Stephen Mallon's "Next Stop Atlantic" Exhibition Opens Tonight at the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey

July 29 - September 25, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday, July 29, 6 pm - 8 pm
Closing Reception: Friday, September 23, 6 pm - 8 pm

The industrial landscape has held a life-long attraction for photographer Stephen Mallon. Seeking what he calls “a surreal beauty” in its machinery and sites, he creates powerful images and captures some extraordinary moments. Mallon also has a special interest in reclamation projects that salvage, rebuild or repurpose the products of industry. These twin impulses led him to spend three years documenting the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority’s recycling program that builds artificial underwater reefs from decommissioned subway cars. Next Stop Atlantic tracks the final journey of these cars as they travel toward their last stop, the Atlantic Ocean.

This photographic series dramatically depicts the moments before, during, and after the cars are dropped into the ocean to create a new home for undersea life. Mallon shows us the subway cars in a transitional stage between their former and future lives, before their transformation from active to passive is complete. He offers two kinds of images: cars at rest—stripped, stockpiled, and seemingly at the end of the line—and cars put back in motion as they are dropped off the barges. The poignancy of the images may result from the displacement of the trains—they are quite literally out of their element. There is a poetic, even elegiac quality to many of these photographs. Virginia Placement, which freezes the moment just before a car hits the water, suggests a burial at sea. In images like Sink and Settling we witness the instant before the ocean swallows the cars whole. The American flag on the side of the sinking train in Pool is a stunning reminder of Nature’s ultimate power over Man.

It is almost possible to hear the sounds implicit in these photographs—the clanking of steel, the large “splash” and then the final, eerie silence. The rapid motion, dynamism and often overpowering noises associated with working subway cars are distant memories. The future of these trains will be quiet and stationary; the only movement they experience will be the water’s currents and the darting fish. They are a perfect symbol of the surreal beauty Mallon seeks.

Mary Birmingham, Curator

Front Room Heats Up with this Year's "Summer Sampler" Exhibition

Join us this Friday evening for the opening reception of "Summer Sampler" and Williamsburg's "Second Friday" event.

"Summer Sampler"

Opening Reception: Friday July 8th, 7-9
July 8th-31st
Hours Fri-Sun 1-6 and by appt.

The Front Room Gallery is proud to present "Summer Sampler", a tantalizing treat featuring works by the last season's Front Room artists as well as a preview of the shows to come, and some splendid new selections. With works by: Sasha Bezzubov, Thomas Broadbent, Peter Fox, Stephen Mallon, Allan Packer, Melissa Pokorny, Ross Racine, Emily Roz, Patricia Smith, Julia Whitney Barnes, and more.

Sasha Bezzubov's ongoing series "Things Fall Apart," is large-scale landscape photographs of the aftermath of natural disasters— forest fires, earthquakes, tidal waves, and tornados, around the world. These heartwrenchly beautiful landscapes draw us in and confront us with the uncomfortable notion that we might be somehow to blame.

Thomas Broadbent's works on paper incorporate trompe l'oeil representations of seemingly unrelated objects and scenes, which allude to existentialistic ideas and create sophisticated associative meaning within each piece. His sensitivity to color, tactility, and structure propel these thoughts into reality, while maintaining a key tie to illusion and metaphor.

Peter Fox's brilliantly colorful paintings use elements of Minimalism, OP art and Psychadelia. Fox spills paint onto the canvas, allowing chance and fluid dynamics a central role in shaping process and outcome.

Stephen Mallon's ongoing body of work, "American Reclamation" tracts the recycling industry in the United States. Mallon's striking series, "Brace for Impact: The Salvage of Flight 1549," presents photographs documenting the salvaging of the US Airway flight that, amazingly, airline captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger had managed to safely emergency land in the Hudson River.

Allan Packer's extensive and impressive body of work examines elemental and cultural ideas, often referencing time and matter and to addresse our understanding of infinity.

Melissa Pokorny uses overtly artificial means to represent space, coupled with uncannily realistic animal figurines and casts, to question our estrangement from, and subsequent longing for connection to the natural world, and the resulting substitution of the real by the fake.

Ross Racine depicts realistic aerial views of fictional suburban communities, which amplify an awareness of modern choices in building and living styles. Racine employs common structural archetypes in his compositions, with an expanded view that exaggerates the rational utility of these imagined infrastructures.

Emily Roz's investigates this most basic primitive directive, with stunning depictions of wild animals in seemingly native habitats, revealed as illusion, with her insertion of domestic floral. These works display the incongruity within wild, natural impulses and the human desire to cultivate beauty through the propagation of plant-life.

Patricia Smith's meticulous, quietly subversive works on paper commingle elements of architectural drawings, medical illustrations, and antique maps. Labeled with text captions, these imaginary structures address the anxieties of contemporary life and the coping mechanisms that develop in the collective psyche.

Julia Whitney Barnes's vivid, luminous paintings cull naturalistic imagery from an abstracted ground. These works are rooted simultaneously in science while evoking the fantastical.