Artist of the Month exhibition: Dion Hitchings, “Portraits on Recycled Trash”

Gallery on Main's "Artist of the Month" series continues with an exhibition of mixed-media portraiture by Milford, New Jersey-based artist Dion Hitchings, on view May 1 through 30. Admission is free, and the artist’s works are available for purchase.

Join us for the opening reception on Saturday, May 5, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Dion Hitchings, whose work has been featured in numerous group shows and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally, creates artistically sophisticated works using what he calls “untraditional media” — various children’s art supplies including crayons, magic markers, highlighters and colored pens. He explains, “Using consumer boxes, discarded furniture and  ‘trash’ instead of traditional drawing surfaces has enabled me to break down pre-existing print, images and textures, while allowing the type and pictures from the recycled object to become organically part of the portrait. During the creative process, I discovered the need to deconstruct then reconstruct the face to fit within the shape of the surface. The results are portraits that have a shattered appearance with broken and missing pieces but also form a more powerful, interesting and often disturbing viewpoint.”

Hitchings’ inspirations are “varied and vast, everything from dreams and Indians, nuns and demons, the Jerry Springer Show and chickens to sins and celebrities.” He describes his art as reflecting his world: “Guaranteed to be colorful, self-revealing, emotional, childlike and an ‘eyefull.’”

Born in Saint Louis, Missouri, Hitchings says, “My mother found out she was pregnant with me two weeks after my father’s funeral. She always told me she found me under a rock. I took up drawing at age 3 and never put the crayons down.”

After graduating from Washington University in Saint Louis, Hitchings worked as a fashion illustrator, which led him to a successful career as a fashion advertising art director, though he never stopped drawing. After living and working in Chicago and New York City, tired of city living he and his longtime partner moved to Hunterdon County, New Jersey, where he purchased his first home. But things changed within a four-year period.

“I lost my boyfriend of 23 years to a car accident. Lived through 9/11. And was laid off. My priorities changed, and what was important shifted. So I put the pieces back together, got a new job, met someone new, and after a trip to Kentuck Festival of Arts in Alabama, I realized I needed to draw again and try to fulfill my dream to be a full-time artist.”

Exhibition, Artist of the Month: Luis Sanchez

Gallery on Main's second annual "Artist of the Month" series features paintings, drawings and prints by Luis Sanchez of Princeton, on view April 1 – 28, 2018.

Luis’s work is a reflection of personal situations experienced, or the observation of others’ experiences. He grew up in Queens, New York, where his inspirations came from the streets, with the city’s raw grittiness and graffiti art. When he moved to Princeton, it was a night-and-day change. His style continues to develop and evolve as he incorporates both worlds.

Admission is free, and the artist’s works are available for purchase.

Join us for the opening reception on Friday April 6, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.!

Find of the Week: Illustrated book "The True Story of Abraham Lincoln, the American" (1896)

In honor of Lincoln's birthday, we're featuring an 1896 edition of The True Story of Abraham Lincoln, the American, Told for Boys and Girls by Elbridge S. Brooks. First-edition hardcover with numerous illustrations and full-page plates. Published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. in Boston. Part of the "Children's Lives of Great Men" collector's series.An estate sale find, this book is approximately 7" x 9.5” with 239 pages.

Chapters are: How Something Came From Nothing, A Boy of The Backwoods, How Abraham Saw The World, How the Rail-Splitter Raised Himself, Captain Lincoln, How the Storekeeper Grew Ambitious, The Honorable Mr. Lincoln, How the County Lawyer Won Fame, How the Backwoods Boy Became President, How the Flat-Boatman Guided the Ship of State, How Abraham Lincoln Made His Name Immortal, Why the People Would Not Swap Horses, and Abraham Lincoln The American.

The cover and spine have embossing and decorations. It's in very good condition overall for its age. This has corner, edge, spine wear and bumping with cloth wear to corners and spine ends. The binding is tight and all pages intact. There is some staining on the cover. There has been a repair to the first inside cover page, but all the rest of pages are original and tight. There is age toning and some random foxing and staining. The book is complete.

