Colleen Gutwein O’Neal
b.1981 New Jersey

Colleen Gutwein O’Neal has dedicated herself to photography, curation, and academic pursuits in art, environmental injustice, and public humanities. Trained in traditional film photography and darkroom practices, and self-taught in digital formats, O’Neal utilizes a combination of gelatin silver prints, digital C-types, and Polaroids along with sound recordings to create portraits, self-portraits and conceptual works. Her photographic work is inspired by Roland Barthes’ concepts of studium and punctum. The archiving of people and places through imagery is a response to politically motivated archive maintenance and destruction, and is inspired by Michel-Rolph Troulliot’s perception of power and historical narrative. Her work is held in collections including Newark Public Library and the Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art

O’Neal curates at non-profit, commercial, institutional, and pop-up galleries. Major themes her curatorial practice involve scale and form, language and symbology, nostalgia, history, ethereal solitude, representation in community based collective archiving, local and global environmental interventions, and political activism. She works with artists by collaboratively following lines of inquiry departing from a central, anchored theme. 

Academically, O’Neal engages both as a student and educator while openly rejecting structural inequalities rampant in higher-education. She is also a member and strong supporter of the Rutgers AAUP-AFT Union. O’Neal has college level teaching experience in darkroom and digital photography, senior studio capstones, and seminars in contemporary art. O’Neal completed her master’s degree in American Studies with a focus on public humanities and is currently earning her PhD in American Studies, continuing to focus on public humanities, conceptual art, environmental injustice and urban development at Rutgers University, Newark.


Rutgers University Newark, American Studies, PhD, expected 2026

Rutgers University Newark, American Studies – Public Humanities, M.A., 2022

Montclair State University, Fine Arts – Photography, B.A., 2005

Solo Exhibitions

2021 – 2022 Mapping Apparitions: An Amorphous Art History Pilot, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2019 #miniretro, Art & Artifacts of Newark, Newark, NJ, 2019

2018 Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project: We Are the Ghosts of our Future, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2012 Time and Tide: Selected Works from Cambodia Tyson Gallery, Portland, OR

2012 Time and Tide: Selected Works from Cambodia Ivanhoe Wheelhouse Museum, Paterson, NJ

2011 KUMAGUTZ, *two-person exhibition with Hiroshi Kumagai, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2010 Time and Tide: A Social Documentary of Contemporary Cambodia Paul Vincent Gallery, Hoboken, NJ

2018 Gossamer Balance Gallery, Jersey City, NJ

2004 Thesis Exhibition Gallery 3.5, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ

Public Works

2021 Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project Mural, Four Corners Public Arts, permanent Mural, 800 Broad Street, Newark, NJ

2021 Reopening Campaign, Newark Museum of Art, public entrance courtyard, Newark, NJ

2018 Newark Arts Photo Documentary, LinkNWK, city-wide public access kiosks, Newark, NJ

Group Exhibitions (select)

2023 Lines of Inquiry, Clement’s Place, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ

2021 Welcome Back to the World, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ, curated by Lowell Craig

2020 Fifty Years of Inspiration and Impact: The Photographic Legacy of Klaus Schnitzer and His Students, George Segal Gallery, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, curated by Robert Yoskowitz

2019 Plume House Series: The Camera I Always Wanted, Shine Portrait Studio, Express Newark, Newark, NJ 

2019 INDEX: NYFA Immigrant Artist Showcase, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2017 Intersection 2017, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2017 ArtReach XXV City Without Walls Gallery, Newark, NJ

2017 The 5 Wards, Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, NJ, curated by Akintola Hanif

2017 Women in the World New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ, curated by Gladys Grauer and Adrienne Wheeler

2016 The 5 Wards, City Without Walls, Newark, NJ, curated by Akintola Hanif

2016 Intersection 2016, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2016 Newark Arts Photo Documentary: Selected Color Prints, Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ

2016 Queen of Angels: When a Church Dies, Newark 350 Celebration, Newark, NJ, curated by Matthew Gosser

2016 Like Jazz…A Visual Perspective New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ, curated by Gladys Grauer and Adrienne Wheeler

2015 #SeeingNewark Post Pocket Utopia, Gateway Center, Newark, NJ

2015 Emerging Ideas Newark Open Doors, Newark, NJ, curated by Adrienne Wheeler

2014 Everything Like This Javier Santiago Studio, Montclair, NJ

2014 New Digs Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2014 ArtReach XXII City Without Walls Gallery, Newark, NJ

