Press Release: “Close to Home” NBAS 2023 Oil, Sculpture & Mixed Media Exhibition
Exhibition on Display: August 29th – October 21st, 2023
Virtual Opening Reception: September 12th, 2023 from 6:30pm to 9pm
In-Person Reception: September 15th, 2023, from 6:30pm to 9pm
On Tuesday, August 29th, Alfa Art Gallery’s walls will feature the group oil and mixed media exhibition “Close to Home: Oil, Sculpture & Mixed Media Exhibition.” 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 conventional media. From oil paint to textile, 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.
“Close to Home” will highlight the work of artists such talented artists as Ann Vollum, a fiber and mixed media artist based in New Jersey who has travelled widely and lived across the globe, as well as artist Rodrigo Brasil, who is from Brazil and explores the concept of wonderment through his work. Through this Salon, we wish to have our artists tell you their story through their innovative works. Alfa Art Gallery is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a vessel for artists with rich histories and varying experiences to tell their personal journey through art. Each of our artists will come together at our Salon to blur the line between the art and the artist.
Featured Artists: Maureen Bennett, Rodrigo Brasil, Abigail Briner, Michael Hanna, Carol Heft, Mayur Kadu, Teriz Michael, Sylvia Padilla, Richa Rashmi, Doug Rizio, Joel Rudin, Edward Ruggieri, Clifford Thompson, Jennifer Toth, and Ann Vollum.
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.
Gallery Opening Reception:
The in-person opening reception will be open to the public, we hope to see you and your friends and family on September 15th at 6pm. There will be light refreshments and snacks provided. If you are unable to attend, Alfa Art Gallery will be holding a virtual opening reception on September 12th at 6pm. The links to this opening can be found on Alfa Art Gallery’s website and all social media closer to the exhibition opening.
Maureen Bennett is a New Jersey artist who explores her relationship to the natural and human world around her, through painting, drawing and mixed media. Her recent works are in response to the accelerating changes of her backyard and woodlands in the larger context of the global climate crisis. Maureen had her first solo show, “Transcendent Faces”, at Borghi Fine Art Gallery. She has exhibited at Historic Walnford, Monmouth County Park, Alfa Gallery, New Brunswick, NJ, Monmouth Museum, Lincroft, NJ, Site: Brooklyn Gallery, NYC, and at the Cultural Alliance of Western CT. She was the Artist-in-Residence 2021 for Oyster Point Hotel, Red Bank, NJ. Maureen is an educator and advocate for the arts who makes connections between global communities. She was the creator of the global traveling art project “Peace by Piece”, involving thousands of participants creating paintings and writings of personal expression about peace. She was the recipient of the NYC Circle of Mercy Award and has been awarded numerous grants to support art as a transformative force for social change in some of the poorest areas of the country. She leads art workshops for all ages in NYC and NJ about education, earth awareness, nonviolence, wellness and peace. Maureen started her career in NYC as an Art Director in the retail, music and non-profit industries.
Rodrigo Brasil is graduated from Federal University of Minas Gerais and received his master’s degree in philosophy from FAJE, Faculadade Jesuita and is a self-taught plastic artist. He participated in several prestigious national exhibitions such as 7th Salon of Visual Arts of Guarulhos in 2007, Individual Exhibition “Night in the Mountains” at the Se Station, a solo exhibition “Charcaras” at the Centro de Cultura Brasil Estados Unidos, and internationally as a group exhibition in New York Brazilian Endowment for the Arts in August 2011. He worked as a painting and drawing teacher at Maison Escola de Arte from 2009-2011. Effective professor of visual arts at the Fundacao Municipal de Cultura in the Arena Cultura program, teaching at the Artistic Training Center and at cultural centers in Belo Horizonte and in 2016 he founded his own school Atelie 50, where he teaches not only painting and drawing courses, but art history, philosophy of art, and mythology. The school has gained great prestige and has trained a large number of artists and features them in art fairs and exhibitions.
Abigail Sobotka-Briner is a community organizer, artist, and spatial strategist based in Philadelphia with a passion for shifting our collective perspective to prioritize care and equity. They hold a Master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Southern California and a BA in architectural studies and studio arts from the University of Pittsburgh. Abigail is a founding member of Rising Tide Collective, a queer and trans-led artist collective that aims to disrupt the status quo of creative spaces through the sharing of resources, audiences, skills, and experiences in the tri-state area. In their works, Aby draws inspiration from both the urban and natural environment and the interactions that happen in and between them, exploring the relationship between memories and identity, making as a process of healing, and the juxtaposition between rigid form and the human figure.
