Reflecting OUT

In partnership with Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey

Curated by Barbara M. Bickart & Evonne M. Davis

December 5th – 21st, 2019
Opening Reception – December 5th 5-8pm
Eleta M. Caldwell and Rodney J. Gilbert Memorial Gallery

Participating Artists:

Victor A. Henry
Ivy Malbon
Angel Pagan
Atlas Rose
Samaad Oglesby

Reflecting OUT is an exhibit about small radical acts of love, featuring work created by six young artists, who formed a collective during a summer intensive with Barbara M. Bickart, Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey Artist in Residence, and have continued to make work together throughout the fall.

Self-portraits made by artists are nothing new or particularly radical in the course of Art History. Self-portraits made by young queer people, on the other hand, are. The basic premise of Self-portraiture is about looking at yourself, about being willing to look at yourself long enough to make a mark to honor that self. Self-portraiture is about the willingness to Look and to try and See, about the willingness to put yourself at the center of your own mark-making, to be the subject of your own mark-making — not an easy task when the world gives you so many reasons to want to turn away from seeing that self, from who you are as a queer, in a world still too fraught with homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and racism. Self-portraiture becomes a radical act of self-love, a remarkable act of courage. The marks in this show are that — a courageous collection of self-portraits, experiments in expression, all small radical acts of love about the willingness to look at oneself and to dare to document that self through mark making, a way of saying, “I see you. I love you.” Working for two intensive weeks in August as an artmaking collective, come together for the first time, meant that everyone took up the challenge of looking at themselves while witnessing one another doing the same thing. We turned to look at one another, as well, through making some pieces we made — I see you. I love you. I want you to stay.

Barbara M. Bickart
Artist in Residence

Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey provides supportive services to LGBTQ Youth ages 13-21, at the main NJ location at 550 Broad St. in Newark.

Gallery Aferro, founded and run by artists since 2003, is proud to host this exhibition as part of our annual end of year affordable art sale, artisan market, potluck and party offerings.


Language/Line: Anne Q. McKeown

Curated by Evonne M. Davis

October 1st – October 30th, 2019
Opening Reception – October 17th, 5-7PM
Artist Talk – October 17th, 11:30AM

Brookdale Community College
Center for the Visual Arts
765 Newman Springs Rd., Lincroft, NJ

As a visual artist, a maker of things, it is teaching, collaborations with artists of all mediums, and work with groups of people internationally, that have given McKeown insight into the splendid ability of the artist’s mind. McKeown is empowered by these experiences. They are all part of her practice in a lifelong search to find and exercise her voice.

At the base of this search is an intensely remembered understanding of image making at age four. Her identity as an image creator grew as she did. Work in water color paintings, drawing, oil paint, and printmaking were all investigated mediums. In 1995 handmade paper entered McKeown’s vocabulary. In the decades since the first sheet was pulled, she has relied on the plasticity of cellulose in her collaborations. In her individual work she uses handmade paper as both substrate, and for three-dimensional interpretation.

She has traveled to and worked in Egypt, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Cuba, Nigeria, and South Africa. McKeown holds her B.A in Studio Art from Skidmore College and her MFA in Painting and Printmaking from Yale University School of Art.

She writes: “My interest in how things work lead to my attraction to many mediums. I might have become someone different if a sense of wonder for the spaces and awe-inspiring objects in Museums had not captured me at an early age. Then, as I worked, I never felt satisfied. There was always more to perfect, more to say in the work. It was through printmaking, and then papermaking, that I experienced a shift from working solo with full authorship, to working in collaboration or teaching group workshops to empower artists with understanding of this medium.

Through my work I was able to spread the pleasure, beauty and inherent personality of fiber. Handmade paper allows me to involve this medium from a humble beginning toward discoveries in three dimensions. My work does not need to create a sculptural space; however, I have less interest in materials that don’t begin with texture and surface. A hands-on approach is critical in my work; I work as a painter might work, through trial, error, and erasure, and as the imagery presents itself in response to the initial concept. With an evolved vision I have developed the skill to choose and then change the presentation, allowing me to enter a realm of play as the result of decades of experience.

Now I have returned to working alone. Though at times I need an assistant, most studio time is spent alone in silence, developing my images. My work gives voice to the world around me, punctuated with reference to images that have affected my love of art. My work is always based on a story even if I am not able to fully describe the story in the moment of making. Contemporary social issues, filtered through my life experience, are a jumping off point for my choice of imagery. The work does not rely on easily accessible imagery so it has been thrilling to have others respond to the core messages of my work; it exists without a unilateral message or simplified statement.”

Red White and Baldwin by Kenya and Maureen -RESIZED

The Social Justice Collaboration Quilts Project featuring the Quilts of Angola Prison

Curated by Maureen Kelleher

October 5th – November 22nd, 2019
Opening Reception – October 5th 7-10pm
Gallery Aferro Main Gallery

Participating Artists:

Maureen Kelleher
Ramsey Orta
Dr. Mutulu Shakur

An exhibition can act as an undeniable clarion call to the world and all who wish to see it transformed for the better. The Social Justice Collaboration Quilts Project featuring the Quilts of Angola Prison is such an exhibition. A loving, compelling collaboration of creativity, the exhibit features the work of free persons and lifers of the infamous Louisiana State Penitentiary, better known as Angola Prison. 

