These archives preserve past exhibitions presented in the Herb + Milly Iris Gallery. They make these exhibitions widely available, allowing everyone to continue celebrating these wonderful artists and their work while acting as a resource to retrospectively examine the artistic diversity and historical perspective of the Gallery. It also allows us to virtually highlight the Herb + Iris Gallery’s mission of bringing contemporary art to a broader audience.
Tricia Laughlin Bloom
REVEALED: Intimate Renderings of the Grand Canyon
By Marité Vidales
Curated by Jeremy Moss
On Display March 10-May 1
Reception Thursday, March 10 from 5 – 8PM
Imagine holding the vastness of the 277-mile Grand Canyon in your hand. That is precisely what internationally renowned artist Marité Vidales has achieved in her exhibition, REVEALED: Intimate Renderings of the Grand Canyon, on display from March 10-May 1 in The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC.
In May 2021, Vidales spent several days on the southern rim of Grand Canyon National Park observing the colors, textures and patterns of the landscape. After being awestruck by the immensity of the canyon, and upon picking up a piece of pine bark, she realized that the patterns on the inside of the bark emulate the topography of the canyon.
“The canyon’s natural beauty is right there on the back of the bark,” says Vidales. “It’s as if the trees have sketched the canyon for only themselves to see. All I need to do is to remember and paint.”
Each of the 46 intimate and paradoxical works, some as small as 6 inches, are painted pine barks set in tonal shadow frames, activating questions about landscape, environment and her own media.
By rendering her memories and impressions of the national park on painted barks, Vidales creates a dialogue between the natural patterns found inside pieces of bark and the vistas of the Grand Canyon.
“I was immediately entranced by the complexity of the layers, the use of colors and textures to convey the contours and the sheer beauty of each piece,” says Jeremy Moss, curator of The Herb & Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC.
Vidales is a Costa Rican-born Washington, D.C.-based painter with a career that spans over 30 years. She received her BFA from the School of Fine Arts at the Universidad de Costa Rica in 1987 and completed Graphic Design studies at the Universidad de Centro America in 1983. She has exhibited widely in the United States, Germany, Peru and Costa Rica. She maintains an active studio practice in the Shaw neighborhood in Washington, DC and teaches art at two non-profit senior centers in the city. Her painting styles range from figuration to geometric abstraction. She develops thematic series of work based on her life experiences and social concerns.
The opening reception for REVEALED: Intimate Renderings of the Grand Canyon will be held in the Iris Gallery on Thursday, March 10 from 5-8PM and is the kick-off to an entire evening of interrelated events as SOPAC honors Women’s History Month. Following the opening reception, SOPAC is hosting an inspiring performance by the Resistance Revival Chorus at 7:30PM. As an added bonus, prior to the concert, ticket holders are invited to a panel discussion with community leaders at 6:30PM about the role of music and women’s voices in activism.
By Patrick Hilaire
Curated by Jeremy Moss
On Display February 1 – 28
Reception Thursday, February 17 from 5 – 8PM
The exhibition Light [+Sound] by long-time Maplewood resident, Patrick Hilaire exemplifies the deep-rooted love of Jazz music and photography that plotted his path through life. Growing up, Hilaire shadowed his brother as he developed film and printed black-and-white images in their parents’ basement while Jazz from WRVR, a NY Jazz radio station, played into the wee hours. Even now, “great Jazz photography, especially album art photographed by the masters remains a constant inspiration,” says Hilaire. “My life’s work has focused on capturing this relationship between images and sound.”
The exhibition showcases 25 stunning black-and-white portraits of Jazz musicians. “Every portrait in this exhibition tells its own story,” says curator, Jeremy Moss. The Haitian-born self-taught photographer’s ability to capture compelling musical moments by renowned artists has brought Hilaire widespread acclaim. “Musical events are the intersection where the rhythm of the performer and photographer get to meet,” says Hilaire. “It’s really moments that I try to capture, and those moments only happen once.”
Hilaire has exhibited at several galleries and was featured at the South-by-South Orange Festival (later renamed the SouthNEXT festival). He has shot performances at the John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival, the South Mountain International Blues Festival, performers from SOPAC’s Jazz & Blues in the Loft series and Giants of Jazz, as well as the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Band at the Blue Note in New York City.
L’DOR V’DOR: CARRYING THE TORCH
By Jeremy Iris-Williams
Curated by Jeremy Moss
On Display December 4-January 30.
