Current Exhibitions

Mel Leipzig: Families and Friends

Curated by Donna Gustafson, PhD., Curator of American Art and Mellon Director for Academic Programs Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University Graduate Faculty, Rutgers Department of Art History

September 16 – October 29
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, September 16th from 6-8 p.m.

Peter's Garden, 2002

Peter’s Garden, 2002

Bedminster, NJ August 4, 2016: The Center for Contemporary Art is pleased to announce its fall exhibition “Mel Leipzig: Friends and Families,” curated by Donna Gustafson, Andrew W. Mellon Liaison for Academic Programs and Curator, Zimmerli Art Museum Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. The exhibition will open on Friday, September 16th and will remain on view through October 29, 2016. The opening reception and a talk by the artist will take place on Friday, September 16th from 6-8 p.m. and will be free and open to the public.

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1935, Mel Leipzig studied at Pratt Institute, the Cooper Union and Yale University.  A realist painter who has focused on portraiture for over 40 years, he is among New Jersey’s best known and most visible artists.  Recent exhibitions of his work have been seen in New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Princeton, and Trenton. This exhibition includes a selection of portraits staged out of doors and in domestic and office settings. Ranging in date from 2000 to 2016, they include portraits of friends and colleagues, the artist’s family and the families of friends.

Titled “Mel Leipzig: Friends and Families,” the exhibition is divided into two sections.  While Leipzig is best known for the environmental portraits set within cluttered rooms with dramatically rendered perspectives, there are also a significant number of paintings in the artist’s oeuvre that might be described as landscapes. Bringing these portrait/landscapes together for the first time, these portraits of individuals and couples in nature are installed on the main floor. Among these are portraits of ceramicist Toshiko Takaezu, painter Carmen Cicero, Director of the New Jersey State Museum Margaret O’Reilly, and graffiti artists from Leipzig’s hometown of Trenton. On the second floor, a selection of paintings explores the connections between and among family members and friends. Representing a long-standing and on-going interest in the social networks that both limit and encourage our extensions of self, these include portraits of the artist’s family, and families of friends as well as a group portrait of the cast of Hedda Gabler in the theater at Mercer Community College.  In addition to the exhibition of his paintings, the artist will be painting on site at The Center on Thursdays beginning September 29th and will give two free lectures.

  • Tuesday, September 27th 7-8 p.m.
    Analyzing Paintings in Terms of Tone, Color, Space and Composition: Manet in Relation to Brueghel, Degas, Della Francesca, Eakins and Velazquez
  • Wednesday, October 5th 7-8 p.m.
    Analyzing Paintings in Terms of Tone, Color, Space and Composition: Matisse and Picasso

Space is limited and advance registration is requested. To attend either lecture, please register online here or give us a call at 908-234-2345.

Mel Leipzig at Gallery Henoch
Mel Leipzig on PBS

Botanicals: The Art of Carrie Di Costanzo

As part of The Center’s faculty exhibition series, the work of Carrie Di Costanzo is on view in the lobby.

September 16 – October 29
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Friday, September 16th from 6-8 p.m.

Botanical painting of a fig by Carrie Di Costanzo

Fig

Artist Statement:
Discovering botanical art in 2008 opened the door to a new way of working with paint and paper. I focus on highly detailed representations of plant life, clearly defining the correct structure of the plant, while also conveying a strong sense of beauty and three-dimensional form. The last eight years have been committed to sharpening the essential skills of strong observation, attention to detail, and a good painting technique. To that end, the use of small brushes helps depict the many different characteristics of the subject. Gouache and watercolor paint are perfect for painting the veins of leaves, flower petals, and stems. Used in a transparent manner, the layering of colors creates a wonderful luminosity. As well, the composition, a significant element, greatly enhances each piece. By placing certain components of the plant on the page in a way that creates movement, the allure and elegance of the subject is heightened. The plant is researched in order for me to understand all the important traits that make it unique. Most plants are painted from life, but color studies, sketches, and photos are relied upon when the plant dies. I have concentrated on botanical subjects that appeal to my love of certain textures. The delicate petals of flowers such as chrysanthemums, dahlias, and tulips are challenging, as are fruits, which offer a wide variety of different skin surfaces. I find the process of portraying the beauty of plants very satisfying and will continue to pursue their likeness for many years to come.

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