2013 Intersection Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2013 Labor of Love  _Gaia Gallery, Jersey City, NJ 

2013 ArtReach XXI City Without Walls Gallery, Newark, NJ

2013 Printed in Newark Gateway Project(s), Newark, NJ 

2013 Single Fare 3 RH Gallery, New York, NY

2012 Nature Illuminated Van Vleck House, Montclair, NJ

2012 Transformations Index Art Center, Oculus Art Collaborative, Kislak pop-up, Newark, NJ 

2012 Index Goes to P-Town Index Art Center in Paterson, NJ 

2010 3 Photographers The Kedar Studio of Art, Newark, NJ, curated by Kevin Darmanie

2009 Uncommon Threads Walsh Gallery, Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ, curated by Jeanne Brasile

2009 Theatre Town New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, curated by Matthew Gosser

2009 Beautiful Women Paul Vincent Gallery Hoboken, NJ 

2019 100 Artists JaJo Gallery,  Newark, NJ, curated by Deana Haggag, Rebecca Jampol, and Jill Wickenheisser

2008 The Westinghouse Project New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark, NJ, curated by Matthew Gosser

2008 Black September Lex Leonard Gallery, Jersey City, NJ, curated by Nyugen Smith 

2008 Redsaw Invitational 2008 Red Saw Gallery Newark, NJ, curated by Lowell Craig

2008 Strange Country City Without Walls in Jersey City, NJ, curated by Hiroshi Kumagai

2007 Metro 25 City Without Walls Newark, NJ 

2007 Transport  Red Saw Gallery, Newark, NJ 

2007 Redsaw Invitational 2007 Red Saw Gallery, Newark, NJ

2005 New Artists Week Wise Owl Gallery, Nagano, Japan

Curatorial (select)

2023 Going Deep: Work and Process Presented by Three Artists, Index Art Center pop-up, Newark, NJ

2023 Perceptual Engineering, Window Gallery, Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers Newark, Newark, NJ

2021 – 2022 Mapping Apparitions: An Amorphous Art History Pilot, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2019 People, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA 

2019 Ideogrammatic, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA

2019 Bringing It All Back Home, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2019 Vast Expanses, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA

2019 A Collection of Lines, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA

2019 5-UP, Brick + Mortar Gallery, Easton, PA

2018 The Ether Acre, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ,

2017 Landholdings, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2015 Forum in Form, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2014 Dichotomy, presented by Index Art Center at Paterson Art Walk Paterson NJ

2013 Chapter 237, Index Art Center, Newark NJ


2018 – 2022 Rutgers University Newark, Adjunct Professor, Introduction to Photography, Seminar in Contemporary Art,  Senior Studio Seminar, Problems in Contemporary Art (co-taught with Willie Cole), Zoom and in-person Newark, NJ

2022 Brookdale Community College, Adjunct Professor, Introduction to Darkroom Photography, Lyndhurst, NJ

2022 Best Practices: Photographing Your Art, Newark Artist Database, co-taught with Anthony Alvarez, Zoom

2020 Natural Light Photography, Newark Artist Database, Zoom

2020 On Documentary Photography, Newark Museum of Art, four week workshop, Zoom 

2019, 2018, 2017 Photographing Your Art, Guest Lecturer, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ

2017 – 2019 Immigrant Artist Mentor Program,  Mentor, New York Foundation for the Arts, Newark, NJ

2014 Cyanotype Workshop, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ

2013, 2014, 2017 ArtReach Mentor Program, Mentor, City Without Walls Gallery, Newark, NJ

2013 Cyanotype Workshop, Newark Print Shop, Newark, NJ, Newark, NJ

2006 Teaching Assistant and Photography Club mentor, Yashiro High School, Nagano, Japan

Speaking Engagements

2022 Mapping Invisible Landscapes: Public Art Interventions in Newark, Speaker, Art in the Open 2022 Abbey Mural Symposium, Newark, NJ

2022 Dialogue in a Time of Fracture: Creative Practice, Activism, and Dialogue, Panelist, Rutgers University Newark, Newark, NJ

2022 Black Spatial Futures, Black Portraiture[s] VII Conference, Moderator, Express Newark, Newark, NJ

2022 Top5 Tips for Embracing the Journey in Academia and the Real World, Top5 Defined Talent, Podcast

2021 Why American Studies? Why Now? American Studies Symposium, Panelist, Rutgers University Newark, Zoom

2019 Newark Artists Photo Documentary Project, Speaker, Index Art Center, Art & Artifacts of Newark, Newark, NJ

2017 Landholdings: Curator-led Gallery Tour & Discussion, Curator, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2016 Women Speak: Art and Jazz at Newark 350, Panelist, New Jersey Performing Art Center, Newark, NJ

