Exhibitions

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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:

Etienne
Maureen Kelleher
Kenya
Ramsey Orta
Dr. Mutulu Shakur
Sharif
Teresa
Zulu 

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


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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


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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. 


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

“I am not looking to create order. I am recording a moment of being.” – Anne Q. McKeown.

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.”


Raw Umber

October 12th, 2019 – March 3rd, 2020
Opening Reception – October 12th, 2-4 PM

NICO Kitchen + Bar, 1 Center Street, Newark, NJ

Raw Umber is the inaugural exhibit that launches a new partnership between Newark’s artist-run Gallery Aferro and NJPAC. Rotating exhibitions featuring artists curated by Gallery Aferro allow patrons of NICO Kitchen + Bar to enjoy (and even take home) compelling works arising from the ceaseless vitality of Newark’s independent visual arts scene.

Raw Umber is a group exhibit titled after a family of colors derived from naturally occurring pigments in the earth, ranging from rich, dark brown tones, yellows, and fiery oranges and reds.

Join us for the opening reception of this new partnership, as part of the Newark Arts Festival. The exhibition will run through March 2020.

About the art and artists:

Marsha Goldberg is a current artist-in-residence at Gallery Aferro whose work is exquisitely sensitive to the atmospheric shifts of light, shadow, and air that define our experience of the world. Master Papermaker Anne Q. McKeown’s longtime residency at Gallery Aferro connects to her prestigious commissioned work in Egypt, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Cuba, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa. McKeown’s artworks included in Raw Umber are on Ugandan bark cloth hand pounded from fibers, visualizing a visceral tie to the earth. Kevin Durkin’s works reveal a constant longing for a remembered landscape of home while Gladys Barker Grauer’s (1923-2019, known as the “Mother of Newark Arts”) hypnotic self-portrait includes a subtle spiderweb motif. Ibrahim Ahmed iii (Aferro A.I.R.2013), now residing in Cairo, created a dramatically scaled portrait before leaving Newark, contrasting with a deceptively simple early 1960’s watercolor by L. Gluck of St. Thomas. Important works by Reginald K. Gee, Stephen Flemister, Floyd Newsom Jr., and E. J. Montgomery from the collection of Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art reveals Newark’s cultural connections to multiple generations of important artists of color up to this very moment.