I am honored to be sharing space with Willie Cole in The New York Times article “Willie Cole’s Ecological Interventions Turn Trash Into Art” by Laura van Straaten. Willie has been a huge inspiration to me and is currently the artist-in-residence at Express Newark. Our time co-teaching Seminar in Contemporary Art during the fall 2023 semester at Rutgers University – Newark inspired the Perceptual Engineering exhibition, on view now at the Window Gallery at Paul Robeson Galleries. His permanent sculptures Lumen-less Lantern and Spirit Catcher are on view in Express Newark and the Hahne Building. Special thanks to all of the artists involved as well and the incredible support of Nick Kline, Salamishah Tillet , Anthony Alvarez, Keary Rosen, Anonda Bell, Alliyah Allen. Also currently on view: Things We Do in the Dark: Cinematic Experiments in Kinship curated by Farrah Rahaman – not to be missed!
Living in the era of late-stage capitalism, consumers are aware of single use plastics overpopulating landfills, rivers, food sources, and the ecological effects of rapidly changing fashion trends. Perceptual Engineering challenges artists and viewers to envision new possibilities of everyday items once their originally intended use has ceased. Letting go of preconceived notions of what objects are, this exhibition presents an opportunity to explore the world with fresh eyes and imagine what else could be.
Regional artists and twelve students from the fall 2022 class Problems in Contemporary Art at Rutgers University – Newark were given a “perceptual engineering” prompt by Express Newark’s Artist-in-Residence Willie Cole. Inspired by Cole’s practice of upcycling objects condemned otherwise to landfills, artists were tasked to choose an everyday object and discard prior conceptions of its form and function to create works of art. Once the object was chosen, the first phase of “discovery” commenced. The object was completelv disassembled and all parts saved. As preconceived notions of the object fell by the wayside, a new space opened for reimagination, allowing the mind to wander freely among the pieces.
The second phase, “documentation,” required documentation of each individual piece from the original object as sketches, focused primarily on silhouettes and non-detailed renderings of the disassembled pieces, playing with scale and form. The final “transformation” stage, likened to a phoenix rising, an entirely new object was perceived and fabricated using pieces of the original, altering the perception of both the old and the new.
The Problems in Contemporary Art class was co-taught by Artist-in-Residence Willie Cole and American Studies PhD student, Colleen Gutwein O’Neal.
Today, Tara Thurber sat down with guest Colleen Gutwein O’Neal to discuss her, “Top5 Tips for Embracing the Journey in Academia & the Real World.” Listen as they review strategies for overcoming obstacles throughout the pandemic.
Special thanks to Tara for inviting me to do the Top 5 Defined Talent podcast! Catch this episode and a whole bunch more at the iHeart podcast feed.
November 20, 2021 – January 15, 2022 (extended through March, 2022)
Opening Reception Saturday, November 20, 2021 7 – 11pm
MAPPING APPARITIONS HAS BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH THE END OF MARCH. GALLERY HOURS BY APPOINTMENT. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WILL BE AVAILABLE AT INDEXARTCENTER.ORG RE: SPECIAL PROGRAMMING
*Please bring your personal images, memories, and ephemera to be included in the exhibition.
Mapping Apparitions is an experimental pilot exhibition at the intersection of art, collective memory, and public history. Merging digital humanities with collective history and storytelling, vaguely similar to a wikipedia-type system, this interactive exhibition and memory collection dances around shared experiences centered on Newark arts and artists without demanding a singular narrative, rather inviting a chorus of narratives in flux.
It is of great importance to document and create access to art and artists in the Newark community, it is equally important to document and make accessible the culture in which art was created and artists have been nurtured. To build upon and make accessible a rich variety of perspectives and experiences is essential to understanding the culture. Reggae historian Lloyd Bradley summarizes this historical perspective in a recent interview on Nzinga Sounds while referring to a Bruce Lee film, Enter the Dragon. “Bruce Lee and some little kid were looking at something and he (Lee) was pointing at the moon and he said, ‘concentrate on the finger and you’ll miss the glory of the moon,’ and this, it sums so much up right. If you concentrate on the records on your shelf, you’ll miss the glory of the reggae culture that created it.”
Mapping Apparitions pulls inspiration from the oral history and exhibition project Kea’s Ark of Newark at Gallery Aferro, the interactive, unrehearsed, and creatively driven Lime Sessions at Index Art Center, Post Pocket Utopia’s 2015 collaborative exhibition #SEEINGNEWARK at a pop-up gallery in The Gateway Project studios, and the community-based methodology and diverse archives of the Queer Newark Oral History Project supported by Rutgers, Newark.
