‘A Sure Hand’ Exhibit Celebrates the Simplicity of Drawing

Posted on by Dr. Lynn Siebert, Morris Arts Director of Arts Participation & Communication


The newest art exhibit hosted by Morris Arts at the Gallery at 14 Maple features four New Jersey artists who use the medium of drawing to capture subtleties, delicacy, monumentalism and gesture in distinctive and memorable ways.

Not the two dimensional tracing of a line on a surface here but rather the power, the volume, motion and weight of each artist’s vision is captured in these exceptional and dramatic drawings which redefine the usual understanding of this medium and enhance our appreciation of its inherent magic.

A Sure Hand includes work by artists Sassona Norton of Bedminster, Doug De Pice of Secaucus, Neal Korn of Union and Arlene Gale Milgram of Trenton.

Art admirers are invited to a free opening reception for the exhibit, Morris Arts’ 13th exhibit, is 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, February 25 on the third floor of the Morristown Parking Authority building at 14 Maple Ave in Morristown.

“We selected works that embodied the defining element of drawings — simplicity …Drawing juxtaposes the austerity of the single line with the power of the image that emerges,” Curator Dick Eger said. “It is the sure hand of these artists that transforms the humble into the extraordinary.”

Responding to the “rich architecture” of hands, Sassona Norton’s works focus on the intricacies and complexity of the hand. Providing Norton with its variety of shapes and forms, the hand can mark the passing of time and express a remarkable range of emotions through gesture and position.

By using a much larger scale, filling an entire canvas with hands, Norton intensifies the details of the hands, capturing a sculptural quality, implying what is absent and reflecting both tangible and intangible qualities of humanity.

Eger said that through the work, Norton philosophizes  “about the shortness of life, the concept of yearning, the sadness of want and the fierce desire to change reality. She effortlessly folds these themes into her exuberant charcoals of hands.”

With work that is both visceral and metaphorical, Doug DePice captures the horror of the Holocaust in his dark and powerful drawings. The artist views art as a light in a world filled with the “darkness of ignorance and hate,” he said.

DePice’s The Chimneys is inspired by Eli Wiesel’s “Night.”

“I found the imagery of the smoke to appear heavy with the death of countless souls, and also thick with madness,” Dipice said.

Images of the Crematorium are “succinct, frightening,” he said. “To me, these forms are like giant tombstones of history.”

With his portraits of Anne Frank, DePice strives to give some artistic expression to Anne Frank’s haunting words. In the portrait of Anne’s face with tape and charcoal, DePice wanted the “surface to be scarred, marked and ripped as a visual reminder of the distress, anxiety, and uneasiness which gnawed daily at Anne’s psychological well-being,” he said.

Artist Arlene Gale Milgram considers her art to be abstract but, at its core, her way “of processing my life experience.” She channels her thoughts and works in different densities and rhythms, often reclaiming resources from “failed” works to start new pieces. Mixed media works are layered as is life – “full of false starts and new beginnings.”

“The scars that remain are maps of time and experience,” she said.

More  recently, Gale Milgram has focused on aging, support systems and “the fragile threads that hold us together.” She doesn’t expect the viewer to read her “story” in the works but rather to engage them, involve them in her images and enable them to connect to “shared humanity.”

The drawings of Neal Korn present viewers with a unique juxtaposition of familiar imagery and unusual, striking perspectives.

A simple portrait is literally turned on its head in a wash of color in Head Over to Seaport Marine and his portrayal of iconic images such as Lincoln’s monument or the Union Cannon grab the eye with their imaginative and dramatic vantage points as well as with a touch of humor and whimsy.

“That is my head being blown out of the cannon,” he remarked.

His Icon series includes drawings of images from Sandy Hook, Philadelphia, NYC and Baltimore. Combining a tight, analytical drawing style with the “loose” application of rice paper, to provide texture and contrast and add an intuitive component, Korn creates images of dramatic and intriguing appeal.

To view the catalogue for A Sure Hand exhibit, click HERE.

The exhibit is open to the public Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment, and will remain on display through Aug. 27. Visit www.morrisarts.org or call (973) 285-5115 for additional information, including the exhibit catalogue which contains details and sale prices for all works. The Gallery at 14 Maple is a barrier-free facility. Individuals needing special accommodation should contact Kadie Dempsey at (973) 285-5115, x 17.

Morris Arts gratefully acknowledges sponsorship for this exhibit by NJ.com and additional support from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Top Left, counter clockwise: Sassona Norton’s drawing, The Gift; Neal Korn’s drawing, Head Over to Seaport Marine; Arlene Gale Milgram’s drawing, Constant Motion; Doug DePice’s Portrait of Anne Frank with Tape; and Doug DePice’s drawing, The Chimneys.

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