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.