This pilot exhibition is focused on providing information and visual cues to visitors to inspire recollection. Lowell Craig’s seminal documentary 31 Central, a 2017 film chronicling artists working in studios at 31 Central amid the looming threat of eviction will be screened continuously throughout the exhibition. Additional cues including reimagined archive images and resource materials will be made available intended to conjure memories of five Newark arts spaces no longer physically accessible. Visitors are encouraged to share ephemera, photographs, and memories from 31 Central, City Without Walls (at both their 41 Shipman Street and 6 Crawford Street, possibly additional locations), Red Saw, Le Joc, and Unicorn Gallery.
The collective history emerging from the pilot exhibition will be used to inform and build the base of knowledge for a future “ghost map” of Newark arts spaces, happenings, and public works no longer physically accessible, in some cases gone completely. Target completion date of the ghost map is spring, 2025. Information collected through the pilot exhibition Mapping Apparitions will be made public on the OMEKA open-sourced content management platform and credited to each individual author.
Special thanks to Index Art Center, without which experimental pilot exhibitions like this would not be possible. Index is a volunteer driven 501(c)3 non-profit gallery that has been serving its community for over a decade. Please consider making a donation HERE if you can.
INDEX ART CENTER WILL CLOSE THEIR DOORS AT THE 237 WASHINGTON STREET LOCATION BY THE END OF MARCH, 2022.
I am ecstatic to announce the The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project has been included in Phase II of the Four Corners Public Arts mural program. I have be working closely with curator Rebecca Jampol, on a 37′ long mural honoring the work and contributions of 6 artists from the project. The mural will be completed by the end of 2020.
“The Four Corners Public Arts partnership is thrilled to announce three new public art projects coming to Downtown Newark for Fall/Winter 2020/2021. In the upcoming weeks, FCPA phase II will commence with: The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project by Colleen Gutwein O’Neal; Will You Be My Monument by Salamishah Tillet and Alliyah Allen of New Arts Justice at Rutgers University – Newark, designer Chantal Fischzang, photographer Scheherazade Tillet and Keary Rosen of the Form Design Studio at Express Newark; and We Are Home led by Yeimy Gamez Castillo in collaboration with the ImVisible project and artist Layqa Nuna Yawar.
This phase of the program sought proposals that directly address community building through public art. Each project includes thoughtful and intentional collaboration, engages various audiences, and brings to life narratives that are constructed through open community dialogue. “We are living in time that demands that public art represents the diversity and dynamism of the communities in which it is made,” says Salamishah Tillet, Director of New Arts Justice. “To meet this moment, Newark artists are collaborating on murals and monuments that reflect who we are and by doing so, are reimagining the vibrant possibilities of who we, as a city and nation, can be.” “
Learn how to work with light in photography in this two-part online course led by photographers Anthony Alvarez and Colleen Gutwein O’Neal. In course one, Colleen will teach you how to incorporate basic compositional elements with natural light to create impactful images. In course, two Anthony will teach you how to use everyday lighting sources and low cost equipment to help you achieve the look of professional studio lighting without a commercial studio. Each course will include a one-hour webinar session, post session discussion/q+a, and access to resources from the course.
*Participants should have access to a camera or camera phone for this course. *Course one and two can be taken independently of each other.
About the Presenter: Colleen Gutwein O’Neal is a photographer and curator from the Northeastern United States. O’Neal’s work is focused on the human experience through community engagement. Colleen works primarily in a documentary photography style as a way to build lasting relationships with her community. In her most recent longterm work, The Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project, O’Neal pays tribute to, and immortalizes through photographs, 90 plus artists within the Newark arts community. The project acknowledges the industrial and photographic history of Newark by incorporating the use of film cameras manufactured in the city in the 1940s. Resulting in etherial portraits of the artists and ever-changing landscape of the city they inhabit. The project also champions artists by using the digital form of the medium to create and share intimate portraits of the artists and their works online. A natural extension to her photographic work, O’Neal curates contemporary exhibitions inspired by the artists she has built relationships with. Her curatorial approach is in collaboration with the artists, exploring socially conscious themes and providing space for conceptual and experimental works. As an extension of her community involvement, one major focus of the exhibitions is to create opportunities for artists to identify with each other. O’Neal is an Adjunct Professor of Photography and Contemporary Art at Rutgers University Newark, a volunteer at Index Art Center, and Community Partner at Shine Portrait Studio. Colleen has been exhibiting work since 2004, and printed work is included in Hycide and Nowhere magazines. Her book, The Camera I Always Wanted, has been acquired by the Newark Public Library and the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Learn to build a narrative around your photographs in this four-part online course led by photographer, curator, and educator Colleen Gutwein O’Neal.
