Three Artists Exhibit Personal, Playful Works at CACC in Jersey City
By Sally Deering
Three women artists make the walls of the Center for the Arts at Casa Colombo in Jersey City their own in OF THE MIND, an exhibit of dreamy Italian landscapes, whimsical wood sculptures and moody photographs of the Manhattan Skyline.
Artists Abby Levine, Alina Oswald, and Jacqueline Falconi’s art works reflect their personal interests, things that inspire them and that also have a little whimsy, like Levine’s painted wood sculptures. Levine, who resides in Union City, is a graduate of the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, and has exhibited her art work throughout the U.S.
For the past three years, Levine has been creating a series of wood sculptures seen in the OF THE MIND exhibition, collecting pieces of wood, painting them and creating playful and intricate swirly labyrinths of wooded shapes and color. Once completed, Levine’s wood sculptures become “layers of life” she says.
“That’s the way I look at the world, as an interconnected web,” Levine says. “I think when I die I’ll be part of the ground. I’m hoping they plant me like a tree.”
Levine shares the exhibition space on the second floor with Oswald, a Jersey City artist exhibiting two different groups of digital photos she took, black & white shots of a ‘vampire’ and images of the Manhattan Skyline at different times of day. Oswald calls her series of photos “unconventional expressions of reality”.
“I’m from Romania,” Oswald says, “and I speak vampire.
Oswald has published several books of photographs and she enjoys taking candid shots, catching people when their guard is down, she says.
“Photographing people is also about capturing the essence of the person,” Oswald says, “and sometimes it’s just a lucky accident.”
Falconi, who was raised in Paris fills the third floor of Casa Colombo with her oil paintings of Italy and flowers. One of her paintings “Explosione in Blu” is a burst of flowers in oil on canvas.
“I’ve been painting all my life,” Falconi says. “This is my first time here. I’ve always exhibited in Italy and Rome.”
Falconi attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Manhattan.
“I do things people are not used to,” Falconi says. “As my teacher told me at the academy, I’m one of the rare artists that can do anything.”
Director of the Museum of Art at Casa Colombo is Giuseppe Munafo, an architect who also designed the renovation of the exhibition spaces. As museum director, Munafo helped decide the artists for the OF THE MIND show, which runs through December.
“We interviewed many artists, Jersey City artists mostly,” Munafo says. “The reason is simple: the quality of work by Jersey City artists is amazing.”
The Center for the Arts at Casa Colombo is an historic building built by Italian immigrants in 1936. For many years the building served as a social center for Italians who settled in Jersey City. Over the years, the interior of the building underwent several transformations, but the exterior of the building remained virtually untouched since its original construction. Included on the third floor of Casa Colombo is Heritage Hall which houses artifacts brought to America by Italian immigrants.
In its mission statement, the Center for the Arts at Casa Colombo now strives to serve as a cultural multi-media link between the past and the future of the American and Italian communities. It seeks to inspire contemporary visual arts exhibits, performing arts presentations and concerts, literary expositions, education programs, workshops, and cultural exchanges and to make them available to the people of Hudson.
According to Chairman of the Board of Casa Colombo Lou Iozzi and his wife Fran Iozzi, a board member, the building received a Community Development Block Grant to renovate the second and third floor to accommodate visual and performing arts groups. The space features exposed red brick, wood laminate floors and has its original tin ceiling tiles, making it a beautiful, modern and welcoming space for all types of artists.
“At Casa Colombo, the programming was strictly Italian, but not anymore,” Lou Iozzi says. “We changed our focus to become an arts center.”
If you go:
Tues & Thurs, 10 am-3 pm, through December
“OF THE MIND”
The Center for the Arts at Casa Colombo
380 Monmouth St.
For more info: www.casacolombo.org