting featured in the exhibit by Italiano, portrays Adele, a Hawaiian woman who is also a painter. In the painting, she is wearing a kimono, and her hair is styled in a “timeless” style meant to “transcend our time period” and connect the viewer with traditions of the past, Italiano says.
Few young people in Japan still know how to create kimonos, says Italiano. She hopes her painting will both honor and preserve the traditional art form. Adele is painted looking at the viewer. This pose is meant to be interpreted in many different ways, depending on the perspective of the viewer, Italiano says.

The meaning of light

Hafesh’s piece, "Sanctuary,” is all about light.
“For me, light is everything in painting,” Hafesh says. “I like to play between light and dark. To show coming out of the dark and into the light — it is sort of symbolic.”
The piece features a close-up of a mother and child locked in a comforting embrace with “beautiful, cool light” falling on their hands and faces.
Other that the cool light, the colors in the painting are golds, purples, reds and oranges.
“It is an intimate scene in that we are privy to a private moment between mother and child,” Hafesh says.

Women Painting Women Movement Comes to Jersey
Women Painting Women Movement Comes to Jersey: Nanci France-Vaz is part of the "Women Painting Women" exhibit, opening Sept. 26 at the U Gallery in Westfield. The Atlantic Highlands artist shares why women make the best subjects.
Written by
Laura Martin | @APPLauraMartin

‘Women Painting Women’

“What If” by Nancy Depew “What If” by Nancy Depew Gallery U, formerly of Red Bank and Montclair, will celebrate its opening in Westfield with a show of the figurative work of 12 New Jersey artists as part of “Women Painting Women: (R)evolution.”
Women Painting Women began in 2008 as a blog exploring how contemporary female painters handle women as subjects, and has grown to include concurrent gallery exhibitions in Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, New York, South Carolina, Scotland and now New Jersey.
Inspired by the original Women Painting Women experience, New Jersey artists Colleen Gallo, Louise B. Hafesh, Victoria Herrera and Jamie Lindholm formed Women Painting Women NJ (WPWNJ) with the goal of building community and visibility for women artists.
An opening reception for WPW-NJ will be held 6-9 p.m. Oct. 26. The show will run through October at Gallery U Boutique, 439 South Ave. West, Westfield. Local artist Nanci France-Vaz, Atlantic Highlands, joins 11 other women artists in this unique figurative exhibition, including Carole Dakake, Nancy Depew, Stephanie Deshpande, Ellen Eagle, Gallo, Hafesh, Annette Hanna, Herrera, Natalie Italiano, Lindholm and Lea Colie Wight. France-Vaz is an exhibiting member of the Guild of Creative Art, Shrewsbury, and an instructor at Brookdale Community College.

“At the Table” by Stephanie Deshpande “At the Table” by Stephanie Deshpande Gallery U is part of Universal Institute Rehab, which services individuals with traumatic brain injuries. This summer, Gallery U Montclair, Red Bank and Bethlehem will come together in one location. For more information, contact Robert Greco, gallery director, at 973-699-3486.

“The Wish” by Nanci France-Vaz “The Wish” by Nanci France-Vaz

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Women Painting Women profile in American Art Collector

Gallery U's first exhibition at our new Westfield location, "Universal Appeal," features artwork by Women Painting Women NJ. An opening reception is scheduled for Thursday, September 26, 2013, from 6-9 PM. Check out the group's recent profile in September's American Art Collector.