Exhibition on Display: April 26th – August 28th, 2022 

Virtual Opening Reception: May 26th, 2022 from 6:30pm to 9pm 

VIP –In-Person Reception: June 9th, 2022 from 6:30pm to 9pm

On Tuesday, April 26th, Alfa Art Gallery’s walls will feature the group oil and mixed media exhibition “Beyond the Brush: The Contemporary Imagination.” The oil and mixed media exhibition has been a part of the ongoing success of Alfa’s New Brunswick Art Salon (NBAS) program since 2010. This exhibition showcases a diverse array of artworks from esteemed artists both native to New Jersey as well as artists living and working within the tri-state area, and features oil paintings and mixed media works that truly push the boundaries of their media. In these selected abstract and figurative artworks, each artist presents their own innovative approach to both the traditional medium of oil paint and mixed media art in order to capture visions of the contemporary world.  

“Beyond the Brush: The Contemporary Imagination” will highlight the work of such talented artists as Suparna Mondal, whose kaleidoscopically colorful and kinetic abstract works reveal her experiences of the contemporary urban world, as well as artist Christine Seo’s intriguing oil canvases that feature the recurring motif of a horse against colorful abstract backgrounds to express her own unique worldview. Alfa Art Gallery invites you to join us on a journey through these imaginative landscapes of the contemporary imagination. “Beyond the Brush: The Contemporary Imagination” can be viewed from Tuesday through Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm at Alfa Art Gallery. 

NBAS: “Beyond the Brush: The Contemporary Imagination,” NBAS Oil & Mixed Media Virtual Exhibition

“Beyond the Brush: The Contemporary Imagination” Virtual Opening Reception

Gallery Opening Reception:   

Considering our new norms as a country, the in-person opening reception is a VIP and invitation-only event which efficiently limits the capacity for the gallery. However, Alfa Art Gallery will be holding a virtual opening reception that is an open event. The links to this opening can be found on Alfa Art Gallery’s website and all social media closer to the exhibition opening.  Alfa’s staff and interns are working to keep all visitors safe and healthy and have implemented safety measures along with the CDC guidelines. These include wearing face masks indoors, maintaining limited capacity, and providing a clean and safe environment.    

Featured Artists: 


On A Precarious Grid of Hope

Caridad Sierra Kennedy is a Cuban-American painter crafting abstract landscapes from her home in Hudson County, New Jersey. Her introspective pieces are crafted from a combination of oil paints, watercolors, acrylics, and other mixed-media on canvas. The choices in material for each individual piece express the emotionality of Kennedy’s artistic concepts. Kennedy’s art is intended to be interactive, encouraging the viewer to participate in visual narrative development by making their own sense of her abstract organic forms. Kennedy has applied her creative expertise to her careers as both a fine artist and art therapist. Most recently, her works were featured in the Firmament Gallery’s “The Exquisite Corpse Show,” in Jersey City, New Jersey. 


Wings on the Back

Christine Seo is a Korean artist who finds her origins in the city of Seoul. She earned a degree in the fine arts from Seoul’s Women’s University and spent fourteen years teaching oil painting, watercolor, and drawing in a Fine Arts preparatory school for high school students. She describes her primary muses as being floral and equine motifs and discusses horses in particular as being “awe-inspiring” and “elemental” to her experience of the world. Her images of horses function as a natural extension of her interfacing with existence, as she writes, “an idea whether pre-existent or recovered in the process of paint meeting surface makes analogous the inside worlds of my heart and…experience, leading me to the knowledge of myself and the world I live in.” 


Luz de Luna Entre Ramas

Cynthia Pareja Dubin is a Peruvian artist currently living in New Jersey. Dubin works in a broad array of digital and traditional mediums to capture her formative inspiration and heritage in Lima and Buenos Aires, alongside her interior world. She began her artistic journey at age eighteen, as a student of the Universidad de Palermo’s Graphic Design program. Since then she’s guided young artists as a professor at the Peruvian Institute of Art and Design and founded a cohort in the Art Students’ League of New York. Dubin’s work has been featured in several New York City gallery shows and publications. Lately, her work has been selected for residency in the East Orange Manufacturer’s Village. 


Chairs Along the Path

Deirdre Sheean is a mixed-media artist who explores her subjects by way of abstraction, simplification, and patterns. Sheean was raised among a community of artists and has been immersed in creative fields her entire life. As a young professional, Sheean studied drawing and painting at The Artist’s League while pursuing graphic design at The New School and the School of Visual Arts. Much of her recent inspiration originates from her experience of New Orleans. Sheean has earned awards and acclaim for her work and likewise been featured in many exhibitions including, most recently, the West Windsor Council’s Juried Member Show. In her work, Sheean seeks to capture the city’s overlooked systems and unknown artifacts. 


