NJ DeVico works mainly with chalk pastels, she sees the creative process as deeply therapeutic – as she started being comfortable doing abstracts when she had a bone marrow transplant.
When I was five years old, drawing in the pediatrician’s office, Doc Gittelson told my mother, “Make sure that kid always has arts supplies.” Suddenly paper, glue, tape, colored pencils, paint and—my favorite—crayons, appeared. I felt like I died and went to heaven. I’ve been a printmaker and a watercolorist, I’ve made collages and oil paintings; I worked in chalk pastels. And here I am, decades later, playing with crayons again. So what if my fat Sennelier oil pastels cost $9 a stick? I’m just as happy as I was with those Crayolas. When I work—actually, it’s more like play—I go into a zone and don’t worry about a thing. And I’ve got enough to worry about: I almost died after a bone marrow transplant didn’t take. Curiously, that’s when I got comfortable doing abstracts. It was the first time I didn’t care if someone might say or think, “My five-year-old can do that.” Yup, when you realize the end could be near, you don’t give a damn about a lotta things that you wasted time on before. It’s quite liberating. I think it shows up in my art. I feel like the satisfaction of doing those pastel drawings is guaranteed, or my money back. It always gives me pleasure and calms me down. Not only while I’m drawing at night, but also when I look at my picture the next morning. I often think, “Wow! I did that?” (I suspect I’ve got elves in the house who doll up my pictures as I sleep.) I’m not unlucky because I’ve got leukemia. I’m lucky because I’m an artist.
A Celebration of Art and Life, Year-long Exhibit at Penn Tower, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
Also 2015, 2016
Healing Art Stories, Capital Health Systems, Hopewell, NJ Campus
Botany and Zoology, South Brunswick Arts Commission, NJ
New Abstraction, Arts Unbound, Orange, NJ
Center for Contemporary Art Members’ Juried Exhibition, Watchung Arts Center, Watchung,NJ
Abstracts, Northfield Bank, Hopewell, NJ with Gail Bracegirdle
Arts Unbound: The Artistic Achievement of People Living with Disabilities, Belskie Museum of Art and Science, Closter, NJ
The Three of Us, Three artists showing for the second time at Thomas Sweet Cafe, Montgomery, NJ Inspired by Music, St. Lawrence County Arts Council, Potsdam, NY
Geometry in Art, Featured Artist, Local Artist Program, Matossian Eye Associates, Hopewell, NJ 2015
Color and Light, Two-person show, with Gail Bracegirdle. Millstone River Gallery, Plainsboro, NJ Reviewed by Janet Purcell, The Times of Trenton.
Sweethearts: Creative Couples, Trenton City Museum, Trenton, NJ. Curator
Mercer County Artists 2015, Juried Competition, Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, NJ Chalk, Pan, Oil, Three artists using three types of pastels, Thomas Sweet Cafe, Montgomery, NJ
Pages, Art Influenced by Books, Arts Unbound, Orange, NJ
Classic Subjects: Still Life, Group Show, South Brunswick Arts Commission, NJ
People of Preservation, D&R Greenway Land Trust, Princeton, NJ
Abbott Marshlands — More Than Meets the Eye, Trenton City Museum, Trenton, NJ
Local Talent, Hopewell Valley Community Bank, Hopewell, NJ. Curator
Across the Table, Two-person show with Monica Weinschenk. Pastels of the same still lifes and landscapes from two points of view. Cherry Grove Farm, Lawrenceville, NJ
Pastels , One-person show of abstracts, landscapes and still life, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, NJ. Reviewed by Janet Purcell, The Times of Trenton.
Plein Air Art Festival, Hosted by Flemington Historic Preservation Commission. A day of painting followed by an evening auction. Winner, Artsbridge Award. Flemington, NJ In and After the Hospital, One-person show of works created while recovering from a bone marrow transplant, Hopewell Township branch of Mercer County Library System
AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Mainland Campus, Pomona, NJ Penn Medicine, Cherry Hill, NJ