New Jersey Masters - Tom Birkner, Serena Bocchino, Paul Caranicas, Gary T. Erbe, Ben Georgia, Nancy Staub Laughlin

Love Blue, 2007, Enamel paint on canvas, 42x52 in.  Courtesy Tria Gallery, New York, NY

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Kean University is pleased to feature the work of six highly accomplished painters who work and live in New Jersey; Thomas Birkner,  Serena Bocchino, Paul Caranicas, Gary T. Erbe, Ben Georgio, and Nancy Staub Laughlin. The exhibition is appropriately titled, New Jersey Masters 2010 and has been curated by Professor Emeritus W. Carl Burger. It is on view from September 15th through October 22nd 2010 in the Karl and Helen Burger Gallery in the Jack and Maxine Lane Center for Academic Success.

While this show is clearly a special opportunity to shine the spotlight on some of the most outstanding regional talent, the viewer should keep in mind that all of these artists are also very active nationally, some exhibit internationally as well, and all have received prestigious awards. Because artists today have access to every style of art imaginable from every culture throughout human history, in this day and age it is increasingly difficult to distinguish a regional movement or style. Nowadays such identifiable movements when they exist are generally transnational by nature. The six “New Jersey Masters” are all contemporary working artists with access to museums and galleries in New York City, they are all well traveled and are all very well informed. They have been chosen for this exhibition to represent a cross section of interests. You will enjoy a broad spectrum of artistic interests, ranging from the super surrealistic rendering of Gary T. Erbe to the energetic drip painting of Serena Bocchino.

On behalf of Kean University and the College of Visual and Performing Arts, I wish to thank each participating artist for the wonderful artworks they have created and shared for this show. Many thanks to W. Carl Burger for his generosity to Kean University and to my assistant, Lisa Conrad for her consistent efforts to make this project a success. I especially want to thank President Dawood Farahi, our acting Vice President Mark Lender, and Holly Logue, the acting Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts, all of whom together made this possible. We look forward to more exhibitions in the future that will continue to celebrate the rich and outstanding artists of New Jersey.

Neil Tetkowski
Director of University Galleries