ASBURY PARK, NJ – The city’s art gallery scene is a constant process of renewal and promise. Over a decade ago, the arts and artists led the way in re-populating a downtown left for dead after decades of neglect and disdain. Through art, Asbury Park got back on its feet and regained its footing.
Each new art opening and, more importantly, each new gallery opening quickens the lifeblood of the city and raises the stakes in the game. Some fall by the wayside and we mourn their passing. Yet like the promise of Spring after Winter, another sprouts from the fertile ground that has been so creatively cultivated.
This weekend, the Parlor Gallery continues its remarkable run of amazing exhibits with a new opening, while art629 delivers a new show that demonstrates its own emergence this past year as a strong anchor of the downtown art scene is no fluke. And just over the horizon is the Knowledge Bennett Gallery, which opens its doors at 408 Emory Street on Saturday, October 6. (Asbury Pulp will have more on them soon; get a sneak preview from their website.)
Parlor Gallery’s group show is entitled “We Find Our Way” and will feature Michael Mapes, Paul Romano, Scotty Albrecht, Jody Travis Thompson, Bryn Perrott, Brandon McLean, Ray Sell, Andy Pawlan, Kevin Hebb, Kristen Ferrell, and Dennis Lee Mitchell. The opening gets underway at 7:00pm at 717 Cookman Avenue Saturday, September 15.
Meanwhile, at art629, owner and curator Patrick Schiavino has invited mixed-media artist Holly Suzanne Rader to display her “Silent Beauty” through October 21. The opening on Saturday, September 15 for her depiction of a world of vintage ballerinas, follie girls and silent film actresses through mixed media paintings and paper mache dress sculptures will take place from 7:00 to 10:00pm, and the gallery is located at 629 Cookman Avenue.
It’s been a wild year for art629, which really came into its own with a series of high-profile shows such as “Occupy Asbury Park,” which featured the work of Shepard Fairey, and Bob Gruen’s “Rock Seen,” to name just two.
“Silent Beauty” will make its own noise, and we reached out to artist Holly Suzanne Rader to catch its voice.
She tells Asbury Pulp, “’Silent Beauty’ was my idea for an exhibition of women from the silent entertainment era, particularly the 1920s. I did an exhibition at Glen Goldbaum’s 72 salon, in Red Bank, back in February called “Glamit!.” It was a collection of similar mixed media works based on classic old Hollywood actresses like Audrey Hepburn, Bette Davis, Sophia Loren, etc.
“I did one particular painting of Louise Brooks, the great silent film actress and Ziegfeld Follie girl and was immediately drawn to her smoldering mystic. We all know Marilyn and Audrey, but what about talent like hers? Greta Garbo, Clara bow and even ballerinas who relied heavily on their body language and facial expression rather than words?
“This is an era that is fading with the photographs. I want to bring them back to life by creating a colorful “pop” art expression of their characters. I’m fascinated with the romanticism and opulent lifestyles of the 1920 entertainment era. Showgirls, ballerinas, and the beginning of the “It” girl. This was the start of the feminist movement. Women were beginning to be empowered and liberated by cropping their hair and wearing boyishly straight dresses.”
Holly began her own liberation after she moved to New Jersey about eight years ago from Savannah, GA. Though a ‘Jersey boy’ brought her here, the marriage didn’t last and she switched out Manalapan for Long Branch. Of course, she quickly gravitated to Asbury Park’s arts scene. “Asbury is cool and quirky like Savannah in a way, so it is a natural fit for my art,” she says.
That art was nurtured at the Savannah College of Art and Design and through study in Provence, France on her way to the Jersey Shore – where she has now become her own version of an “It” girl. Meanwhile, she finds it hard to choose between her “Silent Beauties.”
“It’s between Clara Bow, Louise Brooks and Greta Garbo. Bow was charming, cute and flirty – the first “It” girl. Brooks began as a ballerina, and used her charm, beauty, and thirst for fame to make her rise to stardom. However, Greta Garbo was the best actress and quoted as saying, ‘I don’t want to be a silly temptress.’ All very smart, powerful women…hard to choose.”
Choose them all when “Silent beauty” opens at art629, 629 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, this Saturday, September 15 at 7:00pm.
Preview Holly Suzanne Rader’s work at hollysuzannerader.com.