Opening Reception & Fundraising Event Saturday, December 4 from 6-9PM
The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC celebrates its 10th anniversary with a special fundraiser and exhibition. “L’Dor V’Dor: Carrying the Torch” by Jeremy Iris-Williams (Herb and Milly’s grandson) is the first metal art exhibition by this emerging artist.
L’dor V’dor is a Hebrew expression meaning “from generation to generation.” This phrase encapsulates the notion of honoring one’s predecessors by passing on wisdom, traditions and stories.
The Iris family perfectly embodies the significance of this expression.
Milly established the Iris Gallery in 2011 to honor her late husband, Herb. Once Milly passed in 2014, the couple’s daughters, Roreé and Kerry, honored their parents through continued support of the Iris Gallery. Now, Roreé’s son Jeremy is exhibiting in the art Gallery.
“Jeremy Iris-Williams is a torch bearer, both figuratively and literally,” says Iris Gallery curator Jeremy Moss. “He continues the creative lineage of his Nona, Milly Iris, who inspired him to become the artist he is today.”
Milly was a pioneer of the American crafts movement, opening a one-of-a-kind crafts gallery, Whichcraft Studio, in South Orange in 1970. Later, Milly served on the first SOPAC Board of Governors, which was responsible for cultivating the vision for SOPAC. A steadfast believer in “living with art,” Milly passed that passion for creativity on to her grandson, Jeremy. She fostered his curiosity in the arts and encouraged him to pursue his talents. She encouraged him, challenged him, and most importantly, believed in him.
Ten years ago, in celebration of Milly’s 80th birthday, Jeremy unveiled his first sculpture— a large, striking wooden piece—at SOPAC. Six years later, Jeremy enrolled in the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. His application concluded with a heartfelt dedication “…in honor of Nona, who made me believe I could be an artist.”
In college, Jeremy quickly discovered a talent and affinity for metal sculpture and immersed himself in welding and metal fabrication. Most of Jeremy’s work is abstract and unpredictable. He is interested in using metal in unexpected ways.
“I see a sheet of steel as my blank canvas,” says Jeremy Iris-Williams. “There are no rules or restrictions. I have full freedom to think and create. With my metalworking, the possibilities are endless.”
About two dozen of his pieces will be on view in “L’Dor V’Dor: Carrying the Torch.” These works were created in the artist’s Kensington, Philadelphia studio over the last year and a half.
“I would describe them as ‘metal origami’ with a twist,” says curator Jeremy Moss. “Whether they be decorative or functional, his sculptures are fascinating, thought provoking and elegant.”
Milly fueled her grandson’s creative flame and Jeremy is proud to “carry the torch.” His return to The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery honors his Nona and recognizes the ways in which art binds people together. May their intergenerational bond and dedication to the arts inspire a creative spark in other’s lives.
TRANSITIONAL ENERGY: Form, Shape, Color
By Curtis Grayson, III
Curated by Jeremy Moss
On Display September 23 – November 21, 2021
The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery is thrilled to be exhibiting works by Curtis Grayson, III as the opening exhibit of a new season. As Curator, I am delighted that patrons will be able, once again, to see an in-person exhibit, which promises to entice, engage and enthrall.
Grayson’s TRANSITIONAL ENERGY: Form, Shape, Color is sure to delight. One is immediately aware of the fearlessness in Grayson’s work. Creating on paper, canvas and wood, the use of vibrant colors, bold brush strokes and patterns grab your attention, but it’s the rich textures of handmade papers, silver gilt and fabrics, that really draw you into the detail of each piece. Together the mixed mediums display an energy and emotion that are captivating, making this body of work a unique experience.
Pictured above: Purple Haze, 2021
2020 ZEKE AWARD Exhibitions
Presented by the Social Documentary Network (SDN)
Curated by Glenn Ruga
On Display March 15 – May 7, 2021
Virtual Panel Discussion Thursday, April 15 from 7-8PM EST
Enjoy a unique experience outside of the walls of the Herb + Milly Iris Gallery, any time of day. Curated for SOPAC by Jeremy Moss, this exhibition is presented in the windows of SOPAC.
Glenn Ruga, West Orange native and the Executive Editor of ZEKE Magazine, is the founder and director of the Social Documentary Network (SDN) and the former publisher and art director of Loupe magazine. Each year, SDN awards the work of two photographers documentary projects from a global community of photographers. ZEKE Award winners are chosen by a panel of expert jurors as the projects that have the highest visual and storytelling components while exploring important global issues.
The 2020 ZEKE Award winners are:
Kristen Emack, from the US, for Cousins, a story about the photographer’s daughter and niece and their intimate and spiritual knowledge that is both ordinary and extraordinary.