Artist and private investigator Maureen Kelleher has curated an ongoing collaboration between individuals incarcerated  at Louisiana State Penitentiary and elsewhere, alongside free civilians, utilizes handmade quilts, musical accompaniment, and experiential narratives to connect two worlds. 

Kelleher’s skills have been instrumental in helping exonerate 3 men off Louisiana’s death row, in addition to assisting the renowned justice reform organization, The Innocence Project, on a non-DNA case to aid in the release of an innocent man with a life sentence. She has crafted a showcase that includes music from artists such as Irma Thomas, Delfeayo Marsalis, Cat Power, and the Venerable Robina Courtin, with endorsements from  Harriet Tubman scholar Dr. Kate Clifford-Larson and others. The original fabric art created by the hands of inspiring artists, including members of the Louisiana State Penitentiary Hospice Program; Dr. Mutulu Shakur, the godfather of Tupac Shakur; and Ramsey Orta, the man who recorded the death of Eric Garner, will grace Aferro’s Main Gallery, creating an immersive environment for affirming our collective humanity. 

Image: “Red, White & Baldwin©” by Maureen Kelleher and Kenya

Deep Listening Thank You Pauline by Geri Hahn

Still Living Out Loud

Curated by Evonne M. Davis

October 5th – November 22nd, 2019
Opening Reception – October 5th 7-10pm
Eleta J. Caldwell and Rodney M. Gilbert Memorial Gallery

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you:  I came to live out loud.” —Emile Zola 

People “come out” at different times in life, for different reasons revealing diverse secrets. Geri Hahn’s secret was that she was an artist. For the first 68 years of her life, none but family ever saw her drawings or her artwork. She is now a 74-year-old self-taught artist whose work is biomorphic, geometric and super-brightly colored. Hahn taught herself to work with fabric and thread, and now her art is created with hand-sewn and embroidered silk and linen with elements of shiny metallic floss. 

The pieces exhibited in Still Living Out Loud represent three basic categories of pattern recognition: sounds, words, and emotions. Hahn’s ability to recognize patterns is enabled by her neurological hard wiring: She is a “synesthete.” Synesthesia is simply the human experience of when one sense is activated, another unrelated sense is activated at the same time. Hahn “sees” every single sound she hears. Sounds are experienced as patterns of color, texture and concrete elements that exist in the physical world. Patterns in speech and emotions or feelings of her physical senses also serve as creative inspiration. Yes, her secret is out, and she is still living out loud. 

Image: “Deep Listening: Thank You Pauline Oliveros” by Geri Hahn

magfest poster copy

Elevator Music 6: SiIvaGunner

Curated by Juno Zago

October 5th – November 22nd, 2019
Opening Reception – October 5th 7-10pm
Gallery Aferro, 2nd Floor Installation

Elevator Music 6: SilvaGunner, curated by Juno Zago, invites visitors to step inside an early-1900s refurbished Otis Elevator and experience the work of the SilvaGunner collective: remixes of both classic and new video game soundtracks.

SiIvaGunner is a YouTube channel that claims to “only upload high quality video game rips” (rips = music files extracted straight from the game itself). In reality, SiIvaGunner uploads remixes of video game music, advertising them as the original tracks. There is a plethora of artists behind the 10,000+ uploads on the channel, pooling their creative interests and talents into a non-profit project out of their spare time. The remixes can range from well known pop songs to obscure inside jokes, and even original compositions!

Siivagunner’s music can be heard on their Youtube channel and purchased via their Bandcamp page. 

Arts High Exhibition - End Game image

End Game: 2019 Arts High School Senior Showcase

May 17th – 24th, 2019
Opening Reception – May 24, 6-9pm
Eleta J. Caldwell and Rodney M. Gilbert Memorial Gallery

Arts High School, along with Gallery Aferro, presents “END GAME,” an exhibition featuring over 50 high school seniors’ portfolio works of art. With a wide range of media and concepts represented, this is the first installment of an annual collaboration between Arts High and Gallery Aferro that will bring the Newark community together to share the visionary ideas and singular perspectives of local youth from the first school in the country dedicated to the visual and performing arts.

Process and Practice

Curated by Evonne M. Davis

April 6th – May 25th, 2019
Opening Reception – April 6th 7-10pm
Gallery Aferro Main Gallery

Participating Artists:

Patricia Cazorla                                               
Dahlia Elsayed                                                 
Gilbert Hsiao                                                    
Robert Lach                                                      
Tasha Lewis                                                     
Jo-El Lopez                                                       
Jacob Mandel           
Lisette Morel
Nell Painter
Nancy Saleme 
Kern Samuel 
Joe Silvestro
Jesse Wright
Juno Zago        

Process and Practice honors the Aferro Studios Residency Program that has welcomed more than 100 artists to the multi-floor studio workspaces since 2006 to craft, build, paint and toil over their next great creation. Bringing together past and current residents in this exclusive exhibition, Aferro celebrates their diverse accomplishments, energy and talent with the creative community they represent.

Gallery Aferro, with its ground floor exhibition space coupled with Newark’s growing population of artists and the surrounding creative minds from New York, Northern and Central New Jersey, and beyond, makes for a focused center of artistic expression that is constantly engaged. The Residency Program not only grants access to that space and community, it  encourages incubation of ambitious self-organized projects that might otherwise have not been possible for the artist to achieve. Process and Practice reflects that mission and shines a spotlight on some of the artists, past and present, who have embodied it.