To learn more about this piece and see additional photos, visit our Etsy shop or come see it in person at Gallery on Main. Feel free to call or email us with any questions.

Exhibition: Artist of the Month - Beth Ferris Sale

Gallery on Main’s 2018 "Artist of the Month" series continues with an exhibition of photography by Beth Ferris Sale, on extended view through March 30.

Beth explains her work by saying, “Visualizing life through a kaleidoscope has greatly contributed to my creative process. Forever-changing images, with each turn the colors and light present a unique quality, no two alike. Natural light significantly effects when and how I capture each image. The transformation of my work into digital art is one of the most gratifying aspects of my creative journey; transcending a vintage and nostalgic feel reminiscent of Kodachrome with deep saturated colors. My images are an extension of my whimsical approach to life — bringing more color, light, and humor into the world.”

She continues, “My process has evolved organically; a happy accident resulting in a signature style. My work brings to life everyday scenes that oftentimes go unnoticed by those celebrating the simplicity and beauty of a moment in time. Truly one of the most rewarding aspects of creating is in the sharing and how it relates to, and resonates with the observer.”

Exhibition: Artist of the Month - Natalia Pas

Throughout January, Gallery on Main's "Artist of the Month" series features mixed-media works by Natalia Pas of Roselle Park, New Jersey.

Meet the artist at a free opening reception at Gallery on Main on Saturday, January 6, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Natalia Pas draws inspiration from her beloved birthplace, a small village in rural Poland. Her brilliantly colorful landscape paintings honor the natural terrains she frolicked across as a child. Formally trained, with a Bachelor's of Fine Arts and Art Education, her work inspires viewers to rejoice in the splendor of the earth, with diverse imagery that allows each piece to highlight the eternal beauty of nature or capture whispers from ephemeral dreamscapes.

Natalia has a unique technique of using embroidery on painted canvas that stems from a long tradition of woman decorating their homes with ornate embroidery. The use of hand embroidered flowers and animals in Poland gives homage to the pride of the land that people own and farm. This connection to nature and hard work is connected in the tedious embroidery that is portrayed in the landscapes.

Exhibition: Artist of the Month - Zig Mantell

Throughout December, Gallery on Main's "Artist of the Month" series features an exhibition of digital collage works by Zig Mantell.

Meet the artist at a free opening reception at Gallery on Main on Saturday, December 2 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Artist and musician Zig Mantell has explored many art forms throughout his life, from pencils, photography and painting to piano. There are many facets to his works that do not fit neatly into a single category, and many layers to his visual and musical creations.

In 1990, after a 20-year period of painting large oils and pencil works, Zig spent time working primarily on musical composition and performing his piano works, recording two CDs in the process — all while maintaining his industrial career.

round 1994 when he returned to visual arts, it was to use photography as a means of exploring the concepts of collage. Then, in early 2000 everything went digital and Zig began using a Mac computer, not only to record and produce music, but also to use Adobe Photoshop with his digital camera. Mantell says, “This changed the way I approached all my creative projects in a very dramatic way,” and he began a new phase of artistic development.

Mantell explains, “Whether it's music or visual, my work has always been improvisatory. The randomness and momentary connections we make are the most interesting. Dreams we have exhibit that randomness the same way being in a public space among others can. We have always wanted to interpret those dreams as meaningful. I marvel at the environments we have made for ourselves all over the world.”

He continues, “I use my camera to record the iconic material we surround ourselves with. It all represents our collective aspirations and dreams through the personal act. I look for the essence of our environment and how we live in it. I think of it as a study with no end.”

Regarding his current preferred medium, Mantell says, “My use of Photoshop instead of any other means of expression may only be temporary. My urge to paint is ongoing, even now. And it is probably why I like to turn my photos into paintings.”