Art Show Explores 'A Sense of Place'
Published on January 24, 2023
Morris Arts’ newest exhibit, "A Sense of Place," will showcase the artwork of eight New Jersey artists, with 186 works of art filling the walls of four floors of the Atrium Gallery in Morristown.
The public is invited to the free opening reception on Feb. 2, from 7-9 p.m. The Atrium Gallery is located on floors 2-5 of the Morris County Administration and Records Building, 10 Court Street, Morristown.
Curated by Lynn L. Siebert, Director of Galleries at Morris Arts, the show is described as exploring the elemental human need for “a sense of place,” as global climate catastrophes, war and other dangers have displaced so many people throughout the world. Is "place" a real location, the evocation of a mood, a familiar landmark, a sight to see in a foreign country, the familiarity of one's own backyard, the shifting light in wooded wetlands or the gritty realism of urban streetscapes?
Each artist offers a unique definition of his/her "sense of place" and invites the viewers to contemplate their own interpretations. The artists are: Laurie Harden of Boonton, Todd Doney of Gillette, David Clair of Bernardsville, Kevin Burkitt of Neptune City, Mark de Mos of Morristown, Allan Gorman of West Orange, Lisa Lackey of Maplewood, and Marge Miccio of Trenton.
In the fifth floor atrium, Laurie Harden’s oils offer a veritable travelogue – from western plains to to Guatemala - capturing local flavors and moods with careful attention to animating details: the falling snow, a quiet task, a journey home or the splash of colors and patterns in marketplaces or at the rising dawn.
In the fifth floor elevator lobby, Todd Doney’s luminous, impressionistic oils transport viewers to mysterious places of woods and water. The play of light, the fleeting moment, the stillness of snow, the filtering of shadows on water or trees - all create unique “places” amidst the timelessness and beauty of Nature.
On the fourth floor atrium area, David Clair’s acrylics and mixed media works take the viewer to real and fictional locations, from castles and iconic houses to imagined spaces. Inventively combining paper and paint, Clair creates dramatic, scenic vistas and, in some works, depicts critical themes: disappearing beaches and forests, melting icecaps, extreme storms – all seen through intricate geometric prisms.
In the adjacent fourth floor hallway, Kevin Burkitt’s stark black and white photography revisits, in graphic detail, the devastating impact of Superstorm Sandy on its 10th anniversary. Photographed at night, these dramatic images reveal a destroyed “sense of place”: broken buildings filled with storm debris, skeletal structures with missing windows, collapsed walls and absent roofs. Powerfully evocative, these photos remind us that any sense of place is vulnerable to the destructive forces of Nature.
By contrast, in the third floor’s atrium area, Mark de Mos conveys a gentler “sense of place” using watercolors, oils and pastels to depict cozy interiors, lovely gardens, peaceful winter farmscapes, active cityscapes, serene parks and landmarks of our own Morristown area. His subtle use of color, line and nuanced composition invite the viewer into these places, conveyed with warmth, sensitivity and clear affection.
Filling the adjacent third floor hallway, Marge Miccio shares her sense of place with imaginative renderings of scenes from New Jersey to Maine. Each painting focuses on a very specific place - a building, a section of coastline, a pier, a streetscape – to the exclusion of other distracting sights. Whether in bright daylight or utilizing distinctive night settings (lit by streetlamps), Miccio’s scenes draw in the viewer and encourage contemplation of the mood and flavor of each scene.
In the second floor atrium, the viewer experiences the extraordinary, tangible textures of Allan Gorman’s urban scenes. With exacting precision, his oils convey the gritty feel of rusting steel girders, the glossy distortions of layered glass reflections, and the geometrically exacting play of planes/angles/shadows among steel, brick and glass structures of his streetscapes. Gorman defines his spaces with brutal directness, graphic precision and startling accuracy. A master of line, draftsmanship, light and shadow, he captures the fascinating interplay of patterns, differentiating the many textures of urban spaces through his uncanny and superb photorealistic oils.
And, in the adjacent, second floor hallway, Lisa Lackey offers her unique fabric and paper collages that memorialize glimpses of time and the hidden delights of ordinary places. Approaching her subjects from unusual angles, her works reveal the beauties found in daily life: the shadows cast by a white picket fence, the webbing on a patio chair, the colors and shapes forming patterns on a grocery aisle, the lines on a highway at night. In a sense, she is teaching the viewer to see anew – and to appreciate the unique places that surround us all.
Most of the artwork in "A Sense of Place" is available for sale. Catalogues are available at the show and online at www.morrisarts.org. The Atrium Art Gallery is free and open to the public during business hours, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The exhibit remains in place until March 14.
Now celebrating its 50th Anniversary, Morris Arts is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1973 dedicated to building community through the arts. Using the arts to inspire, connect and engage, Morris Arts serves as a resource for Morris County with a special focus on arts programming in the community and in the schools, arts advocacy, and support of the Morris Area community of artists and arts organizations.
L-R: Laurie Harden’s oil, Tending the Cattle; Todd Doney’s oil on linen, Trees, March 2, 5:25pm; David Clair’s mixed media, A Dying Breed; Kevin Burkitt’s photo, #1 from 91 Days, Countless Nights series
L-R: Mark de Mos’ oil, Crossing South Street; Marge Miccio’s oil, Anthony’s; Allan Gorman’s oil, The Shops at Hudson Yards; Lisa Lackey’s cording, thread and fabric on canvas, It’s Complicated