Kean University Vice President Will Exhibit Photos
SCOTCH PLAINS, N.J. – Defying Gravity, a photography exhibit by Scotch Plains resident and Kean University administrator Robert Cole, will open on Tuesday, March 30, at the Scotch Plains Public Library, 1927 Bartle Avenue in Scotch Plains, N.J., in the lower-level lounge at 7 p.m. A reception will follow, and admission is free.
The opening will mark the debut solo exhibit by Cole, who is also the vice president for University Relations at Kean University and was one of three photographers featured in the November 2003 exhibit Through the Looking Glass: Scenes from New York City at Kean. That showing was well-received by critics, including Mitchell Seidel of The Star-Ledger. “By using several perspectives, Cole communicates the spirit and structure of the (September 11) memorial to the viewer,” he wrote in a November 15, 2003 review. Seidel also praised Cole’s ability to capture the beauty of the ordinary, saying, “Cole’s color work is very detail oriented, examining the mundane aspects of everyday life that urban dwellers may take for granted.”
For Defying Gravity, Cole used shots that detail life from coast to coast, including scenes from Los Angeles, Provincetown, Mass., Colorado, Florida and New York City. “Through his photography, Cole takes us on a fascinating journey. He shows us unfamiliar images in a familiar world,” explained Dr. Donald Lokuta, a professor of graphic communications at Kean and one of the three lensmen featured in Through the Looking Glass. “The flow of life is frozen in a single still image, and he makes us look closer. A close-up of a bodega window on the lower east side of Manhattan or the juxtaposition of people in a city environment now becomes very familiar although we have only seen it through the eyes of the artist.” Lokuta and Cole also exhibited a series of post-September 11 photographs of the area around Ground Zero, collectively titled Missing, at Kean in 2002.
The more recent exhibit is part of the Scotch Plains Public Library’s initiative to become a more complete multimedia cultural center, explains Meg Kolaya, the library’s director. “Art belongs in the public eye, and this will be a focal point for people who visit us,” she said, praising the library’s cost-free accessibility. “We want to bring the focus of the community here, and this is a real opportunity to spread the wealth to those who might not otherwise have the chance to see art displayed in a gallery.”
Defying Gravity will run through Wednesday, April 21. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. For more information, call the Scotch Plains Public Library at (908) 322-5007.