The public is invited to the free Opening Reception on September 28, 2023 from 6-8pm, for Morris Arts’ new art exhibit and sale, MYSTERY, MEMORY & MAGIC, curated by Dr. Lynn L. Siebert, at the Atrium Gallery, located on floors 2-5 of the Morris County Administration and Records Building, 10 Court Street, Morristown.
L-R: Lyanne Malamed’s oil, acrylic, 23k gold leaf on linen, Bird Catchers III ; Xiomáro’s George Washington’s Conference Room; Diane English’s alcohol ink, Up Stream;
Enter a world of mystery, fantasy, memory and magic captured in the 175 artworks by six outstanding artists: the late Lyanne Malamed (Philadelphia area), Xiomáro (Ramsey), Diane English (Jersey City and Washington DC), Hank Yaghooti (West Orange), Lisa Bryn Cerny (Morristown) and Amy Whitman (Madison), provide a gateway into worlds that touch on the mystical, the fantastic, the fanciful and memories from our very human past.
On the fifth floor, the walls literally glow with the radiant, mystical and utterly unique works by the late Lyanne Malamed. With lavishly gilded, luminous backgrounds and flattened perspectives, many of her works evoke the splendors of medieval and early Renaissance European religious paintings. Her rich language of symbols and historical techniques convey the mystery, wisdom and dignity of women, utilizing generalized facial feature and masks to lend these works a timeless universality. Some Malamed paintings portray domestic scenes – using earth tone palettes that mirror the warmth and humanity of family connections while other works experiment with the dramatic use of black gesso, isolating the focal subjects within stark, featureless settings. Her monograph, Lyanne Malamed: Eternal Woman/ Drawings & Paintings (Bridgewater, NJ: Flying Bird Press, 2012), includes photos and commentary on nearly all of her work and is available for viewing and purchase at the Atrium Gallery.
On the fourth floor, renowned photographer Xiomáro expertly captures memories of past and present, bringing history to life while enhancing our understanding of nature and contemporary urban life. Photographing scenes from National Park Service historic and natural sites throughout the country, he imbues his photos with emotional depth. One feels the bleakness and cold surrounding the soldier’s huts in Jockey Hollow, the poignancy of an unadorned slave cemetery and the whimsy and joy in portraits of urban street musicians. In all, his perspectives enhance our understanding and appreciation of history, memory, natural surroundings, and our common, unvarnished humanity.
Mystery and magic abound in the third floor Atrium area with the intensely vibrant colors of Diane English’s large scale alcohol inks. As abstract works, they invite the viewers’ interpretation and intrigue the eye with their variety, sheer energy and dramatic composition. Matching titles perfectly with her imagery, English demonstrates her dynamic imagination and her remarkable ability to use color as a tangible form of magic.
L-R: Hank Yaghooti’s acrylic, watercolor, spray paint and marker on paper, Door to Mystery; Lisa B. Cerny’s multi media collage, Listening for Fairies; Amy Whitman’s pen and ink work, Wood Nymph in Spring
Adding to that sense of mystery and magic, Hank Yaghooti’s works fill the third floor Hallway and Elevator Lobby area, drawing on surrealism and conjuring fantastical, sometimes whimsical creatures from other dimensions. Whether depicting a giant squid or a drummer from an alternate universe, he teases the viewer, hinting at “normal” figuration. But, his is a parallel reality, fragmented and multilayered, evoking a mindscape filled with symbolism and imagery that provokes thought, stimulates emotion, and encourages a sense of mysterious, alternate realities.
Fantasy and magic also abound in the second floor Atrium which showcases the densely worked collages and fanciful sculptures by Lisa Bryn Cerny. Utilizing handmade papers, fabrics, trims, flowers, metals, stones, magazines, acrylics, found objects, and gels to create three-dimensional collage art, Cerny’s art has a soulful, whimsical, and magical quality, and is inspired by chance encounters with others, her flower garden, the night sky, bodies of water, natural materials, butterflies, magic and fairies. A trained nurse, she views all art as a form of healing and uses her distinctive sensibilities to share her uplifting and “magical” visions with the viewer.
The second floor Hallway dances to the vivid energies of Amy Whitman’s highly imaginative and magical pen and ink drawings. Who would couple a Dior fashion image with a pumpkin or a bee with Bea Arthur? Juxtaposing wildly disparate features and often depicting elaborate hairstyles that would shame Marie Antoinette in their complexity – along with intricate patterns of flowers, geometry, and fashion design, Whitman’s utterly distinctive pieces rivet the eye of the viewer with their delightful, whimsical, slyly humorous and meticulously executed imagery.
Each of these artists envisions the theme, Mystery, Memory & Magic, in his/her own highly distinctive manner and the result is a visual feast of enticing imagery, color, and design, evoking worlds beyond the mundane.
Virtually all of the artworks are available for sale, with details and pricing provided in the free hard copies of catalogues available in the elevator lobby areas on floors 2-5. The electronic version of the exhibit catalogue is also posted online at www.morrisarts.org, The Atrium Art Gallery is free and open to the public during business hours, Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm, and until 7:30pm on Thursday evenings. Additionally, the exhibit will be open until midnight on New Year’s Eve as part of First Night Morris County. The exhibit remains in place until March 18, 2024.