Jamie Greenfield and Madelaine Shellaby are art educators. And, they are both distinguished artists in their own right. Although their styles are somewhat different from each other, the resulting works you will find in their current collaborative exhibition, “Double Vision,” at the Mercer County Community College Gallery come together as a common vision of outreach.
“For this exhibition, I found it very interesting that each of the artists had no preconceived idea of what the work was really going to be before its completion,” explains Alice K. Thompson, director of the gallery. “Despite different styles, their respective practices are similar in the way they construct a composition.”
An interesting aspect of this exhibition is that the works are not labeled identifying the artist. And sometimes even their signatures on the works are not easy to find. Although at first one can find it confusing and disconcerting, one quickly realizes that it unifies all the works in a unique way.
“Additionally,” continues Thompson, “integrating the works rather than showing them separately, albeit under a common title, allows the viewer to examine the similarities in the process and draw conclusions about ‘Double Vision’.”
Throughout the exhibition, you will see elements in the compositions of the two artists that come back time and time again. For example, you will see hands reaching for the images produced by the two artists. And you will see wings, butterflies and moths. You’ll see works by both artists done on black paper, such as Shellaby’s pastel and gouache “Sphere of the Fixed Stars” and gold graphite and Greenfield’s tale “Bell’s Therem”.
But more than specific images, what you will see is a meeting of minds, sensibilities, visions. Their use of symbolism and metaphor lends mystery to the collection.
The drawings, paintings and digital montages in this exhibition show that the two artists are led to contemplate the ephemeral of nature. Moths often appear in this collection, depicted in dreamlike scenes and settings, perhaps reminding us of how in their short lives they are always drawn to light. In his pastel painting, Greenfield associates them with sunflowers that always turn their faces towards the sunlight. Shellaby’s digital montage, “Moths To Light,” depicts the fragile moths in the light and shadow surrounding a vine in a glass as they soar to a burst of light above.
Although winged creatures often appear in the works of both artists, in his digital print “Wing Chairs” Shellaby added many types of wings to his depiction of twelve chairs of varying styles. And speaking of chairs, be sure to spend some time with her “From the Night Garden” digital print where she defines the shape of a tall chair with intricate white calligraphic strokes on a black background. Delicately colored moths flutter around a large terracotta container holding white flowers on the chair seat, and a white-outlined hand holds a single white flower between its fingers.
Greenfield’s graphite, gouache and pastel, “Moth Memory”, also have a leaning hand over the image. He joins two other hands, one of which holds the image of a moth mounted on a square while another moth hangs from a finger on a string. A hand does not appear in the “Seemingly Inert” Pastel, Graphite and Greenfield Gouache but the human presence is there in a graphite drawing of a person’s facial features. Gold framed words of inert particles “dividing without sound” and a beautiful moth hang from the person’s mouth against a peaceful sky. An empty eggshell appears at the top, its other half rests at the bottom.
What is captivating about this exhibition is the desire to benefit not only from the talent of these artists, to be captivated by the beauty of their representations, but to go further, to understand what motivated them to deliver that particular image.
Greenfield says in her artist statement that the objects she presents, “like thoughts, are held in a tenuous relationship with each other seemingly unrelated but anchored in a structured pictorial space. Certain affinities are provided to the viewer, while others remain ambiguous and, as in dreams, may be the result of memory, desire or foreknowledge. Locally, she taught at Rider University. From 1988 to 2016, she taught the studio art and art history at the Lawrenceville School and was director of the school’s Hutchins Gallery Her work is included in many significant permanent collections and she now owns a studio in Lawrenceville.
Madelaine Shellaby taught at Stuart Country Day School for 27 years, has been an artist in residence several times in the United States and abroad, and has received three NJ State Council on the Arts Artist Fellowships and one NEH Fellowship. . She has organized five art exhibitions locally and is a co-founder of Princeton Haiti Konekte, Inc., an organization that develops and supports educational initiatives in Haiti. Internationally, she was artist in residence in France and worked in Mongolia on temple restoration. Most recently, she was a guide at the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Culture in New York.
To learn more about Greenspan and Shellaby’s impressive track record, visit their websites: www.jamiegreenfield.com and www.madelaine shellaby.com.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO:
- WHAT: Double Vision, Jamie Greenfield and Madelaine Shellaby
- OR: Mercer County Community College Gallery, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor
- WHEN: Until December 9. Hours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday; 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesdays. Check the website for overtime.
- CONTACT: www.mccc.edu/gallery. Or send an email to [email protected] to request an appointment
- REMARK: At this point, a symptom tracking form may still be required. Link on the Gallery website.