Jason Houston, from the US, for Last Wildest Place exploring the Purús/Manu region in southeastern Peru, one of the most remote, inaccessible, and important areas of the Amazon and home to perhaps the highest concentration of isolated “uncontacted” tribes on Earth.
Kristen and Jason’s projects were also exhibited in the SDN/ZEKE exhibition at Photoville in the fall of 2020 in Brooklyn and were also be featured in the fall issue of ZEKE magazine.
Social Documentary Network
Social Documentary Network (SDN) is a global community of documentary photographers, editors, curators, NGOs, students, journalists, and others who believe in the power of visual storytelling to build understanding and appreciation for the complexities, nuances, wonders, and contradictions that abound in the world today.
Since its founding in 2008, the SDN website has featured more than 3,000 exhibits by more than 2,000 photographers, from all corners of the globe. Today, SDN has grown beyond the boundaries of a computer screen and produces gallery exhibitions, educational programs, calls for entries, and its print magazine, ZEKE: The Magazine of Global Documentary.
ZEKE Magazine is the essence of photography with global impact. The magazine offers the best of global documentary photography in print and electronically, twice a year. Each issue presents outstanding photography from the SDN on topics as diverse as the war in Syria, the European migration crisis, the Bangladesh garment industry, and other issues of global concern.
INSPIRING MINDS: Art Educators Exhibition
Curated by Jeremy Moss
Virtual Opening Reception via Zoom
Thursday, April 30. 2020
INSPIRING MINDS, presented in tandem with the student exhibition, is an opportunity for Art Educators to share their individual talents beyond their teaching credentials. Every teacher spends hours demonstrating art techniques, cultivating and displaying the artwork of budding student artists, but this show focuses on the other side of art education: the educator as an artist. This exhibition celebrates current art educators who continue to cherish their own inspirational journey and creative development. These unique and talented artists understand the significance of not only teaching art but creating it as well.
I hope that viewers take away an appreciation of the artistic talent that abounds in our teachers and community. It’s important to recognize that these amazing people are not only teachers. They are practicing artists who share their love of art and their own creative journey with their students every day.
-Jeremy Moss, Curator
Pictured above: Hope by Avril Bogle
THE CURATOR’S LENS
Curated by Jeremy Moss
January 30 – March 22, 2020
Oksana Berzinsh • Kathy Cantwell • Lyman Dally • Cat Delett • Dawn DiCicco • Christina Duarte • Thomas Farawell • Adam Gustavson • Samar Hussaini • Patricia Hutchinson • Aida Jones • Oscar Peterson • Jenny Reinhardt • Michael Steinbrick • Joel Tidey
As curator of The Herb + Milly Iris Gallery, I enjoy bringing a wide range of artistic talent to our space, and I relish presenting something new and unique. I am constantly looking to find artists creating in a new medium or who are inspired to go beyond their traditional borders.
As such, it is with extreme pleasure that we present The Curator’s Lens. This group show presents work from artists I have shown with, those I have curated before and those whose work I am lucky enough to enjoy in my personal collection. For this inaugural installation, we are presenting mainly local artists. I’ve been mindful to select newer works that have not yet been widely exhibited and several pieces are being presented publicly for the first time. This showcase has been wonderfully exciting for me to curate and I am confident you will enjoy and be inspired by the diverse and stunning work you see on the walls of the Gallery. -Jeremy Moss
Pictured above: partial image of Almost Before I Ceased To Be Sensible, by Cat Delett
JUST DANCE… Steve Vaccariello
November 14, 2019 – January 19, 2020
In JUST DANCE…, Vaccariello’s vivid and sensual portraits capture an unbridled creativity; a guileless exchange of artistic expression between two masters, each on either side of the camera lens. Vaccariello’s direction is simple and straightforward, “Just dance…” Then, on film, he immortalized their liberated collaboration; a visual and a performance artist breaking free to bestow an inspired vision of beauty.
“Photography isn’t what I do,” says Vaccariello, “It’s what I am.”
September 12 – November 3, 2019
Barbara Bickart and Colleen Lineberry are exceptionally talented artists who excel in many creative disciplines. They are also sisters. While their lives have taken different paths, there became conscious, subconscious and non-conscious crossing points throughout their adulthood. The ‘convergence’ of these very different paths is at the core of this exhibition. The exhibit also hi-lights their considerable talent and allows you to submerge yourself in their journey. Bickart and Lineberry show mastery of abstraction to convey a narrative about the world around them.
