Two decades ago, no artist would have depicted Jersey City like this. Hudson County was resistant to glamorization. Instead, artists who engaged with the town— photographers Ed Fausty and Shandor Hassan, for instance—favored a stark realist approach so keenly and meticulously observed that it attained the alien quality of dystopic science fiction.
About Tris McCall
Tris McCall has written about art, architecture, performance, politics, and public culture for many publications, including the Newark Star-Ledger, the Bergen Record, Jersey Beat, the Jersey City Reporter, the Jersey Journal, the Jersey City Independent, and New Jersey dot com. He also writes about things that have no relevance to New Jersey. Not today, though.
Entries by Tris McCall
Candy Le Seuer’s “Reflections” exhibition features abstract expressionist oil paintings that feel like hallucinations.
As long as anybody around here can remember, Jersey City has been a visual-arts town. We’ve had a long history of art shows in warehouses, art shows in cafés and restaurants, art shows wherever we can fit them basically. The annual Jersey City Art and Studio Tour turns the entire town into a giant open gallery. While there are plenty of other cultural events on the calendar, JCAST still feels like the anchor of local culture.
Hudson County applauds abstraction and bold, passionate, macho gestures of individual self-expression.
“Eye Level,” Tris McCall’s new review column for the Jersey City Times, will be outfitted with a new post each Friday morning.
“Slow Art” asks the viewer to pause and reflect, respect the inner rhythms of the works on view, and indulge in the luxury of contemplation.
Just as realism is frequently touched by the fantastic, abstraction is rarely total. Even non-figurative art is made from materials, and materials often have strong connotations. Art House Productions is calling their new abstract show Mindscapes, which suggests a private, insular experience, something quiet, untethered to the rhythms of the practical world.
Maps tell lies. Oh, they may get you where you want to go, but they’ll whisper distortions in your ear as you travel. The Mercator Projection of the earth — perhaps the most famous map in history — has misled millions by exaggerating the size of land masses at polar latitudes and diminishing the tropics.
Nothing about this uncommonly welcoming group exhibition feels rigid or cold: These seven artists might have their minds on the distant skies, but their collective version of space is nothing like a void.
Five years ago, a column like this one wouldn’t have been possible. Not that Jersey City didn’t have the bands, or the talent, or the vision; those have always been here. Shows, though—those weren’t on the calendar. Writing about music in Jersey City meant coming face to face with a performance-space shortage that was as inexplicable as it was frustrating. A city of a quarter million people simply didn’t contain many reliable and regularly booked music venues.