Michael Hanna comes from Jersey City, New Jersey and has been drawing and painting since the age of eight. He has exhibited extensively in the Northeastern United States and has been featured in large exhibition spaces such as the Victoria Gallery in Paterson, NJ and the Atrium Gallery in Morristown, NJ. Michael has been published by the New York Times, Hartford Courant, Daily Record, Jersey Journal, and other publications. His work focuses on loose, expressive brushwork and vivid colors to create an aesthetic of painting. His works reflect the physical world, showing interaction between the natural world and the society that interacts with it. Currently, Michael works in Northern Georgia in his historic art studio.
Carol Heft studied drawing and painting with Robert Brackman, N.A. in Madison, CT. She later attended the Rhode Island School of Design where she earned a B.F.A and Hunter College, M.Ed. She currently teaches at Muhlenberg College, and Cedar Crest College and St. Joseph’s College. Carol has had several solo shows at the Blue Mountain Gallery in NYC where she is a gallery artist. Her work has been exhibited internationally and across the United States. Her work is “figurative” with many associations to the natural world. For her, visual elements seem to have acoustic properties. Carol’s work is a product of accumulated experiences with materials, what she sees around her, and her under-standing of nature and the history of art. She like to move back and forth in time to find inspiration, and find the transformation of two dimensions into three, endlessly fascinating. Carol Heft currently lives and works in New York City and Bethlehem, PA.
Mayur Kadu was born in the Konkan region of India, and the nature of this region is the biggest influence for him. His current works relate the philosophy of life with nature, specifically, the connection he found between mist and human life. He recalls hiking when he moved to Seattle, WA in 2018 first coming across the ‘Mist’ that he uses in many of his works. He believes that life has a similarity to mist: “In life we don’t know what we are going to face the next movement it’s all foggy. But when the time comes, life revels it’s secretes to you. All we need to do is to keep walking with positive spirit.”
Teriz Michael is a licensed therapist and local professional artist who loves to express the complex and delightful experiences of life in a unique and colorful abstract style. Teriz was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up in Jersey City, NJ. Her intensive studies in art began at the Visual & Performing Arts High School Magnet Program in Jersey City. She earned a Silas Rhodes Scholarship at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, NY and graduated in 2003 with a BFA in Fine Arts. In May 2022, Teriz completed her MSW degree from Rutgers University with an emphasis on clinical practice. She has painted murals in Jersey City, NJ and at St. Simon Monastery in Moqattam, Cairo. Her work in the Zaballeen community of Moqattam paved the way for connecting with Zana Briski (2004 Oscar Winner of “Born Into Brothels”) who awarded Teriz a grant to lead the Kids With Cameras Photography Workshop in Moqattam during 2006. The Kids With Cameras Cairo Photography Workshop opened the door for collaboration with Mai Iskander on her award-winning documentary film “Garbage Dreams”. Memory, emotion, consciousness, relationships, life events, and spirituality serve as references for her abstract works of art. Her art education experience includes teaching art in public, charter, non-profit, and private schools. Teriz is a certified art teacher and academic social worker in New Jersey. Teriz has exhibited her artwork in solo and group art shows throughout the tri-state area for over 20 years.
Sylvia Padilla is an acrylic and mixed media artist living and working in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Born in Newark, NJ, she grew up and studied in the Newark, NJ region of Essex County. Sylvia Padilla has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey obtained in 2009 with a concentration in acrylic painting and illustration. She has been creating artworks for the past 20 plus years. Her works have been exhibited in the Northern NJ region and in NYC. Sylvia Padilla’s paintings vary from abstract expressionist, figurative life forms, to surrealist depictions. Primarily, the works are acrylic on canvas, but some works have used fabric and mixed materials in the past. After having taken a hiatus of 7 years from promoting her artwork, the artist is seeking to re-establish herself in the Newark art scene and surrounding areas. Currently, the theme in the paintings she’s created are related to Incan imagery, animals of folklore in Native traditions such as leopards and ravens. The most recent works have also dealt with the present Coronavirus crisis and being an essential employee dealing with the meaning of being essential and also the finding of faith in the hardest times.
Richa Rashmi is an Indian born American self-taught artist. She has been painting since her childhood under her father’s loving guidance. She spent most of her childhood creating small art and craft projects. While she has been painting for many years, Richa formally started working as a full-time professional artist from 2020. It has been an incredible journey ever since for her. Richa’s paintings are inspired by the emotions, feelings, moods, nature, life events and experiences. She creates abstract, modern, contemporary and folk-art using acrylics and watercolor. She paints every single day, and it really makes her happy. As per her, daily art practice is a very essential part of an artist’s life, it is pure, evocative as well as sensitive. She loves to experiment with different materials and techniques in her paintings, along with experimenting in all mediums and styles. She doesn’t like to restrict herself with a particular style and subject, rather loves experimenting and developing her own techniques to give her work an individual and personal expression. She has commissioned paintings for private individuals and produced artworks for companies too. She shipped her artworks in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Netherlands, India, and Australia.