The Visual Passion Duo: The Doors
Mikel Frank and Gerard Amsellem
March 4 – April 28, 2019
This exhibition is the culmination of works created by Gerard Amsellem and Mikel Frank since their collaboration began in 2010. The large-scale paintings are done on door panels ranging in size from 18” inches wide to 120” wide and all are the standard height of 80”. Gerard and Mikel enjoy sharing their collaboration with the community and have created many of the works in the exhibition in front of an audience. They both feel that by working together to create a collaborative piece a “third artist” is present, signifying the real magic of collaboration.
The Price of Sugar by Jenny Reinhardt
December 10, 2018 – February 22, 2019
In The Price of Sugar, Reinhardt has woven the theme of the bright and seductive appeal of sugar and confectionary, along with its dark side; the addiction, the excess and the disease. Sugar is both sweet and dangerous.
Decades of Dance by Pat Hutchinson
September 10 – November 23, 2018
Decades of Dance, from New Jersey artist Patricia Hutchinson is a collection of paintings that capture the grace and beauty of dancers’ bodies in motion. Ms. Hutchinson’s paintings serve as an artist’s observation of the human form suspended in a crystalized moment of action.
Kwalité Paintings by Joe Waks
March 5 – April 27, 2018
Joe Waks’ mixed-media paintings underscore his passion for politics and popular culture. Seen through the lens of past icons and emblems of our society, his paintings become an audacious commentary on our consumerist ethos and modern society. Enter Joe’s world for an upside down view of how our culture embraces the marketing messages that infiltrate our minds at every turn.
FORM by Maeva Fouché
December 11, 2017 – February 16, 2018
A New Jersey native, born in Newark, Maeva Fouché has always embraced her Haitian-American heritage. It is evident in her work as you view the colors and cultural references. She fell in love with all things art at an early age, leading her on her journey into the art world. Fouché graduated from Kean University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. She has since perfected marrying the design aspect to her influences; geometry, cubism, pop art and music. The effect is a visual stimulation that speaks both emotionally and spiritually.
reflect: NYC by Michael Steinbrick
September 11 – November 24, 2017
Steinbrick’s paintings reflect a spiritual experience, a moment when a higher level of consciousness takes over the logical translation of what your eye is seeing. His images tell a story, both obvious and subversive. They capture the beauty in the randomness of the ever-changing advertisements and street traffic below, while the reflections change that narrative.
Changing Landscapes by Mary Jane Van Zeijts
March 6 – April 30, 2017
As a lover of nature, Mary Jane Van Zeijts is in search of the perfect light. Her pastel images are both luminescent and moody, a juxtaposition she catches in a seemingly effortless manner. Van Zeijts’ drawings, that contain both impressionistic and abstract elements, have a distinct feel of an oil painting. Her use of color transports you to that exact moment in time.
Inside Looking Out by Dorothy Anderson Wasserman
December 15, 2016 – February 23, 2017
The interplay of Wasserman’s inner life and outer reality will take you on a fascinating journey of surrealist visual narratives. Wassermann’s photographs are cut, rearranged and then pieced together in layers of chaos and clarity. She tells a spellbinding story using images from the past, present and an imagined future. Contemporary surrealist collage in its finest form.
POL!TICO: ARTS & The Humanities
September 8 – December 8, 2016
An exhibit that explored the cultural influence of politics and the humanities through the uses of various mediums of visual art. The intersection of art and politics provides an opportunity for exploration of the ideals of truth and transparency vs. censorship and political correctness as the tug-of-war between these ideological pursuits rages on.
POL!T!CO was part of a collaboration showcasing four arts organizations (SOPAC, Arts Unbound, The Baird Center’s Pierro Gallery and Valley Arts Firehouse Gallery) connected by geography, and the desire to create a richer experience for viewers. This four-venue exhibit gives artists a voice in some of the size-able issues that are informing the 2016 November presidential election.
Spirited by Alberte Bernier & Ritch Gaiti
February 8 – April 30, 2016
Spirited was a celebration of the energy, enthusiasm and determination of character, outlook and mood beyond the perceived limitations, and often opposing ideals, of Nature vs. Nurture.
For Haitian-born Alberte Bernier, painting represents a profound source of freedom as well as a desire to convey human emotion and fantasy. Like the human experience which is multi-leveled, what appear to be basic colors in her art are superimposed nuances.
Although born and raised in Brooklyn, Ritch Gaiti became visually attracted to the American west and Native American culture by the warm colors and the spiritual nature of the people and the land. He paints of the people, the land and the spirits and recaptures a feeling of a time and a culture long-gone.
An Artful Life – An Exhibition from
the Private Collection of Herb & Milly Iris
September 1, 2015 – January 15, 2016