2015 Forum in Form: Panel Discussion, Panelist, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2014 On Documentary Photography, Speaker, City Without Walls, Arts High School, Newark, NJ

2009 On Documentary Photography, Speaker, St.Peter’s Preparatory School, Jersey City, NJ

Community Engagement

2021 – 2022, Researcher-in-Residence, Express Newark, Newark, NJ

2021 Our Green New Deal: A Virtual Series of Community-University Working Sessions, Scribe and Student Organizer, Sessions 1, 2, Clement A. Price Institute, Rutgers University Newark, Zoom

2020 – 2021 EcoArt Salon, Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience, Rutgers University, Newark, Committee Member, Zoom

2017 – 2023 Community Partner and Artist in Residence, Shine Portrait Studio at Express Newark, Newark, NJ

2006 – 2024 Volunteer Gallery Assistant, Index Art Center, Newark, NJ

2016 Volunteer, The Asheville Darkroom, Asheville, NC

Grants / Awards

2022 2022 Outstanding Graduate Student Award, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) College of Science and Liberal Arts, Newark, NJ

2020-2021 Community Building Through Public Art Phase II, Mural Commission, Four Corners Public Art, Newark, NJ

2021 Artist Accelerator Grant, Grant Recipient, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Regional Regranting Program, The New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund, and Project for Empty Space, Newark NJ

2018 Special Project* Individual Photography Grant, Grant Recipient, Newark Arts Council, Newark, NJ

2016 Blended Learning Program: Strategic Planning and Funding Your Work, Selected Participant, Creative Capital and Gallery Aferro, Newark, NJ

2013 Fine Arts Grant Photography, Grant Recipient, Puffin Foundation, Teaneck, NJ

2008 International Photography Grant, Alternate Ending Studios, Port Republic, NJ


2024 The Story of Newark Fashion: Atelier to Runway, exhibition catalog, Newark Museum of Art

2019 Plume House Series: The Camera I Always Wanted, author, Shine Portrait Studio

2018 In Flux Issue, Hycide Magazine

2017 Marcus Samuelsson Featured Artists, Marcus B&P

2016 Professional Development Blended Learning Blog, Creative Capital

2016 we are the ghosts of our future, bluetan collective

2014 The New People, Hycide Magazine

2014 Somewhere in Cambodia, Nowhere Travel Magazine


2023 July, Interview with Colleen Gutwein O’Neal, The Newarker: History, Culture, Politics, and Society

2023 February 23, Willie Cole’s Ecological Interventions Turn Trash Into Art, Laura van Straaten, The New York Times,

2020 January, The Shape of Things That Have Come, Jeanne Brasile, AS | Mag  

2020 January, Culture Shock: Season 2020, “People” + “After People” Megan Frank, PBS39,

2019 October, Culture Shock: Season 2019, “Ideogrammatic” Megan Frank, PBS39,

2019 August, The Shortest Distance Between A Local Artist and an Easton Gallery is a Straight Line, Connor Lagore, Lehigh Valley Live

2018 October, A Dedication to Memory: Voices on Newark Arts, Newark Arts  

2018 Newark Women: From Suffragettes to the Statehouse, Barbara Kukla, Swing City Press

2016 June, The Artist Recreates the World, Gary Campbell, YouTube

2016 April, Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project Creates a Window into the Scope of the City’s Art Scene, Brick City Live

2015 October, Open Doors 2015: Forum in Form Features Five Women Sculptors at Index Art Center Brick City Live

2015 July, Up Close and Personal: Portraits of Newark, Newark Bound

2015 May, Photo Project: Newark, Newark Happening

2014 July, Interview: The Life of a Curator, Silk City Love Magazine

2014 January 19, A Gallery is Revived, Dan Bishoff, The Star-Ledger


Thomas J. Watson Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY 

Newark Public Library, Special Collections, Newark, NJ 

Marcus Samuelsson, Newark, NJ

Selection Committees

2024 16th Annual National National Juried Exhibition, GoggleWorks Center for the Arts, Reading, PA

2024 Powering Creativity Mural, City of Orange and PSE&G, Orange, NJ

2023 Newark Artist Accelerator Project-Based Grant, The Andy Warhol Foundation fo the Visual Arts Regional Regranting Program, Newark, NJ

2023 Annual Student Exhibition, Hostetter Gallery, The Pingry School, Basking Ridge, NJ

2016 Annual Exhibition, Camera Club of Hendersonville, Hendersonville, NC