Noyes Arts Garage Exhibits at LBI Foundation
Artist Ron Ross Cohen represents the height of Atlantic City kitsch in his staggering, colorful sculptures now showing at the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences as part of the Noyes Arts Garage Exhibit through April 3.
Atlantic City in its BC – Before Casinos – heyday had its own postcard, Barnum and Bailey sideshow atmosphere. It was filled with colorful, simple summer pursuits; there were balloons to be had at Woolworths, striped awnings and geranium pots in front of the boarding houses. Children wore playsuits, and women wore terrycloth robes on the boardwalk and stared through the windows of Fraelinger’s to watch the saltwater taffy machine churn ropes of pastel colors into sticky, wrapped candy.
Cohen’s sculptures mix the sideshow atmosphere of the long-ago boardwalk into something a bit more sinister, as in “Aquatic Ambassador,” where the creature of the black lagoon is covered in garbage; and his turbaned magician has more orifices than we like to think about in mixed company. The “My Absolution” title adds to its creepiness.
Equally evocative of the “City by the Sea” are Greg Alber’s photographs; these are straightforward, unabashed love poems to summer thrills. “Color Run,” a photo of a group of girls mugging for the camera, is a captured moment of joy. Alber manipulates a photo of Lucy the Margate elephant, a real estate developer’s gimmick to attract buyers to the area in 1881, to carry the colors of a turn-of-the century lithograph postcard.
His “Surfer Girl” photo seems to be a holograph. I think that is how he was able to get the effect of the morning fog lifting off the sea.
The exhibit also includes many ethereal works by Steve Kuzma. His mixed media paintings evoke the sea and bay while obscuring any familiar landmarks.
Kenny Ho’s group of watercolors in bright gilt frames rely on each other for their visual power.
One particular picture by artist Simone struck a chord; “Little Bird Meets the X-Files” is a quirky short story.
And Leonard Wilkinson’s paintings of “Daisies” and African motifs show two sides of the artist. His “The Money Changers” is an abstracted crowd with robes of interlocking, geometric patterns.
The Noyes Arts Garage of Stockton University is one of three spaces the Noyes Museum evolved into after closing its original location in Oceanville in 2015. The Noyes Arts Garage now serves as the cornerstone of the Arts District in Atlantic City with a mission to promote arts education, provide resources for emerging artists and enrich the community with artists studios, galleries, and classroom studio. The Arts Garage also houses the African American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey.
The executive director of the Noyes, Michael Cagno, also is represented in the exhibit at LBIF. He has a number of wooden cutouts of seaside creatures: a turtle, dolphin, parrotfish and great egret.