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Emerging Artist Series at Monmouth Museum proves to be fertile ground for creators

Promising artists in New Jersey are making use of a local “launch pad.”

The New Jersey Emerging Artist Series at the Monmouth Museum in Lincroft is giving artists solo recognition as they navigate the art world.

The annual series consists of six solo exhibitions that highlight the work of New Jersey artists. The artists who are selected to participate in the series represent the diversity of talent that is seen throughout the state.

Since 2007, the museum has presented the work of more than 70 artists.

The series began as a cooperative effort with county art agencies. New works are chosen each year which differ in style and medium. Artists who participate in the exhibit present a talk during their month-long solo show.

“We encourage artists to submit year after year. Artists receive feedback from jurors to encourage them to submit again,” Arts and Fund Development Manager Catherine Clarke said of artists who are not immediately selected to participate in the series.

A recent past exhibitor, Stephen Barnwell, aesthetically offered an insurgent mindset toward politics and international events in his exhibition “Capital Offenses,” which was represented in the fake money, or “moneyart,” the Passaic resident methodically produces.

“I have been in almost 90 exhibitions over the past 20 years, but this show was a milestone for my career as an artist. A solo exhibition in a museum is an incredible recognition of my work and it should help open some doors for me for future solo shows. All in all, it was a big boost to my art career,” Barnwell said.

Susu Pianchupattan of Ocean County is currently showcasing her solo exhibition “Inseparable.” Her art emphasizes her own enchantment with human interaction, relationships and the magic that exists among romantic partners, friends and strangers.

Her abstract paintings of human physiques feature muted faces which are absent of detail, representing a design choice Pianchupattan, who is a native of Thailand, said she playfully explores, so as to not make the individuals in her work “too obvious.”

The artist said she does not want her conceptual pieces to be recognized as portraits.

“The stories in my painting usually come later because I like to experiment in terms of material, color and subjects,” Pianchupattan said. “I want to pursue my vision in moments. I wanted to work with human figures and blend that in abstract form. … The bonding of one person to another is related to my own experiences.

“I’ve done some (art) shows, but not a lot. Nowadays, artists have to do a lot themselves, investing money to show art and market themselves. You have to question which gallery you want to submit to. Museum (representation) is a standout show you can never get wrong. (The emerging artist series) is a great program because it’s different from other places.

“After the first time I applied for the series, I got feedback,” Pianchupattan said, adding that she applied to show her work in the solo exhibit several times before she was accepted. “(Jurors) noted strong and weak points. This experience gives (artists) the opportunity for honest (feedback).”

Kate Eggleston of Manalapan will showcase her fiber sculpture exhibition “Still Deep” at the Monmouth Museum from Oct. 18 through Nov. 17. An opening reception will be held from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 18.

“I made sure my portfolio was concise and that everything melded together in a way that made sense to the jurors,” she said. “A lot of the time, jurors are making decisions based solely on images they see on a screen.

“Our artist statements usually come secondary. … (When evaluating an artist), jurors get a quick visual, a feeling for how they like the art and then delve a little deeper into the work.

“I reapplied (after not being selected the first time) because I really like the museum and the galleries are very nice and well maintained. The space is really lovely and a lot of people come through the doors,” Eggleston said.

Eggleston said the honor of being selected for a solo show is “a nice feather in your cap.” She said the opportunity to present her work at the Monmouth Museum will advance her networking opportunities as she introduces her art to the world.

According to her artist statement, Eggleston said, “‘Still Deep’ is a sculptural exploration of adaptation. This collection of work, spanning the last two years, touches on the anxieties of balancing my home life and studio practice. I challenged myself to create work that is outside of my comfort zone.

“I experimented with the concept of abstract sculptural landscapes while still maintaining my point of view. … My work relies heavily on process. I obsessively sew numerous duplicates of simple forms, then use them to build biomorphic abstractions.

“The sculptures become collections of otherworldly, pliable curves and gentle planes merging into and branching off from one another.I employ boro and other hand-stitching techniques to blend these textiles together, building up texture with thread,” she said.

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