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Spring exhibitions open at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey
Jon Rappleye, Awakened from Winter’s Tranquil Slumber, 2009, acrylic and spray enamel on paper. Photo courtesy of the artist.

SUMMIT, NJ.- Visual Arts Center of New Jersey announces its Spring Exhibitions on view through June 29.

Jon Rappleye: In Tangled Splendor (Main Gallery) showcases imaginary landscapes filled with hybrid creatures, fantastic vegetation and unworldly colors. Part science-fiction and part fairy tale, Rappleye’s paintings and sculptures explore the boundaries between fantasy and reality. Rappelye’s meticulous attention to detail and his ability to evoke the subconscious distinguish his paintings. As the artist describes, his work is a “flight of the imagination where the lines between organic and manmade have become increasingly blurred.”

Jon Rappleye received his BFA from Utah State University and his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine and has been an artist in residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; MacDowell Colony; the Headlands Center for the Arts and John Michael Kohler Arts Center, among other venues. Rappleye’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, including solo exhibitions at Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York; Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles; The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Clough Hanson Gallery, Rhodes College, Memphis; the Salina Art Center, Salina, Kansas; the Jersey City Museum, New Jersey. His work is featured in the collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; The Progressive Corporation, Ohio; West Collection, Pennsylvania and U. S. Art in Embassies. He currently resides and works in Jersey City, New Jersey.

#Baroque #TechStyle: Portraits by Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern (Eisenberg Gallery) features large-scale portraits that blend traditional style portraiture with modern technology and pop culture. Her work draws an interesting parallel between the worlds of fashion and technology and incorporates subtle references to luxury brands in her backgrounds, imagery and titles. To complement these works, the artist created a custom wallpaper design based on traditional toile de Jouy—a printed fabric originating in France in the 1760s that illustrated pastoral scenes of the French countryside. Juxtaposed against backgrounds inspired by Baroque textiles, the sitters use a variety of personal electronic devices such as iPods, mobile phones, and tablet computers.

Lisa Ficarelli-Halpern is a New Jersey-based artist and educator. She received her BFA in surface design from Parsons the New School of Design, and earned her MFA in painting from New Jersey City University. Prior to receiving her graduate degree in fine art, Lisa served as an executive designer for the Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation for eight years, overseeing all areas of home design, with particular emphasis on textile products. She has widely exhibited in numerous solo and group juried exhibitions in venues including The George Segal Gallery and The Noyes Museum of Art in New Jersey, the Zhou B. Art Center in Chicago, Artists’ House Gallery in Philadelphia, and the Hunter College/Times Square Gallery in New York. She was voted artist of the month by the Arts Guild of New Jersey in June of 2013. Her work has been featured in Studio Visit Magazine Vol.10 and she has won numerous awards, including a 2006 Geraldine Dodge Fellowship. She is an adjunct professor of painting and drawing at New Jersey City University and Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey.

Thea Clark: The Quick and the Deep, (Studio X) is a site specific installation that reveals the effects on habitat under the influence of rapid climate change. The installation features textiles, asphalt shingles, insulation and an edited video clip taken from the 1956 program Science in Action, to demonstrate in the artist’s words:

“My current work is about habitat under the influence of rapid climate change, considered from the global to the micro and personal perspectives. I am interested in the visceral responses people have when they experience the menace, power, and destruction of weather.”

The Quick and the Deep is Thea Clark’s first solo show. Previously she has shown sculpture at the the Long Beach Island Foundation for the Arts and Sciences and at the Martha Gault Art Gallery at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. Her art jewelry has been included in the two person show “Cyan Silhouettes”, at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, as well as numerous national and international group exhibitions. It is part of the upcoming “Multiple Exposures: Jewelry and Photography” at the Museum of Arts and Design, NYC, and the international traveling “La Frontera”, previously at Museo Franz Meyer, Mexico City, San Francisco, Indiana and soon to be at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. Her work has been published in seven books in the US and Europe. Thea was a resident at the Vermont Studio Center and has presented an artist talk at Glassell School of Art, Houston. She is also a 2012 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Artist Fellowship recipient. Thea has been an instructor at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, and the former Arts Workshop in Newark.

Pairings: Selected Faculty & Student Works (Joe & Marité Robinson Strolling Gallery II) Showcasing a variety of media, this exhibition includes a selection of works by the Art Center’s faculty and their students.

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