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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Make believe, art exhibit, opening reception, JCU

The Visual Arts Gallery (100 Culver Avenue) at New Jersey City University presents:

Make Believe

March 1 - April 1, 2010

Opening reception: Monday, March 1, 5 - 8 p.m.

Artists' Talk: Tuesday, March 23 @ 7 p.m. in the auditorium (next to the gallery)

Curated by: Debra Jenks
Featuring works by: Aliza Augustine, Susan Breitsch, Jason Covert, Michelle Handelman, Wendy Hirschberg, Sarah Julig, Akino Kondoh, Yuliya Lanina, Ken Madore, Norma Markley, Franco Mondini-Ruiz, Don Porcella, Roxanne Wolanczyk, and Jeanne Wilkinson.

In what forms do the archetypes of fairy tales persist in contemporary culture? Make Believe is an exhibition of artists whose work appropriates or references folk or fairy tales. The show presents numerous takes on the subject, from the imaginary and fantastic to personal narratives and social commentary, in a broad range of mediums, such as Norma Markley’s neon clouds, Sarah Julig’s origami castle, and Susan Breitsch’s sequined treasure chest of drawers.

Wendy Hirschberg’s wire models present a constructivist rendition of Rapunzel and Goldilocks. Jeanne Wilkinson and Aliza Augustine also work in miniature, using children’s toys and child’s play to depict adulthood fantasies and phantoms. Transversely, Don Porcella’s paintings seem to be filtered through a child’s perspective of an adult world.

Franco Mondini’s Tex Mex Fairy Tales are autobiographical snippets and stories in the guise of the fairy tale. Paired with his ceramic installations, they "illuminate the cultural divides of his Tex-Mex childhood."

Ken Madore also mines his childhood, turning a friend’s true abduction story into a fairy tale. His drawings "address innocence and sexuality in a world located on the blurred line between fantasy and reality." There’s a similar innocence present in work of Jason Colbert, who plays princess in his photographic self-portraits, dressing up as a semi-drag Cinderella.

Roxanne Wolanczyk plays princess too, in an animated Princess series (also viewable at www.PrettySite.com), chronicling a real-life struggle for self-realization as an artist. Other videos in the show include Yuliya Lania’s stop-motion animation, Journey, which depicts "a little half-doll, half-bird character striding through fantasy landscapes inhabited by fairy tale creatures ," and Michelle Handelman’s La Suture, described as "an antigravity fairy tale of sibling rivalry. . . in a postfeminist animated playground."

Akino Kondoh invents her own fairy tale based on her childhood love and repulsion of ladybugs. From the guilt of killing ladybugs, a girl obsessively sews hundreds of red buttons onto her black dress as a way of memorializing the beauty of the creature.