Meet photographer Rosemarie Hampp August 14, 6 – 8 pm

Hurricane Sandy left in its wake devastation and heartbreak. But to an artist’s eye there is also beauty in all the twisted metal and splintered wood. Rosemarie Hampp, whose exhibit “Superstorm Sandy: An Artist’s View” is now on display in the Malamut Art Gallery, captured this beauty through the lens of her camera. 

canoe-RosemarieHampp

“Split in Half” Avon-by-the-Sea

Broken homes and demolished boardwalks, streets piled with sand or canoes cracked and buried, are all splendidly captured and then printed on metallic paper. Viewing the 43 photos that comprise this exhibit is like taking a walk back through that heartbreak time. Today a lot has been rebuilt, this is not a journalist’s exhibit, but an artist’s sharing of subject matter close to her heart.

Rosemarie Hampp lives in Plainfield but has a condo in Asbury not far from the ocean. As she shares with Mark Di Ionno, Star-Ledger columnist in his article The Storm In Pictures:Art Galleries Display Photos From Sandy‘I was on the beach the day before the storm taking photographs as the ocean was churning,’ she said. ‘Some of those pictures show how close the structures are to the waves, like a foreshadowing of the future.’ ”

“Before the storm, Hampp concentrated on landscapes. But the aftermath of Sandy, when the days and months of peaceful seas and skies were serene backdrops to the on-shore destruction, drew Hampp in. ‘That was fascinating to me; even with all that destruction, there was beauty there,’ she said. ‘That shows optimism, that we’re finding our way back,’ she said. ‘It seems that terrible tragedies show us how resilient we are.’ ”

So don’t miss a chance to view not only a wonderful exhibit but to meet the artist behind these unique photographs. Hampp will also be showing a slide presentation of her work. You will leave seeing the aftermath of hurricane Sandy in a totally different light!

      “Painting With Words” – Leona M Seufert

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Alternate Gallery Spaces

In my blog post “The Value of the Contemporary Art Gallery” I described 3 types of galleries: The big galleries that exhibit only established artists (like the ones in NYC’s Chelsea district), the smaller non-profit types of which Les Malamut is an example, and the gallery/store that sells not only artworks but other items and/or does framing. There is also a fourth type that I am calling “alternate galleries” which exist in spaces that you wouldn’t normally consider as a gallery.

Many restaurants, bistros and cafes turn their walls into an art gallery so that their patrons have something visual to enjoy while dining. Some of these establishments actually “curate” what is shown over time and actively seek artists to exhibit. Two examples I’m quite familiar with are the Cosi franchise restaurants and the Rock’ N’ Joe coffee shops. They are bright open areas, ideally suited for hanging works of art. Another type of venue that displays art, are NJ town public libraries. The artwork is usually hung on open wall space between bookcases. Also you can see artwork hung in the public spaces of office building lobbies. Here either the landlord or one of the main tenants actively seeks artwork to decorate the space. And then there are really “alternate” spaces like vacant stores that become temporary “pop up” galleries, or sidewalk shows that last only a weekend.

If you are an artist looking for an exhibit opportunity, especially if you are just starting out or your resume is sparse, these can be jumping off points to building that exhibit list, getting recognized, and could lead to other professional exhibit opportunities. However, there are drawbacks. In some locations the lighting can be so poor that your artwork will not be shown to its best advantage. Some spaces don’t understand how to hang artwork, so the piece might be placed too high to see details or placed in an area where no one will notice it. You will also have to do all your own promoting from press releases to postcard takeaways. It is the rare venue that will mention what artist is currently exhibiting and on some walls it will be hard to affix labels for information. The benefits are that almost always no one will take a percent of any sales made, and your work will be viewed by individuals who tarry in the space instead of just walking through it.

For the lover of art, these alternate galleries present a wonderful variety of style, subject matter, and price. In my opinion, some of the most delightful or thoughtful or original artwork is by artists who haven’t made it into a “big” gallery. And yes, some professional artists will do shows in these spaces because they love the intimate atmosphere. Lastly, you can sit down for a couple of hours and “live” with the piece if you are contemplating buying it!

Sometimes alternate spaces become true galleries. There was one in Hoboken that started out in an old theatre and was a delightfully large open space great for exhibiting big paintings and having wonderful opening receptions. Unfortunately, the owner sold the property and the new owner chose to tear down the building. Then there is the Casano Community Center Art Gallery that I started in a high trafficked hallway. It’s birth was a result of my looking to exhibit some very special work I did about Ground Zero and I wanted to display it around a 9/11 anniversary. I received permission to hang it on the wall in that hallway. The center’s director and the town’s mayor found this such a fantastic idea, to have a gallery in their downtown community center, that now after 4 years and 24+ shows it has a professional hanging system, a sign, and is no longer considered an “alternate” space.

 I’d love to hear about some really strange alternate spaces out there. Or another success like my Community Center gallery.

 “Painting With Words” – Leona M Seufert