Documentary photography is deeply rooted in conveying a message to an audience through a meaningful series of images. Participants will explore how photography can be used as a tool for scientific development, social change, and community engagement. Each session will explore photographic techniques through both historic and contemporary examples. The course will include four one-hour zoom sessions and access to a closed Facebook Group for posting assignments, resources, and discussion.
Students need access to a camera or camera phone for this course
A public reception will be held on Friday, February 7 from 5.30 – 8.30pm. The exhibit features the work of Professor Schnitzer alongside the work of his former students, many of whom are now engaged in their own professional activities in fine arts, commercial arts, art education, and other art-related endeavors. The exhibiting artists also currently represent a far greater geography than the small slice of North Jersey where they all once studied, including residents of California, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia. Work from numerous series will represent the different phases, collaborations, and projects Professor Schnitzer has undertaken over the past several decades.
Exhibiting together with Professor Schnitzer are:
Haylee Anne, Aaron Atkinson, Christine Back, Maria Baez, Nathan Bajar, Barbara Bell, Teresa Braun, Doug Cannon, Anne-Marie Caruso, Bryan Coppede, Antonio De Benedetto, Wendy Erickson, Robert Eustace, Brian Feeney, John Z. Fei, Ruth Frazier, Taylor Galloway, Jim Golden, Colleen Gutwein, Chris Heintze, Anna Calluori Holcombe, Eric Hummel, Lin Pernille Kristensen, Daryl Lancaster, Erik Landsberg, Jennifer Larsen, Bridget Laudien, Todd I. Lauther, Meg Lyding, Greg Maka, Leonor Marion-Landais, Gerard Marrazzo, Kelli McGuire, Diane Meyer, Chad Mooney, Christopher Pace, Heather Palecek, Greg Pallante, Craig Peters, Reneé C. Powell, Jim Rimi, Anthony Louis Rodriguez, Iggy Ruggieri, Anna Ryabtsov, Joseph Gerard Sabatino, Richard Schleuning, Toni Ann Serratelli, Sara R. Stadtmiller, Nicole Strafaci, Rex Thomas, John Vigg, Taylor Zartman, Mike Zawadski, and Pamela Vander Zwan.
For information and directions to George Segal Gallery at Montclair State University:
The Camera I Always Wanted is included in a 5-book series “The Plume House of Prayer Series” a series that was thoughtfully curated by Nick, emotionally photographed by all of the artists, carefully designed by Chantal, and painstakingly printed in risograph format by Anthony with the help of Shelly and Devyn. (see previous post for more info).
A huge thank you to The Met Museum Library and the Newark Library for including this in their collections, as well as to Shine Publishing for seeing and supporting me.
The Plume House of Prayer Series, 2019, is Shine’s newly published edition of books referencing a historic site in Newark, NJ. Once a ”cozy farmhouse on the outskirts of a little town on the riverside,” and rectory to The House of Prayer church, is the Plume House. Built in approximately 1725, and the second oldest home in the city of Newark, now has its foundation visibly shaken by the vehicles driving on I-280, constructed a few feet from the house.
On this site, in 1887, Reverend Hannibal Goodwin invented celluloid photographic film in the attic. This invention was motivated by the frequent breakage of his glass lantern slides, which Goodwin used to teach children bible stories. The book covers in this series are designed to invoke a House of Prayer sermon pamphlet from 1852, on the life of statesman and slaveholder Henry Clay, delivered to “The Young Men of Newark, N.J.”
Five books feature the work by artists: Anthony Alvarez, Dominique Duroseau, Colleen Gutwein, Nick Kline and Scheherazade Tillet. Designed by Chantal Fischzang.
The books published in this series vibrate with the various histories and nature of this site, including the intersection of American independence, slavery, gender, church, state, Newark’s role in the history of photography, obsolescence, and hope.
October 11, 6-8pm Book Release Event and fundraiser at Shine.
On October 11, 6-8pm, 100% of sales, of Shine’s 5 book edition, will be donated to support a foundation in Bolivia, working on projects of reforestation, environmental education and rehabilitation of the flora and fauna lost during the Amazon fires. Please help this effort which is being organized by our designer and colleague, Rutgers Professor Chantal Fischzang, who is from Bolivia and knows this landscape and volunteer group intimately.