Assunpink Creek

John Gummere is a Pennsylvania-based painter who began his creative career as an architecture student at Columbia University. Gummere has studied art in a variety of academic institutions including the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the Philadelphia College of Arts, and the Tyler School of Art. He uses a representational style to explore the light, color, composition, using the medium of painting to construct space. Gummere most enjoys using the medium of painting to explore the geometry of spatial elements, searching for shapes that “seem to ‘rhyme’ or…’half-rhyme,’ in his words. 


In the Boudoir

J. Steven Patton is a New Jersey-based oil painter and pastel artist whose abstract oil canvases explore the dramatic optical potential of color and linearity, as well as chromatic shapes. Patton’s evocative and brilliantly-colored oil works appear to reference the subconscious and to prompt an emotional response in viewers. Patton states that “to this day my painting is rooted in figurative expressionism as there is always something human found within my compositions whether it be a figure or a portrait.” Beginning his studies in painting at age fourteen, Patton was influenced by and trained in the methods of both traditional representational painting and neo-impressionist abstraction. Patton’s aesthetic practice today is influenced by both his training in traditional painting techniques and the techniques of contemporary abstraction, as well as his study of Joseph Alber’s Color Theory. Patton earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from The College of New Jersey. Patton’s work is found in private collections as well as has been exhibited in numerous shows including the recent 2022 New Jersey Arts Annual: Reemergence at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, NJ and the 2021 Tewksbury Historical Society Juried Art Exhibition in Tewksbury, NJ. 


A Dream Tangled

Kristen Martin Aarnio is a New Jersey-based mixed-media painter and sculptor whose playfully captivating three-dimensional sculptures and two-dimensional mixed-media works enchant and enthrall viewers. Working with a diverse array of materials including yarn, tape, twigs, paint, fabric, and glitter, Aarnio’s works are complex studies in texture and color. Aarnio says that “looking at the world as a whole, I see systems working together, materials that don’t belong together somehow connecting…I see beauty in blending objects and placing them in a setting where they react to each other.” Speaking to the ideology behind her aesthetic practice, the artist emphasizes that “as with systems, my work is about throwing objects around, putting items together that speak to and work with one another…I like artwork to be mysterious, not to give you all the answers, to make you think.” Aarnio earned an AAS and the Medici Award and Archibald MacLeish Award for Art at Greenfield Community College in Greenfield, Massachusetts, as well as earned a BA from the School of Visuals Arts in New York. Her work has been shown in a multitude of exhibitions, including in exhibitions at the New Jersey State Museum and the Queens Museum of Art in New York. 


Four and Twenty

Laura Beard is fascinated by birds, animals, and the natural world. She strives to capture the unique charm of fauna and the unflinching beauty of temporary existence in her work. Beard expresses this distinct ephemerality through use of a photorealistic style and the mediums of paint and charcoal. In her oil paintings on view at Alfa Art Gallery, Beard focuses on depicting different animals as her subjects. Beard’s mastery of the oil paint technique and her marvelous ability to capture detail is visible in such works as Vision of Home and Paramour. The talented New Jersey-based portrait artist’s work has been showcased at the D&R Greenway Land Trust, the John James Audubon Center, and the Arts Council of Princeton, and has been featured in numerous exhibitions including the 2022 group exhibition “Spring Into Art” at the Straube Center Gallery in Pennington, NJ. 


Great Swamp Recycle

Mark de Mos is an award-winning Morristown, NJ-based artist whose aesthetic practice is defined by his interests in manipulating light and color to capture “the essence of any given subject” as well as to capture the beauty of New Jersey and the natural world around him. De Mos’s masterful ability to capture the shimmering tonalities of light through oil paint are visible in such works as his Natirar Autumn Trees and Blue River on view in “Beyond the Brush: The Contemporary Imagination.” De Mos employs a variety of aesthetic techniques including plein air painting (in his works 9 A.M. Knuth Farm and Light on Ross Farmhouse) to create his mesmerizing artworks. Over the years, De Mos has studied oil, pastel, and watercolor with various artists including Gary Godbee, Ed Havas, and Frank Zuccarelli. His works have been featured in several magazines and publications, and have been exhibited in a multitude of shows across the nation, including at Alfa Art Gallery. 