Doug Rizio is an artist, web developer, and data scientist based in New Jersey. He has a BA in Visual Art from Rutgers University and an MS in Data Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Inspired by glitch art, pixel graphics, and computer codes, he combines technical aesthetics with traditional artistry to produce drawings, paintings, and multimedia projects that closely resemble digital images or integrate electronic components such as blacklights, LED’s, and recycled circuit boards. His primary project is “Glitchcraft,” a science fiction fantasy art series about simulation theory and spiritual awakening.
Joel Rudin studied at the Sarah Lawrence College from 1974-1976, before going on to study comic book illustration in 1984. Working mainly in pastel, but also combining oil pastel, graphite, chine marker or water color, Rudin works to create imaginary, mystical landscapes in veiled and muted tones with a sense of vastness and space, faraway vistas, other planets and alternate worlds. Rudin is also a web designer and developer with professional experience as a musician, visual arts, cartoonist, and graphic designer. His artwork has been exhibited in countless exhibitions across the nation over the years, including Alfa Art Gallery three times before during our 2021-2022, 2016 and 2014-2015 salons and art shows.
Edward Ruggieri is a New Jersey based oil painter focusing on landscape. He attended Montclair State University for a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree, as well as a Masters of Arts in Teaching and Doctorate in Education. Oil paint allows him the opportunity to blend colors, to achieve tonal ranges, subtle shifts in value, and a velvety texture that suits my aesthetic goal. Painting in oil, he has the added ability to easily return to a work of art to rework a piece when a new memory arises, as his landscapes are amalgamations of memories of a variety of hiking trips, fishing trips, and road trips in recent memory and feelings of those beloved family outings from childhood. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries, shows, and he a multi-recipient of the Leopold Schepp Foundation Scholarship. He is currently a teacher of art in the Westfield School district.
Clifford Thompson is a Brooklyn, New York–based visual artist and writer born and raised in Washington, DC. He attended Oberlin College for a Bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing. For over a dozen years he served as the editor of Current Biography, and he has taught creative nonfiction writing at The Bennington Writing Seminars, Sarah Lawrence College, Columbia University, Queens College, and New York University. Since 2015 he has been a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities. His published books—most of whose covers feature his own artwork—include Love for Sale and Other Essays (2013), which won the 2013 Whiting Writers’ Award for nonfiction; Twin of Blackness: A Memoir (2015); and What It Is: Race, Family, and One Thinking Black Man’s Blues (2019). Clifford’s current works in acrylic represent his interests and obsessions: literature, film, music, hats, whiskey, and especially his childhood. His work can thus be said to be autobiographical. As a child he was inspired by comics, which helped form his visual sensibility. Most of the human subjects of his paintings are Black; the paintings emphasize their humanity more than their Blackness. Since 2020, he has been a member of Blue Mountain Gallery, in New York.
Jennifer Toth lives and works from her home and studio in Manhattan, and on occasion you may even see her drawing at the zoo. She is an Associate Professor of Art at Wagner College, where she has been teaching painting, drawing, and other creative adventures since 1999. Jenny has also taught at Smith College and SUNY Potsdam. Jenny received her B.A. from Smith College in 1994 and her M.F.A. from Yale School of Art in 1998. She attended Yale from 1994-1995 and then took a two-year hiatus and attended The New York Studio School from 1995-1997 returning to Yale in 1997-1998. She has traveled solo extensively, many of her travels have inspired her work. She lives with her two sons, husband, and her elderly rescue dogs Muppet and Mr. Scruffles. She strives to find adventure regularly.
Ann Vollum is a New Jersey fiber and mixed media artist with an international background, born in Africa, she has lived in Africa, England, France and the USA and has travelled widely. She studied to be an architect and then worked as an art director and graphic designer in London and New York City. Ann’s artistic journey has progressed through painting, line drawing, book making, fantastical and detailed “paper cuts” to handstitched textiles and fiber sculptures. Ann is honored to have been juried into the 2023, New Jersey Arts Annual, Noyes Museum, Stockton University; the 2022 New Jersey Arts Annual, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton; the 2022 14C Art Fair Showcase, Jersey City and in 2020 The Gold Standard of Textile and Fiber Art, West Beth Gallery, New York. Her work has been exhibited widely and featured in various publications. In September 2022, she was interviewed by Canvas Rebel. Ann is a member of a number of professional organizations and has served on the board of The Textile Study Group of New York.
NBAS’2023 is sponsored by:
With the assistance of grants from organizations
Amboy Bank, Magyar Bank, Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick City Center, Middlesex County Cultural, and Heritage Commission, Bristol Myers Squibb, and Pfizer Inc. Alfa Art is confident that all who come to the 2023 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.
Johnson & Johnson
Merck Inc. co
New Brunswick City Market
Arts Institute of Middlesex County
The Bank of Princeton