The opening reception for Common Threads 3, the eclectic showcase for Trenton-based and Trenton-inspired artists, will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on Feb. 7 at Hopewell Valley Vineyards.
The show, which will be on display until Feb. 27, will feature C.a. Shofed and guest artists Suzanne Dinger, Leon Rainbow, Thom Montanari, Kathleen Liao and Diana Moore.
Meaghan Callahan Singletary of Vintage Sweets will dish up samples of her handmade chocolates. An hour before the event, a master class will be offered on marketing and social media for artists.
Leon Rainbow takes graffiti, morphs it with fine art, and combines it with an underlying message. He says this approach helps him reach a wide variety of people. The image connects more with youth, the message with adults.
“My design pulls them together, bringing them to the middle ground to which they relate,” he said.
Rainbow expresses his voice through his art, he said, whether it is a protest, a nod of agreement, a whisper, a shout or a cry: “To see my artwork is to see me, to understand my artwork is to think about the message it conveys.”
Suzanne Dinger describes herself as an observational painter.
“I paint plein air whenever possible. Painting from observation feels both honest and authentic to me,” she said. “The authentic is experienced from being out in the world smelling the environment, feeling the temperature, hearing the sounds of life around me, and occasionally the quiet. The honesty is imposed by the practice of seeing, really looking, and translating the information of the material world into the immaterial illusion of painting.”
Dinger said she is interested in painting one-shot paintings.
“There is an essential quality to this practice that is in harmony with how I want to paint. I find that the energy expressed in a painting done all in one sitting begins to describe a specific moment in time as a true experience,” she said. “It is my desire to paint that which I observe in such a way that the organization of shape, color, tones and gesture will generate a surprise to the viewer, showing them something as if they had never seen it that way before.”
Thom Montanari’s focus on automobiles, landscapes, and nostalgia as subject matter evolved naturally.
“It is has been my life-long passion for cars, the outdoors and reverence for the past that drives my creativity. It all began while attending antique car shows as a young boy in my Dad’s Model B pickup and spending summers on Cape Cod,” he said. “I have always believed that the automobile will leave an indelible footprint on our global history and culture.”
Montanari paints with oils and acrylics in a classical realistic manner that compliments his designs.
“Although our memories are nebulous, I strive to capture the essence of the subject matter in my paintings,” he said. “I dream in color, so naturally the color theories that are applied in my paintings are pre-established.”
Born and raised in Connecticut, Montanari lives in Hopewell with his two children and his studio is located there.
Kathleen Liao, who studied anthropology in college, is inspired by the art of many cultures. Geometric shapes, bright colors, and symbolic references can be found in her art, evoking sensations of consciousness and dream fragments. The harmonies, dissonances, and resolutions of music are also incorporated into her abstract compositions.
Liao has created a repertoire of mixed media pieces through monotype, collage, pastel, and watercolor. Her artwork was awarded Best in Show, Printmaking, at the Ellarslie Open XXXI 2014 and Ellarslie Open XXX 2013, and People’s Choice Best in Show in the exhibit “A View From Above, A View From Below,” at The Gallery, Plainsboro Library 2012. Her work has been displayed in the Monmouth Museum and the Mercer County Artists 2011 and 2013 exhibits, and in New Jersey and Philadelphia galleries. Liao lives in Princeton Junction and is represented by CG Gallery, Ltd.
Diana Moore is interested in the intersection of science, art and religion. Common Threads 3 will feature a special piece by Moore.
C.a. Shofed was working on a photography project in the spring of 2011 when he started to notice the beauty of nature tucked away in surprising places.
“My eye became focused on nature within the city that I live in — objects, trees, abandoned factories I pass by everyday while walking or driving through my home town of Trenton — the battle of nature reclaiming what man had erected to stand forever, ” he said. “I turned my camera and took my first shot of these scenes. I had found my artistic voice. Since this discovery, I’ve expanded my view to include hints of man-made structures within nature itself. The reclamation of these man-made objects by nature contains a beauty I explore every day.”
Shofed loves vibrant colors, and said he can see in his art the influences of movies shot in Technicolor that he use to view as a child.
“I feel the colors in my work give things depth,” he said. “I want people to fall into my pieces, to be transported into or relive a moment my images create.”