Melissa Schainker is a New York-city based artist whose oil paintings appear to plumb the depths of the human subconscious, in which figurative and representational forms collide with abstract symbols. In her works such as Dissolution and The Agony in Waiting on view at Alfa Art Gallery, Schainker juxtaposes figurative forms such as elements of the human body (i.e. eyes, hands, etc.) against colorful abstract symbols to create art that straddles the threshold between surrealism and realism. Inspired in part by murals and street art, in crafting her vibrantly colored works, Schainker seeks to “bridge the gap between street art and fine art.” Schainker additionally states that her deeply personal aesthetic practice is inspired by “routine, linear relationships, and found objects” and by intense emotions such as “love and deep reflective pain.” Schainker studied graphic design and painting at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and the University of Southern Indiana, as well as pursued an MFA from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Schainker has exhibited her work to acclaim both globally and across the nation: most recently, her paintings were exhibited at the 2022 Group Show at Yonkers Art Weekend at Riverfront Library in Yonkers, NY as well as in the 2022 Group Show “INERTIA catharsis” curated by Queen of Hearts Global at One Art Space in New York, NY and Brassworks Gallery in Portland, Oregon. 



Patricia Hynes is a New Jersey-based painter whose beautifully enigmatic canvases (i.e such as Just a Walk and Neverland) engage the viewer’s eye, capturing “images when a subject’s psyche is revealed in seemingly ordinary, yet, significant moments that are often overlooked or forgotten.” For Hynes, painting is a deeply self-expressive and reflective medium in which she states that “the finished painting becomes a vehicle for viewers to reflect upon their own lives”, inviting viewers to form their own interpretation of her artworks. In order to create her striking abstract visions, Hynes takes multiple photographs of potential subjects. Hynes asserts that “the finished painting is about the process of painting as much as it is about a visual concept.” Hynes earned a Masters of Fine Arts from Rutgers University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Douglas College. She also spent time teaching Studio Art and Art History, as well as held positions in development and institutional advancement at such renowned museums as the Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Cincinnati Art Museum. 


Cosmic Scape Low

Suparna Mondal is an Indian painter and printmaker whose brightly-colored, kaleidoscopic abstract mixed-media works of art are inspired by urban life and landscapes (i.e. artificial light, urban architecture, etc.). Through her art, Mondal aims to visually capture modernity, and the changing world around us. Mondal describes her works as being “marvelously kinetic; the paintings are like taking a rollercoaster ride through a space station….(or are) multi-layered symphonies of shades of colors, beams of light, long sheets of reflecting surfaces, and staccato harmonies.” Mondal earned a B.F.A. and M.F.A in Printmaking from Kalabhavana, Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan, India, and her work has been exhibited internationally in numerous group and solo exhibitions. 


The Ecstasy No.1

Zhiyao Zhang is a Boston-based artist whose vividly colorful canvases venture into the fascinating world of surrealist abstraction, prompting viewers to contemplate each work and to draw their own interpretation of each piece. Zhang’s works often feature muscular human figures (visible in such works as Awaken, The Ecstasy No. 2, and No-Returning No. 1) that recall the influence of Renaissance paintings and reference his training in traditional figure painting. Zhang states that he “repeatedly portrayed figures as the focal point in my paintings, yet (he) won’t define these paintings as portrait paintings…I repeatedly interrogate and expose figures to the word that I created. My paintings are not answers, but my questions.” Zhang reveals that the inspiration behind his own aesthetic practice “is struggle, whether it happens in reality or in my inner self.” Through his art, Zhang hopes that he can communicate with his audience and that “we can inspire each other, even help each other.” Born and raised in China, Zhang moved to Boston after graduating high school to further his artistic career and to study Fine Arts at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt). Zhang’s work has been showcased in multiple American exhibits including a 2022 solo exhibition at the Sipping Room by Breeze Gallery/Tea Shop. 

About the “New Brunswick Art Salon” Exhibitions:  

Alfa Art Gallery utilizes New Brunswick Art Salons (NBAS) to unify the local art community and beyond. Since starting the program in 2010 Alfa Gallery has made a point to include a salon dedicated to showcasing oil and mixed media artworks. Over the years, the NBAS has not only exhibited works from both established and emerging artists but has also made fruitful connections locally and internationally through its successful programs. Within this non-profit organization, Alfa Art Gallery maintains its mission to uplift artists by providing an open and innovative environment. These exhibitions are free and open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm.        

NBAS’2022 is sponsored by:   

With the assistance of grants from organizations such as Amboy Bank, Magyar Bank, Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick City Center, Middlesex County Cultural, and Heritage Commission, and Merck & Co Inc. Alfa Art is confident that all who come to the 2022 Oil Painting and Mixed Media New Brunswick Art Salon will leave with a greater appreciation of the arts and the gallery’s showcasing of a variety of artists.    

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